Think back to the last app you downloaded for a brand you knew, how did you come to find it, and what was it that made you want to download it? Did you find it while browsing an app store? Did you have it recommended to you by a friend? Or did you see an ad for it in-store or on their website? These methods all may seem like luck, but the skilled mobile app marketers behind these brands are now using tricks to help increase downloads for their apps. Since browsing app stores is still the number one way apps are discovered, it is important to pay attention to how you rank in them. This process is referred to as App Store Optimization (ASO) and is basically SEO for app stores. A good ASO strategy can help optimize an app’s ranking in app stores, increasing visibility, and hopefully more downloads.

So what do you need to know to ensure your brand is being positioned correctly?

1) Defining Objectives
The first thing you must do is create a list of measurable ASO objectives that you can track. Examples of these goals could be:

  • Can my app be easily found in app stores by my customers?
  • Does my app rank higher in app stores than my competitors?
  • How high does my app rank in app stores for specific keywords?

2) Keyword Optimization
All too often developers wait until the 11th hour to pick keywords and write descriptions, but their importance cannot be understated.

  • Think of how consumers would search for your brand and use solutions such as Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends to decide on the ones with the most return
  • Use A/B testing to try out different combinations of keywords, and use platforms (Google Analytics,App Annie) to see which ones are most relevant for your brand
  • Localizing your keywords for multiple regions/languages (if applicable to your brand) is another great way to ensure your brand’s app is getting discovered by the highest percentage of possible customers

3) Asset Optimization
The asset on your app store page has minimal effect on your likelihood of being searched, but it can still increase how likely someone is to download your app.

App Icon: This is the first thing most people notice when scrolling through the app store, which means that to convince them to click on it it must be enticing, yet simple enough to convey your brand and what your app is offering.

App Description: Here you are trying to appeal to a human, rather than an algorithm, so make sure it lets the customer know why they should download your app.

Screenshots/Video: Your first two screenshots should be the most impactful since they are the ones that a potential user will see first. Videos are also great because they allow you to get more creative, since they allow you to go beyond in-app footage to express your brand’s offering. They are also important, because they reside at the top of the page and more people are likely to click the video then read the full description.

4) Ratings & Reviews
Downloads and ratings & reviews also play a large role in ASO, but are mostly out of your control. However, creating in-app prompts for users to rate & review, could be one way to improve this. As well, promoting your app through all advertising channels such as in-store, web, paid, and social media is another way to drive traffic to your page in the app store.

Another important fact to remember is that ASO takes time because it is still an inexact science. You have to commit to tracking your ASO plan, while also paying attention to what your competitors are doing. But if you feel your brand’s app is not reaching its full potential, and can afford to put in the time and effort, ASO is a great way to see a dramatic improvement in downloads.

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