App Optimisation

App Store Optimisation: 10 ways to climb the charts

The app stores have become a crowded space. Recent estimates suggest that Google Play and the App Store each have over 1.5 million apps available for download.

With so many apps to choose from for consumers, it’s a bit like looking around a shop through the wrong end of a telescope. App store optimisation aims to improve the visibility of apps by working effectively with tools both inside and outside the app stores as well as applying marketing logic to how consumers search.

It’s important to remember that nobody outside of the app stores knows exactly how the various app store search algorithms work. Generally, we do know that the volume of downloads, the length of time the app is installed on the phone, frequency of use and ratings all help with app store optimisation. But within these broader objectives, there are things that need to be done.

Here’re the ten app store optimisation techniques that are vital to visibility:

1. App Name

Sounds basic, doesn’t it? But the name acts as one of your main keywords. If you can, make sure the name is as explicit as possible.

2. Keywords

Apple gives you 100 characters to play with so you have to use these very wisely. Helpfully, there are some great tools out there (free and paid for) that you can use to figure out what competitors are using and what customers are searching for.

We recommend AppAnnie, Sensor Tower & Mobile Dev HQ. For a wider view then you should consider using the Google Tools for AdWords & Trends to see what’s going on in the wider web. Chances are the way users search the web will be similar, if not identical to how they search a store.

Finally, don’t worry about plurals and repeating your name!

3. Description

Most users will only ever see the first five lines when coming in from different devices so make sure this copy is working as hard as it can be.

If you’ve had favourable things written about you in the press or on social media, then use these! Express your values and personality in the description too. A great example of this is City Mapper whom consistently write highly informative and entertaining descriptions

4. Screenshots

Arguably more important than the description as potential downloaders of your app will see this before they get to the description. In our opinion, we would recommend using what you feel to be the most vital screenshot first, make sure its clear and self-explanatory. Following the first screenshot, you can then use the next four to break down the key features.

5. Icons

For most this is the first a user will see your product. It should be eye-catching enough for them to download immediately or at the very least entice them through to review the description, screenshots and video. We always recommend that in the design process you A/B Test variants before going live.

Photo Credit: Appletuner

6. Reviews

We can’t stress how important these are. You need to encourage positive reviews and move potentially negative reviews away from the store. We use Appentive (tools) with a lot of our apps – a great way to gain feedback, both positive and negative.

On occasions, we have seen app ratings jump from 3 stars to 4.5 stars by simply targeting engaged users at the right time (e.g. on the third time of opening within a week with a prompt to rate us if they enjoy the app). If they aren’t enjoying the app then we ask them why and all of that conversation is on a one-to-one basis outside of the respective stores.

7. Categories

Pick the right one, pick the one that best fits the purpose of your app. If your app straddles more than one category, pick the one that has the least competition and always pick a secondary category.

8. Localisation

If your app is intended for a global audience, then localising it is a must. Start with your app’s interface and don’t forget your metadata.

9. Iterate

Continually invest in your app. Analyse how people are using it and develop accordingly. Highlight in your update descriptions what you’ve done and why e.g. We’ve listened to your feedback and tweaked feature X to make your experience more enjoyable.

10. Landing page

You’ll need a fully responsive landing page for customers that don’t go direct to the store. You can use this area to easily direct people to the stores, give more information about your app, FAQ’s, blogs and links to other apps in your portfolio.

It sounds simple but its also vital to think outside of the app store for promotion. Many users download apps based on friend’s recommendation, social prompts, media reviews and chart rankings, leverage the first three where possible and the fourth will follow.

Most of all it’s important to remember that ASO success doesn’t happen over night. It’s a task that constantly needs to be looked at, refined and tweaked over time. It’s rare that you’re first attempt of keywords, images and descriptions will be the magic formula that you’re looking for.

Feature Image Credit: Arabian Business