App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of optimizing mobile apps to achieve higher rankings in app stores. The main tasks of ASO are a combination of getting more people to discover your app, and to turn visitors into installs and customers. Do you want to increase the number of downloads for your app? Then read these 10 ASO tips written by Marcus Kay.
1. App name - format and length
Keep the app name short and obvious. You can do this by adding a short brand name to a few highly descriptive keywords. These are usually connected by a dash or a comma. Below you will see a few examples of a good app name.
The implementation of keywords within the title is extremely important; according to Tune, the use of the right keywords can improve an app’s ranking by 10.3 percent. When using an app store search function, the app name is also scanned for keywords. Remember to only use url-friendly characters in the title and to avoid the use of special characters within the app name, such as trademark or copyright symbols.
In iOS 11, Apple limits the app name to a maximum of 30 characters. Make correct, careful use of them. Google Play limits app names to a maximum of 50 characters. If you have both an iOS and Google Play version of your app you should always use the same brand name. Keywords are best applied to the remaining space offered by Google Play. Tip: use 23 characters or less for optimal presentation on each device.
2. App subtitle
Since the introduction of iOS 11, the app subtitle has been made available in the App Store. It appears below the app name and is limited to 30 characters. Add a few keywords to this field to communicate the value of this app to your target group. More importantly, any keywords used within the subtitle are also scanned when potential customers make use of the search function. It is therefore very important that you use this field to its utmost effect by adding important and relevant keywords.
3. App description
The short description
According to StoreMaven, an average of 5 percent of users click the "Read more" button under Google Play’s short description. For the App Store, this figure is a mere 2 percent. The short description may contain a maximum of 100 characters, so every character counts. Potential users are more likely to read the short description.Make the description extremely clear and tell your users what makes your app unique. You should focus more on your app’s values than its functions. Do not forget to include a call-to-action which will result in increased app downloads.
The detailed description
The detailed description gives you the opportunity to share further information about your app’s functionalities and features. Report any prizes, awards and accreditations that your app has received. For the detailed description you are given a total of 4,000 characters; however, we recommend you still keep this section short and concise. You can do this by using bullet points to make your information easier to read, for example.
Since the iOS 11 update, the Apple App Store now has even more on offer. The new look, sub-headings, videos and broader information ensure that you have the opportunity to describe your app in detail. Videos have become much more important, there is an extra field to add promotional text, and 'all time' reviews are also available.
4. App icon
The right app icon can dramatically increase downloads by as much as 56 percent. Keep your design simple but striking, avoid text, and make sure your logo does not look too busy or chaotic. The aim is to get people to remember your icon after seeing it for the first time. You should also make sure that the icon still looks good when scaled down to the app stores’ smallest size.
Is your app a brand? Use the brand logo to make both brand and product recognisable. If you are offering a functional app, feature an object which relates to this function. You can see two examples of great app icons below.
Need inspiration? Browse the top-rated apps within your category. Make your icon different from that of a competitor to avoid confusion. Use of contrasting colours and shapes or the addition of a frame could make your design stand out from the competition.
5. Selecting keywords
Try to think up 50 keywords. It is understandable if you can’t do this in a single session; determining the right keywords is not an easy task. There are a number of useful and free online tools that can help you find the right keywords for your chosen app store:
The intention is to have your app downloaded by those users who find your app relevant to their needs. Keywords must therefore be chosen with care. Only use those keywords which are relevant to your app and do not be tempted to use any that do not distinctly match what your app has to offer.
With the first set of keywords, a strategy must be chosen to ensure you optimize the right ones. Tools are available to help with this process. These tools list the popularity and complexities of your chosen keywords. You should end up with a carefully thought out and researched list of approximately 25 relevant keywords.
6. Keyword optimization
iOS offers keyword metadata. Fill in this metadata along with your chosen keywords. Your choice of metadata will determine how your app is discovered within the App Store. A few tips:
- Use all of the 100 metadata characters.
- Separate each search term with a comma.
- Avoid spaces, ‘the’ and prepositions.
- Decide whether to use singular or plural forms and consistently stick with this choice to unify your texts.
- Do not repeat search terms or use the app name.
- Use ciphers instead of spelled-out numbers.
7. First impressions
60 percent of users never swipe further than the first two screenshots shown in an app store. The first three screenshots are your app’s visual sales outlet, and it is important that the strongest messages are given here. Good screenshots can increase conversion by up to 25 percent.
You may add up to 6 screenshots. If your app has multiple functionalities, use these screenshots to highlight them.
8. App reviews
Reviews and feedback will have a huge impact on the number of your app’s downloads. The more positive the reviews and ratings, the higher the app will appear in search results. The key is to encourage satisfied users to leave positive reviews and ignore negative ones by implementing a feedback option.
Do not forget to respond to app reviews and feedback and show your users that you care about their opinions. Feedback and reviews will also help you improve and optimize your app, ultimately increasing user satisfaction.
9. App conversion ratio (CR)
You will find a range of statistics in the app store:
- Impressions: the number of times the app has been displayed in the app store.
- Product page views: the number of visits to the app's page in the app store.
- App units: number of app downloads.
This data is used to calculate two conversion ratio types, namely:
- Product page view CR = (product page views/impressions) x 100%
- Download CR = (app units/product page views) x 100%
The product page view CR is the percentage of people who see the app in search results, rankings or displayed app lists and go on to click to view the app. The download CR is the percentage of people who visit the app page before actually downloading the app. These two conversion rates can be presented, together with impressions, product page views and downloads, in a ‘conversion funnel’ as shown in the image below.
If the page view CR is less than 3 percent, it needs to be improved. This percentage might seem low, but there are countless apps available in a variety of app stores. To improve the product page view CR you will need to focus on the optimization of the following features:
- App name
- App subtitle
- App icon
- First 3 sentences of the app description
- First 3 screenshots
- App reviews
Your download CR goal must be at least 60 percent. Use Meatti's free ASO report to benchmark your app’s conversion rate. This tool compares the download CR of your app(s) in the relevant category and tells you how best to optimize it/them.
10. App updates
Statistics show us that there is significant correlation between high numbers and app update frequency. In fact, there are many benefits to regularly updating your app. Not only does this increase user loyalty, it also ensures that your app appears in the updates list.
We strongly recommend you update your app at least once a month, and as often as once a week. Do not forget to send push notifications to your users to alert them to the latest app update. This will have a major impact on the number of app downloads. Ideally, you should send these updates to users who have not yet downloaded the latest version. If you are unable to distinguish this group, you will have to prepare your message carefully to avoid confusion.
The reality is that if you want your app to grow you will need to increase familiarity and downloads. In order to achieve this, app store optimization must become an essential part of your marketing strategy.