You may have just created an absolutely flawless app, but that counts for very little if people can’t find it. With over 25 billion apps downloaded since the launch of Apple’s app store, it is becoming increasingly important to make sure your product stands out. Even in a single category, there can be many apps that perform the same function, and your original and innovative app could be trapped at the bottom of this list, untouched and unappreciated due to a lack of app store optimisation.
For those unfamiliar with the term, app store optimisation (ASO) is essentially SEO for mobile apps. It centres on some of the following variables: keywords, rankings, ratings and reviews – an area in which developers are being forced to focus on because an app store’s main search feature is still the primary source of discovery. If your app store listing has been optimised, it means that it should have a better visibility to users, and consequently, an increased chance of being continually downloaded over a longer period of time. It must be said that the field of app store optimisation is still very much in its infancy, and the best methods are still being created and debated.
Here in our handy guide we take a look at some of the best ASO tools currently on the market to get your app discovered, to keep track of its competition and to get it downloaded and installed by users. If you have any suggestions for other ASO tools that we may have missed, let us know in the comments below.
The full list:
- Sensor Tower
- App Annie
Founded in 2012 by CEO Niren Hiro, SearchMan is one of the most popular ASO services out there. The service helps developers track search rankings, analyse keywords and make apps more discoverable. Boasting a team made up of ex-Google, Yahoo, Rakuten, Crowdstar and Friendster employees, SearchMan has a history of getting products noticed.
What the SearchMan tool provides:
- 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.
Appstatics, acquired and relaunched by Appsfire in 2012, is a ASO tool that allows developers to track their iOS and Mac apps in Apple’s App Store rankings. Appsfire itself was founded in 2009 by Ouriel Ohayon and Yann Lechelle and the company is based in Paris.
The core service Appstatics provides is multifunctional and is split into three key areas:
- Discover – A most popular section shows developers which are the best ranked applications worldwide. The section is broken down into the different categories of: released this week, released this month, and all time. The idea is to show developers what’s trending on a worldwide basis to allow them to accurately gauge what type of app is popular with users. The top 300 ranked apps can be found for any category and any country.
- Track – Appstatics’ tracking system allows a developer to track iPhone, iPad and Mac app rankings with regular 3 hour update intervals. A developer simply adds the desired apps to their favourite list and the tracking begins. Any app ranked in the top 300 can be searched for via its name or the developer’s name when added to the developer’s list of favourites.
- Analyse – Any app can be tracked and analysed with Appstatics – this is especially useful for tracking a competitor’s app. The promotional tool/s or marketing the competitor is using can be tracked to see how it is affecting their place in the App Store rankings. If a competitor is experiencing success with an app, a curious developer will have some idea as to why this is. Additionally, a developer’s own app can also be tracked and analysed. Impressive infographics can also be created to display the key facts about a developer’s or competitor’s app.
Founded in 2012 by mobile industry veteran, Jai Jaisimha, Appnique offers developers both pre-launch and post-launch analysis to make their apps more discoverable on all major platforms. The attractive yet simple dashboard allows you to easily identify keywords, understand who your main competitors are and identify customer trends. The Appnique wizard seamlessly walks users through the set-up process to get up and running as fast as possible.
The key features of Appnique are:
- Discover the potential of your app – Identify the keywords your audience is using through Appnique’s big-data analytics and optimisation engine. A greater understanding of your potential audience is paramount to your app’s success.
- Identify your competitors – Identifying your competitors in the mobile app industry is not as easy as just locating similar apps by searching, it’s also about finding which apps distract attention away from yours. Appnique’s phrase suggestion feature can help: it allows you to learn the combination of words others are using to improve your own keyword targeting.
- Analyse and track – Appnique’s download data reports allow you to find out important stats such as: your app ratings and reviews per day, how your keywords compare to your competitors and keywords which are absent in your app’s metadata.
Based in Los Angeles start-up company Straply was founded by Barry Smith, Adam Weintraub and George Lawrence in 2012. Straply provides a host of app store optimisation tools that allow you to boost your app’s rank.
The key features of the service are:
- The ability to research keywords with a high search volume and low competition; discover untapped potential in certain keywords.
- Straply’s ASO tools can let you see each search phrase your app is ranking on, along with your position for that search phrase. Your position for the search phrase is revealed on a weekly basis.
- The company provides details on your competitors showing you how you rank against them based on search phrases, this includes even more specific phrases with a handy comparison tool.
- Your app may not be performing as well as it could be because of a missing keywords; Straply provides information on suggested phrases for your app, along with the phrase’s estimated search volume and the number of competing apps.
Additionally, they provide app data for both iOS and Android platforms and send you weekly emails to track your app’s performance. The ASO service boasts a clean and easy-to-use interface and round-the-clock support to answer any questions you may have about the product or your app.
New App Store Optimisation Tool
Sensor Tower was founded in 2013 by Alex Malafeev and Oliver Yeh and is based in San Francisco. It’s no surprise, with some of the world’s leading apps already under their belt, that so many people are rushing to sign up to Sensor Tower.
Sensor Tower has the following features:
- Track your app’s individual keyword rankings, but also notifies you immediately should your rankings change.
- See your up to date position in the Featured and Top 1000 lists to give you an idea of how things are progressing.
- Make CSV reports downloadable to enable you to create custom charts and share data with colleagues and investors.
- Optimise keywords with a tool that improves the efficiency of your keywords without you having to spend additional money on mobile marketing – with only a 100 characters for your keywords in the app store, Sensor Tower helps to make them count.
- Track your app’s performance among the different keywords, comparing the app to your closest competitors. With this knowledge, you can give your app the best possible chance to grow its user base against its rivals.
AppCod.es, based in Warsaw, was launched by Tomasz Kolinko in 2010. Kolinko realised that he and his peers would have to change their strategy if they were going to get noticed in the app stores.
The key features the services provides are:
- Helps you validate possible app ideas with an impressive keyword tool that sorts results by popularity – never waste a good app idea again.
- The ability to track your app’s competitors, from their keywords to even their press mentions, you are kept up to date to ensure you stay ahead.
- Dispense your apps’ promo codes effectively to increase the chances of growing your user base.
- Check the visibility of your apps in the app store search to see if you are making the right changes. A higher visibility means there is more chance of your app getting downloaded.
- With the keywords module you can look up other apps’ keywords, meaning you can use the idea for your own keywords.
AppCod.es now runs as an all-rounder for developers merging both ASO and PR techniques to help your product achieve maximum exposure – they claim they are the “Swiss Army Knife” of ASO because of their variety of methods for getting noticed.
App Store Marketing Toolbox
Founded in 2009, MobiledevHQ, the Seattle-based app intelligence solution, will not only help you choose the best keywords to get your app noticed, but will also help spread the word outside the app stores. CEO Ian Sefferman said the company is now focusing on providing its clients with insights into PR and media to optimise the exposure of their product.
Some key features of the service are:
- The company tracks over 600,000 searches based on almost 70,000,000 results to provide you with invaluable recommendations on choosing better keywords.
- MobiledevHQ can analyse your current keywords to ensure that you are reaching what they consider to be your optimal market – they will tell you what to improve if you are not.
- Tracking of your search rankings is part of the service, giving you the chance to stay ahead of the competition by monitoring the keywords for your app in relation to rival apps.
- They offer daily email updates so you know where you are on the chart listings in good time – this allows you to see if the changes you are making are working.
Additionally both iTunes and Google Play are supported, so whichever platform you prefer, MobiledevHQ’s service is available – iOS is supported internationally, while Google Play is fully supported in the US. The added ability to export to CSV also means you can easily share your reports with other team members, or simply handle the raw data yourself.
App Store Optimisation
Mopapp is based in London and was founded by Alessandro Rizzoli and Federico Sita in 2010. They have been successful in securing seed funding, with investment purchases made in 2010 and 2011.
The service Mopapp provides is through a powerful analytics tool which offers download and revenue charts for a specific date range along with pie charts to break down how your app is doing by country, platform, stores, and advertising banners.
The key features of Mopapp are:
- You can link multiple store accounts like iTunes, Google Play, Windows Phone Marketplace, Amazon, Nook, GetJar and others. Their analytics dashboard allows you to easily spot which app is selling more – this includes the information of which store the app is in and the platform as well.
- AdMobi, iAd, InMobi or Smaato users have the ability to track their earnings within Mopapp, making the analytics tool good for overall efficiency.
- The more expensive yet hugely useful enterprise version allows users to integrate their flurry account to keep an eye on in-app usage analytics and compare them with downloads. This version also includes other nifty features such as ranking history, review translation and competitor comparison data.
- They offer the ability to estimate your app’s market share in its primary category, while also estimating other competing apps’ revenues, market shares and number of downloads.
MetricsCat was formed in 2013 by CEO Tatiana Aulachynskaya and was first launched through a Garage48 “hackathon”. The company aims to make sense of the mobile market through a powerful analysis service that focuses on the key areas that dictate an app’s longevity.
This popular analytics tool provides:
- The ability to monitor your app ratings and rankings to see what people think and how to progress.
- Translate reviews into your chosen language for a greater understanding.
- Use a free, customisable widget for showing user reviews on your app page.
- Filtering is performed via the keywords and sentiment involved – all the reviews are on one page for some added convenience.
- Analyse your leading competitor’s data to get ahead of the game.
- The use of external reviews and articles allows you to build up your growing reputation for the press-room.
An Overview of the Company
Founded in 2009 by Vincent Hoogsteder and launched just after the first app store, Distimo is a true veteran of ASO. The Netherlands-based firm provides a service that allows you to choose which data is most important to you.
A customisable dashboard allows users to track downloads, revenues, rankings, reviews, ratings, and keep an eye on the competition.
Distimo breaks its features down into four key areas:
- App Analytics: Track your app across all the major stores and ad networks using the company’s free analytics.
- Conversion Tracking: Allows you to see which marketing campaign is proving to be effective, specifically when considering the revenue and the number of app installs.
- AppIQ: AppIQ provides you with accurate daily download numbers and the estimates of revenue for each of your apps.
- API: Export all the important data from Distimo to different file formats, with easy integration and access for other systems.
The Appstore Opportunity
Founded in 2009 by Oz Michaeli and CEO Ariel Michaeli, who are based in New York, AppFigures is about visualising app data in simple, attractive and effective ways. They have an impressive list of users with clients like Capcom, Ebay, Rockstar and Epic Games all employing their service.
The key features of this popular service are:
- The ability to track multiple stores at once and in the same place, even if apps are located in different stores individually.
- Event tracking marks key developments and allows you to make the right decisions.
- The service is fully customisable; the interface is yours to shape.
- The ability to choose a currency that suits you, meaning the metrics are easier to compare.
- An API that works well with the app store, meaning added flexibility and easy integration.
- Sub user access means you can share data with colleagues.
- The service is compatible with mobile devices so your analytics can be viewed on the go.
- Exporting is simple: transfer tables to spreadsheets and save the data how you want.
Additionally, the cross-platform product also allows you to track hourly rankings by country, a feature especially useful for market research or launch days.
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Founded in 2010 by CEO Bertrand Schmitt, App Annie has successfully secured $22 million in funding. Their aim is to provide intelligence solutions for the ever-growing app economy. They have a list of impressive clients such as EA, Google, Microsoft and Dropbox and are used by 90% of the top 100 publishers in the mobile industry.
App Annie consists of three main products, Store Stats, Analytics and Intelligence. The following are key features of the service:
- Easy to use and full of useful features, App Annie’s store stats provides users with a range of charts to help break down historical and daily rankings, ratings, and featured placements by country and category for the top 1,000 apps across multiple platforms.
- App Annie intelligence focuses on key areas of your app store strategy, such as: competitor monitoring, international expansion, monetisation, ad buying optimisation, investment research and business development.
- App Annie’s analytics helps you track all your app publisher data across Google Play, Amazon and iTunes. This includes your app revenue, ratings, rankings, reviews and downloads.
Additionally, the company has recently moved into the eBook market as well.
App Annie Intelligence
There you have it, a summary of the best ASO tools available at the moment – of course, it goes without saying that some of the services outlined will be better suited than others, depending on what you are looking for. With so many strong ASO services available then, it’s worth trying them out individually and then judging for yourself.
You can find more app store optimisation tools in our directory and learn more about other app marketing techniques from our free guides.