WHAT IS APP STORE OPTIMIZATION?
If you don’t want to get lost in the mass of apps, you can’t avoid an App Store optimization. Cleaning plan, party games or whistle sounds – today there is an app for everything. The Google Play Store alone lists 3.67 million apps (as of March 2018). In the two most popular app download platforms, Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store, the position of the app in search queries is often the deciding factor for the success of an app. In short: App Store Optimization (ASO for short) describes measures that can be used to increase app downloads.
FIND THE RIGHT KEYWORDS FOR YOUR APP
The one who tries to climb on a generic keyword will sink and disappear in the vast sea of apps. Your app will be listed for such a universally valid keyword, but the chance that the user chooses your app from the thousands and thousands of options is negligible. Cleverer is to put on a unique warning vest of words to ensure that exactly your target group is fishing you out of the sea.
The first approximations to the correct keyword can be answered with some W-questions:
- What makes your app? What does it stand for?
- Who are your competitors and which keywords do they use?
- Where is your market niche and what sets you apart from your competitors?
The App Store has its own keyword field in which up to 100 characters are available for selected keywords. If the individual terms are separated by commas, the algorithm automatically connects all search terms and addresses more search queries.
The Google Play Store does not have its own keyword field and weights the keywords with its algorithm from the description. In contrast to the Apple store, however, Google has another little helper for the keyword optimization of the app. Google Play’s Auto-Suggest feature lets you test the current search volume of keywords.
ALL EYES ON …. THE ICON AS EYE-CATCHER
With regard to keywords, the icon may seem secondary, but as a lifestyle aspect of the app, a well-designed icon is indispensable. For the user, the icon is the entry to your app experience. The optimal icon creates a click incentive and transports clearly what the app is about. To make it clearly visible in different sizes, it is advisable not to use visual details or writing. For the App Store and Google Play Store, there are recommendations for the size of the icon, which guarantee that the icon looks good in any size:
- Icon size App Store: 1024 x 1024 px
- Icon size Google Play Store: 512 x 512 px
THE TITLE – THE ROYAL DISCIPLINE OF APP STORE OPTIMIZATION
Welcome to the Champions League of App Store Optimization. If you want to play in the top of the ranking table, you should take the time to fiddle around with the title. The title explains the function of the app and highlights its benefits. Also here you can orientate yourself at the competitors and – do it differently. Because with a unique choice of words you stand out and arouse interest. The previously selected keyword feels most comfortable when you place it at the beginning of the title. A study by Incipa, which examined the App Store, came to the conclusion that keywords integrated in the name of the app rank almost twice as high as the keywords entered in the keyword field.
Since the update to iOS 11, the App Store now only has 30 characters for the title instead of 50 characters. A new addition is the subtitle, which makes it possible to describe the app in more detail. As far as the number of characters is concerned, Apple and Google have played a tree-changing game, because the Google Play Store now offers you 50 characters for the title.
OPTIMIZE THE APP STORE DESCRIPTION
Probably you know the phenomenon of yourself, with descriptions you fly over the first few lines and decide then whether it is worthwhile itself to make the effort to read the remainder of the text. The App Stores are based on these reading properties and only show the first 3 lines of the description in the preview. The total description can be up to 4,000 characters. To read the complete text, a click on the “More” button is required. In total, less than 2% of users use this function. Tip: Read the description carefully several times before uploading, because changes in the description text can only be made if you upload a new version of the app.
In addition to the description you now have the possibility to insert a promo text via the description in the App Store. The advantage of this field is that you can change the text at any time without having to upload an update. With its 170 characters, this field is therefore ideal for pointing out short-term bargains, innovations or other events within the app.
For Android App optimization in Google Play Store, the first and last 5 lines of the description are particularly relevant. From these lines the Google algorithm mainly searches for the keywords your app ranks on. Another part of the description specific to the Google Play Store is the Short Description. Here is the motto: In 80 characters through the app. Explain what the app is about, list the features and try to include some of the keywords you want to climb on.
WHO AM I AND WHAT AM I DOING HERE? CHOOSE THE RIGHT APP CATEGORY
Who? How? What? Why? If you don’t categorize yourself cleverly, you remain invisible. Many users search for their apps using the category search. If your app does not appear in the list, you get nothing. When choosing a category, it is crucial to specialize. With a time management app, you can of course register in the lifestyle category, but wouldn’t a potential user place this app in the efficiency category (available on the Google Play Store)? This is about assessing the advantage the user expects from the app. It is helpful to get an overview of the competitors and to see which category they have chosen.
You can classify the app into two categories on the Apple App Store. There are 24 categories to choose from for the main category. When browsing or in the filter option, the app will then be listed in the corresponding category. With iOS 11, the first category is also responsible for whether your app is listed in the Apps or Games tab.
SCREENSHOTS – TELL YOUR STORY
In the app previews you show insights into your app and take the user on a journey through your app wonderland. As a tour guide, you will guide him through the various features with meaningful screenshots. Additional texts in the screenshot convey the advantages and special features of your app. Since users may not click through all screenshots, the first two screenshots should highlight the primary benefits of the app. Besides screenshots, preview videos are a good way to generate downloads. Similar to the screenshots, it is worth presenting the biggest advantages at the beginning, since 80 % of all users only watch the first 12 seconds of a video.
In the App Store you can use up to 10 screenshots and 3 videos on your product page. The videos can be up to 30 seconds long and are played automatically and silently in the background.
8 screenshots can be presented in the Google Play Store. You can easily insert videos using the YouTube URL of your presentation video. Nice side effect: The views from the store count as YouTube views, which increases your YouTube ranking.
LET IT BE HUMAN – THE SOFT FACTORS OF APP STORE OPTIMIZATION
With the implementation of the listed hard factors your app is well equipped to make itself felt on the app market. However, the ranking of your app also takes into account so-called soft factors that require some sensitivity:
- Ask for ratings: Ask the user for an evaluation and a personal feedback in the form of a comment. You have the best chance of getting feedback if you enter the request shortly after the user’s experience of success. This can be, for example, after the first navigation that the user has performed with the app or the first like that he has received.
- Keep an eye on the comments: Respond quickly to each individual review, whether by answering a question or just by saying “thank you”.
- Fix bugs: Inform the users about fixing possible bugs and thank them for the hints you received.
- Out of the store, into the PR: Try to generate downloads outside the store by promoting your app at trade fairs, in magazines, or in the blogosphere.