After months of planning, research and development with your team, your app is finally ready to make its debut in the market. But, much like every other small business in the world, the difficult part is actually getting the word out there — marketing can be one of a developer’s largest struggles in the entire development process. What can be done to get people to view and download an app?
Both the Apple App Store and Google Play boast upwards of 1.5 million mobile apps. More than 100 million apps are being downloaded around the world daily. Something to consider in order to stand out in a crowd of millions is tailoring your app and its app listing for discovery and conversion in the app stores, a process called app store optimization (ASO). It’s like SEO, but for apps.
App store optimization helps developers and publishers alike organically climb the app store charts and increase their downloads and retention rates. If you have a new app, ASO is exactly how you need to get started with marketing.
Here are five things to jump-start your app store optimization efforts:
Getting actual mobile data is key in everything a marketer can do when it comes to ASO. Anyone can flock to basic and free “keyword tools,” but those tools often repackage Google’s web search data to give to app developers.
Searching for terms like “tacos” in Google and then again in Google Play shows very different results. “Tacos” in Google yields local restaurants that serve tacos, while “tacos” in the Google Play store yields a cacophony of cooking related games.
User intent in web is very different than in mobile. The way your target market searches in the app stores can’t be estimated using data from how people search the web. In order to optimize your app, you need data that best reflects your target market’s behavior.
People are searching in the app stores with two to three word phrases. Users on their mobile devices don’t have the keyboard space to be searching for things like “the one song with the beat that goes like this” into a search engine. In app store search, users are searching for things like “song finder” or “music recognizer,” or they’re looking for brands like “Shazam.”
Depending on what your app is or is about, it’s important to choose keywords and phrases for your app listing to focus on. The keywords you should focus on should be feature-based. If your audience is looking for these features, be sure to emphasize them so that your app can be discovered.
Before a potential app user can view an app’s icon, review the screenshots or read the description, the app must be discovered. Both Apple and Google weigh the app name or title significantly in their indexing for ranking in search results. Apple is also the only platform that provides mobile app publishers a keywords field to help Apple better index their app.
Because of the character limits in both the app name/title and the keywords field, optimizing an app for maximum relevant coverage can require sophisticated analyses and specific software.
But the results can be significant. Some developers saw a 775-percent increase in organic downloads within the first 30 days of a deployed optimization when using features and terms found through an app store intelligence platform that knew what their market was looking for.
Visibility or discovery by a relevant audience is just the first part of a comprehensive app store optimization strategy. Users must convert from viewers of a mobile app store listing to actually downloading the app.
The most impactful elements of an app store listing affecting conversion are often the creative elements: the app’s icon, screenshots and an app preview video if applicable. There are several theories on how color, text and images affect conversion rates, but nothing beats testing app icons and screenshots with the app’s target audience. This can be accomplished by polling an email list or running a focus group.
App store optimization is an on-going process. It’s important to stay on top of trends within your market and adjust for changes due to seasonality, culture, news and competition.
Understanding what an app’s target audience is searching for helps keep an app listing optimized and can identify new opportunities for features increasingly in demand. These trending search terms can be used as keywords and in other app promotion activities including search and install advertisements.
Focusing on the basics of ASO will help create a defendable, long-term competitive advantage in the market. If you don’t find your target audience, someone else will.
About the Contributor:
Dave Bell is the co-founder and CEO of Gummicube. He is responsible for overseeing the business strategy for the company, as well as driving growth and market development. Dave is a pioneer of the mobile entertainment industry, with more than 15 years of experience publishing, marketing and distributing mobile applications and games across carrier, direct-to-consumer and app store channels.