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There are more than 2.5 million apps on the Google Play Store. That’s a big crowd to try and wade through. How is a potential customer expected to find you?
App Store Optimization (ASO) can help your app stand out, but It's not just about being seen. You must be enticing enough that users can't resist clicking that download button.
Let’s dig into some sneaky ASO techniques to become that shining star at the top of search results.
What Is App Store Optimization (ASO)?
App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of improving the visibility of a mobile app in an app store. Just like search engine optimization (SEO) is for websites, ASO is for mobile apps. This involves optimizing your app’s title, keywords, screenshots, and reviews to boost its visibility in search results.
The more visible an app is, the more potential it has to get downloaded by users. This is great for both self-funding app developers and business owners who want to gain more users or customers from their app.
How Different Platforms Define ASO
ASO techniques can differ significantly between platforms, as the algorithms used by the Apple App Store and Google Play Store to rank and display apps differ.
Here's a quick summary:
Apple App Store
In the Apple App Store, the app title, subtitle, and keyword field are the top priorities for ASO. The title carries the most weight in the Apple search algorithm, which determines where and when your app appears in search results.
App creators are given up to 30 characters for their app title, making choosing concise yet descriptive keywords imperative. The subtitle field acts as a secondary title and provides an extra opportunity to include more descriptive detail and relevant keywords.
Aside from these, Apple also provides a private keyword field where you can include a comma-separated list of relevant keywords.
This provides the algorithm with additional context relating to your app's function or audience but is not visible to app store visitors, ensuring a neat and tidy presentation. The limit for this field is 100 characters.
User ratings and reviews also take a primary role as the App Store uses these user responses to determine your app's quality and relevance to specific keywords.
Here, the title, short description, and long description play a significant role in the ASO. Google uses these fields to extract relevant keywords for the search algorithm.
Google Play Store allows you to be more flexible with keywords than Apple since it doesn't have a specific keyword field. The app’s ratings, reviews, and usage metrics also affect its ranking.
It's important to remember that ASO isn't just about visibility. Conversion rate matters just as much (if not more). Even if your app is visible in search results, users might not consider downloading it if it's not attractive or compelling enough.
This means focusing on the app's description, screenshots, icon design, reviews, and ratings is essential.
ASO Techniques To Turn Some Heads
Put on your Sunday best, and let's hit the town. Here are six ASO techniques that will make your app irresistible:
No one wants to follow a treasure map just to get an app. Discoverability is about making your app appear when users search for specific terms on the App Store.
Choose a category that accurately represents your app. Both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store organize apps into categories and subcategories.
This allows potential users to browse apps by task or interest. It also makes it easier for those looking for specific types of apps. This categorization helps the store's search algorithm identify your app based on the user’s search query.
The name of your app is one of the first impressions you make on potential users. Select a unique, simple, descriptive name that conveys what the app does. Also, consider incorporating one or two keywords into the name. This can improve discoverability when users search using those terms.
In-app purchases support monetization and play a significant role in discoverability. Each purchase item has an individual name indexed by the App Store. Therefore, including relevant keywords can enhance your visibility.
Keywords are words and phrases that potential users would use to find apps similar to yours. Effective keyword optimization can lead to better visibility and higher rankings in search results.
Use keyword research tools to find your app's most popular and relevant keywords. These tools also show keyword competition, which can help select less-competitive keywords to rank higher.
Optimizing keywords isn't a one-and-done task. Regularly update your keywords to reflect current search trends and review your app's ranking for these keywords. Adjust keywords that aren't performing well.
Spy on successful competitors to see what keywords they're using. Use this as inspiration, but do not copy them verbatim.
3. Titles & Descriptions
An appealing title and a compelling description can strongly influence a user's decision to download your app.
Incorporate the most relevant keyword into your title. Remember, it needs to be catchy, useful, and descriptive, giving users a good idea about your app.
Your app's description should be informative, containing important features and benefits. Use clear and concise language that sells your app's value to the user. Include social proof, if available.
Update your app regularly and provide clear, detailed notes about what's new. Regular updates signify ongoing support. Users are more likely to download an app that isn't abandoned.
Visuals can impact the user's perception and decision to download an app. They should accurately represent your app's features and user experience.
Your icon should be distinctive and instantly give users an idea of what the app does. Test different versions of your app icon and see which one gets the most downloads.
Screenshots are powerful visual tools to showcase your app's interface and functionality. Make sure they are clear, engaging, and highlight the best features. You can add short captions to screenshots to provide context.
They better accurately represent the user experience, though, or you’re at risk of negative reviews.
Videos can greatly increase conversions as they demonstrate your app's key features and USP. Ensure your videos are well-produced, focusing on your app's benefits and solutions.
Localization enhances your app's relevance to a particular geographical or cultural region, increasing its potential audience.
Make your app available in different languages based on your target market. This is a great way to increase usability for non-English speakers and widen your app's reach and adoption.
App Store Localization
Customize app titles, descriptions, and keywords to cater to specific locations. Recognizing cultural nuances in language can make a huge impact on download numbers.
Local Reviews and Ratings
Publicize positive reviews and high ratings from each targeted region. This will encourage other users from that region to trust and download your app.
6. Reviews & Ratings
These are indicative of how users perceive your app. If managed properly, they can significantly influence a potential user’s decision to download and use your app.
Encourage users to leave reviews and rate your app. Perhaps offer them some incentives. But make sure not to interrupt their app usage while asking for it.
Whether positive or negative, make sure you respond. This shows users you care about their experience and improves your reputation.
Leverage Negative Reviews
Every app will receive some negative reviews. View these not as a setback but as constructive feedback. Address these issues promptly and let reviewers know.
This can often lead to them altering their review or even becoming a great referral resource, spreading word-of-mouth marketing in your favor.
Benefits Of ASO Techniques
Still wondering why you should spend time on ASO? Let's look at some significant benefits that might not be immediately obvious.
- Cost-Effective User Acquisition: ASO is a relatively low-cost way to acquire more users organically, reducing your need for expensive ad campaigns.
- Better User Understanding: Through ASO, you learn about the keywords your audience uses, helping you understand their needs better and improving your app to suit them.
- Higher Revenue: More visibility and downloads lead to a larger user base, increasing your opportunity to monetize the app, whether through in-app purchases, ads, subscriptions, or paid downloads.
- Sustainability: ASO is a long-term strategy. The actions you take to optimize your app today will continue to affect your app's performance in the future, creating sustainable user growth.
Overall, ASO is a powerful tool in your app marketing arsenal and can help drive its ongoing success.
Increased visibility, higher downloads, broader audience reach, and improved user engagement are all within reach when you effectively employ ASO techniques.
Remember, the optimization process is iterative and ongoing—always monitor your metrics, make data-driven decisions, and constantly refine your approach.
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