App Store Optimization, or ASO, is a way of ensuring your app meets app store ranking criteria and rises to the top of a search results page. Optimising your App marketplace listing starts long before the downloads begin.
Doshii have put together a list for App developers to consider when approaching a new App development project to make it easier for the App to get found, recognised, downloaded and purchased by the customer then reviewed.
1. Market Research
First, establish your market size, what your niche/audience are currently purchasing, ask yourself is the App you want to create sustainable to itself? The App must provide a return on investment for your hard spent time and resources.
Do you know how to best monetise your idea and is there a roadmap with concrete achievable goals for you to navigate? Once you have figured out your concept of the App then it’s wise to approach the heads of the industry you are trying to target. Ask for their thoughts and opinions on the product you have created. You can ask them what their pain points are, what would help solve them via the functionality of your app and how much they would save in time, money and effort. Look at competitor Apps and their pricing – can you compete?
It’s best to make data-driven decisions rather than to wing it at this stage as your competitors will be making those tough choices based on research rather than feeling.
2. Understand Your Customer Uniquely
Your ASO strategy begins with putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. Your goal is to improve discovery in app store searches and target those keywords that drive the most traffic. The best way to identify these optimal keywords is consumer research — finding out exactly what search queries brought your customers to your app and the natural language they would use to describe it.
Keyword research is key to getting found. Questions to ask are how others would describe your App, what reasons would they articulate to search for an App like yours? What phrases or keywords are competitors using in their marketing? Are there similar words that can be used to replace the more (expensive) trending keyword.
If your audience goes beyond the English-speaking world, consider adapting your brand communication and language to the wants and needs of each audience segment – see point 5.
By having deeper insights into the behaviour and needs of your audience means that you can better target them.
3. Start Freemium first
Build a following. Go to the App store or App marketplace and look at what the most popular free apps are. This shows you what people are doing on their mobile devices. You can gather data on what price point your App might meet the market. Secondly, look at the paid apps. By browsing through this information you can discover not only what people are doing but what they are spending their money on, and how much money they are spending.
Having a Freemium model or a free App promotional period will encourage your audience to invest their bandwidth with your App over a paid-for competitor. Make sure that the Freemium version is not so pared back with functionality to actually annoy the user – they have downloaded your App to use and it must meet their expectation of being useful.
4. Reviews Are Worth Gold
People are swayed by what everyone else is saying – if the product review is positive then it will actually take a negative engagement with your App to change their mind and alter their purchasing choice. Be proactive and request reviews and testimonials on NPS scores, Facebook reviews and Google reviews.
A consistent flow of positive reviews serves as the highest possible validation of your app’s quality and one of the highest determinants of rank.
Send push notifications requesting the audiences input and always respond to negative reviews in a professional manner addressing the issue and offering a solution.
Maintain a large volume of five-star reviews for your app, and especially its latest version. Our 2015 Consumer Survey revealed that one-third of existing customers check an app’s ratings before downloading an update. Maintain a positive rating for an easy win.
5. Catchy App Name
Stuck for a name? Don’t forget to make it to relate to your service – ‘Descriptify’ your app name like Shopify or Runkeeper. You can also use your primary keyword (meta tag) in your name to gain an immediate boost. Other naming strategies are putting an ‘-i’ at the end of the name instead of a ‘-y’ or ‘-ey’. E.g. Doshii.
Dropping syllables in the name. E.g. waitrr. Putting a ‘u’ at the end of the name. E.g. me&u. Connecting two words to make a new one. E.g. TabSquare and OrderUP! or make a new name up E.g. MVI, mobi2go.
Make sure that you do a bit of due diligence and not just a google search to ensure that the word/ term is not used elsewhere and does not mean something different in a different culture.
Global brand Fails : some of these brands should have googled
6. Each Platform Is Different – Choose To Differentiate
The Google App Marketplace (android) and the Apple App Store have two very different approaches when it comes to ASO keywords.
The optimal number of times to repeat a keyword in an app store product page is five, which will maximize the likelihood of ranking prominently for that keyword. Additional mentions have little to no effect on ASO and may even turn off potential customers if your description appears intentionally repetitive. Google scans your Apps description to extract relevant keywords. It’s best to use natural, customer facing language as the character limit is so vast.
The Apple App Store has a 100-character keyword field. With this in mind, it’s important to use all of the allotted characters and carefully research your keywords to maximize your organic traffic. It exclusively uses title and whatever keywords or keyword phrases you include in these 100 characters to determine which search strings your app will show up for.
7. Describe Yourself Best With No Ambiguity
Use the first three lines of your description to immediately grab your reader’s attention. Given the ever-growing number of apps in the marketplace it is best to use direct language that will avoid confusion. Make their decision easy by immediately communicating what the App does and why they should use it. Your description should be viewed as a call-to-action for potential customers.
8. Be Your Own Icon
Getting noticed really fast on your users device is all down to the recognisability of your icon. Note that the Apple App Store and Google Play marketplace vary in their approach to, and rendering of App icons. Both stores have preset standards for the ideal size, geometry, and colour scheme of app icons, designed to match the rest of the OS. The App icon should be a distilled version of your brand. It is very important that you research your competitors icons and ensure that your icon cannot be easily confused with their icon and then their App.
9. Screenshots Can Sell Your Product
While having no influence on marketplace App rankings, the screenshots, imagery and videos do drive downloads so it is good practice to put considerable effort into ensuring that the branding, sizing and content of the images relays to the viewer your Apps best features, key elements and recent enhancements.
You can upload up to 5 images (best to go traditional portrait screenshots) but only 3 will show in your gallery on-load screen. The Google Play marketplace allows video currently.
10. UX Trumps Bells And Whistles
The more useful the App the more the user will be likely to invest time and energy working out exactly what value it is to them. By making the User Experience (UX) the most significant priority the App design will lead to increasing the amount of time your App is used. Even if you extend the functionality beyond what is expected if the User cannot easily navigate they will abandon and not come back.
11. Backlink Your App EVERYWHERE
Having good search engine optimisation (seo) means that it’s easier to get found and less money needs to be spent on advertising to get your App found. By building a robust backlinking strategy your App will appear to a wider audience and appeal to more users. If you affiliate with other partners request a place on their website to display your logo and hyperlink it back to you or your App. As a member of a industry group you can build a backlink there and also start your own Wiki page
12. Update Frequently But Limit Big Changes
Engage customers within your app (such as a note prompted at login, a push notification, or an update link prominently displayed in the main navigation) notifying them of the new update and what improvements they have to look forward to. Mobile customers are looking for Apps that are constantly improving, with regular updates based on customer feedback. Apps that are frequently updated are seen, by both the App store and the customer, to be of a higher value and more customer-centric.
Listen to your customers and give notice of what changes are coming – even having a published App roadmap with estimated release dates will count towards bringing your customers information with context.
Apps are a very competitive market and if poor UX or design are affecting you now it may be best to consider a redesign and go back to the drawing board and adopt best App Store Optimisation practices from the beginning to extend the reach and scale of your App.
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