Your app’s ASO isn’t set in stone – and neither are your methods for improving it. Tactics and keywords that worked at the launch of your app may have slipped out of favor, and your other marketing efforts may be under-utilized in their ability to support your rankings. Your app’s ranking isn’t permanent, and doesn’t end with the App Store – and that’s a good thing. Let’s go over the ways you can boost your ASO, and not just with the usual tools.
Your app’s ranking is based on a litany of measurements mainly based upon keywords. User reviews, ratings, conversion rates, and user acquisition and retention all affect your app’s ranking on the App Store. ASO is the measurement and manipulation of these criteria to improve your ranking among other apps listed on the app store, in the same way, SEO is used to improve your website’s ranking among competing websites.
So, that’s what ASO is, but how do you go about achieving growth in the App Store?
There are three “fronts” to your ASO campaign:
- Social Campaigns
- User interaction
Keywords: If you’re familiar with SEO, you already know the importance of targeting your keywords to specific searches. If you’re not, it’s a simple concept to understand; users input a word – or string of words – into the App Store’s search bar, and apps that include those words in their description are displayed based on two parameters – relevance and ranking.
Users are usually shopping for a specific solution to a particular pain point if they are searching the App Store as opposed to browsing a category, so it’s important to make sure your keywords are relevant and trending – we’ll get to figuring out trending keywords in a bit.
App metadata: Your app’s metadata includes the app’s title, subtitle, promotional text, description, up to three preview videos, and up to twenty promoted in-app purchases.
Your app’s title is the name of your app and is limited to thirty characters. This will rank in keyword searches and is just about the one thing you shouldn’t change. It is possible – but this is your app’s brand, and barring some catastrophic unlucky streak, your app’s title should always remain the same. Changing the name of your app can significantly decrease the power of word-of-mouth user acquisition, which accounts forof all app downloads.
The subtitle of your app can be up to thirty characters as well, and this is where you want to pack in your keywords, as your app’s subtitle does rank in keyword searches. It’s almost like your app’s tagline – it should succinctly describe what your app does, and also serve as the hook to promote interest in your app among users.
Your app’s promotional text doesn’t rank for keywords, but it’s important nonetheless. Up to 170 characters, this section appears above your app’s description.
Your app’s description isn’t ranked for keywords either, but without it, users won’t be able to figure out what your app does, so make sure your description is concise, easy to ready, and entertaining enough to promote interest in your app.
As of 2017, promoted in-app purchases are ranked for keywords, so if that’s something your app is utilizing, consider tailoring keywords specifically to draw users in. If someone is searching the App Store and finds a promoted in-app purchase that piques their interest, they might search for your app specifically to find out more about it, opening another avenue for conversion.
The videos and screenshots of your app won’t rank for keywords either, but both of these forms of metadata create a package that serves as a small demo for your app.
Shown above are the three visual panels that serve as your app’s first introduction to users in the App Store.
The meat and potatoes of your in-store efforts should always be focused around determining effective keywords and implementing those keywords properly.
Half of the ASO battle is research, and your social campaigns are a treasure trove of trends and user information.
The beauty of integrating ASO with your existing social campaigns is that you don’t have to change the scope or behavior of your social interactions and posts; you only need to look for patterns and trends that appear naturally. Pay attention to users’ replies to your posts and posts from your competitors, keeping a close eye out for any word (verbs especially) or request that is repeated in multiple comments or posts.
For example, let’s say you run the social media efforts for an app like– an app that alerts its users about recalls, safety alerts, and public health issues – you’ve been putting out your regularly scheduled content, and you’ve noticed in a couple of comments the words “romaine lettuce” and “salmonella.”
In the app store, under a section that ranks for keywords, it would then be the optimal time to include “romaine,” “lettuce,” and “salmonella,” or a mixture of these keywords depending on the number pf available characters. Whystle does much more than alert users about lettuce and salmonella, but it could catch searches it might not have caught by using these keywords.
As an example, a visitor to the App Store may enjoy the romaine lettuce on their daily sandwich, but they don’t want to contract salmonella. They want to know when it will be okay to eat a romaine-laden sandwich again, but they’re too busy to check a channel the FDA is broadcasting on, so they search the App Store in the hopes that there is a solution to their particular pain point. This potential customer isn’t interested in an app that alerts them about recalls – they just want to know when it’s okay to put lettuce on their sandwich again.
Due to searching the store with a phrase like “romaine FDA alert,” and Whystle including “romaine” in its keywords, the app has caught a customer that wouldn’t have been originally interested in its services.
A significant factor in determining your app’s ranking is user retention. The time your users spend engaging with your app is measured by the App Store’s algorithm, so including features in your app – such as push notifications – that bring your users back frequently is a powerful tool you can use to improve your app’s ranking.
Pay close attention to which notifications are followed-up on, and which are ignored. If your app provides too many push notifications that aren’t beneficial to your users, they’re likely to disable alerts on your app or delete it entirely. It’s important to consider if a notification is providing your users with quick entry to solve the pain point your app addresses, or if you’re begging for attention. Users want their apps to work for them, and not the other way around, so careful planning is necessary to successfully implementing notifications and alerts.
A helpful push notification, for example, would be our very own lettuce-lover receiving an alert from Whystle giving them the all-clear on romaine.
User reviews are another important piece of user interaction and ASO. Pay attention to what your users praise and critique. Use good phrases and reviews to bolster your keywords, and provide updates to fix issues brought up in negative reviews.
Creative changes to your ASO can promote unexpected growth
When it comes to improving your ASO and your app’s ranking on the App Store, don’t be afraid to get creative with keywords, as they can always be changed. Pay attention to the fluctuations that come when those keywords are changed, and always be on the lookout for trending words you come across on your social media campaigns. Keep an open mind as to what users are searching for based on the time of year, and provide them with poignant reminders that your app is there to solve their particular pain point.