There were over 2.5 million Apps on the Google Play Store and more than 2 million Apps on the Apple play store, at the end of 2016. Now you can imagine your App is one small drop in an ocean. Do you worry as to how people will find you? Have only your friends and colleagues downloaded your App so far? Are you afraid to spend money on ads with a tight budget?
Well, then what you need to do is learn how to do App Store Optimization. You must have heard about SEO, well ASO is just like its twin. Let’s go ahead and go through the basics steps to make your App more visible and increasing its downloads over time.
1> Find your Audience/Competitors:
The best way to survive and excel in the App store is by positioning your App accurately so that it distinguishes itself from the competition. First, you need to ask yourself some questions:
a> Who is my ideal user?
b> What is the demographic my App is targeting?
c> Who are my competitors?
d> What Apps can I find when I search like a user?
e> What keywords are my competitor’s ranking for?
Ask questions like this and you will able to understand the market and the marketplace better. Now you are ready to begin your App Store Optimization. When you are new to the App store, the best way to learn is by observing what your competitors are doing. Make sure you have filled all the fields with content. Though getting on the Top 10 or Top 50 list helps a lot, but more than 85% of your traffic will come from direct search.
2> Keyword research for Title/Description:
Can you see the difference between the title in these two Apps? Which do you think is better for ASO?
Keywords are the most important factor when it comes to ASO. If you have the right keywords, you will have the right audience. But, all the keywords are not accessible to you. If you use high competition keywords, you will not rank anywhere in the top 30 or top 100. What you need to do is find the balance between the right difficulty to rank and the traffic for each keyword.
“Keyword research is the KEY to a successful ASO strategy.”
There are numerous tools that you can use to find the exact traffic for the keywords you are looking for. Keyword-stuffing will not work. You need to be smart when you write your descriptions. You have limited space when it comes to an App page. You have to rewrite your Title, Description multiple times till you hit the sweet spot. Start with a niche market and capture it before you go ahead look to get into the top charts for any category.
3> The Power of A/B Testing:
You need to optimize your icons, description, and screenshots to ensure that you are getting the maximum conversions. (The more downloads you get, the higher your ranking is in in the App Store). Start off with going with one set of screenshots for 1 week and try 4 combinations. Using this trial and error method, you can figure out which is the one that is performing best for you. You can do the same with the description, App icon, App name, the price of product, discounts, and keywords.
4> Replying to Reviews:
Reviews play a major role in convincing users to download your App. Well, you can’t do anything to influence them to your liking expect by building an excellent UX. But, the interaction you have with your reviewers will make a huge impression on first time visitors who come onto your App page. If you are extremely positive and responsive to reviewers and are proactive in rectifying your mistakes, then they will definitely give your App a chance by downloading it. But if they see unresolved, unanswered negative feedback in review section; then you can be sure that they will never download your App.
(This may not directly affect your ASO, but it will decrease your bounce rates and higher downloads which will lead to a higher ranking.)
5> Practice Localization:
Did you know that there are country-specific stores? Which mean that if users search for your App in U.S., they will find it ranked differently and they search for your App in France, they will find it ranked differently. The solution to this is ‘localization’.
All you have to do is translate your App and its description for each country so that users can find it easy to access. Also add keywords specific to that country, like local phrases and cultural references used by them. This will 100% ensure that your App is visible to users in that particular country when they search for it in the local language using their unique keywords.
ASO is a whole different ball game to SEO. Here it is not just about getting people to your page but making sure that they download your product (which is a huge leap of faith for the users). Having a great product automatically leads to word of mouth that leads to increased traffic. But doing ASO correctly can guarantee an increase in traffic up to 300%. So it becomes an irresistible urge for all App makers to give it a try. But at the end of the day, unless you have a quality product, you can’t survive of the App store even if you have the best ASO efforts.