So you are ready with your app. You have spent months developing and designing it with your team. Now the only hurdle is getting your app rank high on the app stores so that it is more visible. You need to read this article carefully for tips on App Store Optimization.
Consumers now spend a lot of time on Apps. According to Nielson people on an average spend more than 30 hours per month on apps. It is important for you that people find your app and start using and rating it too. App stores remain a popular way for people to search for new apps. In fact 40% of smartphone users browse for apps in app stores. But App stores have millions of apps! How do you prevent your app from disappearing in the sea of apps in app stores? How do you improve the visibility of your app? How do you get found by users?
ASO –App Store Optimization can provide you a few of the answers.
What is ASO?
ASO is the process of optimizing the apps – enabling them to rank high, so that they are more visible to the users.
Is it important?
Yes. According to a report by Apptentive, 63% (iOS) of app customers browse in app store to discover new apps. 58% of android app users do the same at Google Play. General browsing or search in the app store is the most common method for finding new apps.
The higher your app ranks in APO of the store, more visible it is to the users who browse them. Visibility increases – the app is found. It starts attracting users. The ratings improve – there are more downloads and as a result there is more revenue for the stakeholders.
So how do you go about APO?
There are several ways. We will discuss a few important ones.
Get your keywords right
Choose right words in your title and in your description. Use relevant and frequently used words. App title can contain a maximum of 50 characters. If your users are browsing the App Store with their iPhones, they will only see the first 25 characters of your App’s name. You need to state carefully what your app does in the shortest way possible when you write its name. You have 100 characters for keywords. Don’t repeat your keywords. List “Incredible,hero,silver,lightning” instead of listing “Incredible Silver” and “Silver Lightening Hero”. The best part is – the title and the keywords can be changed at will, so you can take your time in experimenting and optimizing. Do not forget that Apps with keywords in the title do well. Avoid using special characters like copyright or trademark symbol in the name.
Unlike App Store, Google Play doesn’t have a section for keywords. It scrawls through the App title and its description. You get 30 characters for the App title and 4,000 characters for App description. Don’t change the app title unless absolutely necessary. Google APO works like SEO. You can repeat your main keywords maximum four-five times in the description to be more effective.
First 3 lines of the App’s description appears in the preview, so make sure you display the best bits there. Use tools like Apptweak, Ubersuggest, Sensortower, and Google Adwords Keywords Planner to find right keywords.
Optimize your icon
Icons are important. Consider them a digital equivalent of your brick and mortar store’s signage. Your icon needs to convey who you are. You need it for your marketing purposes. It needs to look good. It will be installed in various menus and screens therefore it is important that you test your icon in multiple sizes and contexts. Avoid using text in your icon. It will be illegible in smaller menus. The colors you use in the app can be the colors you use in the icon. You want the icon to pop out of the backgrounds people would be using. Make sure you use the colors that do not merge with the backgrounds of the apps stores you would be selling your apps on. Use helpful details, if possible in the icon. It will also help you market your app better. Apple provides you templates for designing an icon.
You can A/B test your icons on Google Play’s experiment. Do not get emotionally attached to the icon you design. Go with what the numbers tell you.
Create Great Screenshots
You need to position your app the right way so that the intended users find it soon. Screenshots are a good way to get your image and positioning right. Publishers and marketers need to understand that screen shots are like banner ads for the app. Attention span of users is that of a gold fish. You get a few seconds to impress. Great screenshots are the beacons that attract the users, engage them and then encourage them to download the apps. You can use tools like Frame , Launchkit or Placeit.net. A/B test your screenshots. Genera Games increased their app downloads by 6% by optimizing their screenshots. Use captions on screenshots describing and highlighting what your app is all about. You can use Google Play’s experiment to optimize your screenshots.
Work on Deep Links
Your app needs to be found and downloaded. It would be foolish to not use Google search to your advantage. When you use deep links, Google indexes you better.
What are deep links? A deep link is a URL that when clicked upon takes the user to a specific location in an app. Conditional deeplinking is the kind of linking where the user is either sent to the App Store or into an app depending on if the app is installed.
Developers register a URL scheme with OS. When that registered URL is clicked the OS first looks through the apps installed on the device to see if there is a match. If a match is found then the OS launches the app with the URL that was clicked. For example – type “twitter://” in Safari search and press “Go”. If twitter is installed in the device the URL will lead to the app. If not, Safari will try to load the address of the twitter’s website.
Deep linking with the help of intent filters drives user engagement. It can link one app to other apps. A user can go from your app to the Facebook page of your company via deep links. Deep linking can be used to gain new users. A new user can directly go from the search results to a specific screen in your app without going through the app store. With the help of Google’s App Indexing your app content appears in relevant search results. If the app is installed in device then Google deep links the search results back to the specific content of the app. The linking maechanisms that work with iOS 9.3 work with iOS 10 too.
Make and Upload an Informative Video
Having a preview video of your app at the play store is a very wise strategy. It shows visitors and potential users what your app is all about in a few seconds. The views you get on your videos count as views on You Tube. The more views you gather the higher you rank in search results. You can localize your video and reap benefits. With Google experiments you can A/B test your preview video and find out the best fit. You can list your app on alternative app stores like Amazon App Store, Soc.io, and AppBrain.
These preview app videos can be distributed on several other sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Ludia games found success with different kinds of mobile app videos they posted on Facebook. With informative preview and other videos you give chance to your potential users to assess you.
Here is a summary of how Google Play is different from App Store.
Optimization is not a perfect science. There are hundreds of factors. It takes time and a lot of experimentation to find the right mix. Trust your data. It will tell you what you are doing right and where you are going wrong. You will need to tweak your strategies, read up on the new policies of the stores and keep yourself updated. Don’t go for black hat tricks. It is a never ending, ongoing process. You need to be patient and you need to invest a lot of time into ASO to ensure the success of your App. Just remember to have a multi-pronged approach on as many platforms as you can reasonably be. Stay organic and with right efforts you will soon acquire the right users.