What is ASO?
App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of optimizing your mobile app to rank higher in the app store search results. The mechanics of ASO involve understanding your target audience, researching the right search keywords you want to rank for and optimizing your app for these keywords. The objective is to increase the visibility of your app for the target keywords and thereby drive more traffic to your app page in the respective app store.
Importance of ASO?
According to Statista, as of January 2017, there are 2.2 million apps in the iOS store and 2.6 million apps in the Google Play Store. The number of apps are growing rapidly and app discoverability is a one of the three biggest challenges that mobile app marketers face. According to Forrester, an astounding 63% of the apps are discovered using search by customer browsing on the app store. As per Fiksu, search represents 80% of high quality organic downloads. Needless to say ASO is a crucial piece of any mobile marketing plan. ASO best practices are the fruit of serious researches and tests made by experts and professionals
8 Key elements of App Store Optimization
- Now that you have made a killer app, it is time to name your baby. Just as in real life, be creative and pick a unique title for your app or game.
- Don’t pick a title that is common, be specific and relevant. For example, if you are making a productivity app, don’t call it ‘The Productivity App’. You don’t want to confuse your users and app store browsers.
- Include your main keyword in the app title if possible. This can IMMENSELY improve your rankings!
- Adhere to the prescribed app store character limits – 25 characters for Google Play Store and 50 characters for iOS
- Stick to the title you choose! It is not a good idea to change your app title very frequently. Pick one that suits best and stick to it.
Keywords decide where you rank. Research them properly and identify the list of top keywords you want to rank for. As per a study by mobiledevHQ, App titles that contained keywords had a 10.3% higher ranking than those without it. Use your main keywords in the title if you can, then don’t repeat them in the keyword field.
3. App Description:
Let us be honest, not many people are going to read through your app description, but that is no excuse for doing a sloppy job here. Here are a few things you need to do –
- App store ranking algorithms take keywords from the app description into account, so include your main target keywords here.
- Do not resort to keyword stuffing. This is a strict NO NO!
- The first few lines of the description are extremely important as those are the ones people see without clicking on read more. Make this compelling enough so that they want to read more.
- Write a persuasive description to convince the users to download your app. Explain clearly what the app does, how to use the app and add a bulleted list of all the key features and benefits of your app.
- If your app has been nominated or has won any award, then mention them. If you have created any other popular apps, brag about those here. This gives credibility to your app and increases the chances of getting it downloaded.
4. App Icon:
App icon should be beautiful, unique and should grab the attention of the user. Do not clutter the icon by adding your title again onto the icon. You should do some A/B testing with a few app icons to see which one works better.
Even though everyone might not read the app description, they would definitely take a look at your screenshots. Here are a few things to note –
- Your first two screenshots are very important to grab the users attention. If they are not beautiful and do not explain what the app does then the user won’t be bothered to download your app.
- If your app also works on the tablet, then make sure you upload tablet size screenshots as well, so that you get the ‘designed for tablet’ badge.
- Use portrait orientation for the screenshots as that is the default orientation of a mobile device.
- Make use of all the screenshots slots that you get.
- Explain one feature per screenshot.
- Do A/B testing with your screenshots
Make an explainer or preview video for your app highlighting the key features and benefits. If your app is complex to use then this video should also explain about how to use the app. Keep it short and sweet.
7. Reviews and Rating:
App store ranking algorithms are increasingly giving more weightage to social factors. So naturally reviews and ratings play a major role in app rankings. The idea is to reward apps that are alive and kicking and penalize those that aren’t.
From the users point of view, reviews do help in making a choice whether to download the pp or not. The opinions of others matter and play a major role in our purchase decisions today. It is no different while your users are looking to download your app. Aim to get as many positive reviews for your app. You can also reward your users for rating your app. Use an app review plugin and ask for reviews from within the app itself.
ASO takes time to prove to be effective. But it is effective!