For anyone who has heard of SEO, the idea of App Store Optimization (ASO) is not a foreign concept. With SEO, the basic idea is to ensure better ranking by the search engines, but for apps this is specifically related to App Store search engines. The ultimate goal of an ASO plan is to grow sales, reach a broader or newer markets, and/or strengthen your brand.
App Store Optimization (ASO) is a key component of organic growth in App Stores. And ASO is the most important tool to know – and use – if you want to lift conversions, strengthen your brand and boost organic downloads.
Today, 65% of all apps are found through organic searches in the App Stores. So your app competes with more than 2 million apps just in Apple App Store. Thus, ASO becomes necessary if you want your app to be able to compete – and catch the eye of potential users.
By now, apps and mobil have surpassed desktop in popularity – and today ASO has become a business critical part of a successful, global brand presence.
8 steps for an effective ASO plan
The most important decision to make regarding app title is whether or not to include keywords. Some major brands might decide not to include keywords in the title for a cleaner look. This approach works well for companies with sizable marketing budgets. Keywords inserted in the title will often get visually cut off in the App Store, due to sizing constraints, yet the extra keyword may help your app rank higher.
One of the most important aspects of a great ASO plan is getting your customers to understand you are giving them what they need to succeed. Use short clear sentences. Be specific with details and exact numbers to support your message and credibility. End with a call to action.
Use all 5 (IOS) or 8 (Android) screenshots. Create descriptive text overlays that explain exactly why your app will help your audience. Answer the question: How does your app help your customers succeed? Certain apps may need info-graphics to better describe “how-to-use” functions. Some apps may also benefit from an App Store Video trailer to show the features of the app better.
If your app falls into 2 or more categories, begin with mapping out a picture of your app’s competition. Consider placing your app in a less competitive category. This type of analysis might also give you great insights on how to improve your app in future revisions, to create a competitive advantage, and enable your app to compete better in the marketplace.
Google Play ranking relies on keywords placed in the description and title, and is therefore similar to traditional SEO. The Apple App Store has limited characters available for keywords. A thorough competitor analysis – tracking the competition’s keyword rankings and finding keyword alternatives – are important components of strong keyword ranking. This discipline requires constant monitoring and revision.
The 5 characteristics of a good developer name are: Make it short & sticky. Plan ahead – if your vision is to develop many apps, make the name broad enough to encompass future app releases. Make it a meme – ensure that your company name is an instant transmission of an idea or concept, a good example is Lean Cuisine. Lastly, feel free to invent a new word, this will enhance memorability of your name.
The key to optimal icon development is A/B testing. And when you’ve found a winner, make more iterations and test it again. Just like your publisher name – great icons are often memes, instant transmissions of ideas or concepts, capturing your app in a nutshell. Users may pass on your app if your icon does not transmit quickly what your app is about. Lean Cuisine’s App: Delicious Rewards captures that concept well.
Both Google Play and the App Store offer developers the ability to show highlights from the app within App Stores. Keep things super simple, yet descriptive.
Just as you would in a presentation, begin your video explaining what the content will be, then show the content, and finally summarize and reiterate the message. From a technical perspective choose a direction that fits your message – animation might work better than actual live-recording usage of the app just as voiceover or overlay text might work differently from your storytelling perspective.
As a part of the ASO plan, it’s important to localize an app into multiple languages. Step one is ensuring that you use professional translation service. Step two is deciding on which countries to target for your localization. If your app is a game that can be played in any country in the world, you can and should plan to localize your copy for all the possible languages available in the App Store. We’ve found that the ROI on investing in localization is substantial – often app developers have break-even within just 20-30 days.
Everything that can be localized should be localized right? It depends. If you run a global brand that already has a good footing in local markets there is no need to translate the name of your app. But, certain global brands do make localized versions of apps, where the app name will benefit from being translated. An example would be Arla Kitchen (Arla Köket in Swedish) which is localized to insinuate that the content (the recipes available in the app) is a selection of recipes curated for Sweden. Screenshots and overlays with copy should be translated and custom screenshots implemented for each market.
ASO is about attention to detail, about communicating the brand benefits, culture, target groups and app content in very few characters. Mobtimizers has completed a large number of ASO projects and have vast experience with optimization of all types of apps. Contact us to learn more.