You have a kick-ass mobile app for your business and you are planning to launch or just launched your app. Now what? Well, now you want people to discover and download your app organically. How do we do that? The answer is App Store Optimization, or ASO. It is very similar to SEO in ensuring your app meets app store ranking criteria and rises to the top of a search results page. But how can you optimize for better visibility in an app store?
To help you promote your app and increase the ranking on app store, we’ve put together a list of our favorite App Store Optimization secrets to guide you through, many of which are not very different from well-known SEO strategies marketers know and love. Let’s check them out!
Understand your customer and competition: The foundation of a well-formed ASO strategy is the deep understanding of your customers and competitors. For the beginnings, ask yourself these questions.
- What are their top reasons for downloading and using my app?
- What need do I solve of my customers?
- What language do my customers prefer?
- What is my competitive advantage?
- What keywords do my competitors target?
- How easy is it for me to compete against these apps on the same keywords?
- Should I target the obvious keywords or the less obvious (and less trafficked) keywords that better speak to my unique offering and points of differentiation?
You have to improve discovery in app store searches and target the keywords that drive the most traffic. Identifying these optimal keywords is possible by consumer research — this includes finding exactly what search queries/keywords bring your customers to your app and the natural language they use to describe it or hiring the services of an App store optimization agency for the same.
2. Have a unique icon: There are 3 million apps alone on Play store in 2017. This leaves your potential customers browse through endless number of apps; to stand out, you have to create a lasting first impression your app icon should be able to do that. When designing the icon, you should understand that the App Store and Google Play vary both in their approach to, and rendering of, app icons. Both stores have preset standards for the ideal size, geometry, and color scheme of app icons, designed to match the rest of the OS. An Android icon requires a 512×512 size. While not required, Google recommends designing app icons in accordance with its material design guidelines, which details everything from icon anatomy to lighting and shading.
For ios icons, the icons should be sized to at least 1024×1024 pixels. Their OS will resize your icon for any other applications, including app icons (180×180), navigation icons (66×66), and tab bar icons (75×75). Your image must therefore be designed with the precise details of a 1024×1024 icon and should be simple enough to look good even after scaling down to the smallest size.
Regardless of which OS you’re designing for, the icon should be capable of standing out. Also, they should be clear enough that they immediately convey what your app does, even in its scaled-down form within the apps menu. Rule of thumb: Don’t overcomplicate your icon with unnecessary words or logos that demand extra time from your customers.
To get an idea of what works, browse the top-rated apps in your category or Google/Apple’s top picks. You’ll start finding a trend toward bright colors, unique shapes, and simple imagery. Few icons use words, and some will incorporate a border or drop shadow to make them pop, regardless of their background. And once again, it’s important to do a little competitive research to ensure that your icon is different enough to avoid having your app confused with a competitor’s.
3. Market the experience, not the app: 86% of consumers are more likely to download your app when they are not overwhelmed with confusing information. Keep that in mind when you are writing your app descriptions. Write a short and straightforward description of what the app does for the customer. Market how the app will simplify user’s lives, not every little thing the app can do. Don’t just market your app—that’s simply is not enough anymore. You have to focus on the experiences that are only possible with your app.
4. Screenshots and Videos are important: Screenshots or videos in your description may not have a direct effect on search rankings, but they aid in driving downloads. Images convey more about what it actually is and bring your descriptive text to life, allowing potential customers to visualize using your app before they make the download. The app stores prefer images that are representative of the customer’s experience in your app; you can anyway upload concept or character art graphic into the screenshot field. Keep in mind, these screenshots should speak about your biggest customer benefits and are strong enough to convince the reader to browse your additional screenshots or download it.
5. Partner your app marketing with a mobile app marketing agency: Even if you have enough knowledge and expertise in advertising/marketing, mobile marketing is a whole another story with a new required set of expertise and technology. Some of the experienced digital marketers too aren’t always well versed in the challenges mobile marketing campaigns. Some of the challenges include optimizing your marketing efforts to reach optimal ranks, app usage analytics, targeted media campaign etc. If hiring a App store optimization services is in your budget, you may want to explore this option. This might cost you money, but this all-in tactic should provide your app with the most success and best chance at achieving an optimal rank among app stores.
What approaches do you think will help you get a high rank on the app stores? Let us know in the comments section.