Nintendo’s Mario Kart franchise has made its way to mobile phones with the long-awaited Mario Kart Tour. While the app is seeing early success from the brand’s popularity, it still needs App Store Optimization if it wants to race with the top of the pack. For this week’s App Store Spotlight, we take a look at Mario Kart Tour and see if its ASO is enough to give it a turbo boost, or if another app can beat it to the finish line.
On the Apple App Store, Mario Kart Tour ranks highly for a number of valuable terms. It’s the #1 app in searches for “Mario” and “Super Mario,” beating fellow Mario apps Super Mario Run and Dr. Mario World. It also ranks #1 for “kart games” and “Nintendo games.” The app also ranks in the top 10 for “racing games,” “cart racing,” and keywords related to the competing “Sonic” franchise. Even with all of the keywords it ranks well for, it still has room to improve, such as ranking #23 for “car games” and #32 for “car racing online.”
Creatives: Mario Kart World Tour begins with a video that shows the app in action. It focuses entirely on the racing aspects, demonstrating the different characters, power-ups, camera angles and effects. It does not include other challenge modes, how characters are unlocked or anything outside of races. What it does show is enough to get users engaged, especially fans of the Mario Kart franchise.
It then uses five screenshots, each with callout text on the bottom of the image. The screenshots show much of the same information as the video, focusing on the racing aspect and including several different characters.
The callout text uses colors and imagery in line with the branding, but there are two drawbacks to how they are set up. First, the text is put in a small section at the bottom of the screen, so it doesn’t catch the user’s attention quickly. Secondly, they’re often lengthy, so they’re hard to read at a glance. For instance, one calls out “Aim for a high score by using items and mastering your kart-racing skills.” Those are three different values that could be presented in distinct screenshots, instead of being placed into one.
The app’s page also has room for five more screenshots. There are many aspects of the app that aren’t showcased in the screenshots, such as how players can pick the best characters and cars for the course, or how characters are unlocked. Including screenshots focusing on these could provide more information for interested users.
Title & Subtitle: The app’s title, “Mario Kart Tour,” is 15 characters. This leaves 15 more it could utilize for extra keyword indexation. However, this may be a case where branding comes first, and Nintendo opted for a shorter title to focus on the franchise.
The subtitle, “Race Around the World,” is 22 characters. This helps it index for terms like “Mario Race” (#1) and “Race cars games” (#3), as well as “world tour” #1 and “around the world” (#2). It has eight characters left, which could be used to include an extra keyword.
Description: Mario Kart Tour’s description features bulleted headers to lengthy paragraphs. While these do provide important information about the app, such as how it draws from real world locations for the maps, the block paragraphs are hard for users to read quickly while scrolling through. As such, most of the information will be lost in the middle of the paragraphs.
While the section headers are good, the description could benefit from turning the attached paragraphs into bullet lists instead. This would make it easy for users to scroll down and quickly read one line at a time, while each section provides information about a different aspect of the game.
Additionally, much of the information in those paragraphs could be taken and used as an introduction. This could be a few short lines to let users know how the game is a mobile version of the Mario Kart racing games, how it uses destinations based on the real world and so forth.
On Google Play, Mario Kart Tour does not rank as well for keywords as it does on iOS. The game ranks #2 for “Mario” and #3 for “Super Mario,” falling behind its fellow Mario games. Mario Kart Tour’s rankings begin to fall quickly, coming in at #11 for “Nintendo games,” #14 for “kart games” and #43 for “world tour.” It does not rank for “racing,” “race car games” or “racing games,”
Creatives: Mario Kart Tour uses identical videos on iOS and Google Play. As the video is on portrait mode in iOS, the Google Play version uses the same layout. However, Google Play videos are viewed via YouTube, so the Play Store’s video fall victim to “vertical video syndrome” where the entire video is a thin slice of footage in the middle of an otherwise blank screen. Google Play videos can be longer than iOS ones, as well as use footage from outside the app, so using the same video on both stores does not do the Google Play version any favors.
The app then uses five screenshots, which are the same as on the Apple App Store. While these do still showcase several aspects of the app, the flaws of the iOS version remain. The callout text is still small, lengthy and placed in an unobtrusive way. There’s also room for three more screenshots, which could tell users more about the app and its functionality.
Description & Metadata: Mario Kart Tour’s Google Play description is identical to its iOS description. It consists of headers calling out an aspect of the game, followed by a lengthy paragraph delving into the details.
Using bullet lists would benefit the app here as well, since it would provide sections with relevant information for users to peruse. It could still use an introduction that talks about the main values of the game before delving into more details with the features.
More importantly, Google Play descriptions need to be written with a focus on the keywords. Mario Kart Tour begins many sections with lines like “In certain races, 1st place isn’t always the goal” or “Turnup the heat by activating the new Frenzy mode.” While these are aspects of the game, they do not include keywords. The description should start off each line and sentence with a keyword to index for them.
If Mario Kart Tour were to use a description with a keyword focus, it could potentially improve its indexation and ranking for several keywords. Given its lack of indexation for several valuable keywords, this might help it a lot.
Mario Kart Tour is ranking for a large number of important keywords on iOS, but its Google Play rankings have room for improvement. As its creative sets and descriptions are identical on both stores, there are a few recurring aspects that could be improved on both.
An app cannot use the same ASO on both stores and expect the same results. Each store’s page must be tailored to the store it’s on. The Google Play page, for instance, needs to use a description focused on keywords, while the iOS description should be adjusted for readability while scrolling down the page. If it were to make some key adjustments for App Store Optimization, Mario Kart Tour could keep accelerating through the rankings to claim first place with each lap.