Boost Your App Audience Through ASO

by Dave Bell

Mobile apps have become the foundation of how leading brands interact with their customers and that starts by optimizing your mobile app downloads. An effective App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy is the key to growing your mobile app audience in the most efficient manner. ASO is the process of optimizing distribution for an app inside the app stores. With ASO, marketers can increase traffic to their app, improve visibility, increase conversion rates and acquire more users. 

ASO is important because unlike virtually any other digital channel, the user can only initiate a download from within an app store on a store listing. The store listing is where users can read an app description, interact with screenshots and learn more before they download. This content, how frequently it is refreshed, and how well it converts ultimately determine everything — from your app store search rankings to the cost to acquire new users in marketing campaigns.

Where your app appears inside an app store matters, because 70% of all downloads are initiated by someone searching inside the store. Brands need to think of the app stores not as a transactional place where users download, but as the #1 place where users discover apps and become potential loyal customers. This is why it’s so critical to engage in ASO as a regular practice and measure market share vs. competitors inside the app stores.

Adopting ASO as an important and ongoing function can dramatically transform the short- and long-term performance of mobile apps. For example:

  • When Sephora A/B tested different languages in their short description, Google predicted up to a 44% increase in conversion. Imagine getting this many more downloads from existing traffic without additional ad spend.
  • When Avis worked with Airship to improve their presence in the App Store by focusing on search optimization (ranking for more keywords, and ranking better for the keywords that mattered most), the ASO result was a 263% increase in top-10 ranked terms for the app, which hugely impacted market share and visibility.
  • When McAfee implemented search and conversion optimization as part of an ASO strategy, they were able to achieve a 118% growth in downloads from organic search and 14% improvement in conversion across all channels. ASO made McAfee competitive in the app store, increased their market share and reduced the cost of user acquisition.

So isn’t ASO just SEO for the app stores? While the goals may be similar, the tactics and execution are not. App stores function more like eCommerce stores and less like the web. They merchandise apps based on performance inside the store, and traditional tactics, like backlinking and content marketing, do not impact rankings and performance inside the app stores. The imagery that converts users, and the way users search for products and services in the app stores, are different from web search.

Both the App Store and Google Play use conversion metrics inside each of their stores to determine rankings and how an app will be featured. This literally means that if the creative and messaging used in the store converts at a lower rate relative to other apps, there is a penalty. That makes it important to continuously test screenshots and graphics, and experiment with new copy, because unlike the web where changes take time, apps can be re-ranked every day.

How can you maximize your mobile app downloads?

The assets in your store listing must be structured to convert for all of the reasons listed above. There are several traits associated with apps that have effective ASO, which are important to keep in mind:

  • Users browse the store like Instagram and they aren’t interested in conducting research before downloading. Be obvious and present a compelling case that your app has what users are looking for. 
  • Leverage keywords that reflect how users are searching for the features and products inside your app in screenshots, and make sure text is legible from the search result and not just the store listing. 
  • Utilize as much of the space provided for copy as possible. This space isn’t just for marketing slogans — it’s used by Apple and Google to learn about your app and understand where to feature apps in the store.

Airship’s Gummicube team of ASO specialists is here to help you get the best results for App Store Optimization. We can help you grow your market share and win new customers. In addition to tools and data, we have a team standing by with 13 years of ASO experience who will roll up their sleeves and help your app flourish.