The app ecosystems are teeming with millions of apps that are just waiting to be downloaded. With high competition, apps often face the troubling situation of getting noticed. While there are many different tips and tricks on how to improve install rates, the most beneficial strategy is App Store Optimization (ASO).
While ASO is the go-to strategy for ensuring that your app is visible and converting users, some developers don’t heed the failings of others and suffer the consequences of stumbling and making mistakes. These pitfalls can determine how well an app will perform.
Make sure you avoid these pitfalls and develop an ASO strategy that brings success.
1. Not targeting the right keywords
Users search for apps using particular phrases, relevant to what they’re looking for. You need to incorporate keywords into each part of an app’s metadata (title, description, and screenshots) to give it a fighting chance to appear in user search queries.
For Apple’s App Store, developers have a 100-character keyword bank, meaning that they’re limited on what they can target. However, they can incorporate other keywords that they’d like their app to be relevant for in their title and subtitle.
With the Google Play Store, developers don’t have a declared keyword field. Keywords must be targeted throughout the title, short and long descriptions – far more character space than a 100-character keyword bank.
You should target keywords that are relevant to your app, but also take the time to understand how your audiences are searching. Users tend to search in two-to-three-word phrases. This means that targeting a combination of short and long-tail keywords will cover more ground and help your app appear in user searches more often.
2. Using the same ASO strategy for iOS and GP
While your ASO strategy will probably have small overlaps between iOS and Google Play, ultimately, they should be separate. Since each platform indexes apps differently, you’ll have to set up strategies that use best practices for both.
A major difference should be how you approach the description. Since we already know that Apple has a 100-character keyword bank while Google doesn’t, the keywords are already defined. For a Google Play long description, it would be great to create clearly defined feature sets that will help the app index faster for the keywords you want to rank for.
3. Unimpressive creatives
Users want to see the app in action, which means that the creatives (icon, screenshots, and preview video) are key to highlighting the app’s different functions. On Google Play, the icon is the most important feature, while screenshots are most important for the Apple App Store. This is because each search result display shows different creatives first. So, whichever makes the first impression matters most.
The icon needs to be the immediate eye-catcher that makes users want to tap it first in a search query. Screenshots and a preview video are also crucial. They need to sell the app to potential users and highlight its core features. The preview video alone can either increase or decrease install rates by up to 25% depending on how well or how poorly it’s done.
Also, creatives shouldn’t be confusing or unengaging, as users would be less likely to convert. That’s why it’s always important for developers to keep ASO best practices in mind and even A/B test their creatives to see what performs best with their audience. If you take the time to test your creatives, it can save you money in the long run.
4. Failed paid search campaigns
While having an ASO strategy will help your app become more visible, you need to use other marketing strategies like paid search to make sure the users are seeing your app first. With tools like Apple Search Ads, Google AdWords and even Facebook, developers can set up campaigns to bid on keywords that are relevant to their app.
Search Ads alone has an average of 50% mobile user conversion rate. If you’re not using this ad funnel and running it successfully, you’re missing out on a huge margin of conversion. You will, however, need to make sure that your ASO strategy is on point before running a Search Ads campaign because the ads pull directly from the app’s metadata.
5. Forgetting about your ASO strategy
Nothing is perfect on the first go, and user trends and behaviors are actively changing. It’s easy for developers to assume they’re all set once they find what works, but you can’t coast on one ASO strategy forever. Sometimes a keyword that was high-volume becomes low-volume simply because users are no longer searching for it. You need to pay attention to any sudden changes and re-optimize your app immediately.
Trends change, new competitors rise, and app stores change. Developers who ignore these developments will find themselves losing relevance and reach. You don’t need to completely re-do everything when changes occur, but simply realign what you were previously doing with what is currently working.
Creating an ASO strategy may seem long and daunting, but it will ultimately help your app’s visibility. To find success, make sure that you’re actively monitoring trends just in case there’s a sudden change.
Remember, each facet of a strong ASO strategy will help an app become successful. When developers get lazy or stop following ASO best practices, the consequences can mean failure for their app.
Author: Dave Bell is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gummicube. Dave is responsible for overseeing the business strategy for the company, driving growth and market development. Dave is a pioneer of the mobile entertainment industry with more than 15 years of experience in publishing, marketing and distributing mobile applications and games across carrier, direct to consumer and app store channels.