App Store Optimization: a key component for mobile app marketing

Dave Bell, Co-Founder & CEO of Gummicube, considers the key aspects to consider for successful App Store Optimisation. 

The mobile app industry is booming, and apps are integrated into many people’s daily lives. But how can an app stand out against hundreds of competitors? The answer is simple: an effective mobile app marketing strategy.

There are many strategies to consider when marketing a mobile app. However, not all have the same long-lasting impact. Undergoing App Store Optimization should be the cornerstone of your mobile marketing strategy, as it can affect your entire marketing funnel. App Store Optimization can help improve your organic visibility, increase overall conversion rates and even assist in your paid marketing efforts to lower CPI.

Looking for how to get started? Learn more about App Store Optimization below.

ASO – Organic Search Visibility

Building a healthy organic baseline for your app can set it up for long term success. Paid user acquisition can be effective while it’s running, but without an organic foundation to stand on, the increased traffic can disappear just as quickly as it came in once the campaign ends.

There are already users organically searching for an app like yours – through proper App Store Optimization, you can help these high-intent users discover your app.

Keyword optimization is critical to make your app visible in organic search results, where the majority of users find apps they are looking for. According to Apple, 70 per cent of users use search to find apps.

While the way they are implemented is not the same from a technical standpoint, both Apple and Google’s algorithms scan the metadata fields for an app to determine how it should index in their stores. The more relevant your app is deemed for keywords the algorithms detect, the better chance it has to index.

Research and implement keywords with a good mix of high relevancy to your app, high search volume, and serve results that include your top competitors. The ability to index for terms like these is a key component of your App Store Optimization strategy and vital to the success of your app.

After researching which terms meet the above criteria and implementing them properly, utilize them in the appropriate metadata fields for your app to start the indexation process. While this takes time, an app that undergoes several iterations of App Store Optimization initiatives can rank for hundreds, potentially thousands of different terms.

Simply repeating keywords in your app description is not sufficient, and the technical way to implement them varies from platform to platform. For the iOS App Store, keywords are indexed from the title, subtitle and direct “keyword” fields. Unlike Apple, Google does not have an explicit area to list keywords; these must be written throughout the title, short description and full description fields in advantageous areas for Google’s algorithm to detect them.

Search trends
Any marketing strategy will need to account for shifts in user interests and popular trends over time – App Store Optimization is no different. It is important to research these trends, as your app needs to evolve with them. Not keeping up with keyword trends can affect your whole marketing strategy, causing your app to fall behind its competitors.

By properly utilizing ASO as a part of your mobile marketing strategy, you can keep on top of which keywords are trending for your app genre and adjust accordingly to maintain and improve your organic presence. It is critical that your app’s metadata is updated frequently to capitalize on current trend’s while maintaining year-round performant terms.

ASO – Creatives and Conversion

While 70 per cent of users use search to discover apps, what drives them to download? This is where creative sets and conversion optimization factor in. The creative set for your app listing, including the app icon, screenshots and video, can be the difference between a user deciding to download your app or a competitor.

Creative optimization is crucial for all marketing
Creative optimization is key to continued conversion improvement and download growth. By optimizing your icon, screenshots, and/or video, you will have a higher proportion of users who install your app after discovering it. While keywords can impact metrics coming from users in organic search, everyone coming through to your product page – whether from a search result or an external source – will see your creatives.

When conversions are optimized, not only will it lead to a higher ratio of impressions to installs, it can also lead to a decrease in cost per acquired user in paid campaigns due to higher tap to conversion ratios. Research competitors’ creatives and brainstorm what you can do to be in line with them in a familiar way, but stand out in a unique way.

Users scrolling quickly through search results will make quick decisions on which app they want to download. To convert, your creatives need to not only be appealing, but communicative. Use clear examples of key pages from your app, and large, concise text callouts centred around core concepts of your app. Get your functionality and value propositions across to these users as soon as possible, or they may swipe right past you.

ASO – Paid Marketing

With thousands of established apps and hundreds more being added each day, your app needs some sort of edge to get ahead of the competition. Once your organic foundation is set, paid user acquisition can compound organic efforts. A holistic App Store Optimization combining organic optimization, conversion optimization and paid user acquisition are essential for a successful mobile app marketing strategy.

Benefits of paid marketing efforts
The additional downloads driven in by successful paid user acquisition can help improve your overall organic visibility in the stores. This can happen in two ways:

    • Increased category ranking: Category ranking is determined by your rolling download velocity compared to other apps in your category. If continued increases in downloads are driven in from your organic and paid UA efforts, higher category ranking can be achieved. This can open up another opportunity for discoverability for users browsing or exploring top apps in a category.
    • Increased keyword ranking: Not all user acquisition channels are created equally. Apple Search Ads and Google Ads give developers the opportunity to have their apps served at the top of search, labelled as ads above organic search results. If a user searches for a keyword and your app gets a tap, it sends a signal to the app stores that the app is relevant for this keyword – this works for both organic search and each platform’s native ads that appear in search results. If more clicks are continually achieved over competitor apps, your app will rise up in search.

Once Apple and Google know how to “read” your app via its declared metadata for ranking indexation, and your creatives are proven to convert well and continually tested further, paid marketing efforts are the next key step in a successful mobile app marketing strategy.

In summation
App Store Optimization (ASO) is a key component of any mobile app marketing strategy. A combination of organic keyword ranking optimization, conversion optimization and paid user acquisition from the right channels can help more users discover your app, convert when they find it and install at a lower cost.

This is not a one-and-done process – neglecting to keep up with user search interests, design trends, and new competitors can cause your app to fall behind. When looking to get your app in front of the right users and encouraging them to convert, evaluate your App Store Optimization efforts and how you can execute a strategy to drive continued growth.

About the Author
Dave Bell is Co-Founder & CEO of Gummicube. Gummicube is a global leader in App Store Optimization, with more than 11 years’ experience optimizing and marketing apps. We offer the leading enterprise ASO technology and agency services, providing support to clients around the world. Our company is trusted by thousands of enterprise brands and leading startups, including Microsoft, LinkedIn, Bethesda, SWEAT, GrubHub, McAfee and many others.