A Pocket Guide To App Store Optimization
Understanding ASO App Marketing As A Unique (& Essential) Mobile App Advertising Strategy
What Is App Store Optimization?
App store optimization (or ASO app marketing) refers to the practice of intentionally designing app store listing(s) for your app to increase its visibility to potential users. The most effective ASO app marketing requires both understanding the interests and search behaviors of your ideal user base(s) and also aligning your app’s listing with other high-ranked apps your potential users are likely to view. The best app store optimization aims to balance creating attractive, interesting, and engaging content for app listings against positioning them close enough to popular apps to earn suggestion as a potential alternative without making them appear as the least-desirable (similar) option among search results.
How Does App Store Optimization Work Separately From Other Mobile App Marketing Activity?
App store optimization strategy is based on the idea that app stores are basically closed-site search engines. Like search engine optimization (SEO), app store optimization leverages app stores’ search ranking algorithms (which generate lists of best-fit results based on users' search terms) to improve search ranking and increase the likelihood of discovery by new users.
No app store has made its ranking algorithm public. Yet app developers have discovered some best-practices for effective ASO app marketing, first by wondering, “does app store optimization work at all?" and later, “does app store optimization work in ways that are unique from SEO?” In seeking answers to these questions, it's become clear that:
- ASO app marketing does work; maximizing the app store optimization “score” increases the number of impressions (appearances in search results) and views (listing visits by potential users), which leads to more app downloads and greater profits for the business.
- The most effective app store optimization strategies use app listing content to influence discoverability (achieving more frequent search ranking and “suggested app” appearances).
- The app store optimization ranking process relies on indexation (just like SEO) to judge fitness with search terms and perceived app quality.
- There are several non-content app listing attributes that impact perceived app quality, including user created value indicators (like ratings and reviews), app users’ engagement and retention rates, and the app’s crash rate.
- In addition to app listing content, effective app store optimization also leverages "freshness" by making frequent updates to ensure the listing is regularly re-indexed.
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How Do You Know Whether (& How Well) Your ASO App Marketing Is Working?
Effective ASO app marketing calls for monitoring mobile app key performance indicators like the number of impressions, views, downloads, and engagements (reviews/ratings). Mobile app key performance indicators signal the effectiveness/trajectory of app store optimization maneuvers and also to inform different ASO app marketing actions.
For example, if your app itself is functioning well but:
Your app listing(s) get few impressions: This suggests that the app listing content likely isn’t following ASO app marketing best-practices, so doesn’t appear in search results frequently. The most likely ASO app marketing action to increase impressions is revising the listing content to use high-search-frequency keywords with appropriate density and in high-value locations, like the title, subtitle, and developer name.
Your app makes many impressions but has a low number of views: This means the listing appears in search results, but is not ranked high enough for potential users to consider learning more about it. Though the ASO app marketing keyword strategy may be well-designed, the app’s perceived quality and freshness may be the weak points in your app store optimization strategy. The best repairative ASO app marketing action would be to prompt existing users to leave reviews, update the app, and examine the ranking and available statistics of competing apps to identify the weakest point of comparison between them.
Your app gets many views, but few downloads: Downloads are highly dependent on app users’ perceptions. The most significant influence on users’ willingness to download a new app is user created value indicators. Consequently, ASO app marketing collides with other forms of mobile app marketing, like user generated content, when attempting to organically boost app downloads under otherwise high-impression and high-view performance conditions.