At a time when each of us has applications for almost every activity of life, and the number of applications in Google Play and the App Store is over 5 million, application publishers are facing a real battle for their mobile business and users. Publishers must show incredible determination and, most importantly, an appropriate approach to the promotion of their application.
Not so long ago it would seem that a great application will defend itself and users will be able to install our app because it’s great product. However, among millions of applications and mobile industry rapid growth we should quickly forget about it.
App Store Optimization (ASO) plays a key role in today’s competitive business world of mobile applications. Someone may even say “who does not optimize the ASO does not drink champagne” 🙂 However, this neglecting approach to professional mobile app promotion causes low KPIs such as number of installations, conversion, etc. It obviously causes our already large investment in application development is pointless.
So what steps should you take to master the App Store Optimization? Where to start. The steps below will help you win a mobile business.
The most important elements in the context of the ASO Audit include:
- Application Name
- “Video Preview”
- Ratings and Comments
- Description ApplicationApplication
- App page
The name of the Application
Let’s start from the beginning, the application name is an individual feature of your application. In the context of this ASO element, you first need to check whether your app after exact name search is displayed first in the store search engine. If so then the first good sign. If this is not the case, then maybe someone is trying to steal your traffic in the application by copying your name. In this case, I recommend filling out a letter to Apple (usually Apple reacts strongly in such cases). Another element in the context of the name that we have to rethink is whether our name is not very general. When it isn’t getting higher rank will be easier.
Is the name of our product in the name enough? An obligatory element is adding to our app name the best converting keywords that will associate the user with the application. What if you already have keywords in the name of your application? Here it is worth checking how high they are in the ranking. We must be sure that they are at least in the first 20.
Another element that we take into account may seem quite obvious, but I have to mention it because it’s frequently skipped. Is the name of our application easy to pronounce and spell? It would seem that such trivial advice is pointless, however, after testing the name on the target group it turns out it have to be changed, so let’s think about it before it’s too late to change it.
If we are sure that all the elements above are done, let’s go to the last stage of the audit in the context of the application name which is checking if the competition uses Search Ads for an identical or similar name to our application. Here, if the answer is yes, you should consider starting your own campaign and optimizing it, but this is a completely different topic.
In this part, we discussed all the basic things to keep in mind in the context of the Application Name during the ASO audit. In the next part we will look at the icon.
Here is quite simple. The questions that we need to ask ourselves are actually obvious:
- Is your icon easily recognizable
- Does the icon provide information about what app is doing
- Does your icon look good on a white and black background?
- Is your icon stand out from your competition?
However, translating ideas into specific effects require App Branding knowledge. Before introducing far-reaching changes to an existing application, it’s a good idea to run A / B tests to meet the actual expectations of users. Here we invite you to contact our specialists in this area.
Users watching your application after accessing its homepage in the App Store / Google Play Store, in addition to the application name and icon, just Screenshots. Actually they occupy a significant part of the view. Considering the fact that people are the best at absorbing content in graphic form, this element is very important from the ASO point of view.
Things to consider here include such issues as:
- The appearance of the first two screenshots
The first two screenshots are crucial because users see them on the application page and in the search results. Make sure you make a good first impression.
- Use all available fields for graphics
Use all available places for screenshots. Each screenshot is an opportunity to convince users to download the application.
- Make sure the Screenshots are in the right orientation.
Although the use of screen shots in different orientations may be different, we do not advise you to do so. We can lose a lot of valuable space on the application page, search results. Choose one orientation. Perform the A / B tests to select the appropriate one. Never place the second screenshot horizontally if the first one is vertical!
- Place the appropriate promotional texts
Highlight the main advantages and points of sale of your application thanks to the clear text with high contrast. There is a regular destination at the top or bottom of the screen, but you can experiment. People do not read, they scan. You only have a few seconds to read your point of view, so create short subtitles. Call for action is a must !
- Do you use geolocation techniques when creating screenshots
Analyze user data and create screenshots dedicated to localization.
Always create them so as not only to translate, but to preserve the cultural context to communicate right and best message.
- Present content not a sales funnel
The purpose of screen shots is to get the installation, so focus on good things and present the value, not the processes of logging in, buying, etc. Keep the sales funnel for yourself.
- Cancel the Welcome Screen
Do not do this. Go straight to business, value and what the app does. Welcome users to the first application launch screen if they already download it.
- Focus on applications
Keep user concentrated on functionalities and values. Do not complicate and stay away from the complicated background. Last what you want is to lose the user’s concentration.
If your application is a game, I recommend showing heroes and other characteristic items on screenshots. If your application is not a game, put the mockup element to the screenshot. Make sure the scene shown in the screenshot is realistic.
- A / B
Testing all graphic elements is a continuous process that must be carried out throughout the entire period of application maintenance. Do not forget about this element!
Presentation of your application using the “video preview” is a very good element of stepping out from the competition. However, it has to be well thought out because, as the experience shows, it can drastically increase the downloads, but as it can also ruin your KPIs. Proper design of the video preview is crucial for the ASO of the entire application.
First, check with the help of A / B tests that your target group of users is waiting for video in the presentation page of your application.
If you already know that the video is what you want, you should think about the length of this video. 80% of users of the application will not survive to 12 seconds of your video, so you should focus on showing engaging content and key functionalities that will prolong its focus on the movie. The length of the video preview should be maintained at the level of 12-20 seconds in order to optimize preview and make sure user will like it. So avoid greetings, long transitions and go to the topic. Then customize the look of the thumbnail that appears before clicking to play. The Video team in AppDNA will help you use the potential of video preview in your application.
Rating and Comments
It is worth mentioning that this is a very important factor from the point of view of the ASO. However, ratings and comments are bypassed by a large number of application owners. With proper dedication to ratings and comments, we can get much more out of them than anyone would think. On the occasion of the ASO audit I will not talk about this vast topic. I’ ll describe it in separate article.
Considering the ratings and comments in the context of the ASO Audit, we must check whether our application achieves an average rating on all markets where it is available. An important success factor is good design of the User Experience flow in our application. We should encourage users to rate our application. It is important to find the right segment and timing to display the appropriate notification about rating the app.
If we already have a certain level of ratings and comments, let’s be at least at the level of 4 and more stars.
If the grades are lower, we have to react accordingly. With a well-designed ASO strategy, we should anticipate implementations of solutions that should be used to raise this level. If you have not foreseen such a possibility, you have to check how bad it is. Will a few positive comments and assessments improve the situation or do something more. Then it is good practice to fix programming errors, UI, UX or others, then release the update and implement the campaign on channels other than just the App Store / Google Play. Such a campaign should provide for the fulfillment of basic indicators important from the point of view of ratings and comments.
Constant reading and analyzing comments will also be important. We can not only get product feedback, but many more.
Keyword analysis known from SEO is very important in the context of mobile applications. This is a topic that can not be ignored, because we will see a drop in the KPIs of our application. Keyword analysis is a continuous process, just like maintenance and correction of programming errors, with keyword analysis in the App Store / Google Play, we will not part with how much we want to maintain and deliver a high quality product.
There are many approaches to finding, selecting, testing and implementing. However, I recommend reading our article about keywords and their optimization here.
For the purposes of the Audit, I will tell you only briefly about the process itself.
- Check if your keywords are correctly formatted – we delete gaps, articles, prepositions and other such additional words. (eg: kwd1, kwd2, kwd3, etc.)
- Check if you have any keyword reps – delete them. If you are not sure if a word is a repetition, try searching with and without it.
- Use all 100 characters – optimize your keywords to use the full 100 characters.
- Use related locations – The App Store search algorithm takes meta data from the appropriate locations into the search results. For example, the application name and key words in Spanish will affect the search results in the US, because there is a large cluster of accounts with the Spanish language.
- If you use keywords that are brand names of your competitors or be careful, because this practice is not compatible with the App Store rules. Delete them and replace them with something that is not your own name.
The ASO audit for the description is worth starting with the statistics, which shows that Less than 2% of users open a full description of the application. Let’s take good care of the 252 characters that are before clicking the “see more” button. You should also add CTA before this button. Our experience shows that it works!
Another operation that differentiates the App Store from Google Play Store is the indexing of the application description. There is no evidence of indexation in the App Store. On Google Play, it’s a good idea to create a description so that your keywords are in the description because it affects the search results of your application.
The description is another element of the ASO, whose location is desirable. Analyze your geolocation data and match the description to your best converting markets. Of course, the location is not a translation, but the matching of content to the culture and good customs in a given country.
At this point, when reading this paragraph, you will probably think that what I am writing about here ?! What does the website have to do to optimize the mobile application in the App Store or Google Play.
Well, it has more than you might think at first. I will start with the most trivial things, but I mention them because when working with clients it happens differently 🙂
First of all, does our site have a clearly designed flow that directly moves the user after reading it directly to the App Store? While in the case of companies whose entire business is based on the application, it is relatively simple and intuitive, in the case of companies for which the application is another source of revenue or have it for image purposes, a good design of the flow transferring to the application can be a challenge. It’s worth taking a look at this element.
Another element that should be taken under the microscope during the control of the application’s website is the so-called “Rich mark up”. It is a combination of application and meta tags on social media. This can increase traffic in your application while mentioning it in social media.
If our application is based on dynamic content, it is worth checking if you are applying app-indexing. Adding content-based application indexing will show our application when someone searches for content published in it. E.g. News applications.
The last thing is to think about the possibility of adding a technical blog, in which you inform users about new functionalities and fixes. It’s about positioning such entries in google and if it searches for specific functionalities in the search engine it can hit just your application.
As is well known, the analyst is the most powerful tool in the hands of every marketer. In the mobile industry, it is particularly important because in applications only what we need to know is what we want to measure, because the possibilities are limitless.
During this part of the Audit, an ASO specialist and programmer of a given iOS or Android technology must act jointly.
First, we check if the Analytical SDK is implemented to the application code.
If after checking it turns out that we do not have SDK in general, it is the first serious signal and a sign that we have to implement it quickly. At least in some basic version. The best version is a thorough analysis and programming of measuring key events specific to our application.
If you own an SDK and measure events, make sure you measure exactly what you are doing and confront it with your sales and marketing goals. It is a pity to waste time and attention to unnecessary data.
If the Analytics has been checked, the topic of paid user attribution campaigns should be analyzed. If we plan to conduct them due to the application promotion strategy, we should implement the appropriate User Acquisition SDK. Even if we do not plan paid User Acquisition campaigns in the near future, it is a good practice to implement the appropriate SDK. Acquiring users is not the easiest task, so it’s always good to have a plan B.
In the last tenth part of the ASO audit, I collected the rest of the topics that do not fit into the other categories and we should analyze them in the context of the ASO.
- Worldwide application
Publish your application in global availability mode. The only factor in favor of not doing this is having a good reason for NOT local availability, legal conditions, etc.
- Is your application adapted to the markets in which it occurs?
If you publish applications all over the world, do not forget to take care of its appearance in every country in the App Store you are targeting. Make screenshots look different, translate texts, etc.
If you are just starting to focus on your target market as adapting to a large number of countries your application requires a lot of resources and time. As you update your applications, add additional countries.
- Is your application overweight?
This element is very important though often overlooked. If the application has up to 100 MB, there is nothing to worry about. Sometimes some functionalities must be “heavy”.
However, if it is larger, let’s consider the optimization of the graphics in the application. Are all resources needed immediately during installation. Maybe some things can be tightened after installation. The algorithm of stores draws attention to the importance of the application. In some cases, even how much it consumes batteries in the phone. It is worth remembering.
In this article, I learned how to check whether your application meets the latest standards at the Apple Store and Google Play for the ASO. If you read this article carefully, you know how to improve your application’s ASO. However, Audit alone is not enough. After detecting errors, you must proceed to correct them. If you want to deal with the topic of ASO, our specialists are ready to erect your application to the tops of the App Store and Google Play.