You went through the trouble of designing a killer app with slick functionality that’s ready to add value to its everyday user. Previous testers and current users are raving about it and success appears imminent.
But there’s a major issue: The only ones who can find it are those who know about it. Your app is nowhere to be found in any app store, whether iTunes for iOS, Google Play for Android, Windows Store for Windows Phone, or BlackBerry World for BlackBerry.
This problem needs to be addressed – and quickly – before a competitor comes in and swoops up your audience. The solution resides in a strong mobile marketing campaign that focuses on app store optimization (ASO), a term that continues to garner traction daily.
Following are four ASO tips that my digital marketing agency relies on to claim top-ranking results for its app clients.
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Just like everything in SEO, keywords are the foundation for getting apps found in various app stores. Of course, start with a keyword in the app title, and choose it wisely. One big change to the Apple App Store as of September 2016 was limiting the character count from 255 to 50 characters. This means tightening your word choice; the idea is to find the correct balance between the app’s name and some keywords. Remember, this will also be your app’s URL, so choose wisely.
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The same goes for the keyword field; the App Store limits keywords to 100 and each word should be separated by a comma with no spaces. Remember two things when choosing keywords for your app: relevancy and competition. Make sure your keywords are relevant to the app’s purpose and chase less-competitive longer-tail keywords instead of broad ones that will be harder to rank for. Also, use numerals instead of written numbers to save space and include normal typos found online (e.g.: Tumbler for Tumblr).
The First Few Screenshots Matter
Think of screenshots like the opening sentences of a blog or any online article: If those words don’t immediately consume your attention, it’s likely you’ll click on something else.
This same principle goes for screenshots, which are the first impression a potential user sees when visiting an app store. A study completed by AppShots says “53% of Android users and 47% of iOS users found their last app through app store searching “(Google Play and App Store, respectively), and apps with appealing screenshots increased downloads by 30% over ones with just words.
Your first screenshot is your elevator pitch and should clearly and quickly explain the essence of your app and its value proposition. Only use high-resolution screenshots and make sure they explain what the app is about. Also, try to show any social proof with clear and positive customer opinion.
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Localize And Keep Things Fresh
If your business has anything to do with location, make sure you localize the screenshots and description for your business’s area. This doesn’t have to be the main screenshot but should be one of the supporting screenshots. If you have a pizza business in Manhattan, include a screenshot of a map location. Try to make this the second screenshot, though you will find a few local businesses that make a localized screenshot their lead one – and with success.
Also, keep things fresh with regard to not only updating the app’s functionality but all app store components: screenshots, app descriptions and keywords. We recommend that people check these factors every quarter. Take customer feedback into consideration when updating ASO; that old adage that the “customer knows best” speaks even more truth in app stores. Listen to what they are saying and continue to build out the functionality of your app.
As for ASO, keywords will change as your business does and you’ll always want to stay on top of trends happening within your industry. This can be a simple screenshot change or attractive keywords for seasonally products/services like holiday shopping deals or spring grass cutting. Remember to also use bullet points in your app descriptions for easier reading and understanding of your app’s functionality.
Encourage In-App Reviews And Ratings
This is one of the most frustrating parts of ASO because developers/app owners have zero control over the reviewing/rating process within app stores. It’s simple: Higher ratings equal higher rankings within the app stores. There will always be negative reviews/ratings, so what’s the best way to deal with them?
The most optimal solution is to have users provide feedback to app developers directly through your app. In-app feedback is a great way to keep complaints in-house and allows developers to tweak functionality without having the negative comments online. Many tools exist that provide in-app pop-up boxes for ratings, such as Appirator. These tools can also help UX by providing an outlet for them to rate quickly and provide immediate feedback to developers.
For the ultimate success of any app, app store optimization should never be overlooked. It’s as important as app development itself – especially since around 50% of app users find apps through app stores. Follow these four tips for ASO and remember to always study what your biggest competitors are doing. App store competitive research is some of the easiest research out there. Simply enter the keywords you’re trying to rank for in whatever app store you are using and see what the top-ranked competitors are doing. Make this a regular practice – weekly, if possible.