L'App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of improving the presentation of features of an application designed for the iOS and Android mobile platforms.
ASO aims to increase an app's visibility during store search: thus, it is about tapping into users' search intent to get more downloads from app stores, whether they are Android, Apple or Microsoft.
When publishing a new app in the Google Play Store or App Store, putting an ASO strategy in place is the best way to start off on the right foot and sell your own app In the most palatable way.
Subject of optimization are: App name, keywords, screenshot, demo video, icon and description.
Many people believe that theapp optimization for stores to be a one-time operation, but in fact it is exactly the opposite.
Store features change every day, and it is unthinkable not to monitor app performance and abandon all forms of ASO. But how specifically does it help to make your app prolific? Let's find out together.
What is ASO?
As the name suggests, the App Store Optimization (ASO) is the set of activities that help maximize the visibility of applications within online stores.
The first official store was Apple's App Store in 2008, which was followed by Google Play after a few months.
Thus, from their birth came App Store Optimization, the early version of which focused primarily on keyword research, as is still the case with SEO today. In 2009, however the competition on the stores was not what it is today And it was much easier to position.
This has changed dramatically in recent years, as the number of apps has increased dramatically, previews are more intriguing, and app tabs are more accurate.
The user experience itself is much more compelling, and ASO has become more and more professional and helpful over time.
Among the primary goals of the ASO is to acquire a high ranking in search results in the stores and raise the click-through rate. This means that you will have to convince people to click on the app once they find it.
By placing the application upward, you have to push users to choose it, ensuring that they then make the purchase or download it. This part of the ASO is known as Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) And it is by no means to be underestimated.
ASO and SEO
It is good to say that the ASO shares some of its strategies with the SEO (Search Engine Optimization), such as keyword and conversion optimization, choice of names and titles, and the importance of backlinks.
However, app stores work according to different dynamics than search engines such as Google. In fact, ASO strategies must take into account. specific KPIs, that is, key performance indicators such as conversion rate, number of impressions and number of installs.
This means that digital stores also operate on the visual and multimedia aspects, while search engines focus mainly on text.
In addition, external elements such as links to other sites have relevance in SEO. In contrast, app stores are more closed environments and therefore the ASO can only act internally within the app tab.
App Store vs. Google Play
With the application developed, it is time to decide on which platform to publish it. Sharing can be done on Apple's App Store, Google Play, or both.
The two stores serve the same purpose: to allow users to search for apps and games to download them for free or for a fee. This is not to say, however, that iOS and Android operate in the same way. Here are some of the main differences between the two stores Regarding the ASO.
The first difference concerns the updating of keywords. In order to update the keywords in iTunes, it is necessary to enter a new application update even if the source code has not been changed.
The only downside to this is that the rating obtained from the app is reset. The rating obtained from the latest version will go into the overall average rating, but the average rating shown in the search results will be restored.
In iTunes, the title consists of maximum 255 characters. The keywords included in the title carry more weight. Despite this, the inclusion of keywords in the title must be done consistently.
If we put a lot of keywords in the title of our app, mostly inconsistent with the work done, Apple will reject the app for keyword stuffing.
The field for keywords can be populated by a maximum of 100 characters. The basic rules for keyword composition are as follows:
- Exclude keywords that echo the company name or title
- use all 100 available characters
- Separate each keyword from the other with a comma (which will not be counted in the overall 100-character count)
- Remove spaces (which affect the 100 characters available)
- do not repeat the same keyword
- Use either the singular or plural of the keyword, not both
- Prioritize short words over so as to include as many keywords as possible
The iTunes algorithm combines the keywords present and consequently there is no need to group them.
In Google Play, updating data is simple and straightforward, immediately available to the end user.
Google Play Title
In Google Play, the title is a maximum of 30 characters. Keywords included in the title carry more weight.
Description Google Play
In Google Play, the list of keywords is extrapolated from the text entered for the description (4000 characters possible). This does not mean that we can exaggerate, the text must always make logical and readable sense.
The recommendation is to include the keyword for a maximum of 4-5 times Within the text of the description.
How to perform ASO properly
For application optimization to be effective and successful, it must be carried out considering some important aspects.
- Choice of keywords
The choice of keywords is one of the key points. We have 3 characteristics to keep in mind for each keyword:
The biggest mistake one can make here is to choose keywords based only on traffic volume. This will allow us to have a high number of searches, but neglecting relevance and difficulty, which are the most influential variables in the strategy of increasing app downloads.
- Relevance of keywords
Relevance is the most important criterion when it comes to choose keywords. To be more specific, the keyword chosen should be the one that users use to search for your application.
There is no tool and/or secret to detect the most relevant keywords for your app. Research can be done by identifying keywords that store competitors have used or by surveying with the help of friends/colleagues/users on "how" they would search for the app.
- Keyword difficulty
To determine this factor, I tested Sensor Tower.
On Sensor Tower, difficulty is determined by a scale of 0 to 10 where 10 determines the greater difficulty (for iTunes we will have two different scores for the iPhone store and the iPad store).
Difficulty is very important compared to traffic. If I have a keyword that has huge traffic, but high difficulty (for which I have a 400 position in search results) I will not have a increased downloads.
Inversely, if I have a lower number of searches, but a lower difficulty (ranking in the top 40 to 50 results) I will definitely have an increase in downloads.
It is useful to note that keywords with a high difficulty generally have more traffic, but what is the difficulty in identifying the target audience we need to consider in order to increase downloads?
If your application is already on the store, you need to locate the average value for the keywords used.
The difficulty of the keywords used so far is identified, added together, and divided by the number of keywords. The average value constitutes our starting point.
We can thus choose keywords that have an equal or lower difficulty value than the average value obtained. On the other hand, if it is a new application, it is advisable to keep as a reference a value of 3 or less.
- Identifying keywords
Very important for keyword determination is competitor analysis. Almost all platforms allow you to read the keywords used by our competitors and its characteristics (relevance, difficulty, traffic).Another cue can be to use one of the keywords to search for posts on Twitter/Facebook with a particular hashtag.
Analysis of reviews can also be interesting: users often use phrases to review the app that may contain potential keywords.
Finally, a useful tool may be the one offered by Google: Adwords Keyword Planner.
One of the questions we might ask ourselves at this point is: when should we replicate a keyword? First of all, we have to imagine that the effects of a keyword change are not immediate.
Keyword monitoring over a period of time and subsequent analysis can help on this front. Generally speaking, it is useful to evaluate the keyword change When:
- you are not listed in the top 10 for a particular keyword.
- a previous keyword change produced no results
The process is as follows:
- Keyword research and selection
- Analyzing the ranking
- Brainstorming and replacing keywords for which your app failed to rank in the top 10
- Implement keyword changes
- Go back to step 2 and repeat until all keywords see the app ranked in the top 10
- Generated traffic
We also have traffic, which determines the number of searches performed for a given keyword. Therefore, given the same difficulty, it is appropriate to choose the keyword with the most traffic.
- Visual elements
The visual elements of the application are of considerable importance because they are among the first aspects that users look at in iTunes or Google Play.
It is the first way we have available to capture the attention of the target audience and prompt him to download the app. You will need to use a look and communication that is intriguing and striking.
To do so, it is necessary to highlight the following components:
Two types of designs are recommended to be considered for the icon: corporate icon or descriptive icon. For the corporate type one, it is preferable to include corporate logos and colors. There are several examples on stores, including the iconic Nike mustache.
If you go the descriptive icon route, the difficulties are obviously greater. The advice is to focus on a key feature of the application and highlight it through the icon.
If the app is a game instead, we can create the icon with one of the key characters in the game itself.
As a general rule, it is best to create a simple and easily recognizable application considering that the icon is also often displayed in not very large sizes.
Often images are used that capture the functionality of the application, but this is not always the right way.
In some cases, screenshots can Being ambiguous or not immediately communicating the added value of the app you are proposing.
Always remember that the stores contain a huge number of apps and that ASO is work that needs to be done consistently.
The basic tips for useful screenshots are as follows:
- Always use all available screenshots
- The best screenshot should be displayed first
- Each screenshot should communicate the real value we are proposing to users
- Use additional text to highlight the benefit that is displayed with each screenshot
- Images should have a "clean" and bright style and should facilitate reading
- Enlarge or indicate certain areas with an arrow to emphasize concepts.
The description is an essential part of the application tab. The basic rule for both stores is. make the text readable.
We use spaces, bulleted lists, and punctuation to make the content easily understood by the user, especially if it is very long.
The first 3 lines of the description will be those displayed in iTunes or on the web, and it is in these lines that we need to communicate the value of the app.
Description Google Play
We have already emphasized the importance of the description for Google Play: keywords are taken from the text entered in this field, so we always avoid keyword spamming.
- App Localization.
Having prepared images and text for the application, it is time to take an extra step to increase its visibility. Many people typically do everything in their mother tongue, partly to simplify their work.
In fact, making the app global and accessible for anyone in the world is a way to adapt it to the target market, expanding its audience. This does not mean starting from scratch, but simply transferring what has already been done into another language.
You can use the same metadata, translate the chosen keywords, make new screenshots, and so on.
Localization into foreign languages is necessary for extend the target and make the app available to those searching for applications in the native language.
In fact, users are much more trusting of apps and games translated into their own idiom and are more likely to decide to click and start downloading.
Do you have doubts about using and developing an ASO strategy? Contact us!