A Complete Guide to ASO (App Store Optimization)
App Store Optimization (ASO):
It is the process of improving the visibility of the application within the application stores, increasing the conversion rates of applications, in addition to obtaining a higher ranking in the search results in the application stores.
The main app stores are:
The ASO also focuses on click rate (CTR).
This means you have to convince people to actually click on your app store listing once they find it. You can do this by:
- Improving application name.
- Application title.
- Application icon.
- Application evaluation.
Once people click on your app store-listing page, you need to make sure that they download it or make a purchase.
This part of the ASO is known as Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).
What is the difference between ASO and SEO?
ASO is often referred to as App Store SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
The two processes share similarities such as:
- Keyword optimization.
- Back linkage.
- Conversion optimization.
The main differences between ASO and SEO are the ranking factors first.
ASO is also used for mobile apps, while SEO is used for websites.
Web browser SEO factors (for example, Google Search Engine) have more than 200 aspects, and the list continues to expand.
Although the list of ranking factors for ASO is much shorter, many people are still not sure which factors are really involved.
Now is the time to clarify that.
The following list defines the main similarities and differences between ASO and SEO:
Why is App Store Optimization Important for App Growth?
More than 5 million apps are available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
It is very likely that your app will face stiff competition.
The primary goal of ASO is to increase downloads and the number of loyal users.
The first step to increase downloads is to make your app easily discoverable by the right users.
However, how do you do that?
To understand how to boost your primary growth, you need to first understand how people search for and find apps.
How do users find and download mobile apps?
People mostly search for specific apps in app stores like Google Play Store and Apple App Store, and 70% of mobile phone users use “search” to find new apps.
And 65% of downloads happen right after the search.
It is very clear that searching the App Store is the most popular way to discover new apps.
What’s more, the app’s search ranking position is directly related to the number of downloads.
The higher your app’s ranking in search results, the more relevant it appears to your users and the more likely they will be associated with it.
And higher-ranked apps also get more downloads because users usually don’t continue scrolling through searches, and often look at the first 5 or 6 results.
This makes obtaining a high ranking essential to the success of the application.
Moreover, without the ASO you would lose the largest marketing channel for mobile apps and games.
Knowing about the ASO and investing time in it will be your secret weapon for app growth.
It delivers long-lasting results in a sustainable way.
And if you are curious to know about the other benefits of ASO, just keep reading.
What are the benefits of optimizing the app store?
Optimizing the app store is critical if you want to put your app in front of the right users (and you now know that most users find apps by searching in app stores).
In fact, many people assert that optimizing your app is the most effective mobile app and game marketing strategy.
Here’s how to take advantage of the ASO:
Improve visibility and differentiation in app stores:
People cannot download and use your app if they cannot find it.
So, no matter how awesome your app is, if finding or discovering it is not easy, you won’t achieve the success you deserve.
Don’t let your effort go to waste, and start improving!
Make your app easily accessible to the right, high-quality and relevant users:
Finding your app is not enough, it should be found by the right users who are actually searching for it or a similar app.
Optimizing the App Store brings you to the right users because it matches your app with related keywords (which are the search terms people will use to find your app).
Increase downloads of essential apps in a sustainable way:
A good ASO strategy will undoubtedly boost basic installs and guarantee long-term results because when people search for keywords relevant to your app, they will always find yours.
With regular monitoring and updating, you can be confident of the success of your efforts.
Reducing user acquisition costs and continuous growth:
Instead of spending money on ads, you can lower your user acquisition costs by focusing on core growth with ASO.
This not only saves you money but also guarantees your steady growth.
Increase app revenue and conversion rates:
There are various ways to monetize your app, including the following:
- In-app ads.
- In-app purchases.
- Subscription forms.
As a result, many of you may decide to run ads to attract more users, and thus more profits.
But if the app store listing page doesn’t convert and convince users to actually download your app, then the cost of your ads is for nothing.
Remember, ASO also includes conversion rate optimization, and getting people to click and download.
Reaching a global audience with your app:
When your app is made available in other languages through app store optimization, we call this process “translation”.
You can attract users from all over the world to discover your app.
The ASO can help you spread it worldwide.
How does App Store Optimization work?
Once you have developed your app, and become fully familiar with the basics of app marketing, you need to decide where to publish your app or mobile game.
Most of the developers choose the Apple App Store for iOS, and the Google Play Store for Android.
You may post to both stores if you decide to develop your app for both operating systems.
Let’s take a look at the two main app stores in more detail:
1- ASO for Google Play and App Store:
Both stores have the same purpose, providing a platform for users to search for and download apps or games.
However, this does not mean that they work the same way.
2- History of mobile applications and their trends:
With the frequent use of cell phones, the application industry started to thrive. In this way, the Apple App Store has seen an increase in the number of apps from 800 (since its launch in 2008) to 2.2 million in 2019.
Likewise, the number of apps available on Google Play reached 3.6 million in March 2018.
Obviously, competition is strong in the app market, and this leads to the following point:
If you want to grow your business on mobile devices, you need to be fast and flexible when it comes to app store optimization.
Applications with high crash rates and infrequent updates are considered low-quality applications and therefore have lower ratings (lower-ranking), and are subject to removal from app stores.
As more people develop mobile apps and games, Google and Apple have become more selective about which apps they allow to be published in their app stores.
Frequently updated apps that people use are often rewarded and appear higher in search results in app stores.
3-Key differences between the App Store and Google Play:
One of the main differences between the App Store and Google Play is the publishing aspect.
They both have gone through an app review process to ensure they have the highest quality apps in their stores.
However, Apple’s review process takes longer than Google’s.
And you should always keep in mind a period of no less than 3 days when you release a new application or update before it is approved.
Once approved, it will be published on the App Store and Google Play within 24 hours.
And while keywords are essential to ASO in both stores, they are evaluated differently.
The indexing process in Google Play works similarly to the process of indexing Google Search, and this means that Google considers all textual elements when indexing the keywords of your app.
You will also need to repeat the keywords 3 to 5 times in all fields to order them.
On the other hand, the Apple App Store provides a specific field for your keywords.
And in some cases, it gets it from your competitors and the category name.
In addition, unlike Google Play, here you should not repeat keywords across any fields of iOS apps.
The following are the ranking factors known to both stores:
Google Play and the Apple App Store use complex algorithms to sort search results.
Although exact information is not available, it is possible to understand factors that affect app store rankings.
Apple App Store rating factors:
- The name of the application.
- The URL of the application.
- Translate the application.
- Keyword field.
- In-app purchase.
- Rating and reviews.
- Downloads and Sharing.
- Some hidden factors
Google Play Store ranking factors:
- Application title.
- Short description.
- Long description.
- In-app purchase.
- Rating and reviews.
- Downloads and Sharing.
- Some hidden factors
How developers are improving the app stores?
Now that you have chosen where to publish your app, it’s time to get to work.
To start optimizing your mobile phone growth with ASO you have to follow these steps:
First: Developing a clear strategy for improving the App Store:
Do your research, and get to know your market, it is very important to understand your users in order to be able to use this information and statistics when creating your application information.
- What keywords do they use when searching for apps that are similar to yours?
- What language do they speak?
Once you have this information, you can move to the next step.
Second: Choose the correct name for your application:
Your app name is what the user sees first, which is why it is important to choose your app name carefully and wisely.
Make sure your app title is relevant to your app, unique and special, and easy to read.
If the title is catchy, people will remember it, which will give your app a higher highlight value.
And when choosing the correct name for your app, don’t forget to consider the number of characters.
(Currently, you have 50 characters available in the Google Play Store and 30 characters in the Apple App Store.)
In addition, keywords in the app name have the strongest rating weight.
And you can put it after the brand name.
Here is a checklist for the app name or title:
- Relevant to your app.
- Easy to read.
- Unique and distinctive.
- 50 characters on Google Play.
- 30 characters in the Apple App Store
Third: Learn how to do a keyword search for your mobile app:
The goal here is to create a set of keywords in which you want to find your app.
Remember, a keyword is a word or phrase that people use to search for apps on the Apple Store and Google Play Store.
When performing your keyword research, keep the following questions in mind:
- What are the main features of your app or game?
- What are the synonyms describing features?
- What are similar apps called?
- What is the category of your application (section)?
- What terms do people use most commonly in this section (category)?
Finding the right keywords is an ongoing process, so don’t overthink your keyword set from the start.
There are many app store optimization tools that can help you find your first set of keywords, and App Radar is one of the most comprehensive apps on the market:
- Provides an easy-to-use interface.
- You can track and analyze your keywords.
- You can get AI recommendations on how to improve your app store ranking.
How can artificial intelligence help with keyword research?
If researching potential keywords seems like a hard task, don’t give up or lose hope in optimizing the app store, and let the AI do the work for you.
AI-powered App Radar provides personalized keyword suggestions, which will help you save time for manual keyword searches for the App Store and focus on your growth further.
Fourth: Write a description of your application:
An app description is another essential part of your app’s metadata.
It provides users with information on the topic of your app and provides an overview of its main features.
The app description is not only helpful for the users, but it is also useful for the app store ranking algorithm.
It is especially important for Google Play, as the description is one of the main areas in which Google finds keywords for your app’s ranking.
This does not mean that you just have to put all of your keywords in the description and wait for the impressive results, but you must also combine your keywords in the sentences naturally, understandably, and consistently.
This way, your description is attractive to readers and relevant to the algorithm.
Apple will not index the keywords from your iOS app description, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore this metadata field.
You can use it as an opportunity to show more people the benefits and value of your app.
Ideally, your description should be informative, easy to understand, and clearly structured.
You can get creative and use bullet points and emojis, but always remember that description is limited to 4,000 characters in both stores.
Here is a checklist to describe your application:
- It should be rich in information.
- Easy to understand.
- Clearly organized (points, emojis).
- Includes keywords (especially with Google Play).
- Up to 4000 characters.
Fifth: Get the correct application code by taking A / B testing:
Now that you know the basic text elements that increase the visibility of your app, it’s time to consider the other factors: the visuals or the creative design assets.
The icon for your app is what attracts a lot of interest in the beginning, and it could be one of the main reasons people click on the search results.
Therefore, it is considered another important component of app store optimization.
When designing your own app icon, think about what your app is about, and how you can convey that visually (if your app or game is fun, your icon should reflect this).
Remember that (a little is like a lot), so avoid too many elements or text in the symbol.
Also, remember that A / B testing is a great way to test what really works for your target audience.
The idea behind this is to create more icon shapes and icons and see which gets the most clicks.
For example, it may be interesting to test the colors or characters that users prefer, and once you have this information you can modify the icon for your application according to it.
Here’s a checklist for the A / B app code test:
- Analysis and brainstorming.
- Create differences.
- Experience evaluation (easy user experience or not?).
- Evaluate the results.
- Implement changes.
- Initiate follow-up trials.
Sixth: Preparing application screenshots and video clips:
Once your users reach your app page, you have to convince them to download it.
Although screenshots and videos may not affect your app’s rating directly, they play a big role in improving your conversion rate (which is a factor in app store optimization).
Screenshots and videos of the app give you an opportunity to show the functionality of the app or mobile game, and you can use them to show the best parts of your app.
In fact, about 50% of people decide to download depending on the first impression.
Therefore, you have to pay double attention to how the visuals are designed.
And when it comes to screenshots, you can first choose between portrait and landscape layouts, which means you, can decide whether you want to take a portrait or landscape screenshot.
The orientation of the screenshots should always fit and follow how users use your app.
For example, many games are played in landscape format, so their screenshots are also horizontal.
Well-designed screenshots give users a preview of your app; leave them a convincing impression of their visual experience with it, and it may be an important factor for future marketing of your app through them.
Visual storytelling is used in-app videos as well, and it is called “app preview” in the app store, and “promotional videos” on the play store.
Here’s a checklist for your screenshots and videos:
- Explains what your app looks like.
- Highlighting the main application features.
- Tell a visual story.
- Suitable for design and size requirements.
Seventh: Applications and Translation List:
Now that you have prepared your list of apps and visuals, it’s time to take the next step.
Maybe you did it all in English thinking everyone was looking for apps in English, right?
Well, this is not entirely true.
If you want to take your app or game global, then you have to adapt it to be attractive to your target geographic market, and this particular practice is called “localization – translation”.
This doesn’t mean that you have to start from scratch, but rather you can use your existing metadata, keywords, or screenshots and translate them into other languages.
With the App Radar app store optimization tool, you can add and update localization or translation with just a few clicks.
What are the reasons for the importance of app localization (localization or translation)?
- Improved app store visibility and search visibility.
- Extending the reach of the application.
- It makes your app available for users searching in their native language.
- Presenting your app to a wider audience can increase downloads and revenues. (Users consider the app in their native language more trustworthy, and they are more likely to download it.)
Eighth: App Ratings and Reviews:
Feedback from users is an integral part of improving the app store.
And both stores take into account the comments and reviews left by users.
The better your rating, the more relevant the stores the higher it will rank.
Additionally, 80% of mobile device users read at least one review before downloading the app.
Therefore, it is also necessary to respond to comments, as potential users like to see developers who are interested in user comments and who take their requests into account.
And you can easily respond to, analyze, and manage Google Play and Apple Store reviews using App Radar.
How do you get app reviews?
Users tend to leave comments if they really like the app.
However, you can encourage them to do this within the app itself.
If you have a game, for example, the appropriate time to request a review will be after the user has scored a level.
But be careful, you may be penalized if you are annoying. On iOS, for example, you can request a review up to three times a year.
App Store Optimization Tips and Tricks
Know what your free keywords are:
There are some keywords that the app stores provide free and automatically, which means you don’t have to include them.
Not many people know that your app’s category name is one of them.
If your app is in the “Free Game” category, then you already have the “Free” and “Game” keywords.
So make sure to use that extra space for your other important keywords.
Find the right app and get it to the top:
Instead of using keywords with high search volume, try including keywords longer than one word (medium or long-tail keywords).
Because large search volume or popular keywords are difficult to categorize at first.
If you have a fitness app, for example, you can start by using “college student fitness” instead of just “fitness”.
And once you have a good rank for it, you start working your way to the top.
Track application performance:
Getting your app info ready is the first step, but how do you know it works?
Answer: It regularly tracks the performance of your apps.
Why is it important to track the performance of your mobile app?
Monitoring the analytics of your apps can help you get more downloads and more revenue.
This data can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your app.
It can also be a good base for improving your application’s ASO strategy.
Data analysis can be cumbersome and time-consuming, but fortunately, ASO Tools will help you with that.
Best app performance and app store optimization tools:
There are many ASO tools that can help you, some of them focus on a specific aspect of app store optimization like application performance or A / B testing,
While others integrate them and provide a workflow tool.
Let’s take a look at some of the essentials in the market:
It is an ASO tool for Android and iOS applications.
One of the main strengths of App Radar is that it supports you throughout the entire app store optimization process.
It is the first ASO workflow tool to cover all the steps needed to fundamentally grow your application business (from analysis, optimization, and deployment to monitoring and make revenue).
It is an AI-powered app, and its clean interface provides features that save you time and help you automate the app store optimization process.
By using it, you can (for example):
- Analyze and track your keywords.
- Monitor your competitors.
- Take action to improve your performance directly in the same tool.
App Radar is the ASO of choice for people who want to avoid the complexity of ASO and keep achieving great results.
It is a platform specialized in mobile referral (attribution) and marketing analytics.
It is the SDK (Software Development Kit) available for iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone applications.
Once installed, it provides comprehensive conversion data for your app, including retention and user acquisition campaigns.
Letting you know where your downloads are coming from and the most profitable sources for your app.
Based on this information, you can make the necessary decisions to improve your marketing strategy and optimize advertising costs.
Appsflyer is especially popular with people who focus on data and paid user acquisition.
It’s a tool focused on A / B testing and conversion optimization (the idea being to increase your app conversions by optimizing screenshots, icons, and other data).
It allows you to identify the elements that work for your target audience and make the necessary improvements.
A / B testing is another useful way to track how users interact with your application and increase installations.
SplitMetrics is popular with people who love to try to run tests regularly.
Manage your app in the most effective way:
Managing the application can be difficult, especially if you have more than one translation.
And it becomes more difficult if you have more than one app.
With App Radar, you can simplify the app store optimization process with one tool. Let us make it clear:
The first step is to analyze how well your app actually appears on the app stores. As mentioned earlier, many people actively search for apps in app stores, which is why it is important to know how people find your app.
A great way to do this is to look at the search terms people use in the App Store to make your app appear in the premium results, and check your keyword rankings.
Instead of manually searching for this information, you can do so by using the Keyword Tracking and Keyword Ranking features of App Radar.
Optimizing your app is a process that takes time and practice.
It usually includes endless spreadsheets, lots of numbers, and information.
And seeing this, there must be a smarter way to improve the App Store.
This is why App Radar has features to save you time and money.
Instead of guessing what to do next in your optimization process, you can simply follow our AI-powered optimization suggestions.
We’ve arranged all of the issues by color and effect, this way you’ll know exactly what to do next and where to start improving.
Publishing / Distribution:
When you’re done optimizing, it’s time to publish the app.
In order to have the best ideas on what works and what doesn’t, you should regularly make updates.
The best practice is to issue updates to your key information every two weeks.
And if your app is available on Google Play and Apple Store, you can expect that this task involves a lot of clicks and navigation.
But with App Radar, you can reduce preparation and publishing time to a minimum, and you can publish and distribute all your apps with one tool.
There are many ways to earn money with your app.
One option is to go to ads and paid user acquisition channels.
This includes app stores, social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any search engine like Google.
Another way is to offer a paid app, which means that users have to pay you for app installs.
You can also charge for special features and upgrades that count as in-app purchases.
With App Radar and ASO, you can save money on ads and get free downloads.
Here’s our App Store Optimization Checklist:
- ASO is a vital and a must-have part of your marketing strategy.
- Success at ASO isn’t just about finding the right keywords.
- ASO is a continuous process.
- More downloads lead to more visibility, more visibility leads to more downloads.
- App Store optimization tools like App Radar can help you in every step.