Developing a killer app is one thing, getting people to download it from the App Store or Google Play is a different ball game – and potentially a major headache.
This is where App Store Optimization comes into play, or ASO for short. For any rookie developers out there, ASO is an industry term that describes the process of obtaining more organic App Store search traffic. Just like SEO for search engines, ASO provides the same service and is a proven technique that will help developers to drive their apps to the top of the pile, maximising download, and therefore, revenue potential.
The trick is to get your app optimized to its fullest potential to increase, or at least maintain, download numbers after an initial launch, which is why we have updated our guide to App Store Optimization tools for 2015.
What’s the best practice for ASO? For the cash-strapped indie developer there are a few basic techniques you can adopt straight away to at least give your app a fighting chance, so if you don’t have a budget as such, try these techniques:
- Optimize your desktop website to rank for app-related keywords
- Include app call-to-action on your website
- In-store app optimization
- Update app screenshots
- Install app rating system
To help you make the right choice that fits your budget we have compiled our own list of App Store Optimization Tools. Each of these companies will get the job done, how and for how much is your choice.
The list in full:
‘Team SearchMan’ is pretty much at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to ASO. Likened to a Jaguar car by ASO professionals for its speed and efficiency, SearchMan was founded in 2012 by CEO Niren Hiro, and boasts great technology alongside a team made up of ex Google and Yahoo personnel.
SearchMan’s ‘unified keyword management platform’ will visualize all data in a clean and simple way, making it very easy to measure success rates of any optimization type, allowing app developers and publishers to study the visibility of their apps against leading competitors on a daily basis.
With introductory prices at only $25 a month you get a lot of bang for your buck including:
- The ability to search track your iOS and Android app on a daily basis. This can be vital, especially as it allows you to study the visibility of your app against your competitors.
- The awareness of which store keywords will get your app noticed. Through data-driven keyword suggestions, the longevity of your app can greatly be improved.
- The capability to improve your overall SEO, which as a result allows your app to perform better in search rankings. The higher your app is ranked in a search, the higher amount of downloads.
Infographic: What you need to know about app store optimization
Based in Tallinn, capital of Estonia, MetricsCat focuses on aggregates and analysis of app store reviews and app markets. Developed out of a Garage48 hackathon, its MetricsCat tool enables tracking of competitor apps and for reviews and app store rankings to be charted and paired. It’s a great tool to perform solid analysis and track your app performance across all the leading markets including Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Marketplace and Amazon.
MetricsCat provides three different packages according to the needs and requirements of the developers using them, its most popular is the ‘Professional’ package, which includes:
- $149 /month fee
- 50 apps to follow
- 400 keywords to track
- Daily reviews updates
- Unlimited exports
- Daily email digests
Slideshare: External analytical data and market insights
“Just like with everything in App Store Optimization, there is no magic bullet, writes Hugh Kimura, SensorTower’s Head of Content, in a recent blogpost. “As important as keywords are, there may be a point where your keywords are very well optimized and trying to improve them further will have diminishing returns,” he says.
SensorTower’s organic approach to ASO has helped it quickly establish a reputation through its fully automated Keyword App Ranking Tracking tool that gives developers access to accurate data on a per-keyword basis. It allows for improvements and changes in campaigns can be tracked along with changes to actual app keywords.
Other features include:
- View competitor data on a keyword by keyword basis
- Improve keyword efficiency, gain traffic and reduce costs
- Track your app’s performance across all well-ranking categories
What makes SensorTower even more attractive is its flexible plans, including one for indie developers at $79 a month that includes:
- 80 Keywords
- Email Alerts
- Keyword Translation
- Optimize Keywords
AppAnnie has one of the industry’s top app ranking, analytics and market intelligence platforms and describes itself as: “The #1 decision-making platform for the entire mobile app economy”.
In May 2014 the San Francisco-based company launched its new App Store Optimization platform. Its ASO tools gives clients access to the crucial metrics needed to maximize their organic search traffic. Picking, testing and refining keywords is a top priority for app publishers – both big and small, and the AppAnnie tool will show you which apps are ranking for the leading search terms, reveal competitors on terms you’re already using, and much more.
With advertising analytics and ASO fully integrated into its platform, App Annie claims to be “officially the most complete dashboard on the market”
Try its ASO tool here:
Location: San Francisco
In a nutshell: Know the keywords that’ll drive your app to the top
Pricing: Store stats, analytics, advertising analytics and ASO tools are completely free
Appstatics is your go-to app for developers who want to track their iOS and Mac apps in Apple’s Top 300 App Store rankings across the globe. The popular ASO tool tracks the Top 300 App Store rankings across each and every country, and in doing so Appstatics provides you with a comprehensive and truly global view of the App Store.
Acquired and relaunched by Appsfire in 2012, its features include:
- Browse top rankings by geography, category, platform (iPhone / iPad / Mac)
- A comprehensive view of an app’s rankings in all countries.
- Simple, fast search among apps ranked in the Top 300*
- Updated frequently – Every 3 hours from iTunes/App Store store data.
- Complete detail for each app in the App Store, including Appsfire’s App Score, screenshots, and user reviews.
- Share the apps you discovered with your friends via email, Twitter or Facebook.
- Add apps to your Favourites list for quick access to its rankings.
Note: If your app is not in the Top 300 in any App Store, your app will not be found in search.
Video: Demo of Appstatics
In a nutshell: The simplest and most powerful way to track the performance of iOS and Mac apps in the App Store rankings
Pricing: £4.99 download
If you are still unclear about what ASO does, or doesn’t do, then Appnique has published a very handy e-book on the subject.
It’s highly recommended reading for all developers that wish to learn a little more about:
- Pre-launch planning
- Merchandising for launch
- Understanding your organic users
- How organic app store SEO can improve paid advertising targeting
- Staying on top of the competition
- How ratings and reviews can impact downloads
To get started, the Appnique wizard, will seamlessly guide you through the profile set-up process for your app and, unique to Appnique, it will help you analyze your app keywords before it’s launched or updated.
Appnique’s services include:
- App Discovery
- Competitor Analysis
- Performance Tracking
AppMind.co adopts a simple bold approach when you visit its website: “AppMind.co is the top App Store Optimization tool for iOS App Creators. Try our product by typing any iOS App’s name in the field below”.
A quick search for a radio app in beta called DeliRadio revealed instant results (see screengrab below) and if first impressions count, then AppMind is a very impressive tool.
- Find Out Any iOS App’s Active Keywords
- Track App Store’s Search Rankings in Real Time
- Closely Monitor and Analyze your Popular Competitors
It will also translate keywords into App Store’s most popular foreign languages and even get real-time email notifications about search rankings.
Well designed and presented in one extremely affordable package AppMind is a must-have product for teams involved in the app creation process.
Screengrab: AppMind’s excellent search tool
Location: San Francisco
In a nutshell: The ultimate App Store Optimization solution
Pricing: Try it for 7 days free
Founded by Olivier Verdin and Sebastien Dellis in Brussels in 2012, AppTweak offers personalized app marketing reports that help companies to increase their app store visibility.
The platform analyzes the relevancy of titles and app descriptions; tracks app statistics; allows users to upload their iTunes and display them graphically; helps users track statistics of their competitors and compare them with buyers on the same graph.
App downloads and associated revenues can also be monitored via iTunes Connect directly on the platform. It is also very easy to monitor any competitors’ trends.
- Online since August 2013
- 400,000+ monthly unique visitors coming from 155 different countries
- 10,000+ registered members with 2000 new each month
- 20,000 daily reports created
- Support 60 countries
Location: Brussels, Belgium
In a nutshell: AppTweak is an online easy-to-use ASO platform helping to increase your app rankings and downloads
Pricing: Three packages, from indie to corporate, free 7-day trial available
Gummicube’s App Store Optimization Service solution allows developers to focus on their apps while it focuses on ASO. ASO subscribers get access to the company’s proprietary App Store Intelligence technology and exclusive data to make wise choices and select the best keywords for your app. Developers receive a turnkey ASO solution that includes keyword selection, content authoring and robust reporting.
“Most apps only rank for 10-15 keywords and search phrases. With Gummicube this can improve 5X -10X in the first month”, is the company’s boast.
Location: San Jose, CA
In a nutshell: You develop, we’ll optimize
Pricing: On asking
AppCod.es was founded by indie developer Tomasz Kolinko, who built an ASO script to check his own apps Motivapps.com to see why they weren’t obtaining high rankings in the App Store. The result: App SEO, keywords module and competitor tracking. And for less than $15 a month app developers can utilise these three primary AppCod services.
There is also a bunch of free tutorials on the website that explain the basics of ASO.
Slideshare: AppCodes – app store marketing toolbox
Super-slick Seattle-based MobileDevHQ by Tune is the leading enterprise organic app marketing platform that has been in the game working with app marketers since 2009.
iOS tracking is available in all regions (150+ at last count). Google Play tracking is available in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Germany, Brazil, Spain, France, Italy, India, Sweden, and Canada.
MobileDevHQ will provide all of the vital data you need to optimise the searchability of your app, displaying it in beautiful, easy to understand graphs. Its customers see, on average, a 20% increase in downloads – at a fraction of the cost you’d pay to buy them, through its organic ASO methods.
In a nutshell: The next generation of enterprise software for mobile marketers
Pricing: Check out its ‘Free for Ever Plan’ or by volume, 30-day trial available
One of Mopapp’s strengths is that developers can access real-time intelligence via a single, unified dashboard offering customised automatic reporting, review lists and comparison charts.
This information can then be used to tailor new marketing strategies to improve ratings, downloads and profitability. Mobile analytics are available at a glance through the dashboard, and users can easily track revenues (including ad revenues), downloads and in-app usage.
Mopapp is primarily a website platform that helps developers and publishers track and analyze their app revenues from online stores. Top ranking apps in Google Play, iOS and Windows Phone for all categories are also listed on the website.
In a nutshell: You sell. We do the math.
Pricing: Developer and enterprise plans available
Headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil, Eyso is a relative newcomer to the scene, whose cheerful message is: “We’re a company focused on organic user acquisition for apps”.
As well as providing a platform for ASO, Eyso also offers a consultancy specialising in identifying app weaknesses to provide optimization techniques to leverage engagement and monetization in a crowded marketplace.
The Brazilian startup wants to be the “Google Analytics Mobile,” and was established in 2013 when the four co-founders; Ludmilla Veloso, Romulo Gomes, Pedro Marins, and Guilherme Brito met in a tech bootcamp.
The Eyso ASO platform includes:
- Growth Strategy – via a diagnosis algorithm
- Content Lab – a diagnosis tool to help optimize your app
- SEO Shop – in-house designers and SEO specialists to build the best content for you
- App Timeline – so you can see all updates and metadata changes instantly
- Search and Category Rankings – dedicated robots so you no longer need to worry on getting competition data manually on the App Store
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
In a nutshell: We grow apps
Pricing: Free, for a limited period
It’s estimated that there are 1,000,000+ apps in both Apple App Store and Google Play Store with roughly 1,000+ new mobile apps launched daily. As any good developer worth their salt knows: it’s a case of adapt or die. iOS 8 software is almost six months old now and most of the top brands responded in days to the update, because one thing is certain, mobile apps are becoming increasingly important to consumers’ lives.
“These brands are updating their apps to fit the larger screen, which is so important because users that are purchasing new phones will lean towards apps that are taking advantage of the extra real estate on the screen,” said Tony Vlismas, head of market strategy at Toronto-based digital publishers, Polar.
For the best results you need the advice of the experts, which will mean a financial outlay of some sort. We hope our list will help you choose the right service to help you pick keywords and gain competitive intelligence for App Store Optimization to keep your app ahead of the pack.