As companies transition into a digitized, service-based economy, they have incorporated apps into their product offerings, and this includes many of our clients. We’ve outlined some best practices for app store optimization (ASO) in this article so you don’t have to search everywhere for the right answers. Why? Because we’re nice like that. 😊
At Archetype Solutions Group, our marketing team optimizes social media, web and email marketing, as well as app marketing and optimization efforts for our clients. When we work with apps our first focus is always ASO. By focusing on this first we create a foundation for the rest of our marketing efforts that fosters growth and enables our partners to succeed in the future.
Searching in the app stores (Apple and Google Play), browsing app store top charts, and using app store features are still three of the top five ways people discover new apps for potential purchase. Therefore, it is important for app owners to pay special attention to how their products are presented in the app stores and strategically plan their product presentations to optimize visibility. Such efforts need to be deliberate and require an understanding of each app store’s ranking algorithms.
In this guide, we will introduce the ways in which your app’s visibility is determined in the app stores, as well as some best practices to keep in mind in order to capitalize on these algorithms and maximize your app’s presence from a marketing perspective.
Two of the key dimensions that search engines in both app stores rely on are:
- Easy content discovery
- App ranking algorithms
Easy content discovery means that the search engine will take shortcuts when receiving a user’s search request and look for apps that contain the most relevant keywords and prioritize showing those results.
App ranking algorithms, on the other hand, are directly tied to:
- Perceived app quality
- Brand scale
- User value signals (examples include reviews, ratings, and engagement)
These underlying mechanisms of both app stores should dictate your strategic plan and approach to presenting your app. Taking them into account, we recommend targeting keyword optimization, ranking, impressions (number of views on the app store), engagement (reviews and ratings) and downloads as key performance indicators for your app’s visibility in the store.
Now that we have given you some background information, how exactly do you start improving? Below we have laid out some easy optimization steps you can take to improve on the KPIs we just listed.
App Title, Subtitle, and Description
The title, subtitle, and description of your app are the most visible elements that are important to optimize. Here are some basic tips and rules to follow:
- The subtitle for your app allows for just 30 characters in the Apple App Store and 80 characters in Google Play (also known as the short description), so try to maximize the space with keywords.
- The first 3 lines of the description are the most important as many people do not read further.
- The description should serve as a call to action that lists the benefits of the app and compels the reader to download.
- Use the strongest, core keywords that reinforce value and differentiation for your app.
In addition to the app title and subtitle, the Apple App Store specifically uses a 100-character keyword field to determine which search strings your app shows up for. It is important to use all allotted characters and fill the space with carefully researched keywords to maximize organic traffic to your app.
Your app keywords should not be static. By updating your keywords regularly, you have a greater chance at showing up in searches as a recommended result.
Note that your app keywords can only be updated in conjunction with an app update in the Apple App Store.
Unlike the App Store, Google Play does not have a designated keyword field. Instead, Google Play’s search engine automatically pulls keywords from the title, subtitle (short description), and long description to index your app. It is especially important to include relevant keywords in these sections when you are optimizing your app in Google Play.
You can discover the most relevant keywords by doing a deep dive into your data and developing consumer profiles. With those profiles you can craft short and long-tail keywords by thinking through what consumers will likely type in the search bar when looking for an app.
App Ratings and Reviews
The volume and freshness of your app’s reviews and ratings can help boost your app’s ranking in the store. Having a framework to generate user reviews such as periodically asking highly engaged users to review the app or integrating rating requests into the app in addition to pop-up prompts are good practices. Don’t forget to reply to and engage with user reviews to encourage feedback. Replying to negative user reviews is especially important.
Your app downloads are an easy, direct way to organically increase your app’s prominence through the app store’s ranking system. More downloads will increase your visibility in the app stores, reinforcing a positive cycle. Your website should be the primary force behind driving people to download the app. By creating a sound search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and a consumer-journey-focused web experience, you can boost your app website or webpage’s performance.
Building long-term relationships with our venture partners and consulting clients allows us to immerse ourselves in their business operations and gain a deep understanding of their branding and product. As a result, we are able to develop more complex, tailored ASO and overall SEO strategies for our partners as a part of our marketing roadmap. The roadmap is the basis for how we create strong marketing foundations from which we build incredible campaigns and outreach programs.
ASO, SEO, and other marketing efforts are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to building a strong and successful application. That’s why we also help our clients use the data from their apps and advertising to create better products that their customers become evangelists for. This product management can include things like app feature planning and audience testing. If you aren’t actively working on your ASO, marketing, data analysis and product development for your application, you are missing out on major opportunities.