Congratulations on completing the back-breaking work of building your very own mobile application! The next step, naturally, is to get it released on the App Store, as you hope for high download and usage rates.
However, getting people to download your app is not so simple. There are millions of applications on the App Store, which makes standing out a herculean task. How do you get consumers to become aware of it and find it quickly?
This is where App Store Optimisation, or ASO, comes into play.
Getting to Know ASO
Simply put, ASO refers to the process of using digital data, such as keywords and visuals, to appeal to algorithms in the App Store that make your app more prominent to users. It also refers to a collection of strategies that increase the appeal of your app to consumers.
ASO works somewhat similarly to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), which also employs strategic keywords to increase the prominence of websites on search pages. For example, a website containing highly-popular keywords such as “businesses near me” and “wine business” will pop up near the top of the search results when consumers search for that keyword. The more popular keywords you use, the more likely your website will rank highly on the search page, drawing more customers in.
In the same way, the strategic use of keywords in your app description increases the visibility of your app on a platform such as Google Play Store. However, there are many specific strategies unique to ASO—namely, in the form of three golden rules.
Rule 1: Use The Right Keywords For Your Title
The first part of any ASO strategy is to identify popular keywords for the app title and description.
Before selecting your keywords, take note that ASO keywords differ from SEO keywords. This is due to differences in digital user behaviour. Users searching the web are typically looking for more general information. SEO keywords thus tend to be long and vague, such as “best business in town”. On the other hand, users on app platforms are searching for a specific service, often with a particular brand in mind. Hence, ASO keywords should be short, succinct and specific and describe a particular activity. Examples include “budget tracker” and “chat”.
When publishing your app online, the first thing you need to do is to optimise your app’s title. Titles carry the most weight in terms of increasing online visibility. The app title should:
- Describe the specific service or benefit offered by your app (e.g. “diet tracker”, “coupon”)
- Be kept to 25 characters so that users can easily tell what your app is about
- Be memorable and catchy to appeal more directly to users
- Employ as many popular keywords as possible that check off the aforementioned criteria
One way to select keywords is to analyse the keywords used by the highest-ranking competitors. This way, you get a much clearer idea of what users are searching for.
Rule 2: Craft an Engaging and Informative Description
Your app description is also a powerful ranking factor (an algorithm that pushes your app to the top of the search results). The description is analysed by the algorithms to determine your app’s rank in search results.
When crafting your description, bear the following in mind:
- What exactly does my app strive to achieve?
- What specific features does my app have to offer?
- Is the text of my description simple yet comprehensive?
- What popular, relevant keywords can I weave into my description?
- Have I kept within 1000 characters?
Just like the title, keywords must be used judiciously in the description. A common strategy is to look up the main features of your app online. Identify the keywords employed by the top-ranked competitors in their descriptions, as well as any changes in their rankings when their descriptions are altered. Then, weave those keywords into your description.
Rule 3: Use Powerful Visuals
Visuals are one of the most important determinants of an app’s success, second only to the app title. In fact, studies show that users take just 7 seconds to decide whether to download an app based on how it looks!
Typically, visuals come in the form of screenshots to mimic the mobile experience. Screenshots should showcase the features of the app clearly. On top of that, they should be memorable, attention-grabbing and professional-looking.
When creating your visuals and screenshots, make sure that they
- Showcase the user interface of the app
- Show off the most engaging, compelling features of your app
- Are aesthetically pleasing to look at
One way to harness the power of visuals: upload a video to your app store page! Use the video to demonstrate how your app works—more specifically, its key features. Give users a taste of the user experience (UX) of your app. Videos increase app downloads by 35%, so you do not want to miss this opportunity.
Another way is to create a memorable app icon. Good app icons are easily recognisable, aesthetically pleasing and convey your distinct brand image.
ASO is a deep, nuanced process. The algorithms employed by various platforms work differently, character limits may vary and the interfaces of different platforms may affect the visual presentation of your app. A good ASO strategy should take into account the nuances of each app platform, as well as publicity tactics to raise awareness of the app beyond these platforms.
Bearing in mind the three golden rules of ASO, here are more resources to help you out in your ASO journey!
- The Practical Guide to App Store Optimisation
- An In-Depth Guide to App Store Optimisation
- What is ASO and Why Is It Important for Business?
Looking to get started but don’t know where to begin? Seek professional expertise — talk to Kaddra’s trusted marketing partner, MediaUnboxxed, to help you out in your ASO journey.
The article is authored by MediaUnboxxed.