Even if you’ve taken your app idea and turned it into an app, it’s going to do you little good if no one ever hears about it. App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of maximizing your chances of rising above the rest in the app store search results. The more visibility you get, the more organic installs you can drive.
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You might be wondering why keyword research comes first. Isn’t that a no-brainer? Yes and no. Knowing your keywords will make a huge difference in your overall optimization strategy but, on a more foundational level, it also helps you answer another question: What am I optimizing for? The keywords you choose tell you exactly what it is that you want to achieve. You can optimize for downloads or clicks or installs or even ratings (on Google Play). It’s important to know what matters most because different goals require different strategies. Whatever your goal, however, start with keyword research as soon as possible!
App Store Optimization (ASO) is one of several organic tactics that can be used to drive installs and increase an app's reach. However, there are also paid methods for getting in front of new users, such as using a dedicated ASO agency to do work on your behalf. The benefits here include having someone who can dedicate full-time resources towards app store SEO and increasing efficiency by employing highly-trained specialists. These providers may not only take care of ASO for you but also ensure that all other elements - including keywords, metadata, descriptions, and promotional assets - are optimized from a long-term perspective.
It’s significant to think about category selection when it comes to ASO. You can choose a single main category, which means that your app will appear in one spot in search results or multiple categories. It is not possible to decide subcategories—with a single exception: in-app purchases are always listed as a subcategory of additional content. If you want your app to be found by users looking for additional game levels, themes, etc., you may want to add them as separate keywords. But if you are trying to optimize for more general terms such as game or entertainment, it might make sense for your app to fall under these generic categories rather than creating specific ones.
If you’re a developer, it’s essential to make sure your app store profile is properly optimized. The main point of ASO is to ensure that users can easily find your app in search results and make an educated decision on whether they should download it. If a user can’t find your app, they have no reason to install it! The following are some important components to ensuring your profile has maximum exposure
Localizing your app can help you capture a broader audience and boost downloads. Take advantage of Apple’s Language Picker by adding at least two additional languages, supporting as many as possible if you want to push your downloads over the top. If that’s not enough, consider implementing Multilingual Localized Keywords (MHLK) support in iOS 8. MHLK allows users to specify their language settings in iTunes Connect and search for apps in their native tongue.
User reviews are an important part of app marketing, as they offer up valuable insight into your customers’ thoughts on your product. Reviews can be positive or negative and should be read carefully to extract useful information about what you can do to increase user satisfaction. If a common issue is addressed in many reviews, it’s something you want to address. If a lot of people mention that your app takes too long to load, there might be a problem with loading times and quick fixes are needed
Your app store ratings are one of your most important marketing tools. If you want to drive organic installs, create an amazing user experience that delights your users. You want them to rate your app five stars and you want it to show up at or near the top of relevant searches. Since store ratings don’t have a cap on how high they can go, it's in your best interest to start building those as soon as possible so that you're not starting from scratch when you're ready for virality. And remember: customers are smart. If you try and game their system by buying fake reviews, they will be more suspicious than ever!
Many app developers are tempted to offer their product for free. While it may seem like a great idea at first, you should consider that since Apple only shares data on how many paid downloads your app has, offering your app for free can actually do more harm than good in terms of ASO (App Store Optimization). Having a free download option gives you no way to track organic installs and could result in fewer users and lower overall rankings
Your app’s price matters, but don’t take it too seriously. Certain types of apps should be free. Others should be charged at premium rates, according to their value to users. Pricing your app is art: a balance between maximizing revenue and ensuring that you reach your target audience effectively (with your message). There are aso agencies dedicated to pricing research and best practices, so consider retaining one if you have trouble choosing an appropriate rate.
The most valuable tool you have in your arsenal is data. Take time to analyze your competitors. Who are they? Where are they succeeding? Where are they failing? Use these answers to inform your strategy and implement a plan of attack that will allow you to succeed where others have failed. If a competitor has 10,000 reviews with an average rating of 4 stars, why should yours be any different? It isn’t enough just to upload your app—getting it out there only halfway means you’ll lose more than half of your potential market. To take full advantage of ASO, don’t cut corners; invest time into quality content and promotional strategies so that when people search for keywords related to your app on iTunes or Google Play, yours will come up first.