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App Store Optimisation: Skyrocketing Your App’s Visibility

App Store Optimisation: Skyrocketing Your App's Visibility

Your heart, soul (and sometimes your life savings) have gone into creating an excellent app. So what next? How can one ensure the fantastic thing is discovered amongst millions of other applications vying for attention? This is where app store optimisation (ASO) comes in.

ASO is optimising your application’s visibility across app stores. It’s like SEO for websites but only applies to the various app stores. Just as SEO helps websites rank higher on Google, ASO boosts an app's ranking and discoverability on app stores such as Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Why ASO matters? With over 6.3 million apps across the major app stores, getting your app noticed is like finding a needle in a saturated haystack. Proper ASO gives your app a fighting chance to:

  • Rank higher in search results
  • Get featured on the app store browse pages
  • Drive more downloads and user acquisition
  • Boost engagement and retention
  • Increase revenue from revenue from in-app purchases/subscriptions

In other words, ASO is your secret weapon for ensuring your application stands out amidst competition. Get your optimisation right, and you will be the hot new download everybody talks about. But you have got to put it work-wise.

The Key Components of Solid ASO

Ui And Ux How To Get Featured On The App Store

Then, what goes into optimising your app for maximum exposure? However, here are the main components to fine-tune:

Optimisation of the Title and Subtitle

Your app’s title is like its virtual name tag – it needs to grab attention and accurately describe what your app does. You’ll want to do this since most app stores limit titles to 30 characters:

Use powerful keywords that get straight to the point.

  • Utilise words within a given context that define the general intentions of your mobile application.
  • Avoid such words as “a,” “the,” etc., which are not required.
  • Consider adding branded terms or company names in your titles

Concerning subtitles (Apple App Store) or short descriptions (Google Play) should be concise and bring out the core features mentioned earlier. Think powerful benefit statements that reel users in.

Keyword Optimisation

Just like SEO, keyword selection is mission-critical for ASO. To make your app appear more often in searches, you must identify high-value keywords and phrases from potential users. The right strategy would be sprinkling them across different sections of your app’s title, subtitle/short and long descriptions.

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Do not randomly insert any word that comes into your mind when selecting keywords. Instead, ensure that they are relevant and contextualised. App stores see overusing irrelevant keywords negatively, which might penalise you for that mistake.

Ideally, these need to revolve around fundamental themes associated with what precisely an application does. For example, a fitness app will have keywords such as ‘exercise’, ‘health’, and‘ weight loss’, among others.

Screenshots & App Preview Videos

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Screenshots and app preview videos are your chance to show off your app's magic in action. For instance, visual content provides insights into this software platform's interface design, features and usefulness.

When dealing with screenshots, it is best to use a combination of annotated visuals that can help highlight the core functionality and associated benefits. You can also upload videos here since some app stores allow this; make sure you leverage this by crafting cinematic app previews that pull users into your app.

The critical thing is using visuals to exhibit how the application solves problems more than anything else. This will create a situation where they cannot resist downloading after watching it.

Crafting A Killer Description

App Store Optimisation Apps Description Example

Your app description is your chance to show off how well you can write. While keywords are essential in helping people find what they’re looking for, the description’s purpose is conversion after visitors arrive at your page.

You must ensure your description stands out and compels users to try your app. Here’s a formula that does it:

  1. Hook: Begin with a punchy opening line or value statement that grabs people’s attention.
  2. Problem: Identify what problem or pain point the app addresses.
  3. Solution: Show how the application solves this issue unusually or memorably.
  4. Features & Benefits: Explain how users will benefit from your app using its main features.
  5. Social Proof: To enhance credibility, it may be helpful to include third-party reviews, testimonials, or download stats.
  6. Call-to-Action: Conclude with a precise and motivating call-to-action demanding the downloading of your application.

Throughout the description, use friendly language. Employ storytelling techniques, ask relevant questions and inject brand personality. However, remember to break up text with short paragraphs and bullet points for readability.

This should prove to potential customers that they require this application before installing it.

App Icon Design

App Icon Design Best Practices

You may have heard judging a book by its cover is not good. People do the opposite with apps! It has to be an eye-catching, authentic app icon.

Your icon is usually the first thing users notice in search results and store listings. Therefore, this presents the initial chance for your app to make a strong mark on them. Well-designed app icons can increase download rates, according to research.

But apart from being visually appealing, your icon should also be:

  • Easily understandable at first glance
  • Unique and memorable compared to other competitors
  • Reflective on your application’s main goal and branding
  • Perfectly renderable across all screen sizes

Don’t undervalue this important visual asset! An underwhelming or confusing icon might bring down all your otherwise robust ASO efforts.

Star Ratings & Reviews

In the app world, a 5-star rating is royalty status. Star ratings are among the most influential factors when users browse and decide which apps to download.

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A well-reviewed app instantly boosts your credibility and reputation. It's powerful social proof that you've created a quality product that delights users. The more positive reviews you can accumulate, the better.

However, how you respond to negative reviews is even more important than your overall rating. Stay on top of user feedback and have a process for promptly replying to and resolving complaints. This demonstrates your team's commitment to customer service.

App store algorithms determine how well you manage negative reviews when ranking apps. So, identify and fix bugs or pain points frustrating your users.

Dive Deeper Into ASO Fundamentals

  • Optimise for Different Search Types: Users search for apps in various ways: by app name, developer name, category, etc. Cast a wider net by optimising for all these search types.
  • A/B Test Icons, Screenshots, and Descriptions: Don't just ship and forget it! Routinely test variations of your creatives and copy to improve your conversion rates over time incrementally.
  • Regional Optimisation: Tailor your metadata and keywords to target specific countries or languages if you have an international user base.
  • Track Your Rankings: Use ASO tools to monitor how your app is ranking for target keywords. Shift your optimisation efforts as rankings fluctuate.
  • Track and Analyse Metrics: Dig into app analytics to understand which traffic sources, keywords, and creatives drive the most engaged users and revenue. Double down on what works.
  • Stay on Top of Updates: Apple, Google, and other app stores constantly evolve their ranking algorithms and policies. Stay informed and adjust tactics accordingly.

As you can see, ASO's success requires meticulous optimisation and ongoing effort. But get it right, and your app will flourish!

ASO Horror Stories: When Good Apps Go Undiscovered

App Store Optimisation Examples

ASO is an essential ingredient for app success. But what happens when you slack on optimising your app visibility from the start?

Even the most ingenious, valuable apps can be wholly undiscovered and forgotten. And unfortunately, this all-too-common tragedy has befallen apps across every category — productivity, gaming, social, entertainment, and more.

Tragic Tale #1: The App Buried in Search Results

Bob poured months of work into developing a brilliant new calendar app jam-packed with innovative features. His initial user testing was through the roof!

But when it came time to launch, Bob neglected ASO completely. His app's title, keywords, and descriptions needed more robust. This led to dismal search rankings amidst the slew of other calendar apps.

Poor Bob's revolutionary calendar app languished on page 17 of App Store search results. Not even his mom could find his creation and download it.

Tragic Tale #2: The Terrible App Thumbnails

Jenna created a fantastic educational game for kids. But she rushed the app's icon and screenshot visuals, failing to put much thought into them. This resulted in confusing, generic-looking thumbnails.

In the crowded education category for apps, those lacklustre visuals caused Jenna's app to blend into the background. Kids scrolling through these listings had no idea her stellar app existed because nothing caught their eye.

The usage numbers could have been better. Jenna overlooked the power of optimising those all-important app visuals and first impressions.

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Tragic Tale #3: The Keyword Stuffing Catastrophe

Dev team DBC was over the moon about their hot new fitness app. They knew they had a viral hit on their hands… If only people could find it.

DBC went overboard and hastily stuffed many keywords into their app description and metadata. Everything from “fitness” and “weight loss” to random terms like “zebra” and “trampoline.”

Rather than helping users discover their app, this keyword-stuffing spammy tactic completely turned off the algorithm gods. Their app got penalised by Apple and Google, essentially blacklisting it from search results across app stores.

Poor DBC's lack of ASO knowledge caused an otherwise promising fitness app to wither on the vine before it succeeded.

The Moral of These Scary Stories?

Neglecting ASO is the kiss of death for new apps. Having a great app concept or beautifully designed features doesn't matter if you don't work to optimise its visibility.

Even if you have a brilliant, revolutionary app idea, it won't see the light of day if you overlook the core tenets of ASO like:

  • Conducting thorough keyword research
  • Writing compelling metadata and creative assets
  • Optimising app visuals and videos
  • Incentivising users to leave ratings and reviews
  • Constantly iterating and A/B testing your approach

The app stores are unimaginably saturated, with hundreds of new apps launching daily. If you don't devote ample time and resources to ASO, your app won't stand a chance against competitors prioritising optimisation.

So please learn from Bob, Jenna, DBC, and others whose applications were sent up in the app graveyard due to poor visibility. Don't let that fate befall your mobile masterpiece!

Getting Strategic with ASO: Tools & Tactics

App Store Optimization Tools

As you've gathered, ASO is both a science and an art. It involves ongoing keyword research, metadata optimisation, visual asset creation, and monitoring.

Rather than going it alone, leverage dedicated ASO tools and service providers that can accelerate and systematise your optimisation efforts.

Keyword Research & Tracking

Tools like AppRadar, AppAnnie, MobileAction, and SensorTower offer robust keyword research capabilities. This lets you analyse search popularity, traffic volumes, difficulty scores, and rankings for relevant keywords.

You can laser-focus your optimisation efforts by identifying high-value keywords with solid search volume but relatively low difficulty (less competition).

These tools also provide keyword monitoring to see how your rankings shift over time based on strategic updates to your keywords and other metadata.

Competitor Research & Monitoring

A key aspect of ASO is understanding the competitive landscape for your app category or niche. Many ASO tools and intelligence providers offer deep insights into competitors' activities.

You can see which apps are ranking for your most important keywords. Analyse their metadata strategies, creative assets, and download/revenue metrics. This information is invaluable for deconstructing what's working for competitors and finding opportunity gaps.

These tools often provide handy traffic estimates to pinpoint lucrative keyword opportunities your app could capitalise on.

A/B Testing & Optimisation

The top ASO tools allow you to run A/B split tests on different variations of your app's metadata, screenshots, videos, and icons. You can measure which creatives drive the highest conversion rates and ditch the underperformers.

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This conversion intel guides your iterative metadata and creative optimisation for progressively improved visibility.

ASO Service Providers & Agencies

If hiring an in-house ASO team isn't feasible, you can partner with an agency that specialises in ASO. Providers like Gomo, Incipia, App Radar, and more offer end-to-end ASO management as a turnkey service.

This includes ongoing keyword research, metadata optimisation, A/B test management, creative production, and advanced reporting. Their ASO expertise helps ensure your strategy stays cutting-edge for maximum visibility.

Get Ahead of The Competition With a Holistic ASO Strategy

Duolingo Learning App

As the app ecosystems become increasingly crowded, relying on visibility through organic search alone isn't enough. You need a multi-pronged approach that optimises your app for getting featured and generating word-of-mouth buzz.

Getting Featured Through Smart Outreach

Every app developer dreams of having their app get premium placement through editorial features and curated lists on the app stores. While somewhat subjective, strategic ways to pitch your app for these coveted visibility boosters exist.

Both Apple and Google have specific guidelines and portals for submitting your app to be considered for featuring or highlights. It is crucial to understand their criteria — like positive reviews, high-quality creatives and content, innovation, and cultural relevance.

Many optimise their metadata, descriptions, and assets to appeal to app store editors. Some even invest in costly professional video trailers to stand out.

Creators Loren Brichter (Letterpress) and Kevin Natalie (Wheel) took things further. Leveraging their industry connections, they contacted Apple's editorial team, championing their apps and requesting prime featuring alongside major iOS launches.

But you don't need insider connections to get your foot in the door. Proactive outreach and courting key influencers to advocate for your app can grab the editorial staff's attention.

Fueling Virality Through Grassroots Marketing

No amount of ASO can match the sheer visibility boosts from going viral. The momentum can be explosive when an app catches fire through organic word-of-mouth.

Look at the runaway success of apps like Wordle or BeReal in recent years. These apps generated intense online buzz through clever marketing activations, influencer marketing, and “get your friends to join” features.

So, while nailing your ASO is essential, don't overlook grassroots community-building tactics to spark virality:

  • Connect with niche online communities related to your app's use case
  • Engage your best customers to become advocates and champions on social media
  • Cultivate relationships with influential creators, journalists, and YouTubers in your app's domain
  • Launch with a “social unlocking” feature that rewards sharing
  • Run targeted giveaways/contests for early adopters
  • Share your app's backstory and developer journey to foster connections

The more inventive and passionate you can be about igniting the spark, the more your ASO efforts will pay dividends due to the increased demand and visibility.

Even game-changing apps like Twitter, Snapchat, and Clubhouse struggled at first. When they invested in grassroots efforts to seed online communities and influencer advocates, their growth accelerated into viral phenomena.

The Future of ASO: Evolving Trends to Capitalise On

Ar In Ecommerce Augmented Reality

As the mobile app landscape continues its stunning growth and evolution, so must your ASO strategy. Here are some key trends to monitor and opportunities to get ahead of:

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Augmented Reality (AR) Integrations

Apple, Google, Snap, and other tech giants are doubling down on AR capabilities for mobile apps. As this bleeds into app stores, creative new visibility opportunities will emerge.

Imagine browsing app stores in an AR view that dynamically surfaces apps based on your real-world context and visual surroundings. Apps optimised specifically for AR discovery will gain a substantial competitive edge.

Intelligent apps are already experimenting with AR embeds in screenshots and videos to make their app visuals more immersive and compelling.

Short Video Content & Shoppable Video Ads

Rather than static screenshots, apps will likely capitalise on ultra-short video creatives optimised for TikTok-style delivery.

Apps that cleverly showcase their features and benefits through bite-size video ads and creative gallery content will captivate audiences' fleeting attention spans. This user-first content could be woven into app stores' discovery surfaces and browsing experiences.

Optimising Voice Search for Voice Assistants

As voice-activated assistants like Siri, Alexa, and “OK Google” become ubiquitous, optimising for voice-based queries will grow increasingly vital. Apps addressing vocal use cases and use cases where users prefer voice entry will gain an advantage by incorporating relevant voice search keywords into their metadata.

Optimising For Content Delight, Not Just Keywords

While keyword optimisation will remain important, app stores may begin prioritising content delight and user engagement signals in their algorithms.

Apps that delight users through irresistible user journeys, ultra-polished UX, social virality, and brand affinity may rank higher than apps concerned solely with chasing keywords.

Monetisation & Subscription Optimisation Mechanics

App stores may start factoring advanced revenue metrics into their ranking calculations for apps relying on subscriptions or in-app purchases.

Apps demonstrating strong subscriber retention, average revenue per user, and seamless in-app purchase experiences could get preferential discoverability. Developers need to optimise for user acquisition and long-term monetisation potential.

Algorithmic Personalization and Contextual Suggestions

As app stores evolve, their ability to dynamically personalise search results and suggestion feeds based on users' contexts and digital footprints will advance significantly.

Apps structured to leverage users' explicit and implicit personalisation signals may be prioritised in these more tailored app experiences. Nuanced on-metadata optimisations could be key.

Incentives for Social Accountability and Transparency

Due to data privacy and misinformation concerns, mobile platforms may institute new incentives for socially accountable apps that build trust through increased transparency.

Apps with robust privacy protection features, robust fact-checking and content moderation, and clearly defined data policies could gain a visibility edge and rank higher on app store platforms, pushing these ethics standards.

Verticalized App Store Models Catering to Niche Interests

As niche-focused virtual assistants, smart glasses, and alternative consumer tech platforms increase, we may see an explosion of highly verticalised app store paradigms that cater to distinct communities and interests.

For instance, a dedicated app store for finance and money-management apps or one focused solely on gaming and esports. Apps optimised for these ecosystems could thrive when matched with their most relevant user bases.

App Store Optimisation FAQs

How is ASO different from App Store Marketing?

ASO and app store marketing are almost the same thing. The former generally refers to on-metadata tactics developers and marketers use to optimise their apps’ visibility within app stores.

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App store marketing includes ASO and other promotional activities like paid ads, influencer campaigns, and PR outreach for reviews, among others, for growing downloads and engagement within or outside of app stores.

How soon can I expect results from ASO?

Patience is a virtue in ASO. Making metadata changes sometimes leads to increased visibility right away. Still, often, it takes several weeks or months of learning through measurement, tuning, and A/B testing to get your way into an optimisation strategy that works best for your app’s organic downloads and search rankings.

What are the most significant factors influencing ASO ranking?

Though there may be slight differences between the Apple App Store and Google Play in terms of what counts as proper ranking criteria, the majority of significant factors which affect ASO include;
App title
Keyword relevance in metadata
User ratings and reviews
App engagement/retention metrics
Download velocity
Visual assets and app preview videos

How often should I update my app's metadata/creatives?

While you don’t have to constantly tweak everything, refreshing your application’s creatives (metadata, screenshots, videos) at least every three months (or more) is advisable. Using A/B tests will help you figure out which tiny optimisations could contribute to higher conversion rates.

Should I use an ASO agency or tool?

Where in-house bandwidth or expertise in ASO is limited, working with experienced ASO agencies or popular tool suites can speed up optimisation efforts significantly. However, small applications or less monetary allowance might opt for self-help strategies involving free keyword research resources and monitoring key performance indicators closely.

What are some best practices for launching new apps using App Store Optimisation (ASOs)?

To ASO, a brand new app that is just starting in the stores initially focuses on:
Thoroughly researching high-volume, high-value keywords.
It is creating a pipeline of compelling and optimised creatives/videos.
Seeding initial ratings and reviews from beta testers/early users.
You are building a solid PR/outreach plan to get your app downloaded quickly.
This will help you gain the momentum to remain highly ranked during those critical days and weeks of introduction.

How can I encourage more ratings and reviews?

Satisfied customers need to be encouraged time after time till they leave feedback. This is possible through emails or pop-ups within the application that target loyal users who are logged in.
Offering free content, discounts, giveaways or promo codes in exchange for reviews is another typical but very effective method.

ASO is A Perpetual Journey, Not a Destination

That was a comprehensive odyssey through the dynamic world of App Store Optimisation! Hopefully, you've grasped how instrumental optimising your app's visibility can be for driving downloads, engagement, and revenue.

But always remember: ASO is an ongoing process that requires ample patience and diligence. As you've seen, success on the app stores involves harmonising your metadata, creatives, reviews, and promotional efforts into an ever-evolving optimisation machine.

With the right holistic ASO strategy, the latest tools and tactics, and calculated efforts to spark virality – your app can break through the noise to become a bonafide smash hit.

So continue honing your ASO chops, monitoring for new trends and opportunities, and persistently fine-tuning that multi-faceted approach. Regarding mobile's ultra-saturated landscape, discovering your app is just the beginning!

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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