App Store Optimization Factors
There are over 2 million mobile app in each of the popular app store like Apple App Store and Google Play etc. and this number is increasing every passing day. Users come to app stores to search for the app for the product or service they are looking for. It is really important that your app ranks high in the app store so that it can be easily found by the users. App Store Optimization (ASO) is the technique which is used to for achieving higher rank in the app store.
ASO is a great tool to promote your app and increase your user base. The basic purpose of ASO is to increase traffic to your app and motivate the viewers to take specific action like downloading the app, purchasing products etc. Since the most popular method of discovering an app is through app store search, it is really worthwhile to put time, money and effort on ASO so that your app can appear to your target customers. As an app publisher you would derive immense benefit from ASO to promote and market your app.
Critical factors of ASO
Keyword: For the success of ASO, it is crucial and important to know your target audience. It is also important to know what search terms they would use to search for the kind of product or service your business offers. These search terms become important keywords for ASO and you must ensure that your app ranks well for these high search volume keywords. Finding the right set of keywords to optimize your app for those keywords is the first and most essential step of ASO. There are few criteria like high search volume, low competition, high relevancy etc. for deciding on your keywords. There are some great keyword tools (for example, Keyword Tool for finding lots of keywords for app store optimization) that you may use to analyze the relevant data for all these parameters and then choose. Some other useful tools for ASO are Appstatics, SearchMan, Appnique, Sensor Tower, Straply, AppCod.es, Mopapp, MobiledevHQ, MetricsCat, AppFigures, Distimo, App Annie etc. Search track, for example, lets you search track your iOS and Android apps regularly. With Appnique you can identify and track your competitors’ performance. AppCod.es, on the other hand, helps you in validating a future app idea with some remarkable keyword tool that you can use in listing the keywords by popularity.
App Title: It is a good practice to include keyword in your app title. You should spend time to find out highest search volume keyword and ensure that it is used in the title tag. This will give higher ranking for your app.
App Description: You can include some phrases like ‘new games’, ‘best restaurant’ etc. as keywords while writing the description of your app.
Localization: Use localized keywords to achieve better ranking. It is a relatively simple process of translating your app name and keywords to different languages. This is quite easy to implement while it gives immense benefit for higher ranking.
Downloads: Though this is not under direct control of the publishers, it is a great way to improve ranking. More the number of downloads more the chances of ranking higher. It is more of interconnected facts. As downloads increase, the rank of your app also increases, which means searchers find the app more easily and more downloads take place.
Ratings: This is another factor which is also not controlled by the publishers but it influences app ranking significantly. You may ask your users to review and rate your app. Positive reviews help to rank better and also pushes negative reviews down the list. You can also use tools to automate this process. Satisfied users put higher rating for the app and negative reviews can be avoided by seeking feedback for improvement.
Icons: This is the first visual representation of your app to your target audience. When your potential customers are scrolling through many similar apps before choosing one, the icon is the only object that gets viewed by them. Make sure that the icon or the graphic stands out from the rest and entices them to click and download. To decide which graphics works best, you may try an A/B testing in Facebook or Adwords to see the design that gets higher click through rate. There are also tools available where you can run A/B testing and compare the result with the industry standard giving you input for improvement. Based on the result, you may choose the image, color of the icons etc.
Category: You should choose the appropriate category for submitting your app in the app store. The category may be selected on the basis of your business vertical, interest of the users etc. This improves the discoverability of your app.
So far we have discussed the in-store optimization for your app. Now let’s take a look at some of the steps that will help to promote your app.
Website Optimization: It is a usual practice to search for an app through search engines and it is important that your website ranks higher for app-related keywords. Optimizing your website for search engines for these set of keywords will help your website rank higher in the search engine and will drive traffic to your app.
Call-to Action: You website should have links to your app. This is an opportunity to convert your regular website visitor to app users. If your app generates revenue for your business, a visible call-to-action button like ‘Download now’ will help in more conversion. You may also include a feature in your website where the users may leave their phone number to which the link will be sent for downloading the app on their phone.
Mobile Site: As per the recent update by Google, for better SEO ranking it is important to have a mobile responsive website. Mobile website is a great place to promote your app as the user is already connected to mobile and can easily navigate to mobile app page and download.
Blogs: It is a good idea to develop blogs on the selected keywords. The blog page may appear in the search result. You should also provide links to your app page in your blog.
Paid Advertising: You may run a paid campaign to promote your app in different digital platforms where your target audience visits frequently.
However, there are few important points to note here. These are
Be persistent: ASO may not require significant amount of money, it requires quite a good amount of continual effort. The result of ASO will take some time to show result, just like SEO. You need to be persistent and consistent in your approach. You should plan your activity for couple of months and execute as per plan.
Be flexible: There is no single solution for app marketing. You should be flexible enough to tweak your strategy based on the result you receive as you move along. The result should provide you insight what is working and what’s not. You should do more of what is working for you and improve what is not giving desired result.
Develop all together: You should have an app marketing plan right at the developmental stage as it is as important as developing the app. If you already have an existing app then you don’t have much choice left now, but if you are planning to launch a new app, you should consider to do ASO before releasing and submitting the app to app store. This will definitely help your app to perform better and will be able to achieve higher ranking faster.
Be patient: Since ASO is a long-term strategy you need to keep patience to see the result. Also, it is an ongoing activity as your competitors may also be carrying out ASO for their apps. So, if you stop activities there is a chance that they may go up in ranking in the app store and your app ranking will come down. So, it is as important to maintain higher ranking as it is to achieve.
Though thousands of businesses have launched app for their businesses and invested quite a good sum in developing the app but marketing the app is still not being given enough importance. It is interesting to note that ASO may be used as secret weapon as not many of your competitors may be doing it. So it will be fairly less competitive for you to promote your app using ASO and success may not be far.