ASO is a critical aspect of mobile app marketing that can help app marketers improve their app’s visibility, attract more users, and increase revenue. Here are some crucial App Store stats (source: Storemaven) to keep in mind:
- A good first impression can increase conversions by 35%
- 60% of the visitors won’t scroll beyond the first impression
- A video showcasing the app can boost its installation rates by 25% or more.
Table of Contents
- ASO Definition: What Exactly Is App Store Optimization?
- How Does ASO Work?
- Google Play vs. App Store: ASO Strategy
- App Stores and A/B Testing
- Why App Marketers Need ASO
- REPLUG’s Notes for a Successful ASO Strategy
Now, we will focus on what ASO is (ASO definition) and why every app marketer needs it while implementing an app marketing strategy.
Moreover, we will give you all the techniques and methods you need to grasp to thrive at app store optimization in our useful guide. Whether you are a beginner or have some experience with ASO, you will discover all the knowledge you need to rank your app higher in app stores.
ASO Definition: What Exactly Is App Store Optimization?
ASO, or App Store Optimization, is the process of optimizing mobile apps to rank higher in an app store’s search results. About 70% of app store visitors use search to discover new apps, underscoring the vital role of search optimization in app visibility.
The goal of ASO is to increase visibility, attract more downloads (i.e., increase the conversion rate from page visit to download), and improve user engagement for a mobile application.
With the competition among mobile apps increasing daily, ASO has become a crucial aspect of mobile app marketing.
When it comes to ASO definition and its elements – it involves optimizing various elements of an app, including the title, description, keywords, icon, screenshots, ratings, and reviews. By optimizing these elements, an app can increase its visibility in the app store, attract more users, and ultimately increase its revenue.
Notably, apps that are optimized for the App Store can see an average 30% increase in downloads (source: gitnux).
In addition, it is similar to SEO (hence the nickname app SEO), which is used to optimize websites to rank higher in search engine results. However, ASO is specific to mobile apps and takes into account the unique features and limitations of the app stores.
How Does ASO Work?
As we have mentioned, App Store Optimization is the process of optimizing mobile apps to improve their visibility and ranking in the app stores, such as Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Below you can see the main factors that influence App Store Optimization:
- App Title and Description: your app title and description should be optimized with relevant keywords that describe the app’s main features and benefits.
- Keywords: use relevant keywords in your app’s metadata, including the app title, description, and tags. App stores use these keywords to rank your app for specific search queries.
- Icon: your app icon should be visually appealing and accurately represent your app’s function and features.
- Screenshots and Videos: screenshots and videos can help to showcase your app’s features and functionality and make it more appealing to potential users.
- Ratings and Reviews: positive ratings and reviews can help to improve your app’s ranking and visibility, so encourage users to rate and review your app.
- Localization: localizing your app for different languages and regions can help to improve its visibility in those markets.
- Updates: regularly updating your app with new features and bug fixes can help to keep it relevant and improve its ranking.
By optimizing these factors, you can improve your app’s visibility and increase the number of downloads, which can, of course, lead to higher revenue and growth for your business.
Google Play vs. App Store: ASO Strategy
While the principles of ASO definition and its strategy are similar for both Google Play and the App Store, there are some differences in the specific strategies and techniques used for each platform. We have gathered some key differences between ASO for Google Play and the App Store you can find below.
Both app stores use keywords to rank apps in search results, but the way each Store’s algorithm handles keywords is different. Both Google Play and App Store allow developers to use up to 4,000 characters in the app description.
The main difference when it comes to keywords is that in Google Play:
- The Store often rewards keyword repetition (without doing keyword stuffing)
- In Google Play, the keywords used in the long description have an impact on ranking, while in App Store, they do not.
2. App Title
The app title is a critical ASO element that affects both search visibility and user click-through rates. In Google Play, the app title has a 30-character limit (which was changed last year from 50 characters), as well as the app title in App Store. However, because Google Play has changed its limit, many app developers forgot to update the title, and now it is cut.
3. Reviews and Ratings
Both app stores consider user reviews and ratings when ranking apps, but the weight given to these factors varies. In Google Play, the number of installs and user engagement metrics like retention rate and session length also play a role in the ranking algorithm.
In the App Store, reviews and ratings are more heavily weighted, and apps with higher ratings tend to rank higher in search results. Therefore, we should focus on the fact that ratings and reviews have an impact on the conversion rate. The app’s average rating should be above four to be appealing.
Both app stores allow developers to use screenshots and videos to showcase their app’s features and user experience. However, the layout and requirements for these visual assets are different. Google Play requires at least two screenshots, while the App Store requires at least three.
Moreover, Google Play offers a total of eight slots for screenshots, while App Store offers ten, and we highly recommend using all of them to increase the chances for users to discover more about your app.
In case you can’t manage to get that many, try at least to use six (especially on the App Store), as this will have a positive impact when showcasing both the organic and paid result through Apple Search Ads.
In addition, the dimensions and orientation of screenshots are different between the two app stores.
App Stores and A/B Testing
ASO A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a method of comparing two or more variations of an app store listing to determine which one performs better. In the context of app stores, A/B testing can be used to optimize various elements of an app’s listing, such as the short description in Google Play, icons, and screenshots.
Below, we have listed the five main considerations for A/B testing in app stores.
1. Determine Your Goals
Before conducting the ASO definition Store A/B testing, it’s important to define your goals and metrics for success. This could include increasing conversion rates as the Stores report it as the main metric. Having clear goals will help guide your testing strategy and ensure that you’re measuring the right metrics.
2. Test One Element at a Time
To accurately measure the impact of a change, it’s important only to test one element at a time. For example, if you’re testing different app icons, make sure that all other elements of the listing remain the same. This will help you isolate the impact of the change and determine which variation performs better.
3. The User Sample Size Should Be Equal
Both Stores will perform the A/B test on a defined audience (for example, 50/50), and after it has achieved an appropriate sample size, it will provide us with an outcome. However, due to an app’s limited audience size, it may take some time to finish an A/B test – in this situation, we can make some recommendations, but we must be cautious.
4. Test for a Sufficient Length of Time
It’s also important to test for a sufficient length of time to gather enough data. This will depend on the volume of traffic to your app listing and your personal A/B testing strategy and findings. Still, a general rule among some app marketers is to run tests for a minimum of seven days (in most cases, it’s much longer) to ensure that you’re capturing a representative sample of users.
5. Use A/B Testing Tools
There are a variety of A/B testing tools available that can help you set up and run tests in app stores. These tools can automate the process of creating and running experiments, as well as provide analytics and insights to help you make informed decisions.
In addition to this, there are also Stores’ A/B testing tools which you can use alternatively.
Why App Marketers Need ASO
With millions of apps available in app stores, it can be challenging for app marketers to stand out and attract users. ASO can help app marketers improve their app’s visibility and attract more downloads. Interestingly, fewer than 2% of app developers employ professional ASO, indicating a significant opportunity for those who choose to leverage this resource.
Here are some reasons why ASO’s definition and strategy are essential for app marketers.
1. Increased Visibility
By optimizing an app’s title, description, and keywords, app marketers can improve its visibility in app store search results. When an app ranks higher in search results, it is more likely to be discovered and downloaded by users.
2. Improved User Acquisition
ASO can help app marketers acquire more users by improving their app’s visibility in the app store. When more users discover and download an app, it can lead to increased revenue for the app marketer. It could also lead to great results when ASO and paid UA are combined.
If you’re looking to delve deeper into the topic of paid user acquisition, we highly recommend exploring our comprehensive eBook: Mastering Mobile Paid User Acquisition.
3. Higher User Engagement
By optimizing an app’s icon, screenshots, ratings and reviews, app marketers can improve user engagement. When users are engaged with an app, they are more likely to use it frequently, leave positive reviews, and recommend it to others.
4. Cost-Effective Marketing
Regarding ASO definition and ASO itself – it is a cost-effective marketing strategy that can help app marketers attract more users without spending a lot of money on advertising.
Optimizing an app’s elements allows app marketers to improve its visibility and attract more downloads without spending a lot of money on user acquisition campaigns. It also helps us reduce the overall cost per install.
REPLUG’s Notes for a Successful ASO Strategy
Since we are near the end, we have a checklist you should always keep in mind for an effective app store optimization strategy:
- Keyword research: conduct thorough research to identify relevant keywords and phrases that users are searching for in the app store. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, Apptweak, Mobile Action, App Radar, Appfollow, or Sensor Tower and data.ai (market intelligence tools that also have an ASO integration) to find high-traffic, low-competition keywords.
- App title: create a clear and memorable app title that includes the most important keyword(s) and highlights the app’s unique value proposition.
- App icon: design a visually appealing and distinctive app icon that stands out among the competition and conveys the app’s purpose and functionality.
- App description: write a compelling and informative app description that highlights the app’s features, benefits, and use cases. Use relevant keywords throughout the description, but avoid keyword stuffing.
- Visual assets: include high-quality screenshots, videos, and other visual assets that showcase the app’s user interface, functionality, and benefits. Use A/B testing to determine the most effective visual elements.
- Ratings and reviews: encourage users to rate and review the app by providing a seamless and user-friendly in-app feedback mechanism. Respond promptly and professionally to all reviews, whether positive or negative.
- Localization: optimize the app listing for each target market by translating the app title, description, and visual assets into the appropriate languages and cultural contexts.
- App updates: regularly update the app to improve its functionality, fix bugs, and introduce new features. Include these updates in the app description to show users that the app is actively maintained and responsive to user feedback.
- Competitive analysis: monitor the app store rankings and performance of competing apps to identify trends, gaps, and opportunities. Use this information to refine your ASO strategy and stay ahead of the competition.
Hopefully, you have a firm grasp of the ASO definition and how it can help any app marketer in their current and future marketing efforts alone or combined with paid user acquisition.
ASO is a critical, yet still forgotten, aspect of mobile app marketing that can help app marketers improve their app’s visibility, attract more users, and increase revenue.
By optimizing an app’s elements, app marketers can improve its search rankings, attract more downloads, and improve user engagement. With the competition among mobile apps increasing by the day, ASO has become a must-have for app marketers who want to succeed in the mobile app market.
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.
How Effective Is App Store Optimization?
It depends. A combination of ASO and Paid UA will make a guaranteed success for the app. Nevertheless, App Store Optimization raises an app’s exposure in the app store, which leads to more users discovering and investigating the app, raising the likelihood of downloads.
What Is Mobile App Optimization?
The ASO definition is the following: it is the process of improving mobile apps to rank better in the search results of an app store (Google Play and/or App Store). The better your app ranks in the search results of an app store, the more visible it is to potential consumers.
Why Use App Store Optimization?
One of ASO’s aims is to boost the number of app downloads and for an app to rank higher in the Stores. However, it can also raise brand awareness, encourage user engagement, and generate feedback and reviews.
Originally published on March 20, 2023. Updated on October 5, 2023.