App Store Optimization for First-Time Founders

February 22, 2020

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App Store Optimization (ASO) is a term that gets brought up frequently when discussing mobile app marketing, and for good reason. ASO can help a developer reach a wider audience and improve installs, but first-time app developers and founders may not be sure where to start. If you’re a first-time founder looking to understand App Store Optimization, here is what you need to know for getting started with ASO, metrics you need to understand and what to expect when you optimize.

App Store Optimization

ASO is, at its core, is the best practices and strategies used to build an app’s reach and grow its userbase. As the majority of app discovery and installs occur in searches, improving the number of keywords an app ranks for and the app’s rank in search results is an important goal of ASO.

This optimization requires analyzing and optimizing all aspects of the app’s listing, such as its keywords, screenshots, description and so on.

There are several aspects to ASO, including but not limited to:

  • Keyword optimization: identifying the keywords that are relevant to the app and have high search volume
  • Creative optimization: designing creative elements such as the app icon, screenshots and video that appeal to users
  • Description optimization: writing descriptions for the app that engage users, convey information and are written for the store the app is available on
  • Paid marketing: using Apple Search Ads and Google Ads to reach more users and improve organic rankings

App Store Optimization requires research and testing, but when done properly, it can result in several improvements, such as:

  • Higher rankings in searches for targeted keywords
  • Appearing in a wider number of searches
  • Increased number of users installing the app

Metrics

How does one measure App Store Optimization success? Tracking key metrics helps show app developers and marketers how well their ASO strategy is working. These metrics include:

  • Keyword rankings: How high up your app appears in search results for its keywords
  • Impressions: How many times an app has been viewed on the store
  • App units: How many times your app was downloaded for the first time (not counting updates, re-downloads and downloads from the same ID onto other devices)
  • Conversion rate: How many users install the app after seeing it

Each of these is an important indicator of an app’s success, and together they paint a picture of performance. It could be that an app is seeing high impressions but low conversions, or keywords are high while app units are low – these could indicate an issue in the app’s page or performance that should be addressed. On the other hand, if the metrics are positive, this can indicate that the ASO strategy is working.

Tracking growth is just as important as seeing the numbers themselves. Identifying trends and seeing if an app is on an upward trajectory or losing steam can help guide one’s optimization strategy. While a short spike in installs might be exciting, it means little in the long run if there isn’t long-term growth behind it.

Another important metric is what channels are providing how many downloads. Downloads can come from different channels, such as Search, Browse or Explore, web referral and app referrals. Understanding what channels are driving downloads and which ones are falling flat can help you better allocate your budget and resources.

ASO Takes Time

App Store Optimization is an ongoing process, not a means for instant success. ASO builds momentum that compounds over time, rather than short burst campaigns that lose momentum as soon as they end.

This is especially true for new apps. When an app launches, the App Store and Play Store will have no data on it. The algorithms will need time to index the app, determine its relevance and see what terms convert users. Developers should monitor their apps to see where they’re growing, test variants and launch new iterations to improve upon successes.

It takes time to index for keywords. You may not get thousands of installs a day right after launch, but the pratice of researching the market, deploying optimized metadata and creatives then iterating based on performance is a steady path to long term performance improvements.

App Store Optimization takes time, effort and constant analysis and iterations. If you want to build the foundation for your app’s success, there’s no substitute for ASO.

Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.

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