How to Achieve Successful App Store Optimization

With the leading major app stores housing more than 6 million mobile apps and counting, app store optimization (ASO) is becoming more important than ever. Just as brands use search engine optimization (SEO) to improve their website page rankings on Google, app marketers aim to do the same with ASO to rank within major app stores, such as Apple’s iOS App Store and Google Play. Whether you’re new to the mobile app space or looking to improve your app’s ranking among competitors, Perform[cb]’s formulated a list of the techniques app developers and marketers need to take advantage of when diving into ASO.

What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?

App store optimization is the process of optimizing mobile apps to organically rank higher in an app store’s search results, thus driving more traffic to the app’s page and increasing downloads. The advantages of ASO include improving your app’s ranking, scaling consumer reach and driving traffic to your app, increasing installs, and much more.

Top 7 App Store Optimization Strategies:

To successfully implement ASO, it’s important to be aware of the top strategies to integrate into your mobile campaigns to achieve desired results. Check out our top seven ASO strategies below:

1. Keyword Strategy & Placement

Keywords are one of the most important aspects of an ASO strategy as these terms define how your audience can discover your app among the app store’s search results. When developing an ASO strategy, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your target audience. To uncover top-performing keywords that will align with your audience, research must be conducted to uncover what your target audience is searching for. Once a list of target keywords has been determined, additional research may be required to learn about monthly search volume, ranking difficulty, and competition for the desired terms.

Once you’ve assembled your list of target keywords, it’s crucial to then place them throughout the title, subtitle, and description within your app store listings for maximum reach. An app store listing’s title should always include the brand name with a few specific, relevant keywords.

Pro Tip:

If you’re just starting out and are unsure of which keywords would drive the most traffic, run some A/B tests to learn what your target audience is searching for.

Learn more about how Perform[cb] helped a well-known gaming app rank #1 in the app store using a keyword campaign.

2. App Store Description

Although an app’s title influences a user’s first impression, it is just as important to ensure keywords are included in the app’s listing description. Mobile marketers should be creating keyword-rich descriptions with a focus on the app’s most relevant keywords. However, it’s worth noting that more keywords doesn’t necessarily correlate with a higher ranking; an app’s listing description should be written for consumers, not search engines, meaning the text should read as though it were written by humans for humans, rather than written to appease an algorithm. The term “keyword stuffing” refers to stuffing an app’s description with keywords to the point where the description doesn’t make sense.

Pro Tip:

Keyword stuffing will negatively impact your app’s ranking, so it’s important to focus on relevant content that employs keywords in a logical way.

App store listings act as your app’s landing page, so it’s imperative to include information such as an app’s key features and how they benefit the user. With only 30 characters for iOS listings and 80 characters within the Google Play store, grabbing a user’s attention can be challenging. It only takes 0.05 seconds for a user to form an opinion that will determine if they stay or search elsewhere, making app descriptions an essential piece of any marketer’s ASO strategy.

3. App Store Listing Optimization

While a keyword-rich title and description are the building blocks to ASO success, app listings should also be visually appealing. With 50% of users basing their download decisions on a first impression, aesthetics play a major role within the mobile optimization process. A solid first impression can increase conversions by 35%. By designing an app icon that clearly represents the app, mobile marketers will have an even better chance of ranking higher within app store search results. Marketers should plan to test multiple design iterations to determine which visuals users respond best to. 

As an increasing number of users interact with a listing and click to learn more, marketers will be able to understand which design resonates with their target audience. As video continues to become an increasingly preferred aspect of the user experience, mobile marketers have begun to implement app demos or previews within their app store listings. Users who watch app previews are 3x more likely to install, as they’re looking for a visual story that highlights your app’s main features and benefits. App preview videos work as a visual storytelling tool and should act as an extension of an app’s branding.

Along with app video, high-quality in-app screenshots should be included to provide a preview of the app’s user experience. By demonstrating the app’s functionality, marketers can showcase the app’s best features and illustrate how users would be able to interact with the app if they were to download it. These visuals are especially useful for ASO as they help to convert indecisive users, and have been said to be the second most influential factor when it comes to convincing users to convert and install. 

Pro Tip:

While screenshots and video won’t directly impact your app ranking, they play a key role in increasing conversion rates.

4. Pay Attention to the Competition

When creating an ASO strategy, looking at what the competition is doing is imperative. What are they doing right? Which keywords are the apps in your category using? These are questions that in turn can help improve mobile marketers’ ASO, especially if the app’s category is very competitive. By taking the time to analyze top-performing competitors’ titles and descriptions, marketers can determine the best keywords to target.

5. App Store Categories

Listing your app within the most relevant category on both app stores will help improve your ranking, as well as increase reach for users who are browsing apps by category rather than search. Many factors go into where to categorize your app, such as how competitive the category is or if this category is where your desired users will be. Some questions to consider when selecting your app store category are, is your app in the correct category? Can your app fit into multiple categories? What keywords are users searching for in this category? Figuring out which category suits your app best will further help increase your app’s ranking.

6. Reviews and Ratings

App reviews and ratings are some of the most effective ways to attract and convert users. 79% of users will check ratings and reviews before they install an app, while 55% of users check the app’s ratings and reviews before making an in-app transaction. These reviews and ratings go hand-in-hand with influencing ASO and the leading app store ranking algorithms.

There are many ways for mobile marketers to increase and improve their apps reviews and ratings. Encourage users to leave a rating or review by using push notifications or in-app notifications. Additionally, offering an incentive for users can further encourage them to leave a positive review. Send these review reminders to users who open the app frequently, as they’re more likely to enjoy the app and submit positive feedback.

Pro Tip:

Users appreciate when apps provide responsive and useful customer service, so be sure to reply to both positive and negative reviews.

This personal touch will further improve your app store rankings, as well as help to make your app more appealing to new users. 

7. Analyze Analytics

Similar to Google Analytics for SEO improvements, there are a number of different ways to use app store analytics to improve your ASO strategy. By learning where your app stands in relation to the competition, you can narrow down what optimizations need to be updated in order to improve ranking. With over 218 billion mobile apps downloaded in 2020, competition is only going to increase. It’s important to consistently monitor and evaluate your app’s data to ensure your brand is at the forefront of new consumer trends and app store requirements.

One of the ways mobile app marketers are strategizing to beat out the competition is through working with a mobile performance network, such as Perform[cb]. Mobile marketers can improve their ASO while also only paying for desired results. For example, when utilizing cost-per-acquisition (CPA) pricing models with a trusted performance network, marketers will achieve guaranteed app downloads or installs through CPI campaigns. Check out our case study to learn how Perform[cb] Network drove a 75% increase in new user acquisition for a popular insurance app, while also driving them to rank #1 in Apple’s iOS App Store in the car insurance category.

Optimize your app with us!

Are you ready to improve ASO and connect your app with the right users? Apply to be a Perform[cb] marketer or reach out to our team of digital marketing experts now to get started!