Fate/Grand Order is a mobile game based off the popular franchise by TYPE-MOON. It’s a financial success, earning billions in worldwide revenue, but is its achievement based off of the brand alone, or does it have an App Store Optimization strategy that helps increase its downloads and conversions? For this week’s App Store Spotlight, we’ll take a look at Fate/Grand Order and see if its ASO is grand as well.
On the Apple App Store, Fate/Grand Order begins with five screenshots. It includes a video, which shows up in the app store search as well as under “A closer look” for those viewing the app from their phones. It’s short, but it showcases an example of combat, including the card system and special attacks. The video could still stand to demonstrate more from the game, such as the bosses that players fight, additional special attacks, or the summoning system in action. A good video can increase downloads by up to 25%, while a poor video can be detrimental instead; this video is neither stunning nor repelling, it simply shows off one aspect of the game. The curious thing, though, is that some of the screenshots feature multiple screenshots from the game, although all of them demonstrate the same feature the callout text alludes to. For instance, the image about “thrilling card battles” includes four smaller screenshots, showing the selection of cards, card chains and the special attacks. The intent behind this formatting appears to be to show off the variety of options within the game; when it boasts the story consisting of “more than a million words,” it includes screenshots from various parts of the story to illustrate as such. At the same time, it does make the individual screenshots harder to see, so there’s a tradeoff to be made. The callout text, at least, does effectively highlight the key features of each screenshot, with bold text for the vital keywords. Additionally, as the app’s page only uses five of the ten allotted screenshots, it could expand to encompass more features. The screenshots do not touch on the game’s level-up system, for instance, so it could easily include one demonstrating how the characters can power up and their illustrations change accordingly. It could use screenshots from different parts of the story or special events, rather than fit them all into a single picture. Every screenshot is a chance to showcase another feature or asset, and landscape screenshots provide an opportunity to attach a single image to a specific Search Ads campaign. Only including half of the maximum screenshots means missing multiple opportunities. The description itself is also lacking. At first the introduction is decent, describing itself as a new mobile RPG from TYPE-MOON and boasting its content. The formatting does use short lines, but they’re still placed together into longer blocks, rather than separated. It’s evident that the description is mostly translated into English from the original Japanese without localizing its App Store Optimization accordingly. The description then goes into a lengthy summary of the story while saying very little about the actual mechanics. There’s no mention of the summoning system, how the combat works, leveling up or any other aspects of the game aside from forming a party of Heroic Spirits. This also means the description is devoid of many important keywords, which can have a negative impact on its Search Ads relevancy and ability to drive impressions. Fate/Grand Order does not rank highly for many keywords. While it is the top app for its own name and variations, including misspellings and related series, as well as for “type moon,” its rankings quickly drop after that. It’s ranked eighth for “go card,” 47th for “grind games” and 98th for “card RPG.” For other relevant and high-volume terms, such as “anime game” or “gacha game,” it doesn’t even rank.
The Google Play Store listing for Fate/Grand Order is identical to its Apple App Store listing in nearly every way. The Google Play version includes the same video as the iOS version has under “A closer look” among its creatives. The screenshots are exactly the same, including multiple shots in a single image. As each image is laid out in a landscape format, only one image will fully show on the screen at a time, so including the multiple shots does allow them to show more images at once. As with the Apple App Store listing, it does not use all the screenshots the store allows, although it does include one shot of the main menu that the iOS version doesn’t. As it uses the same description on Google Play as it does on the Apple App Store, the content still needs to include more about the game’s features and mechanics to properly engage potential users. Additionally, formatting is important on Google Play so that the store’s algorithms pick it up for relevant keywords. On Google Play, Fate/Grand Order ranks as the top app for one keyword: “grand order.” After that its rankings steadily decrease, while typically including “order” phrases like “past orders,” “first orders” and “orders organized.” For relevant and high-volume keywords, its rankings decrease significantly; it’s the 48th-ranked app for “JRPG,” 112th for “anime RPG” and 46th for “gacha.” If the description were revised to include an emphasis on these key terms, such as the gacha-style summoning mechanic or the anime-inspired story and graphics, it could increase its rankings for those relevant and high-volume terms. As the description is now, though, it ranks better for unimportant terms like “a forbidden ceremony” and “AD. 2004,” simply by virtue of using them in its description.
Fate/Grand Order is a popular game among its fanbase, but anyone not searching for that game in particular will have a hard time finding it. The descriptions on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store are not formatted to either store and do not fully utilize all the keywords they can. This prevents it from improving its rankings in searches for those phrases on Google Play and from driving impressions on the Apple App Store. A good description should encourage users to download the app by demonstrating all its features and values. While the story mode is engaging, there is more to the game than just that, so the descriptions need to include sections that call out everything else it has to offer. The game initially came out in Japan, so this stands as an example of why localization is important. Simply translating the app’s description from one language to another isn’t enough to make it optimized for each store – the specific keywords and formatting of each region must be considered during the localization process, as well as consumer tastes and behaviors. While the app is successful on its own merits and fans, greater success can be achieved via discoverability within the app store. App Store Optimization is essential for that – an optimized app will show up in relevant searches, rather than just searches for the app’s name, which could provide even greater reach and profits for Fate/Grand Order. Without ASO, its outreach is far more limited.