What is App Store Optimization

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It’s difficult to stand out today, considering there are over 2 million mobile apps, and the number grows every day. App Store Optimization techniques have become essential in the strategic element of producing a successful mobile app.

App store optimization (ASO) is a complex process: it is a realm of marketing techniques that aims to cultivate success by improving your visibility in app stores such as Google Play, the Apple Store, or Blackberry World. Much like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), ASO is all about getting you to the top of search.

ASO is a fine way of creating momentum through low-cost exposure. The results include a higher rate of app downloads, more engaged users, and ultimately more success financially.

Understanding App Store Optimization

App store optimization is absolutely vital to keep in mind if you are involved in the world of mobile apps.

Though ending up on the front page of Apple’s App Store or Android’s Google Play screen may seem like an improbable goal to make, it is important to be heading in the right direction. Whether you are aware of it or not, ASO is already playing a major role in your success or failure. If you are not making conscious, strategic choices to improve your visibility,  you are falling further behind by the second. To put it simply, the game has changed. There will not be a better time to start catching up, as the companies ahead of the curve will only pull further ahead of you if you refuse to start.

As you implement effective ASO methods, more people are going to see your app, and more people will download your app.

The main factors of ASO, which, you may recognize, are quite similar to those of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Like SEO, a large portion of ASO revolves around creating very specific strategies with the way you communicate and implement your choice of words. In fact, this is a great place to start.

Word Choice

Due to a lack of keyword data from both Apple and Google, The ASO Co has proprietary keyword and phrase data which makes it  possible for app developers to access much more information about target demographics than ever before. Once you have identified your target demographic, it is possible to find viable answers to your questions about the subject matter and specific vocabulary that each demographic uses most often. The most common words are called keywords.

Keywords in Descriptions

With the information provided by analytics, your description with as many of these keywords as seems natural. The immediate description in app stores is usually quite short. In the app store, the description must be 100 characters or less to be above the fold; roughly the length of three short sentences. Beyond this, the first 25 characters are all that is seen when scrolling through the store. Using a combination of analytics and brainstorming, come up with a list of effective, sensible keywords. However, keep in mind that you would still want to write a longer description, as Google Play puts a relatively large weight on that for ASO.

How can you make those first 25 characters, and then further the impact with the next 75 words?

It is a valuable skill to be able to a good novel, but any great writer will tell you the first sentence is the most important sentence in the book. You have the power to make an informed decision by literally choosing the words your people want to hear. The task is to do it effectively.

Other than choosing evocative, engaging, and interesting words, there are some other tips to keep in mind. Do not take any space for granted. Each character holds a large amount of value, so here are a few tips on getting the most bang for your buck:

  • Avoid unnecessary spaces. Even if it is grammatically incorrect, spaces after commas or between certain words will be a waste of space
  • Type #’s rather than spelling the entire word. Say “7” instead of “Seven”
  • Don’t use the same keyword more than once. Once is enough, and there is no value in using the same word more than once from an ASO perspective.
  • Use short keywords.
  • When deciding on your description, consider the following questions: What value does your app provide? Who can benefit from that? How do you communicate the “what” to the “who” in a title, or a description of 100 characters or less?

Do not treat these questions like they are any less important than they really are. In the philosophy of ASO, your choice of words may very well make you or break your app sales.

Keywords in Title

With proper keywording in your title, amongst other changes, will have a positive impact on your ranking.  Research shows that apps that use a major keyword in their app’s title are 10% more successful, on average.

Basing your title around the keyword that is attracting the most attention and garnering the most traffic can have major positive impacts in driving users to your app.

The Numbers: Off-Site Factors

Download Velocity is the term for the number of downloads you achieve in relations to the time it took to get those downloads; gathering momentum or “trending” is one of the most effective ways to get downloads. This is actually the most important factor in your ranking; however, this is a factor that is not fully in your control. So, what can you control?

Creative Advertising

Find your way of getting attention, whether it is through some form of larger press or driven through your own invention. Videos, blogs, social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc), email marketing, podcasts can all be a way of getting your name out there. Try to connect with influencers. Do whatever it takes to get your title out there, accompanied by a well-crafted, efficient pitch.

Ratings & Reviews

This aspect cannot be fully controlled, either. But, by ensuring that a great user experience is cultivated by having a high-functioning app with excellent customer service, you can increase the odds that more downloads will turn into positive ratings. One of the biggest complaints about a lot of new apps is that they come off as annoying and desperate in the way they request a rating. Try to be easy. Do not pester your patrons. There are ways to “ask” without “begging” for feedback, and these methods will generally elicit a more positive response. As most people have probably experienced first-hand, positive reviews make a major difference in influencing a consumer.

Visuals

Visual branding is essential in defining the identity of your app and drawing people in. Judging a book by its cover is a human tendency that has persisted through the ages. Your visual branding should find the happy medium between expressing the core of your app and appealing to common sensibilities within your target market.

There are three very important images to be considered in proper App Store Optimization: your icon/logo, and two screenshots. Supplementary images will not have an adverse effect, but it is essential to make a strong impression with your icon and the first two screenshots that the user will see.

Use these images strategically. Stop people in their path, and tell them about the most impressive aspect of what your app has to offer them.

Implementing ASO

We live in a world full of daily innovation; it can be difficult to differentiate and judge between what is and is not worth listening to and taking action on. However, it has become clear that App Store Optimization is one of the most actionable, useful, and necessary marketing methodologies for any organization that depends on the success of their mobile app.

This is a marketing strategy that is becoming more relevant, and it seems to be guaranteed to continue on that trajectory for at least the foreseeable future. Implementing ASO today is important; it is the next evolution in online marketing, and it is already underway. This is good news. There is no reason not to begin to make immediate changes to make your mobile app more visible, more popular, and more successful.

Learn your keywords. Implement them. Title your apps accordingly and learn to write 100-word descriptions that leap off the screen and catch the eye of your targeted user. The path proposed by App Store Optimization marketing is one that makes so much sense that it would be absurd not to follow.

The range of available tools that specialize in optimizing the presence of your mobile on app stores is growing every day. Beginning to invest time, discipline, and resources into ASO marketing today is a step toward relevance, progress, and success.

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