Today app marketers are forced to fight two battles simultaneously – a competition with other apps on the App Store and Google Play marketplace and a competition for people’s attention on the screens of their smartphones and tablets. With so many things people need to juggle on a daily basis and giant attention grabbers (and time killers) like TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, it’s a small wonder that they run with just a few apps to commit the bulk of their attention. It is notoriously hard to win that small chunk of people’s attention.
App Store Optimization (aka ASO) is one of the top app marketing techniques that come to rescue app developers to connect people with apps to become their loyal users. We’ve decided to reach out to a number of top practitioners in the ASO field to get their thoughts about App Store Optimization in 2023.
We asked them the following questions to cover all bases:
- What are the common mistakes people make with App Store Optimization?
- How should people treat Google Play vs the Apple App Store?
- How to create good app store assets (icons, images, videos)?
- How to pick and select keywords and metadata?
- What tools and services to work with?
Here is what they’ve shared with us about the top App Store Optimization trends in 2023.
If you want to contribute your view on App Store Optimization trends fill in the form here.
Without further ado, this is the essence of the leading ASO practitioners thinking on App Store Optimization for this year, on what is and will be important down the road this 2023.
App Store Optimization Leaders
“I’d like to start by listing the 2023 forecasts we discussed during Phiture’s 2023 Mobile Industry Outlook season.
1- Games could benefit from third-party app stores on iOS
2- User experience will directly influence the visibility of Android apps
3- Play Store will focus on quality over quantity
4- ASO and AI will start working together
5- The biggest ASO wins will come from creative optimization
6- The year of CPPs and CSLs
Anton Tatarynovich, Senior Acquisition Strategist, Ritwik Arya, Senior ASO Strategist, and I compiled these predictions.
The topics mentioned are of course only predictions. However, we strongly believe the following topics are worthy of attention.
1- Focus on quality in Play Store
Improving app quality in the Play Store should be the primary focus. Google announced in its official statements that it will begin to highlight higher-quality apps than its competitors. For example; In November 2022, Google announced a minimum rating bar of 3.0 stars in a blog post titled “Raising the Bar on Technical Quality on Google Play.” The goal was to improve the Top Charts.
What does that mean for apps? This change is coming into effect in February 2023, causing all apps and games with an average star rating of 3.0 or lower to be removed from the worldwide Top Free Charts. The same standards will apply to grossing and paid apps later this year.
Along with the new rating system in 2023, Google introduced a new Bad behavior threshold evaluated per phone model. We expect Google Play to start focusing on quality over quantity, and apps that can’t deliver a good user experience will be penalized.
Apart from lower visibility, the penalty could include a warning on the store listing of the respective app that the app may not be working well on a particular device.
2- Keep boosting your creatives
Keyword optimization is still a vital part of ASO. However, its effectiveness as a growth lever has been decreasing for years. This is because app stores are more saturated than ever, and most publishers are aware of keyword optimization. Additionally, search results are dominated by ads, stories, in-app events, and in-app purchases. Therefore, keywords that used to appear in fifth place now appear in tenth, even though they still rank the same organically. Furthermore, the most popular search terms are brands, meaning that keyword optimization impacts a smaller percentage of generic terms than before.
3- Incorporate AI tools into work processes and try to benefit
Although the number of tools focused on ASO is not enough yet, many tools such as ChatGPT have become very powerful after GPT-4. With the help of these tools, you should look for ways to speed up your ASO effort.
AI tools offer great opportunities to generate startup ideas. You should try using a variety of AI tools, especially to come up with new creative ideas.
4- Don’t forget to use CPPs and CSLs
Our keyword optimization playground is shrinking. That’s why we need to focus on creatives and look for ways to get ahead of our competitors. We should look for ways to create new alternatives with CPPs and CSLs as well as the creatives in the main store listing.
The importance of using CPPs and CSLs outside conventional advertising channels is evident. As a result, ASO specialists may have to think of more ideas in areas such as web-to-app and email marketing. For example, directing users to the right CPPs with web-to-app strategies may become a new challenge for ASO experts. “
“One of the biggest ASO mistakes in 2023 would be missing out on seasonal opportunities – whether it’s Super Bowl, Thanksgiving or Black Friday. Running seasonal campaigns and adjusting your store listing to important events can help you drive additional attention to your app and boost downloads.
Another omission would be to work on ASO in isolation from paid UA efforts. For example, take CPP – this feature has become a must-have for paid campaigns on the App Store. Custom product pages are very effective for running promotions dedicated to the seasonal campaigns I mentioned above. But overall, you may use them to showcase the versatile functionality of your app, specific features, updates, and promo offers. With this feature, you can test what works for various segments of your target audience – and eventually make tweaks to your app store creatives, which are the basics for ASO. What’s more, CPPs can positively influence organic indicators, such as CR, engagement rate, and more. So don’t neglect this feature that at first sight might look like a “non-ASO” one.
Thirdly, don’t forget about localization, which implies not only translation to other languages, but also adjusting to the market’s specificities. For example, for the Arabian Markets, some developers forget to mirror creatives when translating the screenshots captions to Arabic, which might negatively impact conversions.
And one more short tip: keep experimenting and always test! “
“Visibility and high rankings are essential for ASO, yet, it is equally important to consider the Conversion Rate (CVR) and the overall user experience within the app store. High-quality visual assets such as screenshots, icons, and videos can significantly impact downloads.
Regular updates to the app (yes, it’s time to replace those winter-holiday screenshots), prompt responses to user reviews, and implementation of measures to minimize crashes and ANRs, are essential to improving the user experience and positively impacting both visibility and CVR.”
“ASO in 2023 is continuing its mutation, moving away from the single multi-functional store page to now support more and more contextual messaging and opportunities to engage app users.
After experimenting with Custom Product Pages on iOS in 2022 (and Custom Store Listings on Google Play), more and more developers are going to make these custom store pages a standard part of their UA process and leverage their impact on conversion to develop more segmented marketing strategies. In the wake of this, ASO practitioners will have the opportunity to shift the focus of tasks such as keyword research, putting a lesser stake on optimising directly for store algorithms and instead highlighting more the value it holds for user research and identifying which user intent can be engaged with custom messaging.
Another expected trend for 2023 will be the race for AI powered ASO: beyond the Chat-GPT hype are already multiple ASO tools (including AppTweak) leveraging different AI systems. I personally expect that while some of the hype will die down, top industry players will experience first successes in enhancing various part of ASO as a discipline without renouncing its user focus.”
“The biggest difference in 2023, for App Store Optimization, will be competition. In the last few years ASO grew in popularity so now most of your competitors are probably doing it, so you’ll need to not only do it but do it right. That means understanding your users and your competitors.”
“User acquisition for any brand’s mobile app requires a quick wit and attention to trends, as the practices never stop evolving. Apple Store Optimization, however, continues to remain at the forefront. In order to maintain your innovation in your ASO strategy, what you need to succeed goes back to the foundation of ASO training – four core activities many brands take for granted as they grow.First, your team has to be conducting a thorough keyword research report every few days. Staying current to shifting keyword use from trends and world affairs, will keep your brand top of mind and trending with your verticals. After all, keyword optimization is how not only the app store recommends, it’s also how many search engines find your brand. When you dedicate a team with incremental updates every three days, you’re already ahead of most mid-market companies.
Second, localizing your app is still an industry best practice. It’s important to take advantage of targeted regions, and localization remains a reliable indicator of where to invest your marketing dollars. This also contributes to overall organic user growth, which when partnered with a behavioral-based engagement strategy, can offer a defined, refined, and highly convertible user base.
Third, for 2023, smart agencies will leverage Custom Product Pages to maximize paid marketing efforts. Much like those of Amazon, these product pages will help define the brand in a mobile way and offer more acquisition opportunities. Through the product page you can share with potential consumers much more multimedia that offers a unique look at how the app can streamline their use in that vertical. There is a shift happening with more ad networks supporting iOS CPPs and Android custom store listings via URL.
Finally, Artificial Intelligence will play an increasingly impactful role in ASO. From helping in extensive keyword research to creating content, ASO practitioners will continue to create and improve effective qualitative prompts as a central component of their ASO strategy. With the rising popularity of ChatGPT, we can also expect the major ASO tools to soon incorporate this into their dashboards and provide a repository of genre-specific how-tos and best practices, making it even more exciting as an agency to partner with them on these endeavors.”