ASO Best Practices for Increasing App Downloads

ASO best practices

UA (user acquisition) managers have many tactics at their disposal to increase users. From rewarded traffic to social media influencer marketing, there are many UA options. One of these techniques is app store optimization (ASO), which should be part of your mobile marketing toolkit. A higher rank in app store search results leads to more app installs, which gets users in the door so that your engagement and retention strategies can work their magic. But how do you get there? ASO best practices will lead the way.

What Is ASO?

At AdAction, we define ASO as a set of optimization strategies that work in concert to lift your app store ranking. The benefit of ranking higher is intuitively clear. A higher rank means more visibility. Most people only look at the first page of search results, no matter where they’re searching. App stores are no exception. But ranking high in the app store search is particularly crucial because most installs come directly from search. Apple reports that 70% of app store visitors use search to find apps, and 65% of downloads occur organically directly after a search. 

Executing on ASO Best Practices

ASO involves several components, from the fundamental to the more involved. Let’s look at how to optimize each element of your app store presence to generate more users for your user acquisition campaign

Impactful App Title and Subtitle

Title and subtitle are perhaps the most critical elements in your ASO strategy. The app store primarily uses keywords from the app title and subtitle to rank apps for specific search queries. Thus, it’s important to get them right.

It starts with a great name for your app. You likely already have a name for your app, but it’s worth asking yourself this question. Does your app’s name communicate what it is in a meaningful way?

Even if the answer is no, you can add additional keywords to your title to further explain its use and value. For instance, Flora, a productivity app, includes “Focus Habit Tracker” after its name to clarify what type of app it is. 

The subtitle is extremely crucial, as well. It should include your highest value keywords while articulating clearly what your app does and how it’s different from others in the same category. Use this field for complementary messaging to your title without repeating any keywords. You have 30 characters for each field, so use them wisely. 

Strategize on App Keywords

ASO best practices keywords

The keywords field allows you to target your prospects’ most used search terms. This back-end field is not visible to your users, but algorithms use it to index your app. 

Your keyword list should stem from research on how potential users think about and search for apps like yours and your competitors’ keywords. Strong keyword sets include a mix of general and specific terms to attract both broad and niche audiences. Most keyword fields give you enough space for about 10 to12 words. Choose those based on:

  • Relevancy: Does the word or phrase describe your app’s primary purpose and functionality in words that real people use? 
  • Ranking difficulty/competition: Select keywords with the lowest organic competition to have a better chance of ranking on the first page. Leverage keyword tools to measure competition.  
  • Volume: Consider how often the keyword searches occur. Low-volume words may have lower difficulty, but it doesn’t do much good to rank for something rarely searched.

Balance relevancy, competition, and volume in choosing your keywords. Once selected, incorporate them into other fields like your URL and description as well.

Visuals that Pop

The average user skims your app store profile for a few seconds before deciding to download the app. In those seconds, you must hook them visually. A compelling visual presence starts with your icon. The ideal icon is eye-catching, attractive, memorable, and related to your brand and app purpose.

Make sure graphics within the app store profile follow these same recommendations. It should present a cohesive visual experience that reflects the app itself and your target audience. For example, apps for kids incorporate much different graphics than those for adults.

Also, include app screenshots in your profile. Screenshots give the user an immediate idea of how your app looks and feels. It can influence user conversion. Opt for screenshots that highlight your most interesting and unique features. Consider including video to quickly show users how the app works.

A/B Test Visuals

A/B testing is a powerful way to determine if your visuals resonate with your users. Even minor tweaks in a design can make a big difference to conversion rates. Play with variables like font, capitalization, color scheme, landscape vs. portrait orientation, copy, and more to develop two creative sets. Then test your variations to see which converts more successfully. You can A/B test your text fields as well for additional insight. 

Generate More Ratings and Reviews

ASO best practices reviews

User-generated content like app store ratings and reviews affect your app store rank. While you can’t directly control these like the other fields, you can influence them. It’s well worth your time, as ratings and app store reviews serve as core social proof that builds trust in potential users. 

To generate consistent, high-quality ratings and reviews, work with your development team to include strategically timed prompts within the app to rate it and/or review it. Try to catch users in an upbeat moment when they’re likely to be feeling positive towards the app. Scenarios include when they’ve completed a certain level, hit a milestone, or engaged with a special feature.

You can also incentivize users to write a review by offering in-app currency or bonuses. Don’t forget to respond to reviews as well to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to your user base.

ASO Best Practices Can Lift Your Rank

Your target audience needs to be able to find your app to install it. Using these ASO best practices can help you do just that. If your profile stands out, you’ll climb the charts and reach your UA goals.

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