6 free tips to master app store optimization

Boost your app’s organic installs by mastering these key aspects

  • App Marketing
  • Digital Agency
  • Mobile application

After you have created your very own mobile app, your next goal naturally would be to get as many people as possible to download your app. But with currently over 3 million different apps in the Google Play Store, as well as over 2 million in the Apple App Store, you will be faced with constant competition, making it hard for your app to be visible.

Following a study, nearly half of the smartphone users discover apps while browsing their phone’s app stores. Here comes the process of app store optimization into play: by using the right keywords for your app’s title and description and creating appealing visuals for your app store listing, you are able to attract more users, increase your app’s visibility, and most importantly, boost its organic installs. But first, let’s take a look at what app store optimization actually does.

What is app store optimization (ASO)?

It is a process that aims to rank your app higher in an app store’s search results and make it exceedingly more visible and attractive to your target customer base, resulting in more traffic. To achieve this, app store optimization (ASO) focuses on enhancing the following aspects:

  • Placing and continuously optimizing relevant and trending keywords in your app’s title, subtitle, and description
  • Choosing eye-catching and informative app icons and screenshots
  • Achieving and maintaining high app ratings and reviews

Not only is ASO a simple and organic way to increase your app’s download rate, it is also an option that is mostly overlooked by other app marketers. So, if you regularly spend time optimizing your app store listing, you will be a step ahead of many of your competitors.

6 essential aspects to consider when learning ASO

1. Choosing the right title for your app

The right name for your app plays a huge role in determining how many people will click on it - being one of the first things they see when browsing through the search results, it is especially important to spend enough time when choosing a name.

On the one hand, you want a unique name for your app that makes it stand out from competition and makes it memorable. On the other hand, you should add some keywords in your app’s title, so that it ranks higher in the search results.

Take for example the music apps Deezer or Spotify: both have a unique name, followed by two relevant keywords, such as „Music“ and „Podcast“. If you search for those keywords, you will most likely find these apps at the top of the search results.

A bad example would be to name your app something along the lines of „Music Box - Free Audio and Music Player (No Ads)“. This title is missing a unique name and on top of that, is crammed with too many and doubled keywords. Having a long title and hyperbolic promises (free and no ads) will also make your product seem less serious. Most users will view those app as less trustworthy and look for other options instead.

2. Implementing the right keywords

In the first part, we talked about keywords. Here, we will take this a step further: Add more keywords in your app’s description to have it rank even higher in the search results. You should further base your choice of keywords on their search volume - if you have found keywords that you deem to be fitting for your app, you should analyze how often they are searched by users to determine their competitiveness.

But the rule applies here, as well: don’t overdo it. If the user reads your description and only finds a bunch of loosely added keywords, he will be less inclined to actually download your app Instead, try to implement them in a way that makes the user want to read your description. Highlight the most valuable features of your app - and keep in mind that the first sentence of your description is the most important one, as it often is the only one the users see, before they have to click on „see more“.

Also, note that there is an inherent difference between the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store: Google considers all textual elements in your app’s listing when indexing keywords, and happily takes repeated ones into consideration as well. Apple, however, does not count doubled keywords, and leaves out the description, too. Instead, it provides you with a designated keyword space, limited to 100 characters. In both stores, your description is limited to 4000 characters.

3. Pay attention to your app’s ratings

Generally, users are more prone to download an app that already has an established number of downloads. While you cannot control how many people download your app, you can try to influence the ratings and reviews from already existing customers. Because high ratings play an important factor as well - of course, a user is more likely to download an app with a rating of 4+ stars, as opposed to an app with 3 or less stars. On top of having a high quality app, it is always helpful to be engaging with your users and give them a simple way to rate your product:

Provide excellent customer service by engaging with the user reviews. Thank them for their positive feedback and work with disappointed users to find a solution to their problems, convincing them to update their review after the problem has been solved.

Give the user a gentle reminder to rate your app by setting up an app review modal that lets the user submit the review directly within the app. Consider opening the modal after the user has completed a certain action - e.g. after they finished a To-Do list, or created their first music playlist. That way, your plugin is less likely to disrupt the user experience.

4. Creating the perfect app icon

Together with your app’s title, this is one of the most crucial elements of ASO because it represents your product visually and is the first thing the user sees when finding your app. When designing your app icon, you should ask yourself the following questions: What is your app about and how can you convey that visually?

For example, if you were to publish a trading app, you would want to give the icon a serious tone that depicts reliability and professionalism. You would also aim for a simplistic design - most trading apps go for a darker background to contrast their more colorful logo.

It would be best to have a few variations of your icon in store. That way, through A/B testing you can determine, which variation has the most clicks (e.g. due to more appealing colors, logo, or characters) and adapt your icon accordingly.

5. Implementing appealing app screenshots

Through your screenshots, you demonstrate the core features of your app, giving your audience a first impression if the service your product has to offer.

But don’t just take simple screenshots of your app’s functions - try to tell a visual story through your pictures. Wrap your shots in an appealing package with textual elements and highlights to show the user why your app is the right one.

Take for example the language learning app Babbel: the first screenshot functions as a cover, convincing users with its high number of sold subscriptions and options of learnable languages. The following shots have distinct headers to describe the respective features the app has to offer, and are imbedded in a bright orange as part of Babbel’s corporate design.

6. App store optimization is a continuous effort

The journey doesn’t end here. After you have decided on a title, written the description, chosen the right keywords and implemented an appealing icon and screenshots, you are far from done. Because app store optimization is an ongoing process that needs to be supervised and updated on a regular basis.

The trending keywords constantly change, so you should regularly check on your keywords and adjust them. Especially after notable changes to your app, don’t forget to update your description. Add patch notes and showcase the most important highlights.

This applies to your screenshots, too. If your updates include a new function, e.g. a friend list for your music app, you should include this in your screenshots. Generally, if you feel that your screenshots seem a bit outdated, exchange them for newer, more appealing ones.

Conclusion

App store optimization, while requiring regular maintenance, rewards you with a higher ranking and more visibility, as compared to apps that neglect this strategy. By learning and mastering these aspects, you gain important skills to help you boost your organic app installs.

Still, building and maintaining an efficient ASO campaign can be time-consuming, and choosing the most visually appealing app icon and screenshots is not always easy. If you need support in creating fitting app store creatives, or if you want to optimize your app store listing through regular analysis, feel free to contact us. We at fintory offer a variety of services to ensure that you get the best out of your app.

Lucas Bongers

Marketing

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