What is App Store Optimization (ASO) & Why It's Integral To Your App's Success
There are over 5 million apps available for you to download at this moment in time. So needless to say, there's a lot of competition you need to beat out.
Launching an app requires a lot of research and marketing efforts to make sure that there's a demand or need for it in the crowded marketplace. While there are tons of tools and strategies you can use to analyze that, none of them are as important as app store optimization.
Also known as ASO, app store optimization is a process that utilizes targeted keywords to increase an app's visibility within app stores like Apple's App Store and Google Play. Similar to search engine optimization or SEO, ASO targets keyword phrases that people are most likely to use while searching for a similar app within an app store.
For example, if you are creating a weight loss app, you might target your ASO for the phrase "exercise app"' or "calorie tracker."
While ASO feels similar to SEO, there are different things to consider when implementing into your launch plan for your app.
What ASO Does
The overall goal of ASO is to maximize the number of downloads your app gets by making it more visible and easy to discover by the right people. It does this by understanding how those users are searching for an app within an app store.
The majority of people use an app store's search bar to find an app. And when you type in a query, you're given a long list of results to look through and choose from. Where an app falls on that results list directly correlates with the number of downloads that app has. So your top 5-6 results will have the largest amount of downloads, and the further you scroll, the lower the download number gets.
So it goes without saying that your goal in launching your app is to get as many downloads as you possibly can. Getting within that top-five ranking is crucial to how successful your app will be. The higher you get, the longer your app will be able to sustain itself.
SEO VS. ASO
To really get a grasp of ASO, consider its nickname "app store SEO." So while SEO targets websites and blogs, ASO targets the on-page content within various app stores. SEO is trying to appeal to and notify Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other major search engines, while ASO is primarily focused on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
However, both optimization processes utilize keywords and backlinking.
Where To Use ASO
Most people who are well-versed in SEO practices know all the various places on the backend of a website that need to be optimized. ASO has its own list of on-page places you need to optimize in order to get a higher ranking.
Here is where you should implement app store optimization:
- App Name (Title)
- App Description
- App Keywords (iOS only)
- Ratings & Reviews
So for example, at Zutobi we have an education app designed to help student drivers pass their test. After considering what people looking for an app like ours might search for, we settled on using keyword phrases like "driving test app" or "theory test app." That way, people were more likely to find us amongst all the similar apps out there.
App Store VS Google Play
While there are other app stores on the rise, there are two major ones developers choose to publish their apps on: Google Play for Android and App Store for iOS. Most will have a single option in mind, but you can develop your app for both of those operating systems so you can publish them in both places.
While they might serve a similar purpose, these platforms operate in very different ways. The primary difference is how you publish an app.
Both platforms have a review process to ensure that no buggy, low-quality apps get published on their stores. Apple's process is known to take longer than Google, but it's wise to expect at least 3 days before your app launches.
Also, the keywords you use will be evaluated differently on each platform. Google Play is similar to SEO in that it takes into consideration all of the textual elements for indexing the keywords on your app. The App Store, on the other hand, provides developers with a specific field for keywords.
As you can see, app store optimization can really make or break how an app does. But there are some other benefits to be aware of when optimizing your app's page for the right users.
When you implement ASO, you're improving your app's visibility in a very crowded app store. You could have the most incredible app in the world, but if no one knows it exists, no one will ever be able to experience it. You deserve recognition for what you've created--and ASO can help you get that.
ASO also makes it easier for the right, high-quality users to find you. Anyone can find and download your app, but not everyone will use it to its fullest capabilities in the way you designed it to be used.
High-quality users are the people who are dying for an app like yours to exist. They're excited about the new features you put out, and they pay for the premium service without question. These are the people you want to reach because they are the ones who will keep your app alive.
High-quality users for our app, for example, would be UK student drivers looking for theory test prep. Knowing this, we can optimize our app store pages for "UK driving test prep" or "theory test prep in the UK." We can also hone in our marketing efforts to cater specifically towards drivers in that area.
As we mentioned, downloads are the #1 key to ranking high on any app store. ASO can increase your number of downloads in an organic and sustainable way. When you regularly monitor your efforts and where you land on the search results page, you'll increase the chances of your app succeeding long-term.
Because ASO is so effective, it can also be a free alternative to spending money on expensive ads. The better your ASO is, the less you'll have to spend on user acquisitions.
And finally, ASO can positively impact your bottom line and overall revenue. Whatever method you're using to monetize your app (subscriptions, in-app features, etc.), the more people you drive to download your app, the greater chance you have of finding people who are interested in those paid features and options.
This guest post was written by Tim Waldenback, co-founder of Zutobi Drivers Ed, a gamified e-learning platform focused on online drivers education to help teens get their license.Tim founded Zutobi to make world-class driver's education fun, affordable, and easily accessible for all.