The Key to App Launch Success

Dave Bell, Co-founder and CEO of Gummicube, looks at the importance for app developers of optimizing keywords and creatives.

New beginnings can be both exciting and stressful. Now that you’ve finally developed your app, submitting it to the app stores can create a whole slew of new questions regarding its performance. How can a developer successfully launch an app after putting in the long hours and hard work needed to make it happen? Will the users be able to see the app? Will they want to download it? 

App Store Optimization (ASO) helps bridge the gap between app launch and long-term app store success. To make it in the app store, creating and maintaining visibility and discoverability are paramount to effective organic and paid mobile marketing campaigns. 

All apps should be optimized at every stage of the app life cycle. Whether an app is in pre-launch or has already been matured over time, keyword and creative optimization ensure that the app remains relevant to the users and the app stores. Now that you’re ready to launch your app, let’s take a look at some critical success factors that can help your app have a successful launch. 

Are your keywords optimized? 
Keyword optimization serves two fundamental functions on both app store platforms. For one, keywords drive visibility and discoverability on the app store. This allows users to find your app in the search results organically. Secondly, keywords also convey relevance to the user and the app store indexation process. The app stores use the keywords in your app metadata assets to decide whether your app is a strong contender for the category, and it also decides in this process whether the quality of your metadata is fit to be recommended to users. 

The app store platforms take about 3-4 weeks to fully process and publish your app. During this process, using optimized metadata helps the review and publishing process go smoothly and increases your opportunity to rank for relevant keywords at the very beginning of your app launch. 

While it may be tempting to use as many keywords as possible to help increase app store visibility, keyword stuffing and using irrelevant keywords in your metadata is never a good idea. This is especially true when your app is still new to the app stores. Before an app gets published on an app store, each must go through a review process. Using repetitive keywords may seem like a good idea to capture the most visibility, but this bad practice may result in long and costly delays in the review process.

Remember, the goal of keyword optimization is to build visibility and relevance in the app store through strategic targeting. To avoid getting flagged or missing targeting opportunities, developers should avoid misleading keyword optimization tactics that may hurt their app launch performance. 

Are your creatives optimized? 
Visibility and discoverability is the first step down the funnel, but how can you get your users to initiate a download? Creative assets like screenshots, app icons, and feature videos are directly responsible for conversion. Unlike keyword optimization, your creative elements do not get indexed for keywords. Think of app creative assets like a business card – after the initial verbal introduction has been made, you need to initiate a mode of contact or CTA. Creative elements serve as additional information hubs for app information that’s quick and easy to consume.

To use their potential effectively, app store creatives must simultaneously engage and inform the user efficiently. 

When a user searches in the app store for your specific app features or functionality, there are hundreds of competitors that compete for the users attention, time, and download. To outshine competitors, creatives must speak to users in a way that best addresses, and even surpasses their expectations. There are creative ASO best practices all developers should follow to increase their ability to do so like using visual copy to supplement images, leveraging brand strength in screenshot sets, and other elements that fit your unique app category. 

Now that you have your creatives optimized, how can you test their conversion effects? A/B testing using ASO technology and like Splitcube, or native A/B testing platforms from Google Play and Apple lets you understand which creatives pull the best conversion results. You may find that some colors, graphics, visual copy, or other elements may be more effective at driving conversion. 

Keep in mind that each app category may have different creative elements that best work to drive conversion – what works for gaming apps may not work very well for retail or finance apps. As a baseline of creative optimization, developers can check out what competitors in the space are doing with their app creatives to get a better sense of what creatives are widely used. While you can’t see their conversion effects, it helps you better understand what a user may expect when they look for a particular app category.

Launching an app is the first step in an exciting new venture, and there are steps you can take prior to launching to ensure the process goes smoothly. Keyword and creative optimization are fundamental processes to get your visibility and conversion potential off on the right foot from the start. However, the ASO processes must be continued to further their effectiveness in the long run. Through continuous optimization, developers can then initiate more effective paid marketing campaigns that yield better and more consistent results. Research, testing, and improvement over time are the key to app store success at every stage.

About the Author
Dave Bell is Co-founder and CEO of Gummicube. Gummicube is a global leader in App Store Optimization with more than 11 years of 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.