The key to organic success in the App Store isn’t always an article on Tech Crunch, BuzzFeed or other popular websites. Your ranking can also be controlled through the SEO of the App Store world: App Store optimization. While ASO is widely discussed among the most seasoned mobile marketers, it typically isn’t put into action tactically.
I have discussed the benefits of setting an App Store optimization strategy a number of times over the last year. As we close out 2014, I wanted to bring some of the top tips to your attention. These will help you set your strategy heading into the New Year. It’s important that you begin to take App Store optimization seriously in your mobile marketing strategy. It can be as time consuming as you’d like it to be, with the rewards greater for those who give it the most attention until they’re satisfied.
Here are my top three App Store optimization points for 2014:
1. Title Keywords – Apple and Google both used to heavily weigh the keywords that were used in titles. That’s changed, if only a little bit for Apple, since the title field was supposed to be just for, well, the title. Don’t overstuff keywords into the title of your app (Google Play title character limit is just 30 characters compared to Apple’s 255). Where the title field is helpful, however, is to allow you the opportunity to rank for more keywords. If you include them in your title, you don’t have to use them in your 100 keyword character limit in iTunes Connect. Google doesn’t have a keyword field, which is why the title is more important in Play.
2. Ratings – Think of every positive review as another helpful lever for moving up the keyword rankings. Apple and Google both weight user ratings heavily in their algorithm. While you can’t avoid the one-star reviews, you can help your chances of receiving more five-stars. While I should update this article, here’s what I wrote about in January about avoiding negative App Store reviews.
3. Volume – This is more of an important reminder. You can try to rank for popular keywords, but if there’s competition, Apple has to find differentiators. Eventually they’ll land on download volume, which is why no matter how good your ASO strategy is, if you aren’t generating downloads, you aren’t going to rank well.
I also reached out to a couple of the top App Store optimization experts to get their opinions on this marketing strategy: Ian Sefferman, the GM, App Store Analytics at Tune and founder of MobileDevHQ, and Stefan Bielau, founder of Dynamo Partners and valued ASO speaker and expert.
1. Test, test, test. ASO is an art, not a science, and there’s no way you can effectively do it once and get it right. You have to constantly iterate and measure the results for you and your app.
2. Too frequently we see marketers who don’t attempt to get buy-in on ASO from their product and engineering teams. Instead, they try to do it all themselves. To be effective at ASO, you have to work together to create an amazing product that can be shared, rated highly, and engaged with frequently.
3. Think of your marketing strategy holistically. Paid advertising, ASO, TV, etc, all must be worked on together, and not individually in a vacuum.
1. Keep your eyes open for the upcoming new analytics dashboard of Apple. Within iTunes Connect, you’ll be able to measure the views of your app page in the App Store. This finally gives you another data point on your ASO and CRO activities. The new analytics stack does not require a SDK (it simply works, as soon your app is available in the App Store) and covers the following metrics:
- App Store Views
- App Units (the number of apps downloaded for each user account)
- App Installs (different to units, this tells you that your app is installed on several devices)
- In-App Purchases
- Active Devices (a combination of “user has your app installed and uses it”)
- Stickiness (Apple´s own metric for engagement/retention)
- Campaign IDs
2. As competition gets stronger by the hour with apps being published by 19MM developers from all over the world, make sure you protect your IP and trademarks. Copy-cats and rip-offs are a common problem within the stores and not always covered by the approval processes. When you find a violation of your IP, try to push hard and address this issue with the store owners. A how-to can be found on Stefan’s website.
What are your favorite App Store optimization tips from 2014? Let us know in the comments below.