The Basics Of App Store Optimisation For The First Time Reader


Let’s think logically. There are about 5 million apps on the App Store and Google Play Store as of today. The first question any thriving app developer would have is ‘How is my app going to be visible in this cluttered land of apps?’ That’s exactly what led to the concept of App Store Optimisation.

As the app market became more and more populated, the app stores devised an app store algorithm with a vision of favoring all app developers and indeed providing best results to the searchers. The algorithm held in it code that let the best apps win and make it to their audiences. The first use of the term “app store optimisation” to describe this new discipline appears to have been in a presentation by Johannes Borchardt on November 4, 2009. It began to take hold as a standardized term not long after he made the first usage.

While the underlying ideology of App Store Optimisation is the same as that of Search Engine Optimisation for web searches, the practices for each of these vary sometimes because of the mediums. That said, it is true that on a very broad level, the fundamental concept and a few practices of both Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and App Store Optimisation (ASO) remain the same.

So, what exactly is App Store Optimisation?

App store optimisation (ASO) in layman terms is a series of things an app marketer does to improve the visibility of his app on the app store. When we’re talking about an app which has monopoly in the market, ASO is all about visibility. But, considering the fact that there are several players in every field and sector, today ASO is a process that is used more to optimise the app so as to rank above its competitors and not just worry about visibility. This specifically means app store optimisation includes the process of ranking highly in an app store’s search results and top charts rankings.

Additionally, when an app marketer performs tasks according to the guidelines of the app store optimisation algorithm, they are also working on increasing their conversions. This is because the principles of ASO lets them optimise in such a way that the most efficient version of the app is laid into the app store and therefore the conversions of impressions into downloads which is also referred to as Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is at an optimum. ASO marketers and mobile marketing companies substantiate the same by agreeing that ranking higher in search results and top charts rankings has driven more downloads for an app.

Among the biggest benefits of App Store Optimisation is the fact that it is organic and requires no monetary investments. Yes, all the efforts you put into ASO are technical skills, time and manpower driven as opposed to money driven which is the case with almost all other user acquisition strategies.

Why is ASO important?

  • Search is the most important for driving traffic to your app and improving on app downloads.

As mentioned above, The goal of ASO is to ideally increase your app downloads by driving traffic to your app page on the app store.

If you have a doubt as to how much this traffic can mean to an app marketer, here’s something you need to know: 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches as stated by a Forrester research. Among these searches, a huge chunk of searches are generic search and not branded searches which means the searchers do not have a preferred app and this is an opportunity for the app marketer to convince the searcher to download their app.

The survey also showed that users who download an app during the search are 50% more likely to turn into loyal users.

This makes search, as a mode of reaching your app page in the app store, the most important method for discovering and downloading new apps and a method you definitely shouldn’t miss out on milking.

  • ASO brings you more qualified and relevant traffic to your app at no monetary expense.

So, it is as simple as this. Imagine yourself walking around the mall looking to buy a tennis racquet as opposed to you walking around not looking to buy anything. A tempting banner on a sports store might get you in but at this stage, you still aren’t sure if you’re going to make that purchase. On the other hand, if you were already looking for a tennis racquet, you are more likely to visit the store and make the purchase even if you see no hoarding carrying an offer.

The same is true in this case. When you work on ASO, your efforts are driven to let your app be visible to people who are searching for it. This brings you qualified traffic onto your app page as opposed to the kind of leads an ad campaign could bring you.

Also, the users who downloads your app from search results are more likely to be frequent users because they have a need for it as opposed to those downloading an app through an ad in which case they might only be trying out the app.

What are the most important factors of ASO?

Before we get started with the list of factors that are most essential for App Store Optimisation, here’s a list of things that you need to be a master of:

1.The Target Group for the app – This is the first and foremost thing an app marketer has to know inside out because if you do not have an understanding of the mass you are communicating, you can never really appeal to them with your messaging. This is simply because you do not have a profile you’re reaching out to. Best practice includes laying out consumer personas based on the different segments of audience your app caters to.

2.App Unique Selling Point (USP) – Be consistent and in line with the USP your brand wants to communicate to the app and roll out your communication strategies around those USPs only to make it clear to the audience what your app truly does or stands for.

Brand Positioning

3. Brand Positioning – When you’re doing any communication on behalf of your brand, it is quintessential for you to know how you want your brand to be perceived as. For example: do you want the audience to look at you as a young and agile brand? or a more mature, serious brand? Decide on a personality depending on the nature of your offering. Once you’ve zeroed in on that, make sure you stick to a tone and style of communication and keep consistent throughout and across all your communications. Drawing out the consumer personas as mentioned in the first point will help you arrive at the desired personality and further, tone and style.

The above mentioned factors are especially beneficial to have in place for any and every branding and marketing activity an app marketing would want to perform to introduce the app in the market.

Moving on to ASO specific factors –

There are several important factors to consider when it comes to ASO. Just so as not to override you with too much information, here’s a list of the most important factors sufficient to get you started with –

Keywords – Like for Search Engine Optimisation, keywords play a very critical role in App Store Optimisation as well. You will have to zero in on a keyword for your app and make use of it in multiple places like the title, app description, blog etc. To find the right keyword, one has to do an extensive keyword research using one of the many tools available for the same. Google Keyword Planner is among the tools you can use. But it is more dedicated to web searches and there is a pool of other tools dedicated for apps, AppTweak is among our favorites. This tool helps you audit, optimise and monitor your keywords performance. Also, it can help you figure out your competitor’s keywords, find new ones and get insights on keyword rankings over time.

When you finalize on a keyword, make sure the keyword is relevant to the nature of your business, the search volume of the keyword is high and yet the keyword is not too difficult to rank for. While this is a rare finding, just try to hit a balance and decide on the best available option.

Title and app description – Your title is perhaps among the most important factors because that is what makes it or breaks it for the audience. App Title is the first impression that a user gets of your app only after the app icon. Be sure to have a catchy title to appeal to the masses and also stay in the game by adhering to the technical requirements like placing the most relevant keyword towards the beginning of the title and making sure your title is not longer than 50 characters. These are critical and a survey by Incipia confirms that exact title match of a keyword in the title produces a whopping 109% improvement.

How soon can I see the results of ASO?

ASO_ResultAt the end of the day, all said and done, you are not going to start seeing your efforts convert to fruition overnight. ASO takes time. You need to do what it takes to get there and continuously monitor your ranking to be able to track the results of your efforts. Besides tracking just your ranking, keeping an eye out on competitors’ progress will give you a sense of mapping and guidance in terms of what else you could do to further optimise your app for the app stores. Once you start seeing some results, do not forget to test various versions of the keywords, app descriptions, screenshots, product explainer videos and more. This helps you realize the best solution that can gain you the most incredible ranking and traffic to your app.

When to get your app on the app store?

Remember, each app store has their own set of guidelines. So, before even thinking of submitting your app to the app stores, double check if your app adheres to all the app store guidelines technically and also make sure your app is completely optimised for both App Stores.

Have the title, app description, keywords, screenshots and videos in place. Double check for technical glitches. Stage and test your app multiple times to make sure there are no bugs because even one bug will cause the app store teams to reject your app without giving it a second thought. Get multiple people who belong to your target audience to try the app and ask for feedback on the messaging and positioning. Check to know if your ASO is appearing natural or forced. Once you’re sure your app is good to go, follow the required procedure on the respective app stores to submit your app.

All this said, before you go remember that ASO requires constant efforts and time from your end to start seeing results and once you see those results, rest assured they will be incredible and you will not regret your efforts into this. Follow this space for more updates, tips and tricks on App Store Optimisation. If you don’t already know App Browzer is an app aggregator platform that lets people use apps without having to download it. You could list your app with us and generate additional traffic, leads and conversions.

Be there any other question you have pertaining to App Store Optimisation, leave it in the comments below and our experts will get back to you with all the information you need on the same.

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