The Importance of App Store Optimization

  • Scope:
  • Mobile Development
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This guest-post is courtesy of our partners at Gummicube.

Apps are valuable assets for businesses of all sizes. From the largest of tech companies to indie startups, having a mobile app can make a significant difference for your business.

That is – as long as people can find the app.

App Store Optimization (ASO) can make the difference between your app being a success and being hidden deep in the search results. How does ASO work, and how can you make the most of it? Let’s explore the importance and key factors to App Store Optimization.

The Importance of ASO

The first question you might have is: “Why does ASO matter?” Simply put: App Store Optimization improves your success in the App Store and Google Play Store, including your search visibility.

Search Visibility

Did you know that search is the most valuable channel for app discovery? According to Apple, around 70% of app discovery happens as a result of store searching. This means it is essential that apps rank well for a wide number of search terms.

The higher you rank for relevant searches, the higher your chances are of improving your downloads. As users discover and download your app, your rankings for those terms grow. It’s a feedback loop that can help you keep improving.

With proper search optimization, you can improve your organic funnel within the app stores.

The Pillars of ASO

Where do you begin with App Store Optimization? There are a few key aspects of ASO you’ll want to consider when beginning your ASO strategy. Neglecting any of them can result in suboptimal results, so you need to consider them all.

Metadata & Keywords

One of the first things you’ll want to do is optimize your metadata. This will determine the keywords and phrases your app will rank for.

Research and target relevant phrases. If you can target terms that are related to your app and have a high search volume, you can increase your chance of discovery.

As your search traffic improves, your app will continue to index for more relevant keywords. Building relevance in the eyes of the stores’ algorithms will help you rank for keywords you might not even be targeting.

Creatives & Conversion Optimization

Getting users to find your app is only the first step. You still need to get them to download it. Optimizing your creatives – that is to say, the visual elements like screenshots and videos – will help you improve your conversion rate.

Creative optimization includes optimizing the icon, screenshots, feature graphic and video. All of these provide visual representations of the app, its key features and its UI.

With proper optimization, you’ll give users a better understanding of your app at a glance. While keyword optimization can help your app get discovered, conversion optimization can increase the chance that a user will convert (install your app) once they find it. A high conversion rate can also help improve your keyword rankings, as the stores take conversions into account when determining placement.

Paid Marketing

There’s a common business saying: “You have to spend money to make money.” This is true, even when it comes to mobile marketing. Fortunately, App Store Optimization can also help enhance your paid marketing campaigns.

With ASO, you’ll gain a better understanding of what terms to bid for and target with Search Ads and identify the most profitable terms. ASO software can identify what keywords you rank the highest for, which can inform your Search Ads targets.

Your conversion optimization will also help make your ads more effective, as they’re already designed with elements that users respond well to.

At the same time, Search Ads can help guide your organic search optimization. You can use Search Ads to test your creatives and discover keywords that gain a high amount of conversions.  Through this, you can capture more organic users – meaning, users that you don’t have to spend money to acquire.

Planning out a marketing campaign will help you get the most use out of your paid traffic, but without App Store Optimization, it’s not complete. Running a paid campaign for an optimized store listing can reduce your overall CPI, as any clicks and conversions gained from your paid campaign will help improve your organic positioning as well.

The Importance of Iteration

After you optimize and see the results, it’s time to do it again and optimize even further. In fact, App Store Optimization only improves the more you iterate.

Each new optimization builds upon the success of its previous version. Testing factors that perform best and improving upon past successes can help an app grow higher and higher. This helps ensure your build is optimized and that your efforts aren’t going to waste.

You’ll want to monitor your performance and update based on changing trends and performance. User tastes can vary, seasonality may impact what apps and features users are drawn to and new competitors can emerge. Maintaining ASO updates can help you keep up with these changes.

It does take some time for an app to complete indexing for keywords as the algorithm crawls your metadata. You’ll need to space out your updates while assessing trends to ensure they’re consistent; this will help you identify the best terms to target. Use the time it takes for the stores to index your app to research and test various elements and figure out what the next best move will be.

Don’t Fall Behind

Updating over time is important for an app to maintain consistent growth. If you fail to update, your metadata can stagnate, and your creatives can fall out of touch with changing trends. Those who don’t iterate will gradually lose their overall presence in the stores.

New iterations can help you improve your rankings and visibility, but it’s also important to launch updates in a timely manner. Trends can change throughout the year based on current events and seasons.

This is why seasonality is also important. Search and conversion trends may change due to current conditions, such as vacation apps during the summer or holiday-themed apps around December. Incorporating these seasonal trends into your ASO can help your app remain relevant throughout the year.

To Conclude

No matter how good an app is, you can’t succeed if users can’t find it. When done properly, App Store Optimization can help an app rise up in the search results and gain more downloads. This requires researching your keywords and targeting them properly, optimizing your creatives for conversions and launching a paid marketing strategy.

A good optimization strategy is essential for an app to succeed. If you don’t use ASO, you’ll find gaining visibility is an uphill battle.

About the Author

Gummicube Co-Founder & CEO, Dave Bell

Gummicube is a global leader in App Store Optimization with more than 11 years of experience optimizing and marketing apps. We offer the leading enterprise ASO technology and agency services, providing support to clients around the world. Our company is trusted by thousands of enterprise brands and leading startups including Microsoft, LinkedIn, Bethesda, SWEAT, GrubHub, McAfee and many others.