App Store Optimization relates to optimizing mobile application pages in the App Store and Google Play by highlighting them and facilitating the conversion of visitors into downloads. Includes keyword optimization of the title, subtitle (in the App Store), and app description, as well as creative optimization of visual elements.
In many ways App Store Optimization for iOS and Android is reminiscent of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that has been around for several decades and consists of selecting the right metadata and assets (icon, screenshots) in order to be higher in the Store's search results page, with more visitors downloading the app and becoming active users of it.
As competition among the app market grows, the competence in finding the app's target audience becomes of greater importance. Our main task is to present the app in such a way that makes the user want to download and use it.
In most cases, users learn about new apps from app store searches and from the store's selections (the ones that got featured), which means being in top results is of the utmost importance.
This is how App Store Optimization has appeared: as various ways to improve the app's position in the search results for the appropriate searches, thus maximizing conversion output.
The fundamentals on which ASO is based are quite simple: an app is 'hidden' from most users if it's not in the visible part of the search results. If the app is in the search results, but its icon (and screenshots of the app), name, or rating are not attractive, and users do not want to click on them, then the lion's share of the target audience has been lost. If users nonetheless clicked but didn't like the app page (poor screenshots, no reviews, lack of in-app events or promo content), then another part of the downloaders have been lost.
Your job as a marketer is to maximize every step of bringing app store organic users to your app.
ASO is a comprehensive approach to working on content for a mobile app's page on Google Play, the App Store, and other app stores. The ASO's goal is to level up page views and improve the download conversion rate.
We at Appbooster divide the work cycle on ASO apps into several stages. This division is optional, because given a particular case, it may be necessary to concentrate resources on only one component and even skip a stage. Most often however, an effective optimization process will include an app audit, wording, image hammering, and rating adjustments.
An audit involves a comprehensive review and competitive analysis of the app's store page. We've provided a checklist for self-audit in one of our articles. Particular attention is paid to the conversion rate of first impressions to installations. It is compared with vertical averages, and conclusions are drawn based on the results obtained. For example, if an app is in the top for search queries but has few downloads, this means the page needs to be optimized. Next the text, images, localization (if applicable), and rating are checked, and reviews studied.
It's best to conduct A/B tests to see how the changes might affect user behavior and rankings prior to the introduction of new images and text.
Then the most important part of ASO takes place, keyword optimization. At this stage, the semantic core is assembled and the app page metadata fields are filled in. The semantic core is all search queries that can be used to find that app in the store. Generally a huge list is collected from any search queries that are at least somehow related to the app's subject. The most relevant search queries are selected from this list and attempted to be included into the metadata.
Text metadata includes the title, subtitle, and short and long descriptions. It's important to keep in mind that keyword processing differs across different app stores. For example, the App Store provides an additional keyword field that is not available in Google Play.
High quality image optimization helps the app stand out from the competition. Special attention must be paid to the icon design, as this is what the user sees first and is essentially the business card of the product in the store. One of the main requirements is that it should convey the essence of the app. As practice has shown, simple and recognizable forms without an abundance of text work best.
It's also better to place textual information on screenshots when appropriate as to perform an advertising function for users. There's also a function for developers to place videos in addition to screenshots, but this is not vital. For instance, a video demonstration of interesting gameplay mechanics or graphics might be a boost factor for a game, while video would most likely not be helpful for a VPN app, where screenshots are enough.
The app's rating and reviews directly affect the conversion rate. These are key decision factors for users. It is quite straightforward, people place more trust on the opinions of those who have already tried the product than even the most colorful description. There are two main ways to get feedback and rating:
The Appbooster platform can assist in the app promotion. Get ahead of competitors in the App Store and Google Play search results through rewarded installs and competent ASO. The platform functionality includes managing rewarded traffic, reviews, app rating, position tracking, and competitor monitoring.
Nowadays, each of the stores requires its own approaches to App Store Optimization. As you can see, some description and page elements function only in the App Store, and others in Google Play.
There are main general optimization steps can be singled out: the app's name and keywords, the semantic core, icon, screenshots, ratings.
Try to work them out prior to issuing the app in order to have a quality foundation upon the first release. Repeat further with them as a foundation, and keep improvements under control. ASO is a long and incremental improvement process where every step counts.
Tools for getting the job done: App Store Connect and Google Play Console; keyword position tracking (Appbooster platform can be used); keyword search and scoring, review, and rating tracking; review responses; competitive intelligence; UX review management; search ad data; in-app feedback requests; screenshot editors and metadata management platforms; app store analytics; A/B testing.
A level related to the product, app marketing, and analytics in general, rather than ASO. It includes:
Promotion is made up of many components, often linked together, and by making changes to one part, all the others can be affected. It is easy to make mistakes in optimization, here are some of the most common mistakes that are best avoided:
How important is App Store Optimization for a mobile app?
↪ If you are asking this question, it is most likely very important. Only the corporate behemoths who already have huge marketing and brand awareness budgets can afford skipping app promotion.
How can the effectiveness of the page design in the store be evaluated?
↪ The main metric for the App Store is the conversion from app display to install. In this case, any visual contact of the user with the page or app icon is considered an impression. Conversion in Google Play is calculated from the ratio of installs to app page views.
At what point is work on ASO considered to be finished?
↪ There's no such point. Even if all goals are achieved, this doesn't mean the journey is over. Your competitors are also involved in ASO. It's quite probable the app will no longer be in the store's top positions after a couple weeks of downtime.
What KPIs to use when evaluating ASO?
↪ App visibility, conversion to installs, retention rate and feedback metrics (rating, number of ratings, number of reviews, user sentiment).
In this article, we discuss what are the main stages of work on ASO.
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