With over two million mobile apps in the major app stores, getting your app discovered and the connecting to its target audience is crucial to its success.
The emerging practice of optimizing a mobile app’s store listing for discovery and conversion in the app stores is called app store optimization, or ASO, and is essential in the competitive mobile app market.
The majority of mobile apps are downloaded via app store searches, accounting for more than 100 million app installs daily.
Mobile app install campaigns exceed $2 per install, which means tapping into this organic stream of app store search traffic is extremely valuable.
Neither Apple nor Google share their app store search data or their indexing and ranking algorithms. As a result, the practice of ASO is littered with misinformation, unsupported claims and hacks that can negatively impact app ranking and potential.
I saw down to chat with Dave Bell, CEO and Founder of the SF-Based ASO Platform Gummicube, about the actions items businesses need to fulfill to get their App’s rankings right.
Related Article: Six Reasons Your SMB Needs Its Own App
Best Practice #1: Use App Store Data
The most important part of creating an app listing that moves your target audience through the app store funnel is first knowing what your target audience is looking for.
Some app store optimization strategies involve using Google's publically available web search data as a proxy for app store search.
There are several reasons why using web search data won’t help your app store listing, but the easiest example is to search for “Mall” on Google and then again on Google Play.
Image via Google Play
A search for “mall” in Google itself yields a list of malls around your area. In Google Play, a list of mall-related games populates.
User intent in app store search is obviously different.
Building your optimization strategy on web search data instead of app store search data means you’ll be targeting the wrong keywords and phrases: your target market searches differently in the app stores than in web search.
Best Practice #2: Aim for Relevant Search Coverage
As compelling as being the #1 ranked app for “free fun game” can be, using the limited space allocated to app listing elements such as the app name, the keywords field and the description fields on overly-broad keywords may not make sense.
Keywords research is great for generating the best results out of Google and Apple’s algorithms, but those who will read your app description and decide whether or not to install your product are human. That’s why stuffing your content with keywords, thus creating a baffling app description, is a terrible (yet very common) approach for ASO.
Instead, aim for relevant keyword coverage.
By building as many relevant keyword and phrase combinations as you can in the space available, your app will be well positioned to appear in relevant search results and downloaded by a relevant, targeted audience.
Good coverage of relevant search terms by a well-made app can drive enough downloads to appear on the top category or overall app store lists, increasing organic traffic and installs, without incurring advertising costs.
Discovery does not guarantee an install. Discovery of your optimized app by your target audience, however, will greatly increase the rate at which viewers install your app and in the conversion of searchers to users.
Best Practice #3: Run a Focus Group on App Creatives
An app listing’s creative elements include the app icon, screenshots and a short video.
These elements along with the app description play a large role in converting potential users to users. Successful app publishers understand that organic app store search is too valuable to leave an app’s primary tools for conversion untested.
Image via Google Play
Run a focus group on your app icon. Test screenshots with variations on both design and copy or calls to actions used. Given the impact of the creative elements of an app listing and the value of the potential traffic, leaving these designs untested with your target market could do more harm than good.
Following proven strategies for moving potential users through the app store search funnel, ASO best practices help you to build a resilient, defendable, long-term position in the app stores with your target audience.