When developers release a new app, there are two major ways that users discover the apps, through adverts or built-in search called organic app installs. The cheapest and most sustainable visibility method should be organic, resulting in top positions in an app store page.
With this knowledge, there is need for developers to be intentional about the apps, app title, and optimize them for app store. This is the same concept as creating content that is optimized for search engines.
In this post, we will consider the definition of app store optimization, companies that provide such services, its importance in marketing, and some industry tips I picked up while working at a mobile advertising company.
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What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?
This is the process of optimizing a mobile app's marketing copy (things like app description, icon, keywords, title, screenshots, and more) to rank higher on app stores. This app store SEO will make the app stand out from the crowded app stores, generate more clicks and more downloads.
ASO also incorporates some aspects of increasing rankings such as app preview video, social media presence, app store icons such as follow us.
With the right app store optimization, there's steady growth in app visibility in the searches.
Our List of the Best ASO Services in the World
Gummicube is considered a global leader in app store optimization. It promises to increase conversions and downloads by 2x -3x. It is located in San Jose, California, United States and has 11-50 employees.
Founded in 2010, and with over 10 years' experience in mobile marketing and app store optimization, it addresses the following ASO aspects
- Search optimization
- Market research and strategy
- Optimization of user acquisition channels
- Paid Search (Apple search ads and UAC)
- Creative services
- Conversion Optimization & A/B Testing
It doesn't matter whether you are a startup or a global company, the Gummicube team can customize its app store optimization services to suit your business needs, and produce real results.
Key Features of the Gummicube include:
- ASO Technology
- Metadata & Keyword Optimization
- Apple search ads
- A/B Testing Technology
- Conversion Optimization & A/B Testing
- Google UAC
- Creative Services
- Paid search and UA
- Review & Reputation Management
- Measurement & Attribution Reporting
App Annie is a trusted app store optimization services provider that focuses on app analytics and mobile data. It was founded in 2010, and has about 400 employees. Although it is headquartered in San Francisco, CA, it has 12 offices worldwide.
App Annie's mission is to help customers create an excellent user-experience on mobile platforms. It's known as the first company to offer side by side view of the company's own data and market data to support critical business decisions.
With the recently launched App Annie Ascend, customers can have organized data, aggregated from disparate data sets of supply and demand side advertising. This significantly reduces complexity and increased costs.
App Annie Products
This is a free intelligence product that offers great data such as ratings tracker, app rank history, keywords ranking, app details and features that allow you to monitor your competitors.
Unlike the free product, this offers the most accurate, reliable and comprehensive market data. It has over 1+ million users and it's known to analyze over 14+ million apps globally. And shows which apps are downloaded more by major stores, that is, iOS App Store and Google Play store.
This paid version will provide the following data:
- Engagement metrics
- Downloads and Revenues
- Demographics data
- App store optimization tools
Apptopia was founded in 2011, has about 11-50 employees and has its headquarters in Boston, MA.
It is a data driven competitor tracking and market intelligence services that monitors an app's performance on major app stores such as Google play and iOS App Store.
It's also designed to track ad performance and segment the data by category, store and country. This data will help in discovering opportunities in tier 2 and tier 3 countries that have high potential of return on investment.
Apptopia also has a feature called 'Breakout Predictor' that tries to predict apps that will hit top 100 before they do so.
Founded in 2010, headquartered in Newbury St, Boston, Massachusetts, United States and with 11 to 50 employees, PreApps is an app store optimization agency that is committed to helping businesses launch and market their apps to reach millions of organic downloads.
Its app optimization services has programs for first time app business owners that help them enjoy a seamless and unique launch process that meets the business goals and resonates with the target audience.
PreApps understands that every app business owner is determined to impact the world with their creation in a unique way.
And its here that PreApps comes in as an app marketing agency. It will help you create a sustainable app store optimization strategy that guaranteed growth.
PreApps focuses on addressing the following business concerns,
- How to launch your app successfully
- How your app can get more users, organic downloads and sales
- How to ensure that your time, money and other resources in app development do not go waste
- Finding the right app store optimization service provider that understands your mission and business goals.
- Custom growth plan
- Expert advice by an app marketing specialist
- Clear next steps
SEM Nexus describes itself as the nations hottest startup mobile app marketing agency. It is located in Great Neck, New York and has 2 -10 employees
As a mobile marketing agency, it has helped in the launching of various mobile apps from inception. It helps businesses increase users and organic downloads through affordable pricing and ability to adapt to the market.
SEM Nexus team is at the forefront when it comes to app store optimization needs. Through the years, it has build experience on keyword optimization and can predict whether a business' expectations will be realized.
The companies that need SEM Nexus are those that have good apps but lack or have a poor marketing strategy. Its marketing team will help go beyond the app development stage to strategic launching to help your app grow users.
With them, you can increase your app store ranking, ensure more people download your app and increase conversions and sales.
SEM Nexus Services
SEM Nexus believes that there is a science of app marketing that most companies don't have. But them they have the skills needed and utilize various digital marketing tools to see your app past the inception stage.
Some of the digital marketing and app store optimization strategies that SEM Nexus use to increase app users include:
- Facebook and Instagram Ads
- Apple Search Ads
- Influencer marketing
- App Store Optimization (ASO)
App radar is among the top app store optimization service provider with its office in Graz, Austria and consists of 11 to 50 employees.
App radar is among the app store optimization services that focus on organic and paid user acquisition and helps you combine managed services and self service tools for app store marketing. With this you can grow to appear on search results through increased visibility.
App radar's app store optimization (ASO) service is based on big data collection, machine learning and app analytics from over 25+ million keywords.
Besides improving app store performance and tracking on your own using our ASO tools, App Radar team can help you in marketing you app. The team of experts will improve your conversion rates and use industry-best user acquisition methods for more app downloads.
App Radar Key Features
- App Store Optimization Tool
This ASO tool will help you research keywords, manage localization, spy on competitors, simplify your workflows, and push updates to the app store page. You can get started for free.
- Managed Services
ASO services include workshops, audits, app store updates for creatives and metadata, Google UAC, Apple Search results Ads, mobile marketing, and ASO tips among others.
App Tweak was established in 2014, and has 40 to 50 employees. It has over 1200 customers worldwide but its offices are in San Francisco, Brussels, Bangalore and Tokyo.
It is among the leading data driven ASO tools for apps and games. Whether you are a mobile marketer or a developer, this one-in-all platform will provide you with insights and data to increase app's visibility, downloads and find new growth opportunities. Whether new apps or not, with the right keywords, increased search rankings is assured with these ASO services.
This accurate, transparent and valuable ASO tool offers you the following features,
- Ad intelligence
- ASO intelligence
- Market intelligence
- App intelligence
Why is App Store Optimization (ASO) Important?
It seems that every app developer nowadays recognizes the importance of organic downloads and having their app in the top ranks of their respective categories. However, in order reach these top ranks, there needs be a large volume of installs in a short period of time – which often means purchasing them through advertising networks or other shadier sources.
With average Cost Per Install (CPI) and average downloads needed to break into the top charts increasing on a yearly basis, it is becoming more and more difficult for smaller app developers to challenge the million dollar advertising budgets of the top dogs.
So that begs the question:
How can you get your app noticed if you don’t have the budget to purchase the required amount of installs to propel your app into the top lists?
This is where app store optimization (ASO) comes into play. By strategically optimizing certain aspects of your app such as its description, name, screenshots and so on, you have a low-cost method of increasing app exposure, accelerating app downloads, and ultimately, driving revenue.
In this post, I will give some practical tips on app store optimization (ASO) in 2020:
This is the most important aspect of app store optimization. Know the difference between search queries and keywords. Start with brainstorming relevant search queries and picking keywords that are not competitive to rank for.
Start with Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends to get a general feel for the keywords you picked. Later, use more detailed tools such as MobileAction and SensorTower (both are free). These tools will let you do some basic research on possible keywords, but more importantly, they will let you input your app URL to suggest relevant keywords, track your keywords, and conduct competitor analysis.
The goal here is to find keywords that have high search volume but low competition.
Since Apple only gives you 100 characters to list all your keywords, here are some quick tips to help you make the most of it:
- Use commas (,) instead of spaces (_) and don’t use both, you are wasting characters!
- Don’t repeat keywords
- Use numbers (9) instead of words (Nine)
- Try to use shorter keywords so you can get more key phrase combos
- Don’t stress too much on pural/singular forms unless you have extra characters
- Cut connectors (the, and, of…)
- Fill all 100 characters, try using misspellings or numbers to fill out any extra space
Keywords and key phrases in the name of the app have the biggest weight on search rankings, with the keywords provided in the “Keywords” section coming in a close second (This gap has decreased in recent updates). Your name should be descriptive and include relevant keywords and/or key phrases you are trying to target. Do not repeat keywords you’ve added to the “Keywords” section in the name. A focus should be put on the first 25 characters, as it is what is shown when scrolling through the search results.
Important note: Avoid using special characters (you might not get indexed on Google) and avoid using key phrases that match an already taken app name if possible (Apple may manually flag you for duplication).
Category & Publisher Name
Publisher names are searchable for all apps. This means that someone can search up your app through combinations of your publisher name and app name. However, basing publisher name entirely on a keyword may not be the best idea. Category names such as “free” for free apps and “games” for games apps are already a keyword, so again, avoid repeating.
In App Purchases (IAP) Display Name
While you should still name IAP after key phrases, only exact matches will show your app on search results since recent updates. So less of a focus should be put on this.
You should localize your app for the different geographical locations. This is useful for keyword ranking as well as general user experience. Localize all things such as the name, description, keywords, and so on.
*Note: Keywords from the US store are searchable worldwide and keywords from the Spanish store are searchable in the US store
Visuals are extremely important to portray to the users of the quality of your app and giving them an idea of what your app does without having to read anything.
The icon needs to stand out to the user when scrolling through the search results. Avoid using words. Make it consistent with the app design and consider using borders.
While you should use all available screenshots, the first 2 screenshots are the most important as they are seen in the search results. Treat these as advertisements, and use informative screenshots that describe what your app does.
Now that you’ve caught the users attention by appearing at a higher ranking on search results, you need to convince him or her to actually download your app.
Ratings & Reviews
While it is uncertain whether ratings have a direct effect on search rankings, having higher ratings and better reviews is a method of social selling and having more than 4 stars puts you in a better position to reach the top ranks of your category. You should ask friends, family, and your social network to rate. Also, ask your users to review and rate your app when they are most engaged - this is a useful tool to so.
Listen to ratings and reviews! They give the best source of feedback for future improvements on your app.
The description of your app does not register in the search, but it is a good way for you to sell your app to the viewer. Treat it the same as writing SEO articles.
Focus on the first 3 lines, as it is usually what the user pays attention to. Also, try to include any press reviews and keep the “What’s New” section filled after each update.
*Note: Updating frequently does not put your app in a higher position on the search rankings
Track & Optimize
By doing everything I have just mentioned, you should have put your app in a much better position to be organically discovered by users through searches. However, your app store optimization is not done.
As the name app store optimization (ASO) suggests, you must now optimize. Do some A/B testing for visuals. Keep track of your ranking for different keywords; see which ones work and which ones don’t. Consider dropping poor performing keywords and adding new ones. Keep up with competitor research and last but not least, make sure you have not included blacklisted keywords. While this may be a tiring process, it is good to know that you are not wasting any precious characters for keywords.
If there is anything I missed, please feel free to leave a comment below.
If you are looking for professional ASO services, consider the reviews and ratings of their customers, their social media following and their visibility. The right ASO services should help with keyword research, app store listing, app title, app user acquisition and how to organically grow your you app downloads.
Some of the top ASO services with enviable ratings and reviews on iOS app store and Google play store and other sites include App Tweak, App Annie, App Radar, SEM Nexus, Gummicube, Apptopia and PreApps. The specific ASO services you choose depends on your business goals, advertising budget, specific tools for things like A B testing, keyword research, rankings, tracking and data.
Published by: Jacky Chou in Ranking