The Beginner’s Guide to Expert App Store Optimization

Launching an app for the first time is an exciting venture, and requires some calculated setup to ensure your launch goes the way you want it to go. Taking an app store optimization (ASO) approach helps maximize exposure and downloads from day one, giving your app the start it needs to succeed.

How do you ensure your app store listing nets the downloads you envisioned? You’re in luck, because there are a few powerful ways to make your app stand out among the masses. From app store descriptions to reviews, let’s take a closer look at how to implement ASO for your app store listing.

What is App Store Optimization, or ASO?

If you want to take your app store marketing to the next level, a little ASO TLC is exactly what you need. ASO is optimizing your app store landing page so it performs better in searches, ensuring that users who actually want to see it can find it easily. It’s one of the best methods of promoting your app; with over six million apps fighting for space in the App Store, it’s vital to get your app ahead of the competition or you’ll be buried under top-performing competitors.

Expert App Store Optimization is All About First Impressions

Smartphone users decide whether they want to install an app or not in mere seconds, making the first impression crucial.

Users first see your app’s name and icon, so it’s important to make those eye-catching and accurately convey what the app does. If users make it as far as the app description page (e.g. they like what they see and click on your app’s link), then they’ll take a look at:

  • Screenshots
  • Preview videos
  • Description text
  • User reviews and testimonials

To get started on ASO, you need to pay attention to each of these components, because they’re each a crucial part of the end user’s decision to download. It doesn’t suffice to do a great job on the title and icon, then neglect screenshots or user reviews.

So where do you start?

Optimize Your App Title Tag

Your app <title> tag is an important element to app store optimization. It serves as your SEO title, and it should include your app’s name and any pertinent keywords. It should also be concise, because Google cuts it off after a few words. According to Appbot, the best performing titles were around 5 words long, or 36 characters.

There is limited space to work with, so doing keyword research is essential. Using a tool such as SEMRush or Google Analytics helps you identify the most appropriate keywords for your product, so you don’t waste space targeting the wrong keywords in your app title tag.

Make Your Screenshots Count

Users want to see your app in action, so use screenshots of your most compelling features to get the idea across. For the Apple App Store, you can upload up to five screenshots, and it is wise to use all the free marketing space any app store gives you.

The main goal with screenshots is to highlight your most compelling visuals, features, and benefits. Don’t limit yourself to plain, stock screenshots. Adding actionable captions to your screenshots helps nudge the audience toward the “download” button. Fiverr is a good platform to find a pro if you want to take your screenshots to the next level with some graphic design expertise.

Produce an App Trailer

If you have the resources on hand to produce an app trailer, by all means, create one! Plenty of users respond positively to video content, because it’s easier to get a feel for how the app works than looking at a screenshot.

The best part about app trailers is that they serve as an exceptional app store marketing asset when done right. This means budgeting for a professional video designer to get the work done. Upwork is a good platform to land a quality production artist.

Optimize Your App Store Description

This is an important element of ASO, and one area that often falls short when it comes to app store marketing. Your app store description is where you can place your top keywords, followed by detailed content.

With keywords above the fold, users can find your app organically through the app store search function. Think like a user, and utilize tools such as SEMRush and Google Analytics to find the best keywords for your app. What keywords would you search for to find an app like yours?

The below-the-fold description should contain details about your app. You can use long-tail keywords, and make your description easy to read, with short paragraphs and bullet points. Your potential users don’t have an endless attention span, so keep it short and to-the-point.

App Reviews Are Vital to App Store Marketing

Up until this point, you have complete control of your ASO strategy. However, when it comes to app reviews, it can get a bit challenging. Apptentive found that users are more likely to install an app with a four star rating or more, and that 60 percent of users check an app’s reviews before tapping install.

So how do you get great reviews if the review process is in the user’s hands? It’s simple: have a great app, and the reviews will reflect the user experience. Try using non-intrusive push notifications to prompt reviews after a user completes an in-app action, as some users need a reminder and won’t organically leave a review on their own.

Now that you’ve walked through the basics of app store optimization, you know where to start when it comes to giving your app the best initial exposure possible. Your core marketing strategy for your app should be ASO-focused, because a huge portion of your incoming traffic is likely to be organic. The more organic traffic you net though ASO, the more happy users come away ready to recommend your app to their friends and family, increasing your chances of going viral and experiencing true app store success.

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