Similar to SEO, App Store Optimization takes time and effort. As a matter of fact, when it comes to mobile apps, organic growth is hardly achieved overnight. It takes hard work and consistent optimization to get on the right path to success.
If we don’t know what to track, however, we won’t be able to know how successful we are. Every result, as well as the effectiveness of each marketing activity, must be analyzed to fully understand the processes to the app’s functioning.
In Paid User Acquisition, marketers usually check cost-per-install (CPI), cost-per-action (CPA), and of course, ROAS. However, when it comes to App Store Optimization, we often struggle to clearly define what KPIs and metrics we should keep an eye on. This doesn’t help us to define whether our organic growth strategy is effective or not.
App Store Optimization (ASO): Goals and KPIs
Depending on the various product stages, each app pursues different goals. These may include aiming for organic growth, a higher conversion rate, more installs, reduction of acquisition costs or users engagement.
The importance of App Store Optimization lies in the benefits that it brings in the long run, such as the ability to achieve and maintain stable organic growth.
Here below, we collect the main KPIs for an App Store Optimization strategy. By tracking the following metrics regularly, we will be able to assess our success and monitor the changes.
#1 Goal: App Stores Visibility
Among the main goals of App Store Optimization strategies, the visibility of mobile apps and games in both iOS and Android Stores plays an essential role in achieving a higher number of organic installs.
By carrying out marketing activities related to visibility, it is in fact possible to increase the discoverability of the app in Search, Top Charts, and Featured categories.
To measure App Stores visibility, we can track with one of the many ASO tools available, the following KPIs:
- Category & Top Chart rankings: This used to be one of the key metrics for many brands and advertisers. However, due to Store changes, that have limited category visibility, this has lost relevance for ASO purposes. Having said that, tracking how our mobile app position changes over time within its category can give us an indication of how many installs we get. As well as our competitors.
- Keywords rankings: This represents the achieved position within Search rankings for keywords, or keyword combinations, relevant to our app. The number of ranked keywords per se should not be a KPI. In fact, we should also take into account the volume search for each keyword. The higher the search volume our keywords rank for, the better it is for our App Store Optimization strategy.
- Keywords visibility: Most of the ASO tools available in the market give the possibility to track overall visibility for a group of keywords over a period of time. This is an important KPI to control, as it can be used also to compare our performance against competitors.
- Similar/Related apps: Similar apps traffic matters for organic growth. It is an important metric to keep in consideration. Understanding which app pages link to ours is a good indication of how the Stores consider our mobile app.
- Featured: Although being featured in the Store depends on many factors, a good ASO strategy can have a direct impact on this specific point. For this reason, keeping an eye on this is very important. This is also because being featured usually means getting a high number of organic installs.
Daily and monthly tracking of the evolution of the above metrics, and comparison of rankings with competitors’ products, are key factors in App Store Optimization.
#2 Goal: Conversion Rate
Another important factor in evaluating our App Store Optimization strategy is the effectiveness of the keywords traffic to our Product Page. What does this mean exactly? If we optimize our Store Listing for keywords that are not relevant to our product, users who land there won’t be downloading our mobile app. Analyzing the conversion rate of our Product Page will give us a clear idea of how relevant the keywords we chose are to our business.
To optimize correctly our Store Listing, we can take a look at the following two factors:
- On-metadata: app name (title), description, creatives;
- Off-metadata: downloads, ratings, reviews.
When taking a look at this metric, the related KPIs are:
- Click-through rate (CTR): The ratio between the number of clicks and the number of impressions (name, app icon, and screenshots are very influential);
- Conversion rate to install (CR): The percentage of visitors to your Product Page that have downloaded our app.
Both CTR and CR are crucial to the Store Listing’s conversion funnel.
#3 Goal: Organic Uplift
When it comes to ASO, the number and the frequency of installs are not everything. There is another metric, known as organic uplift (or organic multiplier), that refers to a natural increase in organic traffic due to paid marketing actions.
Such a metric is determined by the ratio between the percentage of organic and non-organic installs. That is the higher the value of the organic uplift, the lower the eCPI of user acquisition). Moreover, paid installs can help our app ranking in Search and Top Charts. Thus giving our app more visibility and a higher chance to attract organic users.
Understanding the number of organic installs our mobile app receives within a certain period of time, is a must-track KPI for all ASO managers and brands. However, tracking this uplift is not always simple. The two Stores, in fact, don’t offer a clear way to monitor this metric. One thing we could do, however, is to make sure that any change we make to the Store Listing is not done at the same as product update releases. In this way, we can, somehow, track better the impact.
Another important metric for growth analysis, related to this, is the number of active users. In this case, the main KPIs are MAU (Monthly Active Users) and DAU (Daily Active Users).
To correctly analyze and improve conversion metrics, you may want to conduct A/B tests for those elements of the Store Listing that need to be changed. It is important to keep in mind that these kinds of changes have to be made separately in order to clearly identify which one of them has led to improvements in conversion.
#4 Goal: Reviews & Ratings
Ratings and reviews play also key roles in the success of an app. To be more specific, (1) they can actually help an app with its ranking in Search and Top Charts, as well as having (2) a major influence on users’ download decisions.
In other words, the more reviews and ratings we have, the greater their impact on an app’s ranking and visibility. For this reason, the number of reviews and ratings our app gets is an important KPI to track.
#5 Goal: Monetization
Another important goal for mobile developers is monetization. If we don’t make money, what are we doing this for?
The relevant KPIs to measure revenue are:
- Average Revenue per User (ARPU): The total revenue divided by the number of users;
- Lifetime Value (LTV): A prediction of the net future profit for a particular user;
- Revenue: The total amount of income generated.
For an effective monetization of a mobile app, what matters the most is the quality of users rather than the number of installs. Therefore, the user who pays more for an extended period of time is to be considered more valuable than a user who drops out of the app shortly after his first session.
However, can monetization be directly related to our App Store Optimization strategy? In a way, yes. However, this is not always easy to track. Having said that, it is nevertheless important to keep an eye on how this metric progresses over time.
App Store Optimization (ASO) is a common practice to increase the organic visibility of our mobile app. Too often, however, we tend to focus on the wrong metrics to define how successful our efforts are. With the above-mentioned KPIs, we are able to keep all the important metrics under control and ensure successful organic growth.