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App Store Optimization for a new App

The basics of ASO along with a checklist
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App Store Optimization

After doing a couple of projects in Digital Marketing for websites, I got a chance to work for an app. When I joined the project, the app was under development and soon to be launched on Google Play Store and iOS App Store. The first question that came to mind was, there are millions of apps on these stores. How is anybody going to find my app organically. A quick google search gave me a term – ASO i.e. App Store Optimization just like the SEO for websites.

What is ASO

When a customer searches for a query on the app store, a search engine results page is produced just like a Google SERP for web pages. So, it’s necessary, the app should rank for these keywords.

The Tool.io defines it as “App Store Optimization also known as ASO or App Store SEO is the process of optimizing an application in order to maximize its visibility in the stores in Search (when users search) and Explore (when users browse), increase traffic to listing and improve conversion rate to generate the maximum volume of organic downloads.”

Where can ASO be done?

There are two places where a marketer can optimize the app listing:

On-Metadata Factors:

Figure 1. Google Play Store ASO elements: The elements that a marketer can optimize to get better ranking and higher install rate

Pic Credit: TheTool.io

Figure 2. iOS AppStore ASO elements: The elements that a marketer can optimize to get better ranking and higher install rate

Pic Credit: TheTool.io

1) Android URL Package:

a) Top 2 keywords

2)Developer Name (only Google Play)

a)“Company Name”: Top 4 keywords

3) App Name / Title

a) 30 characters

b) “Brand Name”: 2 most important keywords

4) iOS Subtitle

a) 30 characters

b) Next 2 most important keywords

5) Android Short Description

a) 80 characters

b)POD

6) Description

a) 4000 characters

b) Structure it on following points:

i) Achievement - POD

ii) Information

iii) Issues solved

iV) Features

v) Social Media Links

vi) Customer care email address

vii) Website homepage link

viii) Pricing

ix) Privacy policy page link

x) T&C page link

7) Promo Text and Keywords Field (only Apple)

a) 100 characters

8) Category

a) Selecting the correct category is important to get relevant suggestions

b) iOS provides option to select primary category & secondary category

9) Icon

a) First thing that customer looks at. ASO is not directly affected by this, but customer perception is

10) Screenshots and Video

a) 6-7 images + 1 video

b) Add a text line to each image

c) Images in 9:16 format

d) iOS Video: 9:16 format

e) Android Video: 16:9 format as it needs to be uploaded on YouTube and referenced from there.

Off-Metadata Factors

  1. Volume and speed of installs
  2. Ratings & Reviews 
  3. User Engagement

Volume and speed of install(frequency) would depend on your marketing strategy.  

Localization

Apps are launched on stores by providing the location. It’s important to do keyword research based on the target region and provide keywords appropriately. Localization gives the opportunity to communicate a solution to the need of that region.

Keyword Research

All the basic techniques of SEO keyword research apply here. Just the tools that make it possible. Personally, I use SEMrush for my webpage keyword research. I used “The Tool.io” for app keyword research. Few items to keep in mind:

  • Perform separate keyword research for android & iOS
  • Localize the keyword research

When should ASO process be started?

Ideally start the keyword research when the app is at a wireframe level and features are decided. This will give enough time.

Post the app launch, perform ASO audits at regular intervals and optimize the app page.

Tracking & Metrics

  1. Keyword ranking: change in keywords you are ranking for and keywords your competitor is ranking for
  2. Organic vs inorganic installs. Can further categorize by region
  3. Conversion rate to install. If you are running a ads campaign, find no of clicks to install/first-open to find efficacy of the app page

Example

Following is an example that closely resembles the research and suggestions for one of my clients which is mental health & fitness domain:

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