The app market is huge and the competition is growing steadily! There are around 4 million apps in the two major app stores. On average, however, only 9 apps per day or 30 apps per month are used. Nevertheless apps are a global business with over $90 Billion in revenue in 2018. Around $37 Billion of this revenue comes from in-app purchases, especially for gaming and shopping apps.
The majority of the revenue is generated after the download of the app. It is therefore essential to provide an app with as much visibility in the app stores as possible through clever tactics and thereby generate as many organic (which means cheap) downloads as possible. In order to do this, you have to stand out communicatively in order to be relevant for users.
For this purpose, companies use various possibilities of app store optimization. In this article we describe levers and starting points for making your mobile app even easier to find in the digital stores.
Since the competition among apps is very high, companies have to increase their visibility by app store optimization.
What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?
App store optimization (ASO) are measures, whose goal is to bring mobile apps up in the search results of various app stores and to improve the visibility of one’s app there. Improving the visibility of a mobile app in a digital store (e.g. the App Store for iOS or the Play Store for Android) usually leads to higher download numbers. However, ASO is about more than just ensuring to be found.
Objectives of App Store Optimization
Marketing specialists try to achieve the following goals with the help of ASO:
- better rankings than the competitor in individual categories or for specific keywords
- improved visibility and higher download number of an app due to better placements
- better visual presentation of the app
The upper positions have of course, like search engines, the highest relevance for the user. App stores are also increasingly following this logic. Optimizing for individual keywords can therefore be helpful, but it is not the only possibility. In the following, you will find seven possibilities for app store optimization.
Users only want the most relevant apps on their smartphone. This is why relevance has also become the decisive criterion in the app store searches.
7 Possibilities for App Store Optimization
Various concrete measures can be derived from the objectives of ASO. These are discussed in more detail below.
Offer free of charge or charge?
This is a fundamental question that needs to be answered. As described above, the majority of app sales in Germany are only generated through in-app purchases after the download.
Therefor you should have very good reasons to offer your app for a fee. It should offer immense additional value and be free of advertising. We recommend publishing shopping apps free of charge in the app stores.
The app icon is one of the most important elements in all app stores. This icon is immediately noticed in the search result list. It is an important factor that can decide whether users click on the app and take a closer look at it or not. You should not simply use your logo as an app icon.
In the games industry, for example, there is the realization that the illustration of a figure from a game with an open mouth often leads to higher download numbers. A game developer could increase his conversions by 9% by optimizing the app icon. However, you can increase your conversion rate by experimenting with different icons regardless of your industry.
The app icon is one of the essential visual elements of an app that users see again and again. It should therefore be selected with care.
Optimize app names and subtitles
The app name should contain the function or use of the app and should be very meaningful. For a shopping list app, for example, it is advisable to use the term shopping list in addition to the name of the app. This allows users to understand the value proposition in a matter of seconds.
Naming an app can be challenging because there are character limits in the different app stores: the Apple App Store provides 30 characters for the title and 30 characters for the subtitle. In Google Play, however, up to 50 characters possible in the name. In the subtitle we recommend asking the user for installation with a call-to-action.
Refine app description and keywords
Whether an app also contains all functions important for the user should be listed in the app description. You should focus on the first few lines in particular. These are considered to be the most important, since only the first sentences of the description are initially displayed in all relevant app stores. Here many users already make a decision for or against the app. The entire description is only displayed with a further click or tap.
Certain keywords for which you want to be found should also appear in the description. With Apple, keywords can also be stored as metadata. However, only 100 characters are available for this purpose. You should use these for your most relevant keywords.
Use App Video
It is now possible to upload a video for your app. You should definitely use this opportunity! A video can show how the app works so that users can get to know it without having to install it first.
Videos are also better suited than simple images to convince and emotionalize users. Taking the time to produce your own demo video for your app instead of storing a general advertising or image video. This investment will pay off!
Polishing up screenshots
The screenshots are another important visual building block in app store optimization. The first screenshot should be selected with the utmost care. Because if no video is stored, it is displayed very prominently, especially on mobile devices. The App Store currently offers ten screenshots. In the Play Store, however, only up to eight screenshots are possible. Use the maximum number of screenshots to present all core functions.
You should definitely consider the different screenshot formats for the different app stores, devices and positions. But the effort is worth it: Angry Birds was able to generate an additional 2.5 million downloads by optimizing the screenshots.
By updating and optimizing the screenshots, your users can very quickly get a good impression of an app.
Get app reviews
Last but not least, it is very important that users rate your app as good as possible. This is because reviews play a decisive role in successful app store optimization. Or would you download an app with two out of five stars?
A user will probably feel annoyed by a request for a review when using the app for the first time. Good timing is very important here. It would be better to request a review after multiple interactions with the app in a certain period (2x intensive use in three days or similar).
In a shopping app, on the other hand, it makes more sense to ask for a review after the second purchase. Because only then one can assume that the customer was satisfied with his first purchase and will give a good rating. Encourage your users and customers to rate with notifications in the app or use other touchpoints such as your customer service to generate positive ratings.