How to Kickstart Your ASO Strategy in 2018

It’s that time of the year again! The holiday season has come to a close and the New Year brings new opportunities for developers and their apps. With the turn of the holidays comes a throng of new smartphone users who are eager to fill their phone with new apps. With the start of the year, developers are now given the opportunity to get their app noticed on the App Store or Google Play Store.

This past holiday season can confirm that apps are here to stay. In fact, 2017 was another record-breaking year for the industry, reaching a projected 197 billion downloads across all app stores. However, for those who haven’t kept up to date with the newest trends or ASO best practices, do not fret. We’ve outlined everything developers need to know to kick start their ASO strategy in 2018!

Major Changes From 2017

Before jumping into how to get your ASO strategy started for 2018, below are some major changes that 2017 brought to the app industry.

  • Preview Videos became increasingly important for conversion
  • Google updated UAC and AdMob services
  • iOS 11 brought a full redesign of the App Store
  • Apple released two new Search Ads programs as the service continues to grow
  • Apple Pre-Order was announced for the App Store

Knowing what changes came about in 2017 will help you reach your New Year’s goal of becoming more visible.

Getting Started In 2018

2018 is looking to be another record-breaking year, with the current growth projected to almost double by 2021. The need to become more visible in the app stores is at an all-time high, meaning that App Store Optimization has never been more crucial.

Any app developers will be able to stay ahead of the curve by following these four ASO strategies:

1. Stay Up to Date

As user trends and behavior change, you’ll have to stay up to date on the latest trends and make sure your ASO strategy matches what users want. However, trends come and go quickly, so something trending today may no longer be valid after a few months. Always concentrate ASO best practices when you’re unsure of what to do, but make sure that you’re always keeping your audience in mind.

2. Update Your ASO Strategy, And Update Your Metadata Often

Developers that updated their marketing strategy for the holiday season should also frequently adapt their ASO strategies to whatever upcoming season, holiday, or event is next. Right now, many marketers are already looking towards the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day in February. Some are even looking at far as April to get their ASO strategy in place for Easter. Understand that each app has a time to shine can benefit from special holiday deals or in-game events that reflect the season.

3. Always Pay Attention to ASO Best Practices

Optimize App Listings: App listing consists of the title, keywords, main description, short description (Google Play) and a Promotional Text (iOS). Optimizing an app listing in these areas will help them rank for search terms that are relevant to the app.

Ensure that the app’s title and subtitle are both unique and memorable to convert more users. Descriptions should build relevance for the app’s keywords while simultaneously explaining why their app is worthy of a download.

Bring it Home with Creatives: Creative assets include screenshots, videos, and icons for the app. While they are sometimes one of the most overlooked pieces of metadata, they are also the most important aspects for converting users.

Start with the icon. It is one of the first things a user will see when browsing through the app stores and should quickly communicate the general concept of the app. Strive for a simple, yet unique icon that keeps user trends in mind, as they’ll only look at each app for a matter of seconds.

Next, the Preview Video should be used to catch the user’s attention and increase CTR. For iOS, the first Preview Video will appear in the search results and autoplay with muted audio. The first 3-5 seconds are incredibly important for user conversion, which means you have to hook users fast. In the Google Play Store, the video appears at the top of the app’s page, above everything else.

Finally, the screenshots should be used as a banner for your app, laying out key features and utilizing high-volume keywords to help convert users. It’s important to note that, in the Apple App Store, portrait Preview Videos sequentially appear before the first two screenshots.

4. Utilize Paid Campaigns

Once app listings and creatives are optimized for conversion, it’s time to consider utilizing Apple Search Ads or Google UAC.

With the recent change to Search Ads, it’s never been easier to take advantage of paid search results. If a developer is just getting started, they should start out with Search Ads Basic. It only requires setting a monthly budget and they do the rest. The Search Ads Basic utilizes the app listing to determine what searches to display for the app.

Once familiar with Basic, then developers can consider trying Search Ads Advanced. This provides full access to all ad tools and can control exactly who sees the ads, as well as setting specific keywords that the developer is trying to target.

If you have an app on the Google Play Store, consider using UAC to promote your mobile app across multiple AdWords channels. Make sure that you understand the different types of UAC you can run before diving head first into a campaign.

Key Takeaways

2018 is already looking to be a promising year for the app industry, especially as the App Store saw higher revenue than the previous year on Christmas Day. That means for those who can capitalize on a solid ASO strategy are bound to stay ahead of marketing trends and come out on top. Staying up to date on your ASO strategy can seem like a daunting task, but it’s important for an app’s longevity and growth. No matter how great an app is, it can’t fully thrive without ASO.

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