5 Tips for Better ASO

With over a billion global smartphone users, the mobile application market continues to expand, which means app users are developing shorter attention spans for the most interesting or best quality apps to download. With the clutter of new apps flooding Android (450,000), Apple (600,000), and other app markets, it takes the right optimization steps to climb higher in ratings, page listings, and categories. An optimized app means more downloads, which ultimately lead to more subscriptions, purchases, shares, customer engagements, and whichever other KPI’s equate success for your business.

App Store Optimization (ASO) requires many of the same factors that go into great SEO tactics. Things like metadata, keywords, head titles, description, and geography play a role in the app store listings, so leveraging the right tool to understand these variables for your specific app can mean the difference between a top-tier ranking and an also-ran position. Here are 5 quick tips for optimizing your app store listing:


5 Steps to Optimizing Your App Store Listing

Step 1: Know Your Audience

Understanding your users, including how and when they interact with your app and your competitors’ apps is integral to rising in app store rankings.

To build your user base, it helps to start with what you know about current users.The right mobile-first analytics tool can highlight user data to build out a great app description, keywords and more. Tracking things like new v. returning users, users by device, demographic data, user actions and daypart analysis can reveal important trends.

For example, a media publishing app could build out a custom user segment and discover that the majority of its users are reading and sharing sports stories. This could feed right into the visuals and descriptions that go into the app store. Incorporating a picture of sports content, along with a blurb about how great the app’s sports content looks in-app could lead to higher search rankings in the app store.

Media sports app screenshot


Step 2: Track Events & Actions

By tracking the flow and type of actions users are taking in your app, you can craft better descriptions and keywords for use in the app store.

Using an analytics tool that shows the blueprint of your app, including the user flow and which attributes are most prevalent with certain actions can lead to more clearly defined keywords for your app store listing.

Tracking events in your app graph

For example, a retail app might want to investigate the what type of items iOS users add to their viewed most frequently. If it turned out that thousands of iOS users were viewing expensive Tiffany necklaces, the retail app could use this information to tweak its keywords, incorporate in-app jewelry images into the app store description, and even tailor its advertising accordingly. Suddenly, that generic retail app has a focus on high-end luxury accessories, which will attract a new crop of users. Then, if user tastes change over time, the app could adapt these elements; all it takes is tracking.

Step 3: Build That Coveted 5-Star Rating

If there’s one commonality about the highest-ranked apps in store listings, its a 5-star rating.

5 star app screenshot

In the same way that user-review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor have become the barometer for great businesses or destinations, a 5-star app means a great user experience. However, 5-star ratings aren’t easy to build organically, and getting enough 5-star reviews to become reputable takes a few targeted measures. In-app messaging can be a great way to find your biggest advocates and nudge them towards high praise.

NPS survey in-app message screenshot

For example, an ecommerce app could initiate an in-app messaging campaign for an ultra-quick scaled review. By prompting its users to grade their app experience on a scale of 1-10, the ecommerce app could easily find their promoters and detractors. Then, when the segment of promoters has been defined, the app could send a follow-up message asking them to take a few seconds to rate the app in the actual app store. This tactic accomplishes a few objectives:

1) The first 1-10 rating is completely harmless to the app’s store rating
2) Only those who rated the app highly the first time would be prompted to give a 1-5 star rating in the store, almost guaranteeing 5-star ratings, and lots of them
3) The data gathered from the first 1-10 scale can be used to target promoters or detractors in the future

Step 4: Get The Word Out

Once you’ve built more accurate keywords, educated descriptions, intriguing visuals, and tons of 5-star ratings, it’s time to get the word out. Using successful mobile ad channels like Facebook, combined with testing copy, can lead to more searches and downloads in the app store. Utilizing a mobile marketing solution that offers advanced analytics will help direct when and where to offer in-app messages. A/B testing will refine messaging and ad copy design to help you explore which campaigns attract users with the most lifetime value. When you’ve nailed down the right mobile marketing elements, app promotion will be more effective than ever.

AB Test app marketing

For example, a gaming app could craft an in-app message that prompts users who have reached a new level to share their achievements. Then, after testing a few different versions of this message, the app could develop ad copy to run in Facebook’s mobile site that incorporates a similar theme. Facebook users who follow the ad would be directed to the app store’s description, which has been fine tuned and complemented with a plethora of 5-star ratings.

Facebook mobile site


Step 5: Keep Improving

This final tip seems obvious, but continuous improvements are as important as your initial setup. To use an appropriate example, it’s like personalized mobile phone; there are always new apps, wallpapers, and layouts to explore; a standard setup is just boring.

Leverage analytics to build a powerful knowledge repository that can adapt to changes in user tastes and app updates. Add mobile marketing campaigns fueled by those metrics to highlight the latest and greatest features of your app that will prompt more app store downloads and subsequently higher ratings. Keeping the pulse of your app means you can quickly and easily respond to more macrocosmic changes in the market and adjust the elements that lead to great ASO.

Impressions to clicks graph

In the same way that SEO isn’t an exact science, ASO will work differently depending on your industry or enterprise, but these 5 tips can help you lay the groundwork for a hot-commodity app. As you look for the right tool to implement each of these tactics, check out what Localytics has to offer.