Why Your App Needs App Store Optimization (ASO)

by Alex Klein

How are you driving installs for your app right now? Are you using Facebook or other networks like the GameHouse Promotion Network to pay for installs? Are you trying to get your app highlighted in a major blog? Maybe you’re just putting the app out there and hoping it blows up like Flappy Birds. Unfortunately, your app has a slim chance of being successful if you are banking on only one of these methods to drive app installs. All of the methods mentioned above combined with a solid ASO foundation will truly maximize your app’s potential.

ASO is essentially SEO but for apps in the app store. If you are trying to drive organic app installs, ASO is the way to go. This post will discuss why ASO is important and hopefully convince you to make it a staple of your app marketing strategy.

Mobile and Apps are Taking Over

If you’re going to be convinced ASO is important, you first need to be convinced that mobile, and apps in particular, are the future. Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, the fact that mobile is taking over should not be news. Its growth over the past few years has been huge. Mobile traffic increased from 1% of global internet traffic in 2008, to over 20% in 2013, and is projected to surpass 30% by the end of 2014. Google also recently predicted that mobile searches will overtake desktop searches by the end of the year. And within mobile, apps are king. A study by Flurry found that 80% of the time spent on mobile devices is spent within applications. That’s eight out of every ten minutes. But how do you make your app stand out in the app store? The answer: app store optimization.

The Largest Channel for App Discovery

App store optimization is your key to ranking highly for search queries in the app store. Making sure you target the right keywords, localize keywords, use the right title, and optimize your screenshots and descriptions, are all part of ASO. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The point is, ranking highly in the app store is complicated, and it matters, a lot. The app store is the single largest channel for app discovery, with over 63% of users claiming they find their apps through app store search. It can provide a consistent stream of free downloads, but only if you know how to optimize your app.

ASO: Your Marketing Foundation

ASO should be the bedrock of all your other marketing strategies. It takes all your app marketing efforts working together and helping each other to truly have a successful app. Paid installs and earned media mentions can be extremely helpful and provide a great boost to your downloads. However, their impact can be amplified by having a solid ASO foundation.

Your ranking in the app store is determined primarily by total downloads, download velocity, and ratings and reviews. When you run a paid campaign, or get mentioned by a major blog or media publication, all three of the metrics that influence your rank will likely increase. If you have not implemented a solid ASO strategy, you are limiting the impact of these other sources to just the direct downloads they lead to. For example, a paid campaign might lead to 2,000 installs over three days. These installs would drastically increase your download velocity, which would in turn increase your ranking in the app store. If you don’t have a solid ASO foundation, this ranking boost will go to waste. However, if you have performed keyword research, done competitive intelligence, optimized your title, and improved your screenshot and description, you will be taking full advantage of the sudden boost in downloads, and increase your ROI.

The Importance of ASO

ASO goes beyond just increasing your organic downloads. Apps are already huge and are only getting more popular. New businesses are built around mobile applications every day, and large existing companies are putting more emphasis on transitioning their business to fit the mobile landscape. The app store is quickly becoming one of the most important search engines, and as mobile continues to rise, optimizing your app for the app store will only become more and more important.

Alex Klein lead marketing at MobileDevHQ, a company specializing in app store optimization. Alex is a graduate of the University of Washington and is passionate about marketing, tech, and sports.

By Ryan Morel

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  • Rmni

    Great article Alex. With an exploding competition, I think ASO is crucial.
    But to me, the essential thing to generate positive traffic for an app and improve ASO is having a great product. That might sound basic, but good product will drive its downloads. It is key to monitor the first users, get useful in app feedback from them, improve the product, engage the users and get them to rate the app 5 stars.

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