App Store Optimization Tips: Create an Effective ASO Plan
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 the user base, sales, reach broader or newer markets, and strengthen your brand.
App Store Optimization (ASO) is a key component of organic growth in App Stores. And ASO is one of the most important strategies to know. There are multiple techniques and tools to use, if you want to lift conversions, boost organic downloads, and reduce churn.
Mobtimizers already assists international apps and brands with ASO services and app store optimization best practices for both App Store and Google Play – and we are happy to get you started as well.
In 2018, 65% of all apps are found through organic searches in the App Stores. Your app will compete with more than 2 million other apps just in the Apple App Store alone. ASO has become the foundational step in the app marketing process. Once ASO has been implemented, all other marketing efforts gain a greater chance of ROI and success.
By now, apps and mobile have surpassed desktop in popularity – and today ASO has become a critical part of a successful, global brand presence.
14 tips 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 or a known brand. Keywords inserted in the title will often get visually cut off, due to sizing constraints, yet the extra keyword may help your app rank higher.
Subtitle (App Store)
The subtitle field is intended to summarize your app in a concise phrase, and allows you to convey your app’s essence and unique qualities in a few words.
It’s recommended to avoid generic sentences here and instead use the subtitle to highlight features or typical uses of your app that resonate with your target audience.
Short Description (Google Play)
Your Short Description in Google Play is, as the title indicates, a brief description of how your app can create value for visitors considering downloading your app. It’s reminds quite a bit of the Subtitle in App Store.
The essence of both your Subtitle and Short Description is to promote main features, communicate a clear Call To Action and last but not least do it as short and exact as possible. This means that it’s a fine opportunity to embed some of your most valuable keywords and thereby reach a better ranking in the app stores.
Promotional Text (App Store)
The promotional text is optional but nevertheless a valuable ASO technique. It is recommended to utilize this added space to create a unique statement about your app that will encourage users to download. The promotional text is a part of your landing page, and you have a limited number of characters available to communicate your main message – and it can be changed without a release.
Therefore, the promotional text is a great asset if you want to share the latest news about your app, such as timely marketing messages, limited-time events, and announcements of new content.
One of the most important aspects of a great ASO plan is getting your customers to quickly understand you are giving them what they need to succeed. Use short and clear sentences. There’s a difference in the usage and the techniques between Google Play and Apple Store, for example, Google Play doesn’t have a space specifically for keywords, as you do in Apple Store, so you may need to incorporate more keywords within the Android description.
Use all 5 (iOS) or 8 (Android) screenshots. Text overlays, describing your app’s value propositions, can further help with organic downloads. Answer the question: How does your app help your customers succeed? Certain apps may need infographics 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.
We’ve found Value Proposition Mapping Workshops to be an extremely helpful technique to clarify what value propositions to features on screenshots. Finding the “fit” between your audience and your offering is key to high conversion rates. Multivariate testing enables you to confirm that your value propositions are optimized.
Feature Graphic (Google Play)
On a landing page in Google Play, the first content your visitor is met by is your feature graphic. This can be an image as well as a video and it provides the visitor with information about your app and the visual expression in it. The importance of this image should not be underestimated. We’ve measured conversion increases as high as 18% when modifying imagery and copy on this graphic. It’s a good place start optimization if you are looking for a quick win.
Apple App Store is currently allowing feature images for top performing apps. Hopefully we’ll see a rollout of this feature for all apps in the App Store in 2018.
If your app falls into 2 or more categories, begin with mapping out 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 the techniques are therefore similar to the ones known from 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 list of keywords can be changed whenever the publisher feels like, and this is a golden opportunity to optimize towards a season such as Christmas, Halloween, New Years etc.
Some keywords are very difficult to rank as number 1 on organic search. We recommend that you use paid iOS search Ads and Google Adwords to acquire rankings on these keywords. Combine Search Ads with App Store Optimization for maximum effect. Target by users, location, device type, age groups, and time of day or retarget users that have deleted your app. Read more about iOS Search Ads here.
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, to help capture 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 Apple Store offer developers the ability to show highlights from the app within App Stores. A strong overall ASO tip is to keep things super simple, yet descriptive – as with your App Store Video.
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 for your storytelling purpose.
With iOS 11, Apple made it possible to localize videos – and opened up for the opportunity to have App Store Video Trailers shown as muted previews in the search result when browsing new apps.
Mobtimizers has produced several App Store Video trailers for a number of clients.
Following are the basic characteristics of a good developer name:
- It’s short and 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.
Experiment – Test, Test, Test
The truth is in the data. Multivariate testing is a key component in App Store Optimization, and for any successful marketing campaign. It provides clear insight in how minor changes affect your App Store conversion rate. By ensuring ongoing implementation of experiments, one client increased conversion rates by 39%. Experiments can be done in Google Play on copy, graphics, and video, or you can test your App Store Page with external A/B testing software.
As a part of the ASO implementation plan, it is important to localize an app into multiple languages. Step one is ensuring that you use a 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 have 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.
If you are managing a large portfolio of apps, it is recommended to begin your ASO efforts with a thorough analysis to pinpoint key focus markets. Mobtimizers initiated a pilot project for BESTSELLER using this method. Certain markets will yield a higher ROI than others, so during the early parts of the project, focus on markets with the best revenue streams. Instead of optimizing all brands and all markets, we focused our efforts for high ROI.
ASO is about attention to detail, communicating the brand benefits, brand culture, target groups, and app content, in very few characters. Mobtimizers has completed a large number of ASO projects over the last several years and has vast experience with optimization of all types of apps.
Frequently Asked Questions about ASO tips
See all 14 tips for an effective ASO plan in the article.
Include benefits and keep your promotional text in app store short – (up to 170 characters)