How to Use App Store Optimization to Get Attention

Making an app available is part of the equation. Helping people find it is a whole other ballgame.

learn more about Rahul Varshneya

By Rahul Varshneya


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

App store optimization, or ASO, is so important in getting your app discovered, but it is also the most ignored marketing tactic.

ASO can give your app a push in discoverability and, therefore, downloads. Understanding what components go into good app store optimization will make sure your app stands out from the rest and also help people discover your app when they're searching through the app stores.

According to a report by Nielsen, 63 percent of Android and iOS users have utilized search to discover new apps in their respective app stores.

In the entire marketing mix, the one thing often ignored is ASO. Knowing that most people search for new apps through the app stores itself, you cannot make this mistake again if you already have made it once.

Simply Get Discovered
What's in a name, you ask? The success of your app, really. If I were to point out the single biggest driver for your app's discoverability, on or off the app store, it has to be the name or title of your app.

People search for specific things that they're looking for. As an example, if you want to download a to-do list app, you'd search for a 'to-do list app.'

Make it easy for people searching within the category of your app to get to your app quickly. If your app is a to-do list or task list app in the productivity category, then having those words in the app name will significantly boost your discoverability. The app does exactly that. Anyone searching for a to-do list app is bound to come across this app.

Top this up with using effective keywords when you submit your app to the app store. The keywords that you input will determine which search results your app shows up in. Just like on the web, focus on relevancy and search volume. Do an exhaustive research on your competitor's keywords.

Do not use the same words that you have used in your title and don't use phrases. Rather stick to one-word keywords, as the app stores will combine the words when people search. For example, 'guided meditation' should be 'guided, meditation.'

When your app shows up in the search results, an attractive icon plays a big role in attracting the user to download your app. Mobile app Trainz Driver sold 20 times as many units after an icon change.

Simple guidelines can make a huge difference, such as designing an icon consistent with the app design. Don't use words (especially the app's name) in the icon and keep the design simple with solid colors. Use the Icon Gallery as a reference if you need to.

Treat Your App Profile Page As A Landing Page
Your app's profile page is worthy of the importance you give to your website's landing page. You need to convert your visitors into customers, and you've got a very limited time to capture their attention. The way to do it right is to perfect the description copy and customize the screenshots.

Treat the first few lines of your description as an ad copy. Think how to generate curiosity or build enough interest for people to read more. Khan Academy's app is a great example. In two lines, you must be able to effectively communicate your app's value to the potential customer.

One of the worst mistakes that most app developers make is to simply upload their app's screenshots.

Customize the screenshots to show the user how the app actually works. This is your ad or sales poster. If you've created an intuitive app, that doesn't mean that people will instantly get how to use it by simply looking at a screen grab. The Evernote app best illustrates this.

Get Some Lovin'
There's no greater marketing than a third-party endorsement for your product. People do take the effort to read through user ratings and reviews of an app, which influences their behavior.

Get your family and friends to download your app and give you an 'honest' rating. Prompt users within the app to rate and review, but do this to ones who've accessed your app at least more than once.

Place social-media connection options in your app, such as the option for the user to 'like' your Facebook page or share an update about the app on their Facebook wall or Twitter feed.

Stay committed to providing value to your customer. Treat every single customer who gives a bad review as the most important customer you could ever have. Work to resolve those issues and blog about them. This will get their attention and bring them back to give you a better rating. Above all, give your unhappy customers a way to contact you.

Ratings and social love influence first-time users a great deal and get them to download your application as much as discoverability does. Don't make the mistake of simply creating your app and submitting to the app store. Give every channel of marketing as much importance and certain a great deal to App Store Optimization.

Rahul Varshneya

Co-founder at Arkenea

Rahul Varshneya is the co-founder of Arkenea, an award-winning web and mobile app development agency.

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