App store optimization

App Store Optimization or ASO as it is often abbreviated to, is the process of optimising a mobile application to make it rank higher in an app store’s search results. The higher your app is ranked by an app store’s search engine, the higher the probability that it is seen by a huge number of users. The increased visibility often translates to a high hit rate on the download button of your application.

The primary objective of ASO is to drive traffic to your application’s page in the app store so users can do exactly one thing: Download your app!

With millions of apps up across the Apple App Store, Google Play store and Windows Store, a growing challenge for any app publisher is to stand out amongst the crowd. Marketing your app in the right way could mean the difference between a few HUNDRED downloads and a few MILLION downloads. With minor marketing changes resulting massive improvements in download figures, App Store Optimisation (or ASO) is one of the hottest domains in the world of mobile application marketing today, and when overlooked – as is often the case – can result in massive drops in download hits and in turn, revenues from the app. ASO not only improves how your app performs on search results, but also improves its visibility on the app store itself.

So how does the visibility of your application matter?

Research from the European Technographics consumer Technology Online Survey showed that approximately 63% of users downloaded an app simply because they stumbled upon it whilst looking through the app store. Thus, ensuring that your app is seen by many is the best way to generate downloads and in turn, generate revenue from the app you’ve created!

So without much adieu, here are some App Store Optimization Tips to help your app rake in the downloads!

  • The title matters: Having a keyword in the title of your app, regardless of its keyword difficulty is extremely important for your app and on average gives you a 10.3% improvement in your app’s search ranking. As far as good practises go, choosing the most important, most descriptive or most relevant keyword to fit into the title of your application, regardless of its difficulty rate helps you by not only aiding your App Store Ranking but by also ensuring that it provides a quick description to any user looking to download a new app. It is important to note that as an app gathers positive reviews and moves up the applications ranking list, news about it also begins to spread through other channels such as social media and word-of-mouth. Hence, it   must be remembered that regularly changing the title of your application may result in a difficulty in its ability to go viral. As many apps often spread through simply by word-of-mouth, a sudden (or regular) change of name for the app may result in it losing the ranking it took so long to achieve.
  • It’s all about the keywords: It comes as no surprise that users often look for apps using search words, and this is essentially where all the money lies. Getting your app to rank highly in the list of keywords that are searched is imperative if you want your app to perform well. Using App store Optimisation tools that helps you keep track of the keyword rank for each keyword in your list. Choosing and continuously changing your list of keywords as and when they change their ranks helps your app stay at the top of everyone’s hit list for when they search. While Google’s play store doesn’t explicitly provide you with the option of choosing your keywords, the same result can more or less be achieved by using those words you believe are key to search results in your App’s title, description and any other data that you may input.
  • More hits = Even more hits: Now, this is a tricky one to exploit if you’re a new app looking to get off the ground on the app store, but since the total number of downloads an app has is important for its position in the app rank list. Essentially, a more popular app is one which is more likely to be the one a user is searching for and hence, goes to the top of the list. While you don’t have total control over the number of downloads your app gets, you do have ways of maximising your app’s reach to the masses through how it is marketed outside the app store. Aside from maximising your ASO through the keywords, you can also market your app through social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and good old-fashioned word-of-mouth to help generate some buzz around your app, as research from European Technographics consumer Technology Online Survey shows that 50% of users downloaded an app because it was suggested to them by a family member or a friend.
  • Better reviews = More hits: Again, this seems like a complicated option since you don’t have full control over the reviews being posted on your app’s page but, it isn’t always easy to do. Maintaining a high quality app at the developer’s end isn’t always easy and bugs are always bound to be reported and can result in poor reviews. On the flipside, a high quality app that delivers on every promise made gets you better visibility on the App store and boosts your ranking on the App store’s ranking list. This means app developers are faced with a dilemma – you want your customers to review your app, but only if their experiences are positive. By offering users a place to communicate with the developers inside the app itself to resolve their issues and guiding happy customers to give your app the 5-star treatment, you ensure that your app slowly but surely rises up the app rankings.
  • Do your research: There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to ASO as each app is unique and targets a specific audience. By checking which keywords are most likely to be searched for by your target audience, you can ensure that your application, you can ensure that your app gets seen by your target audience. It is also important to know that different apps perform differently in different countries where different languages may be spoken. Localization is the process of translating your app to different languages to help it reach a global audience. Funnily enough, it is also known as internationalization which is technically the process by which you structure your app in a way which enables localization. While not all apps lend themselves to localization but if your app does, it is highly recommended. By using internationalization/localization tools such as those offered by Sensor Tower, you can check how every iOS app is performing internationally on the App Store. It’s also a great way to see what some of the top-most apps, and your competitors are doing to help their performance in the App Store search rankings.
  • Most important keyword-Patience: It’s important to understand that ASO is a process that isn’t completed in the snap of a finger. It’s a process that involves a lot of trial, error and tweaking which is done over a period of time and slowly helps your app settle into the App Store ecosystem. It is important to remember that the optimal list of keywords is almost never going to be the very first list of keywords that you submit to the App Store. This is often due to the fact that developers often leave selecting the list of keywords to the last minute, often with little or no research done, resulting in the app being hidden amongst the depths of the sea that is the App Store. Intensive research is key to better App Store search performance and subsequent analysis of your app’s real-time performance in those search results is the only concrete way to ensure long-term App Store Optimisation.

In order to analyse your app’s ranking, competition and keywords, here are some App Store Optimization Tools which can help you position your app in the top list :

  1. Keywordtool.io/app-store
  2. Sensor Tower
  3. SearchMan
  4. MobileDevHQ
  5. App Annie
  6. Appnique
  7. Straply
  8. Mopapp
  9. MetricsCat
  10. AppFigures
  11. AppRankCorner
  12. Appcodes
  13. Gummicube