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How to be a Pro at App Store Optimisation (ASO)?

January 8, 2020

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App Store Optimisation or ASO in short is a way to make your mobile application more visible in the app stores and increase its organic downloads. As simple as it sounds, the process is challenging and follows a strategic approach to achieve the desired result. If you’re wondering how ASO work, read on to find out and be a pro. But first, let’s understand some of the basic factors to proceed on track.

ASO & SEO: Understand the Difference

At times, ASO is referred to as app store optimization and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) due to a few similarities such as backlinking, keyword and conversion optimisation. However, key differences between both are that of the ranking factors and besides, ASO is for mobile applications whereas SEO is for the websites.

Digital Age & the Importance of ASO

According to Statista; there were above two million apps in the App Store Connect whereas 3.5 millions are offered by the Google Play Store. So, it’s quite clear the app market is supersaturated and that your app is already facing a tough competition. To boost organic growth, it’s very important to understand users’ search behaviour against mobile applications.

The hunt for desirable mobile applications usually begins with leading app stores as that of Apple and Google. Another detailed study revealed that nearly 50% Apple iOS applications are discovered through search whereas more than 55% downloads on the Google Play Store are prompted by search. It’s clear that app store search is a common practice or process to discover and explore new applications. Adding to it is the fact that an app’s ranking position directly coincides with the number of downloads so, the higher the ranking in the store, more visibility of the app plus, greater downloads.

When done right, ASO result in presenting just the appropriate application to the right audience or users. Have a look at how you can benefit!

  • Improves Visibility & Be Distinct

Applications that are hard to find or simply don’t appear before the users are considered useless. That’s where ASO comes to the rescue and save your hard work from going unseen or ignored completely.

  • Let the Appropriate Users Find You

For a particular application, being discovered is important but it must be found by the right users that are actually on the hunt. This is the real purpose of ASO.

  • Increase in the Organic Downloads

A good ASO strategy boosts organic downloads and installations while ensuring long-term results. Regular tweaking and monitoring guarantees fruitful efforts.

  • Reduces User Acquisition Costs

Rather than heavily investing on advertisements, you can opt to lower the user acquisition costs through organic growth, possible with ASO which saves valuable cost and guarantee steady growth.

ios-android-app

Battle of the App Stores: iOS vs. Android 

Purpose of both the stores is the same that is providing users a platform to find the desired mobile applications or games and download them. However, Apple and Google app stores work differently whereas algorithms for both vary as well. Let’s begin with a brief insight about origins!

  • History

App industry experienced a significant boost during the last couple of years with the frequent rise in the number of mobile users. As a result, the Apple App Store witnessed a hurl of 2.2 million in 2019 compared with 800 at the time of its inception back in 2008. Here’s the source!

Likewise, the number of Google Play applications near four million in 2019 which truly revealed the app market potential and the importance of ASO if you’re a leading mobile application development agency out there! Being quick and agile are two most important factors to a winning ASO strategy.

Trends in 2020

It’s obvious that mobile applications with higher crash rates and infrequent updates are considered poor in terms of quality and performance, thereby resulting in low ranking. Comparably, application updates, smooth performance and better downloads appear higher in the search results as well as rewarded. Efficient app management is thus crucial which can be done only by a professional mobile application development company.

  • Key Difference

Publishing is one of the main differences between both iOS and Android Play store. While Google Play lets you implement changes and publish updates without any delay, every single application at the Apple App Store undergo a detailed review process that can last up to more or less 24-hours. During the review, technical functionalities, design and content aspects are carefully analysed. As for the Google Play, review takes place post-launch of the application.

Difference in ranking algorithm is yet another considerable factor and while keywords are essential in both the app stores, the evaluation process is different. Google Play works similarly as that of its search engine which means all textual elements of the app are considered with keyword indexing. On the contrary, the Apple App Store has a field where keywords can be specified.

App Store Optimisation (ASO) – The Actual Process

Now that we’re familiar with the basics of ASO, difference in the app stores and publication, let’s have a look at the actual process.

Come Up with a Clear ASO Strategy

Begin with an understanding of the market and demographics through detailed research. It’s important to comprehend potential customers as the information would prepare you to move on the right track. Look at the keywords mostly used when searching for the applications, the language, the purpose of the app search; all the details would help you move to the next step.

  • Name the Application

App title or name is something users see first which is why you should be extra careful and wise in choosing a unique name. Do remember that the name should reflect the purpose of the application whereas it must be easily understandable and distinct. An appealing title is unforgettable which eventually give the app a recognition.

  • Keyword Research

Establish a set of keywords to make your application ‘discoverable’ in the app stores. Consider the following factors when performing keyword research:

  • Identify primary features and purpose of the app or game
  • Find out synonymous terms and nomenclatures to the features and the app itself
  • Understand the app category
  • Commonly used terms by users in the particular category

Remember that keyword research is an ongoing process which is why overthinking or deciding on the final set isn’t preferred right at the start. Keep the keyword character count to 100.

AI-for-app

Let AI Help You Out

Just in-case searching for potential keywords feels daunting, let AI help you with the ASO. The technology is powerful, advanced and smart enough to find out just the perfect set of your mobile application keywords in half the time as well as save valuable money.

  • App Description

Yet another essential factor to the application’s metadata is its description, providing users information about the app, it’s basic purpose and overview of all the primary features. That said, description is relevant for the app store algorithm as well as users. 

This is how Google find the keyword to index the mobile application which makes the description and keyword selection all the more important. Make sure the description is detailed, easily understandable and well-organised. Be a little creative by using bullet points and emojis.

Character Count – App Title & Description

When naming the app and adding relevant description to it, special care must be taken in terms of character count that accounts for total words with special characters. For Google Play, app title must be of 50 characters whereas 30 for the Apple App Store.

With the description, Google Play Store is further divided into two parts namely short & long description. Ideal character count for short description is 80; for full, it can be of 4000 characters in length. Apple App Store has limited the ideal description to 400 characters of which only 252 are visible unless a user clicks on 

  • A/B Testing for the App Icon

Text aside, visual cues matter a lot, giving product twice the appealing twist as ever. With mobile app, you can play with the icon and make it highly interactive that persuade users to click and download. When designing the app icon, carefully think about the app’s purpose and how it can convey the right message just though the looks.

One of the most preferred and greatest ways to test if it really works for the target demographics is through A/B testing. The idea is to create several variations of the icon, show it to the public and see which one receive more clicks. Colour, design and element of interaction can make quite a difference here.

  • Videos & Screenshots

Visual communication extends beyond the icon. Once you’re successful in bringing the user to the main application page, convince them to download; which is indeed the most challenging. Screenshots and video tutorials here play a crucial role in conversion optimisation if not the app ranking directly! Both gives an opportunity to demonstrate the functionality of the app or game while conveying its essence. Another careful research performed by a digital agency revealed that more than 60% users base their decision on the first impression which is why visuals are significant.

Then there’s another creative digital company explaining that choosing between a portrait and/or landscape layout is considered first. Here, you can decide if you want a vertical or horizontal screenshot however, base your decision after A/B testing to ensure the best outcome.

  • Listing & Localisation

With the app listing and visuals all prepared, take the next step by making it adaptable for the global market. The process is referred to as localisation or international ASO where all you need to do is use the existing metadata, keywords and information; translate each into different languages per the target demographic and geographic factors to make it useful for everyone.

  • App Reviews & Ratings

User feedback is an integral part of ASO as well where both critics and friendly reviews can help in perfecting the mobile app in every way. The better the app, higher would be its ranking in the app store.With all the details outlined above, you can surely be a pro at App Store Optimisation. Be generous to share information, spread the knowledge.