ASO strategies are a crucial aspect of mobile app marketing plans, but they can be surrounded by misconceptions that hinder their effectiveness. By understanding and avoiding such misconceptions, you can optimize your app’s visibility and increase its chances of success.
What Is an ASO Strategy?
Simply put, an ASO strategy is a procedure of planning, polishing, and implementing methods to increase an app’s exposure in app stores in order to increase organic app downloads.
Hence, App Store Optimization might be difficult. There are numerous ranking criteria that influence your app’s exposure, ranging from keywords and creatives to ratings, download rate, and retention. Monitoring the impact of your efforts is another challenging puzzle piece to complete.
Many individual marketers make beginner mistakes and take an ASO project entirely on themselves. That is a sure way to waste time and money, so in most cases, it is smarter to get professional help from agencies that have been in that field for a longer period of time.
How Can I Improve My ASO?
Since ASO strategies can be overwhelming, here are just a few tips on how you can actually improve your game:
- Detailed ASO keyword research (tip: use good keyword research tools)
- Analyze your competitors
- Analyze real search ad data
- Carefully optimize your app’s title and description
- Incorporate tailored, compelling visual elements
- Dont forget about ratings and reviews
- Monitor results and update
- Conduct A/B testing
Laying out these tips and fundamentals should help you in your ASO journey. But now, let’s see some of the most common ASO misconceptions that can ruin your efforts if you take them into consideration.
1. ASO Is a One-Time Task
Like anything that is organic growth related, ASO takes time to have an impact and show the desired results. There are iterative tasks that need to be implemented and continuous tests to incrementally increase both the visibility and conversion rate of the store listings.
Of course, doing it once is better than don’t do it at all, but a long-term commitment is needed to deliver results.
Here are a few reasons why this needs to be ongoing:
- Keyword volume search varies according to the period of the year – seasonality
- Keywords referring to a specific topic might vary slightly depending on what users research
- Messaging, both from textual and visual metadata, might need to be updated on a regular basis to test incremental increases on CVR
- Monitoring results on a regular basis with proper reporting that deep dives into keywords movements, CVR, downloads, and other important metrics will support the ongoing work to be done.
2. ASO Is Just Like SEO
Although these two practices might look similar due to the nature of the activities involved, there are some fundamental differences that marketers and app developers need to be aware of.
First and foremost, SEO focuses on web optimization, while ASO focuses on the optimization of Store Pages. This means that with SEO, a marketer can use different levers to grow webpage visibility, while for ASO, we have fewer opportunities, and hence a specialist is needed.
It’s also important to mention that part of the ASO’s main objective is to increase conversion rate (from visit to download), and not only visibility.
3. Stuffing Keywords Will Support Better Ranking
Nowadays, keyword stuffing for both SEO and ASO is a “bad” practice, and most professionals know that it does more harm than good.
In ASO, it’s better to focus on keyword density, i.e., the percentage of the time a keyword is repeated in respect to the total number of characters in the long description. When thinking about ASO, we should structure our keywords of interest in tiers, starting with the most relevant to the less relevant ones.
With the tier 1 or primary keywords, we want to aim at a density of around 3%, while for the others, we should go slowly down in density, so 2.5%, 1.5%, and 1%.
4. It’s Only About Keywords
Probably the most common misconception is that if the optimization is done well, then we will rank. However, in ASO, there are other factors that contribute to ranking:
- Ratings and reviews: these have a direct impact on app and keywords ranking. They also have an impact for sure in conversion rate, i.e., if the app has a bad rating/review, then users will be suspicious and don’t download the app. However, ratings/reviews velocity and quantity have a direct impact on the ranking of the app.
- App performance (vitals): when it comes to the performance of the app itself is also worth mentioning that this has a direct impact on app ranking. When looking at the app analytics in the Store pages, we can see how our app is doing and understand whether we might have an issue with the app performance (high crush rate, for example).
5. Description Doesn’t Matter
We know that iOS and Android take into consideration different aspects of the Store Page to rank keywords. In particular, for keywords ranking, it is known that on Android, the keywords we use in the long description are ranked, while the same is not true for iOS.
On top of that, when seeing stats that only 2% of the total users actually read long descriptions, we might be thinking that it is not worth investing time and effort in optimizing this specific component, especially for iOS.
However, having a well-structured long description, clear and with the right keywords (also for iOS) in place, can help users quickly skim through the text and understand if the app is right for them. On top of that, having a strong, clear, and conversion-driven first sentence might also support the conversion rate.
When competition increases, differentiation becomes more important, hence the need to invest time in this.
6. Paid Ads Are Enough
Depending on the stage our app is at, we might be thinking that investing in paid ads is actually enough to support the growth of our app. However, although paid advertising can facilitate and speed up growth, it is not a long-term solution.
As mentioned earlier, ASO is a long-term game, while Paid UA has a more immediate impact. However, optimizing the store pages has a direct impact on paid advertising, as having a clear message, both textual and visual, can increase conversion and reduce the blended cost per install.
It’s important to notice, however, that ignoring the high correlation between Apple Search Ads and App Store Optimization would be a big mistake.
7. Localization Is Not Needed
Localizing the app for different markets is a must for every app developer that targets different regions. However, what we usually suggest at REPLUG is also to understand (to a possible extent) the cultural differences and ways to use specific aspects of the Store Listings.
Having a uniform approach to localization can negatively impact the ASO performance. More specifically, translation is not enough when looking at markets that are very different from each other, e.g., the US vs. Japan.
8. Cross-Localization Doesn’t Help Keyword Indexing
It is now well known among ASO professionals that different locales in the Store Listing Page can have an impact on keyword indexing. What does this mean?
For example, when optimizing your app for the U.S., it’s important to remember that the Spanish (Mexico) locale impacts the keywords ranked for that market. Hence, when we optimize a store page, we should keep in mind the relationship between different locales.
9. Buying Cheap “Targeted” Installs for Keywords Will Help With Ranking
With ASO becoming increasingly complex and, at the same time, popular (who doesn’t want to grow organically?), there’s been an increase of companies offering incentivized, cheap, and “targeted” keywords bidding to increase app ranking for specific search terms.
Both Apple and Google penalize apps that use incentivized traffic to drive growth, and this can result in being banned by the Store.
ASO Strategies and Misconceptions: Conclusion
As with any other field, you can see that the ASO field is also full of misconceptions. Take your time to understand these common ASO misconceptions and do your best to avoid them. You can develop well-rounded and effective ASO strategies for your mobile app, leading to increased visibility, higher rankings, and improved user acquisition and retention.
Avoid ASO misconceptions that can lead to a failure in your strategy. Get in touch with app marketing professionals to improve your App Store Optimization game.