App Store Optimization (ASO)

What is app store optimization?

App store optimization (ASO) is the process of improving a mobile app’s visibility, ranking, and conversion rates in app store search results. When done correctly, ASO makes it easier for new users to find the app, and converts app store listing views into downloads. App developers and marketers use ASO to grow their app’s user base, which is a critical KPI.

ASO is a vital component for companies looking to acquire more app users. According to Google, app stores continue to be a popular way for users to find apps, and 40% of smartphone users find apps through the app store. According to Apple, almost 65% of downloads from the app store happen directly after a search. ASO is a critical part of any good app marketing strategy because the higher an app ranks in app store search results, the more likely users are to find and install it.

Developing an app store optimization strategy

ASO requires a deep and thorough understanding of your customer base and of app store ranking factors. The Google Play Store and Apple App Store continuously update their ranking algorithms, so it’s important to monitor and optimize your ASO strategy over time. Key factors that impact rankings on both iOS and Android are:

  • Keywords: Conduct keyword research to identify keywords that are associated with your brand, user intent, and your app’s functionality. Use those keywords in your app’s title and in the app’s description. It’s also important to utilize keyword fields to catch as much traffic as possible.
  • Localizing content: Adapt your app and its store listing to appeal to different geographic target markets. Consider language flexibility, description modifications, and image modifications to fit target audiences in different locations.
  • Ratings and reviews: Good ratings and positive reviews are key to develop user trust and encourage downloads. While it’s impossible to control these, you can incentivize users to rate and review once they have a positive app experience.
  • App downloads: Higher download numbers garner more positive associations with an app. Furthermore, a higher download number means a better position within an app store’s organic ranking. While difficult to control, you can increase these numbers by integrating marketing channels outside of the app store in order to drive people to the app.
  • Deep linking: Deep links within apps, social media, websites, email, QR codes, influencer marketing, and text notifications are all great ways to drive app downloads. By utilizing deep linking, companies can provide customers and users the ability to navigate from an original location on the web or social media, to the app store, through the app download, and directly to the original destination.

In addition to optimizing for organic ranking factors, companies can also pay to promote their apps within the app store. Apple Search Ads increase app visibility by targeting app store users based on their search queries. When a user searches for the relevant keyword or keyword phrase, an ad with a custom headline, short description, and call to action is displayed at the top of the search results. With a mobile measurement partner (MMP), brands can track the performance of Apple Search Ads campaigns and attribute each install to a specific ad.