The image is interactive, i.e. clickable.
This tutorial covers app store optimization, explains factors – and is applicable on android & iphone search engines. This guide is up to date and is updated till the last algorithm change of November 2022. You would also learn how to plan and execute ASO on your own.
Acquiring users by improving your app’s visibility is called App Store Optimization or ASO. Usually, there are three major ways to acquire users, they are:
- Paid Ads
- Organic Users
Now, option 1 and 3 are available to everyone.
Does mobile search optimization really work?
Before you read this guide, it’s very important to understand one thing – Google/Apple/Amazon/Huawei or any other platforms are just a layer of search engines. They really don’t know what your app is about – and a good description and a bit of optimization can help you – acquire more users.
What are the three app store optimization levers?
- Impression – every time your app appears on the search result – either when a user searches for a keyword, or when it appears in charts or similar app sections. It is possible for you to improve your discovery in all these places.
- Click-Through – From the time when your app appears in the search result – on google play search or app store search – what compels your user to download the app? (Your logo, ratings, app title, etc).
- Conversion – When the user appears on the app landing page – what is it that you can do – to appeal to your users to download the app? (Ratings, download count, description, screenshots, top reviews that appear in your most helpful section).
1. How to Improve your app Impression on Google Play Search & App Store Search
Adding relevant keywords is very important. We always recommend starting from your competitors, or broad product idea. Here’s how the process works.
- Preparing for app store description – How to Get Description Ideas – Search for your competitors – on our app store, and use our ML powered tool to extract keywords from the app description. Do this for at least three competitors.
If you are unable to identify the competitors, you can even start off with the product features.
Once you’ve added the app store description, and if your brand guidelines allow – you can even add HTML content or emojis to your store listing description.
In the case of the App Store, you just need to add 100 characters. We have a keyword clustering tool – which can help you group keywords into clusters – based on their semantic meaning. Adding a keyword in the description increases the odds of your app appearing in search results – whenever the user searches app store or PlayStore – which is also known as the android app store or Google PlayStore.
Often you’d see recommendations revolving around repeating keywords for certain times to improve discoverability. We don’t have any empirical evidence supporting the same.
There are over 4 million apps in playstore as of June 2022. So ASO onpage – through keyword optimization is important. Also, there are numerous app store categories – so it’s very important to pick the right category.
How to include keywords in the description
Once you have identified the most important keywords, search apps – especially your competitors, and find out the ones with an interesting set of keywords. You can use our content assist tool. This is one of the extensions that can help you drive installs of your mobile app – by helping you put all the important keywords for app optimization.
Tips for Keyword Research – For Android & iOS Apps
Both Google and Apple have handy tools for keyword research. Apart from the general App Store Optimization tools, you can also look at Google auto suggest, and Apple Search Ads – for important queries that your users are searching for.
Keyword Research for Android Play Store
Our ASO tools console has an auto suggest tool that helps you prioritize auto suggestions.
Keyword Research for iOS App Store
Login to Apple Ads, search for important keywords, and it will give you comparative search estimates. Keyword research is an indispensable part of aso marketing. An iOS app store search can also reveal a lot about your competitors – something that you should keep in mind while planning a description.
- Measure what matters – You should always track your keyword ranks – you can use our free keyword ranking tool in order to track keywords – for any android or iOS app – in any country. This keyword tool automatically fetches the ranks and updates it – on a day to day basis.
How to Modify Listing based on Users
Most of the Analytics tools – will give you the default language of the user’s device – you can use this data – in order to prioritize translation. Always segment your data – and wherever you find a significant group of users – try to personalize things for them.
How to Create Custom Listings on Google Play
You can also use Google Play’s custom listing feature. This way you can create separate listings for each target market.
How to Create Custom Listings on iOS App Store
You can create custom listings for your app page from your apple developer console – aka, App Store Connect. Here are the steps for creating custom store listing.
- Go to App Store Connect and select the app.
- Under App Store > Features, click on Custom Product Pages – as in the image below.
Where to get translations
There are various providers who can translate content. A simple Search will help you identify many companies. Translation itself is a very wide topic that we’d discuss it in length in some other topic. However, translation, picking the right keywords is must for your app store listing optimization.
2. How to Improve Your App’s Click Through Rate, CTR, on Android & iOS
- Improving your app rating – we regularly see 3-5% of overall 1-star reviews with semantic mismatch – i.e. where a user writes something positive about the app, but ends up putting in 1 or a 2-star rating – on our tools console, we maintain the logs of such reviews. Most of the users are likely to change their rating – if they are replied to.
- A/B test with logo and title – This is one tweak where you can get incredible results. However, if your company has some brand guidelines, then consider making minor tweaks to the app icon. For instance, adding Santa hat during the holiday season. You should also consider using custom store listing for the very same reason. Icons are an integral part of the App Store Optimization process – we’ve seen cases where there’s 75% improvement in store listing visits – by just changing icons.
Recommended: Check out the best growth labs .
3. How to Improve Your App Store & Google Play Store Conversion Rate
Below are three broad levers that you have – which you can use in order to improve your conversion rates.
- Screenshots & Video – In May 2022, Google unveiled a new storefront – which suggests that it’s likely to give more prominence to Videos. Similarly, visual assets play a key role in helping a potential user decide whether to download the app or not. Google Play allows you to A/B test store listing elements like description, short description, screenshots – so that you can identify which assets are helping improve conversion rates.
- Most Helpful Section – Even if your rating is over 4.5, but if you have negative reviews in your most helpful section – users are unlikely to download the app. We maintain a score MHRS (Most Helpful Review Score), which has high correlation with the conversion rates. While you cannot always control what reviews come in your most helpful section – you should always prioritize replies to reviews that appear in this section.
Always reply to reviews that come in your most helpful section on priority. You can use our free tool – which allows you to reply to reviews via Slack.
Android Vitals on Playstore & Crashes on iOS
Your development team should have this KPI. According to Google:
Exhibiting bad behavior in vitals negatively affects the user experience in your app and is likely to result in bad ratings and poor discoverability on the Play Store.
For Android – The first time this factor became so prominent was in 2017. Ever since then, this has been the #1 driving factor for poor discoverability. You shouldn’t just aim to get your vitals under the threshold – but try to get better than the median. Google actually allows you to benchmark your vitals data – against that of your competitors – it’s priceless.
If you are serious about app store growth – then focus on this. It’s a super important metric.
We are often told that technical teams try to have velocity alerts on firebase. Well, that just doesn’t cut in. Firebase’s velocity alerts tell about what crashes are causing problems – but what we want to know is – at what point it’s becoming problematic for the app’s discovery.
Rolling out updates – with vital vitals is a bad idea.
For Apple – Apple is a bit lenient about it. Crashes don’t impact Apple Store optimization as much as they optimize Android store, but they are still important.
- Store Listing – Store listing isn’t just helpful for increasing your visibility, but is also important from a conversion perspective. The more time a user spends in reading your listing – the better is the conversion rate. Store listings should be readable & precise. You should aim to include the core idea of your app in the first paragraph, and keep the length of your first 5 sentences to under 15 words.
In addition to this – you can also use emojis and HTML markups on Google Play.
How to Use Analytics To Improve Your App’s Visibility
Engagement is a key metric that any platform looks at – because every platform wants higher screen time. If your app outperforms your competitor, then your ranks improve. So now the question is – how do you get the engagement, daily open count data of your competitors? Most of the app intelligence companies maintain this data (Eg: Appannie, Sensortower). Most companies limit this data. For instance, at the time of writing, we at NextGrowth Labs only share this data with our clients upon request.
Once you get this data, you can work towards improving your engagement time – by using tools such as Apple push notification service, Firebase notification service, Clevertap, Onesignal or managed notification providers like Appvector (Managed by us).
Unless you have a dedicated team, it’s really difficult to put different pieces together. Implementation is a key challenge. If you are looking for any help here, you can book a free consulting call with us.
Irrespective of what Analytics provider you use – we highly recommend you to enable transfers to BigQuery (BQ). You can read how to setup BigQuery for apps’ analytics data.
Row level data is priceless – you can run through various dimensions to drive valuable insights – and put that into your standard workflow. You might think that you do Analytics well, but you may have to think again.
One major company – with 100s of millions of users – didn’t have a back button – for almost a month. And we were just surprised why their analytics team didn’t pick it up.
You can either do a clickstream analysis yourself, or hire an external partner to do that. This will enable you to close important gaps in the user flow.
Additionally here’s our free aso tools android guide.