App Store Optimization, also known as app SEO (or SEO for mobile apps), is your weapon to avoid becoming lost in this black hole of unknown apps.
Table of Contents
- What Is the Importance of ASO?
- How Long Does ASO Take To Work?
- How Do You Measure ASO Success?
- App Store Optimization in 2023: REPLUG’s Advice
With over 5 million mobile apps available in the major Stores, standing out from the crowd is no easy task. Companies can invest up to several hundred thousand dollars in developing cutting-edge mobile apps only to discover that users are hardly finding their apps organically.
Despite ASO being around now for years, companies and marketers still struggle to understand the value of optimizing the Stores properly to improve their visibility and conversion rates. In fact, App Store Optimization is about getting discovered organically and improving the conversion rate of both organic and paid traffic.
2022 is leaving us with an ongoing global economic crisis, and 2023 doesn’t look much better. Media budgets are being cut, and marketers must operate with limited resources.
Improving our mobile app store pages through textual and visual metadata optimization is our opportunity to navigate through this coming year efficiently and still be looking at delivering growth.
At REPLUG, we see App Store Optimization as one of the most important activities an organization needs to focus on when the mobile app represents one of the main drivers for business growth. Without ASO, we would shoot in the dark, hoping to get good results.
In this article, we will explain how to ensure we measure App Store Optimization success in 2023 while keeping an eye on main ASO KPIs to drive performance.
What Is the Importance of ASO?
App Store Optimization (or app SEO) is a mobile marketing activity focusing on Store optimization. Similar to SEO on websites, SEO for mobile apps aims at an organic increase in visibility and, consequently, in traffic and conversions (or downloads).
ASO is a strategically important activity for any mobile app as it is a consistent and long-term strategy that will scale the visibility of our application and give us an extra weapon to fight off competition.
Marketers need to remember that unless a user lands on your Store Page because they want to download your app, they will decide in almost a split second whether they need what you offer. More precisely, it takes a user between 3 and 6 seconds to decide whether to download our app after visiting the Store Page.
For this reason, optimizing the visual and textual metadata of our Store Pages becomes crucial for conversion. On top of that, working on an ASO strategy will make our app more friendly to Google’s and apple’s eyes (i.e., algorithm), helping us rank better.
Despite the obvious advantages of App Store Optimization, many companies are still struggling to take the time to optimize their Pages properly. For this reason, we also want to investigate how the ASO process works.
How Long Does ASO Take To Work?
It depends. Unfortunately, we don’t have a secret answer to this question, as ASO (or app SEO) success depends on several factors, such as competitiveness, category, paid activities, and app stability. On top of that, success is a subjective matter.
One thing is for sure. ASO is not a one-shot activity but a continuous series of actions and improvements that lead to growth over time.
Research, test, monitor, analyze, and repeat.
This is our ASO mantra when working on an optimization project, and it should also be yours.
As mentioned earlier, we need to ensure the right expectations are set internally when starting an App Store Optimization project.
The reason for this is that depending on the status of our Store Pages; we might see a different impact following the release of our ASO suggestions. For this reason, it’s important to constantly monitor ASO performance and define the right KPIs to track and measure ASO success.
How Do You Measure ASO Success?
While we need to be aligned internally on expectations, it’s also crucial to understand what are the KPIs to keep track of when measuring ASO performance. Below, we collect the main metrics to look at while tracking our App Store Optimization activities.
1. Keep an Eye on Keywords Ranking
Keeping under control keywords movements is crucial to assess whether the changes we have made have had a positive impact or not. When taking a look at the keywords, we need to divide them into two categories:
- Keywords used for the optimization: Those search terms are the ones that define the core of our optimization activities, and it’s crucial to track their performance to understand whether there are positive or negative movements after the release.
- Overall number of keywords: Here, on the other hand, we want to track the extended list of keywords that our app ranks for, keeping under special control those combinations that we started to rank for after we implemented our key search terms.
2. Check the Number of Organic Downloads
While several factors can impact downloads, we should monitor the changes of our organic downloads. In both Stores, we can select only those that come from organic searches.
However, we need to remember that these are not always entirely correct, as the data can be polluted by paid activities (think of Apple Search Ads being tracked as organic traffic). For this reason, we need to perform an extended analysis to understand the ASO impact and not communicate wrong data.
3. Remember to Analyze the Conversion Rate
The conversion rate is another important metric to monitor while analyzing our App Store Optimization success.
At REPLUG, we take a look at the organic CVR specifically in both Stores, as it is a representation of how well we are positioned for relevant keywords, as well as how good our screenshots, title, and subtitle (the key metadata elements that contribute to conversion rate) are communicating the key USP of our app.
Together with the conversion rate, we also want to look at the click-through rate (CTR), representing the ratio between clicks and the number of impressions of our app Store Page. This metric is equally important (although not as much in terms of KPI) because it gives us an estimate of how relevant our page is for specific keywords.
4. Monitor User Retention
User retention is one of the most important KPIs to track when considering marketing. At the end of the day, if we are acquiring users, either organically or through paid marketing activities, if those users are not staying with us, why are we even doing our job?
This metric is also a key performance indicator for app SEO. It shows a direct correlation between keywords for which we rank well (and users download our app) and how long they stick on our app. Obviously, when looking at this ASO KPI, we need to consider external factors to App Store Optimization, such as app stability and offers for users.
App Store Optimization in 2023: REPLUG’s Advice
2023 is expected to be an interesting year. Many companies will shift their focus to organic growth and retention, as the media budget will decrease naturally due to the current economic situation.
With that in mind, we want to end this article by gigging a few actionable pieces of advice on how to approach App Store Optimization (or app SEO) this upcoming year to maximize the effect of our activities and bring better results.
Advice #1: Take Advantage of All the New Features That the Stores Offer
Both the App Store and the Google Play Store have been working on giving marketers a few new features to support ASO activities.
Apple has launched Product Pages Optimization, Custom Product Pages, and, perhaps most importantly, from an App Store Optimization perspective, in-app events. On the other hand, Google has released LiveOps, pretty much similar to in-app events for iOS devices, showing their serious intention to support us in our ASO tasks.
Advice #2: Regularly A/B Test Both Textual and Visual Metadata
One of the things we notice most of the time with marketers unfamiliar with App Store Optimization (or app SEO) is the belief that an ASO project is a one-off activity that can lead to long-term results. This is far from true.
We have found that apps can only experience growth over the long term through consistent testing and iteration. On top of that, regularly A/B testing different metadata elements can lead to an ongoing improvement of those KPIs we mentioned earlier.
Advice #3: Do Not Forget About Reviews and Ratings
Reviews and ratings play a crucial role in defining conversion rate, especially when your app doesn’t have a strong brand positioning. What are users saying about their experience in our app?
Are we actively checking what features (i.e., keywords) they find the most interesting and relevant to their experience? Understanding this specific part of the Store experience is crucial to create a long-lasting effect in our ASO activities.
Advice #4: Check the Competition and Category Benchmarks
No good comes from being closed in a closet and ignoring what goes on around us. We should keep a close eye on what competitors are working on, what they are testing, and, most importantly, what changes they make in their Stores.
We can monitor these App Store Optimization changes through one of the many ASO tools available in the market. On top of that, we need to be aware of category benchmarks, especially when it comes to conversion rates. Several reports are available for us to check, and Google Play also offers some benchmarks for us to control.
Advice #5: Research, Test, Monitor, Analyze, and Repeat
We can’t get tired of saying it. Marketing is an iterative process based on learning and testing. Our personal mantra is to eat, test, sleep, and repeat. When working on the ASO project, we modify this mantra a little to reflect all the important steps we need to take to ensure we can deliver long-term success for our partners.
Once we understand the KPIs and have clear objectives on what we want to achieve, we should develop continuous testing ideas, monitor our ASO results, and implement what leads to improvements.
The App Store Optimization or app SEO process is ongoing. Organic growth is not a magic thing that happens overnight. It requires time, dedication, and a methodical approach to track results and learnings over time.
Continuous measurement becomes essential for organic growth success. It’s also important to remember that even though ASO is just the first step in the user journey, it’s a crucial one that we cannot ignore.
Remember to perform A/B testing on different metadata in order to improve some of the app SEO’s KPIs.
Are you interested in improving your App Store Optimization strategy? Get in touch with our ASO team of experts and start growing your app today.