What is App Store Optimization? Ultimate Guide to ASO in 2021

What is App Store Optimization? Ultimate Guide to ASO in 2021

This blog analyzes its importance and trends of ‘ App Store Optimization’ as one of the most evolving marketing tools to increase overall app viewership.

Updated on :
November 26th, 2020
Twinkle Kalkandha
Twinkle Kalkandha
Product Strategist

All intended viewers who wish to download or learn about your app, will land on your app store page. Even the ones who visit your website are directed towards your app store page, through its content.

As per current market trends, ‘The average conversion rate for landing pages is 9.7%. In fact, the companies that have increased their number of landing pages from 10 to 15, have witnessed a 55% increase in leads’

So, your app, its content as well as its app store page needs to be an effective marketing agent for your mobile app idea to transform into a success. App store Optimization steps help you achieve that effectively.

What is ‘App Store Optimization’

All the mobile apps need to be launched through application stores. There are basically two important application market platforms right now reigning the app market, i.e. the Android Play Store and the apple’s app store. Optimizing the content and landing pages of these platforms, to make them more marketable; is known as App Store Optimization or ASO. It is one of the most prominent and effective app marketing tools, used by marketers all over the world.

app store optimization

The app store landing page consists of all kinds of app information, which includes content, app description, app screenshots, user reviews, etc. They together help a user viewing this page to decide on downloading or not downloading an app.

P.S: Kindly, herein do not mix up the term ASO with ‘app optimisation’, which technically stands for optimizing battery usage by different applications on a smartphone.

Why App Store Optimization is Important?

As against common belief, app store optimization is not just making an app searchable. It also includes making them seem downloadable . So, ASO app store’s functionality is basically a combination of Search Engine Optimizations (SEO) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

why app store optimization is important

When an organisation plans on App Store Optimization, they are strategically trying to:

  • Bring in organic and actual end-user to download the app,
  • Bring in actual sales with app downloads and increasing overall page traffic with app marketing insights,
  • Make their apps visible over and above overwhelming competition,
  • Decrease overall User Acquisition Costs.

In simple words, benefits of App Store Optimization includes making an app visible for the netizens (both on the web and in the mobile world) as well as the most appropriate marketing tool for apps to rank higher in app store listings.

What is App Optimization in Terms of Inclusions and their Effects?

App Store Optimization or ASO is a marketing strategy for apps that enables them to insert specific content that can help an app to climb app store rankings. They include:

  • URL or data package name
  • Developer name
  • App Name / Title
  • App description
  • Short description,
  • App subtitle,
  • Promo text
  • Keywords field for Apple app store,
  • App Category,
  • User Ratings,
  • User Reviews
  • Icon,
  • Uninstall Rate,
  • Backlinks
  • Screenshots,
  • Download Stats, and
  • App promotion video.

app store optimization

These can be divided into On-Metadata factors and Off-Metadata Factors. Let us analyze them further:

On-Metadata Factors:

These are the content inclusions of an app that can be easily modified by an app owner or an app developer using the App Store Connect(for iOS) and Google Play Console (for Google Play Store). From the above given inclusions of app store optimization checklist, on-metadata factors include URL, Developer name, App Name / Title, description, short description, subtitle, promo text and keywords field (only Apple), category, icon, screenshots and video. They can be optimized and posted by app developers and are thus completely in app owner’s control.

app store optimization guide

Off-Metadata Factors:

Some factors are not under the control of the app developers or the app owner and thus, cannot be changed time and again for ASO. These are the off-metadata factors, which are generally based on app performance and user feedback. Volume and speed of app installs,user ratings, reviews, etc. fall under this app ASO umbrella.

ASO App Features That Actually Count.

Your app is nothing, until and unless it can be easily found amongst the app stores. With the mayhem of thousands of new apps launching across these stores, every other day; standing out and tall is important for success.

what is aso

App Store Optimization or ASO marketing includes various factors that can help an app get viewed and downloaded at a faster pace. These include:

1. Keywords:

Finding and inserting keywords is the most important and crucial aspect of App Store Optimization. Finding relevant and high ranking keywords as well as well placing them in the content (stated above), enables easy searchability for the apps.

To find the best keywords for your app:

  • Research: The best way is to brainstorm within your team and come up with keywords that you think the user would search for in the app stores. You could also look for the same in your competitor’s app and suggestions given by app stores themselves.
  • Zero in on the most effective ones: Since, now you have a list of keywords and limited space to insert them; select those keywords which you think will get maximum traffic. You need to find the exact keywords or keyword combinations that tend to bring in the installs.
  • Inserting the keywords: The shortlisted keyword now needs to be well placed within the overall app content for maximum ASO marketing effectiveness.
  • Look for optimizing the app further: There is never a dearth of keywords or the prospects of your app to grow. So, keep looking for keywords, whose inclusion can bring difference to your app rankings.

Herein, you also need to understand the difference how Google Play Store and Apple Store algorithms react to these researched keywords.

app store optimization

Keywords are an important Aso marketing factor for both the stores, but the difference lies in the methodology how these 2 platforms read, analyze and rank these keywords.
Remember, that if you are developing an app for Google’s play store; its search algorithm will take into account all its written content. This includes the app title (50 characters), short (80 characters) and full descriptions of your app (4000 characters), URL, developer’s name and developer’s history as well.

P.S: In your app’s full description, use your target keywords a few times, especially on the top and bottom lines. You should also try and use it once in the App Title or Short Description.

On the Other hand, Apple stores provide a special field to insert keywords for an app. It is also not advisable to repeat keywords in the title and in the keywords, as the allowed character length is very limited (1000 characters). In fact, for Apple store app developments to include long-tail keywords, use the separate words in the keyword field to save valuable space and to keep the option to combine keywords.

2. App Name Is Very Important:

In the app store, your app name or app title is just not for branding. You should be trying to include primary keywords in app titles to score maximum weightage in terms of mobile app optimization. It should clearly specify for the user, what exactly the app functions for.

app store optimization

In fact, the app names with keywords are known to rank 10% higher than the normal app names. Thus, when you intend to create and post your app on the app store’s, choose the app name carefully and insert keywords.

P.S: Remember, that the app titles are typically, clearly shown up to the 23rd character in the Apple app store and up to the 30th character in the Google play store. In a user’s smartphone search menu, this limit is further decreased to 11(Apple Store) and 14 characters (Google Play store). The rest gets truncated. So, try and keep your app name within these limits.

Description: As one of the most effective app store optimization tools, ensure that your app description is as effective for the user as possible. Remember, it is this description that shall enable them to download or not download your app. Your app description should thus, be customer centric and not search-centric. Google Play store gives you the option of 4000 characters and the apple store of 1000 characters. For Google play store, you could place keywords (optimally 5 times in all) throughout the content.

P.S: Ensure that your app description does not seem like a keyword jargon space. Insert keywords, wherever necessary and that too strategically at that.

‘Icon’ also makes a difference: Your app icon will help your intended viewers to connect back with your brand name and image. This is necessary within the current market space, wherein every app has to compete with millions of other apps for survival and growth. Apple Store Optimization guidelines require an app icon to have 1024X1024 pixel dimensions, which can further be truncated for app icon, navigation icon and toolbar icon effectively. On the other hand, the Google play store requires an app icon to initially have 512X512 pixel dimensions, with its recommended ‘material design guidelines’ .

P.S: Ensure that your app icon does not lose its look and feel when truncated. So, make it simple and clear.

App Usage images and Video: As stated earlier there are various off-metadata factors of an app that power app downloads and installs. App screenshots and videos rate high amongst these factors. Though, they do not directly affect searches; they enable users to land on the app page and then download them. These downloads feature amongst one of the top priorities for both app platforms to rank apps. Thus, app screenshots and videos indirectly, play an important role in user acquisition and app listing on the app stores.

P.S: Remember that the apple store allows upto 5 screenshots and the google play store allows upto 8 screenshots only. Also, only the first 2–3 screenshots will show in the gallery on the app landing page. Take special care in ensuring that these screenshots speak to your intended customers in an effective manner.

App Ratings and Reviews: It is a fact that most of the netizens and viewers now look for user ratings and reviews before they opt to buy anything on the net these days. The same applies for mobile apps and its downloads. You have to look for positive reviews to encourage further downloads for your app. All app reports have proven that time and again.

P.S: There will be very few users who would take out time to review your app, and especially give positive feedback. Herein, you can insert intelligent rating prompts within your app that shall help boost your rating by timely prompting only those customers most likely to give you a 5-star review.

ASO Tips and Tricks that we further think can help you drive app downloads

When you take care of the above stated features, you are certain to add value to your app ASO. You, can further help your app to rank better by:

  1. Try and localize the search ability of your app, by creating various language specific landing pages for audiences from various countries. Both the app stores support this functionality. It will enable more user engageability for the viewers and drive page traffic, downloads and thus, ranking and sales.
  2. Support your ASO with external marketing as well. Ensure that you share your app screenshots and videos on various platforms to attract users. Social Media platforms could act as an effective marketing option in this sense.
  3. Update your app, as and when required; both in terms of keywords as well as user-centric content. Regularly updated apps feature higher on both app stores.
  4. Always keep track of your app performance through the app tools and if possible, of your competitors too. It shall help you track the effectiveness of changes made and further changes required.
  5. Research as much about the ‘keywords’ as possible. Long-tail keywords have less volume of traffic and less competition, so you should try to target as many different combinations of long-tail keywords as possible. It will also help you maximize your visibility in searches.
  6. Opt for A/B testing of your app’s outlook. A/B testing allows the user to create 2 different listing outlooks for the same app which are touted against each other. Half of the page traffic is diverted towards one version and another half to the other. The better performing one is then kept in the store. Google Playstore inculcates its own A/B testing toolkit.
  7. Use Youtube video links to insert videos and do not use age-restricted videos for the same.

Reap Benefits of App Store Optimization as an Effective App Marketing and Growth Tool.

App Optimisation as per the above stated app store optimization guidelines will help your mobile app not only to look better on the app store, but also have more downloads organically and loyal customers, which are paramount for any and all app’s success. With frequent tracking, updating and maintenance of your app you can easily make them work for you.

Though it requires additional work, effective ASO strategies shall definitely help your mobile app to soar towards its success skies.Do not let its immense scope go waste.

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