With the millions of apps available to consumers, it’s fair to assume a vast majority of mobile marketers share a common goal – to outrank competitors in the app store. It’s important to enter the new year with innovative optimizations in place to ensure your app gets the recognition and engagement it deserves from users. For those looking to optimize their app listing and scale user acquisition, investing in App Store Optimization (ASO) strategies is your best bet to carve out a competitive advantage.

Understanding App Store Optimization (ASO)

ASO is essentially the holy grail of any mobile app campaign. It is the process of improving the performance and visibility of an app store listing, with the overall goal of increasing installs, user reviews, and post-install engagement. Advantages include improving your app’s ranking, scaling user reach in all applicable categories, driving high-quality traffic to your app, increasing installs and retention, and much more.

Let’s touch on just a few of the benefits ASO campaigns create for mobile marketers.

Create a competitive advantage

The mobile app industry has seen immense growth over the past few years, with over 5.6 million apps available to users worldwide on the App Store and Google Play Store. This leaves many mobile marketers scratching their heads, wondering what the best optimization tactics are to make their app visible in the crowded marketplace. Here are a few questions you should be reflecting on when re-evaluating your ASO strategy:

  • If your app’s market is small or niche, should you explore options outside of the App Store and attempt to attract users through content marketing and SEO?
  • Should you be targeting users outside of the U.S. to get ahead of the competition?
  • Should you focus on learning what exactly your competitors are doing in order to differentiate your app?

To ensure your app stands out, look into the search terms competing apps are using, as well as keywords your target audience are searching, and utilize them in your app listing descriptions. Keep in mind that app store competition varies greatly depending on market, vertical, seasonality, and more. For example, an investment banking app will have more competition than a niche gaming app. Regardless of the size of the competition, you need to follow the right ASO strategies to create an edge for your brand.

Keyword campaigns

According to Apple, 65% of app installs occur directly after a keyword search. Optimizing around top keywords is one of the most valuable ASO strategies to define how discoverable you are to your audience, and achieve a favorable search rank. App marketers must routinely monitor the keywords competitors are targeting to identify the stand-out words in their niche, focusing on those with high search volume and lower competition.

The Perform[cb] team has decades of experience in driving valuable ASO through keyword research, providing success for our mobile clients. A popular social casino gaming app came to Perform[cb] for exactly this purpose. After intensive analysis, we recommended adding more keywords to their campaign, narrowing in on two high-potential keywords that had the most likelihood of ranking in the top five positions. This created a #1 keyword ranking in the App Store and a 72% improvement in overall app ranking for the gaming marketer.

A/B testing

A/B testing plays a huge role in understanding what will actually result in conversion for your desired user and learning where optimizations should be made to drive user acquisition at scale. Marketers should plan to test various creatives, descriptions, keywords, and highlighted features on your listing and product page to uncover which assets drive the best conversion rate. After implementing optimizations based on A/B testing results, remember to keep a close eye on what sparked an increase in conversion rate. These will be useful insights to implement in future campaigns.

Perform[cb] works diligently with our mobile app clients, utilizing best practices gleaned from decades of experience to create successful ASO campaigns. For example, a leading car insurance app was looking to grow its presence in the highly-competitive car insurance market and attract new users. By strategically testing a variety of partners and rotating out underperforming sources, our team was able to drive a 75% increase in new user acquisition. Perform[cb]’s optimizations ultimately drove this marketer’s app to the #1 spot in the App Store’s car insurance category.

Reduce user acquisition costs

Developing a mix of paid and organic ads can be a match made in heaven. When done strategically, it helps to increase your app’s chances of being discovered while further reducing acquisition costs to save your budget. ASO strategies such as the following have been proven to increase brand exposure and recognition at a low cost:

Rating and reviews

An increase in rating from 4.4 to 4.6 can lead to a 30% increase in CVR. Since 79% of users report they check ratings and reviews before they install an app, the more quality feedback you have, the more likely users are to download.

Creative optimizations

Adding screenshots and taking the time to customize your app’s product page is essential in attracting new users. These can be tailored to specific features, new capabilities, user experience videos, and more, creating greater relevance to your target audience. Visuals are especially useful for ASO as they help convert indecisive users and have been said to be the second most influential factor in convincing users to convert and install.

App store description

Get rid of the fluff and technical terms here. Attention spans are short and people won’t read lengthy descriptions. Instead, focus on the details, including the relevant information about your app’s key features and how they benefit the user. Don’t be afraid to show your app’s personality, but do not overly focus on irrelevant keywords in your description. Keyword stuffing will negatively impact your app’s ranking, so it’s important to focus on relevant content that employs keywords in a logical way.

Apple Search Ads

According to data from AppFigures, 61% of the top apps use Apple Search Ads. Allocate your budget wisely to ensure promotions around your app are displayed on contextually relevant websites that align with your target audience. Apple has been rapidly rising in its share of online ads for developers, now taking up 15% of overall app developer spend on online advertising.

Steady, sustainable new user growth (and retention)

If you want to have a successful app that outranks the competitors and delivers quality installs at scale, you need to prioritize your ASO strategy. Through keyword optimization, A/B testing, encouraging user feedback, and running Apple Search Ads, your app will reach the #1 spot and acquire new users at a lower cost.

Getting an edge above competitors and driving users to install is only the beginning – retaining high-quality users and keeping them engaged is just as important. It’s vital to find an established mobile marketing partner to help craft your ASO strategy. Reach out to Perform[cb]’s team of user acquisition experts to get started.