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The truth about ASO no one talks about

Mobile Marketing - Member Content

Dave Bell, Co-founder and CEO of Gummicube, looks at the ASO's role in driving user engagement and retention. 

Did you know that App Store Optimization (ASO) is the strongest driver of high-quality and valuable users more than any other form of mobile marketing? That’s right, it even has paid alone beat! 

When it comes to sustainable growth on the app stores, valuable users are the ones that yield us better engagement, retention, and value over time. Now, the question that many mobile marketers find themselves asking is how they can attract and retain these users once they’ve downloaded. The answer is simple – it’s the side of ASO no one talks about. 

To any seasoned ASO expert, ASO marketing actually reaches outside of the app store. While the name suggests otherwise, the most fundamental principle of ASO is making sure that you can attract valuable users. This is why relevancy drives everything in the optimization process from search to creative and paid marketing down the line.

The part of ASO no one talks about – user engagement and retention
Talking about mobile user retention and engagement in the context of ASO can be quite shocking. After all, ASO is often assumed to be nearly synonymous with mobile user acquisition, but it’s deeper than that. 

To put it simply, ASO works to optimize discoverability and conversion to your most lucrative audience base, but what happens after the download? Will the user stick around? Will they be a repeat user or subscriber? An even better question to ask is, how can I now optimize my user’s action to be more valuable right at inception?

From pre-launch to maturity, app developers often have to shift focus on what key growth factors they have to attain. In growth phases, user acquisition is key and it involves iterative updates and seasonal marketing implementations for relevance. For apps in maturity, however, developers and markets have to develop strategies that strike a balance between retention and acquisition growth – essentially compounding all ASO best practices with retention strategies.

App Store Optimization can help developers reach these delicate balances – but how? Let’s talk about user onboarding.

App Store Optimization goes beyond the app stores
Where does ASO fit into the equation? Well, ASO reaches outside of the app stores to ensure that the newly acquired user is a valuable one – helping you retain, engage, and even monetize users from the start.

This step in the optimization process is often coined by Gummicube experts as “optimizing action”, and it can be useful for apps across all lifecycles. It can help developers in pre-launch phases learn what best helps drive meaningful actions before launch, know what onboarding flows work best during growth, and see what flows help onboard users and retain current ones in maturity. 

User onboarding can make a massive difference in expanding user lifetime value, engagement, and retention. It’s been shown that time and time again, refined and/or personalized user experiences can help deliver and drive value to users every time they interact with your app.

The value of onboarding optimization for meaningful action
After the user downloads your app, metadata and creative updates are virtually invisible after the download. Leveraging app store experiences like LiveOps or In-app events are great ways to reengage, but in-app engagement through onboarding doesn’t rely on the user to go to the app stores which can save you time and money. 

The most valuable way to optimize your onboarding flow and custom in-app onboarding experiences are through in-app A/B testing. With in-app mobile A/B testing, developers can see which flows, features, and customizations at app open yield meaningful results. This includes testing signup sequences, subscription price placements, custom app open messages, and even controlled price tests.

Despite the positive results you can attain with improved onboarding flows, It’s vital to reiterate that all gears in your ASO strategy must be in full, working rotation. It's also important to mention that every A/B test should have a data-driven thesis guiding your testing plan. Using the right ASO tools and technology derived from true mobile search behaviors is vital to your success.

Overall
The part of ASO no one talks about is one of the most evident success factors contributing to your continuous and sustainable growth regardless of where you are in your app lifecycle. We know that action is one of the most important yet costly steps in optimization and shouldn’t be left to chance. ASO helps you find, convert and retain valuable users. If you have questions about what in-app A/B testing can do, reach out to one of our ASO experts at Gummicube!

About the Author
Dave Bell is Co-founder and CEO of Gummicube. Gummicube is a global leader in App Store Optimization with more than 12 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.