ASO Best Practices: Tips for Screenshots

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, using visual aids to capture users’ attention within the App Stores has become a vital part in the acquisition funnel. As competition in the App Stores continues to grow, developers need to find ways to differentiate themselves from their competition.

Utilizing ASO best practices to optimize an app’s metadata (app name, keywords, description, etc.) is the most efficient way to target an app’s audience. While focusing on the metadata is crucial, developers need to pay close attention to creating visually appealing screenshots to convince users to download and/or buy the app, thus increasing conversion rate.

How Screenshots Can Improve Conversion

Screenshots allow developers to highlight the functionality and user interface of the app, giving users a clear picture of what to expect within the app. Users are more inclined to download an app with compelling visuals, hence developers should use all the available screenshots they have to capture the audience attention. Google Play allows up to 8 screenshots per device, while iOS only allows up to 5.

Developers want to give users as much information as possible regarding the app’s core features, mechanics or gameplay. While it may be enticing to show users all the app’s features, it’s important that developers put themselves into the user’s shoes and understand what they want to see.

In order to target an app’s audience better, developers need to pay attention to current user trends and behavior to create screenshots that their audience is interested in. On top of monitoring user trends, it’s critical that developers weigh the pros and cons for each screenshot orientation.

While it may be nice to display landscape screenshots, only one will appear in a user’s search on the App Store. Instead, for certain apps, it is more optimal to use portrait since two screenshots will appear in search.

Here are some points to consider when designing screenshots:

  • Use brand colors to stay consistent with brand identity
  • Display concept or character art with the latest updates
  • Use high contrast, open spaces, with simple and readable fonts
  • Use a call-to-action (short sentences or phrases) to increase conversion
  • Using high volume target keywords on every screenshot and highlighting them with a heavier font weight

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When developers are making these key design decisions, they must also factor in the possibility of deploying their app to foreign territories. If an app is launched in another country, developers need to make sure their creatives are engaging to that audience. This process is called localization, and can include changing:

  • Characters
  • Callout text, callout banner, or background colors
  • Callout text and high-volume keywords
  • Screenshot orientation and more

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Developers that have taken the time to localize their screenshots have been able to convert users in these foreign territories, and have seen an increase of revenue by 25 percent. It’s critical that developers take all the necessary steps to localize their screenshots to appeal to users on a global scale.

Key Takeaways

A picture is worth a thousand words, and an app’s screenshots are incredibly vital to converting users. If developers take the time to apply ASO best practice while designing their screenshots, they are sure to generate more downloads and revenue in the long-run.

It’s important that developers pay close attention when designing their screenshots. If they are interested in expanding their app’s reach to foreign territories, then they will need to localize their screenshots to appropriate target their audience and improve conversion.

Avoid These Common ASO Mistakes

Developers that have an app on the App Store or Google Play Store need to use App Store Optimization (ASO) as a tool to market their apps.

As developers create their ASO strategy, it’s imperative that ASO best practices are utilized to maximize visibility. Before developers start utilizing ASO, they need to avoid some common ASO mistakes to boost their success.

1. Not understanding ASO’s impact

Having an ASO strategy is crucial in today’s competitive market, but it is still an underrated and misunderstood tool. Ultimately, it helps apps gain more visibility, especially for user searches. ASO helps bring your app closer to the top of relevant search results and encourages users to stop scrolling and take a closer look.

2. Not understanding your audience

A key aspect of ASO is that it recognizes how different users search on the app stores. Developers need to understand who their target audience is to create the most effective ASO strategy.

If developers accurately target a specific audience using ASO, then they are more likely to direct the right users to their app. Not understanding their app’s audience is a common pitfall that needs to be avoided at all costs.

3. Keyword stuffing

While many developers want their app to index well and build relevancy for keywords, if they pack too many keywords in a description, it can backfire and diminish their relevancy.

Keyword stuffing is a “black hat” approach to ASO, which can lead to being rejected by the App Store or Google Play for keyword stuffing. In addition to possible rejection, keyword stuffing reads unnaturally and can discourage users from downloading an app.

4. Using the same ASO across platforms

Developers need to adapt their ASO to each platform because they index apps differently.

Apple indexes an app by first looking at the app’s keywords, then goes through its metadata to determine which keywords are relevant to the app.

Google Play, however, crawls through an app’s metadata to determine which words and phrases are relevant to an app. Developers should create feature-forward descriptions that utilize bullet points and straight forward language. It is important to use high-volume keywords naturally to not only address core features, but to help the app build relevancy.

5. Not monitoring ratings and reviews

A bad review isn’t the end of the world, but it does need to be taken care of. Developers can respond to poor reviews and engage with unhappy users to resolve any issue before it escalates. Responding to users can encourage them to change their negative rating into a positive one.

6. Not maintaining an ASO strategy

ASO is not a one-time thing. User trends are constantly changing, as does having a good ASO strategy. As users change how they search for apps, and the app stores release new pieces of metadata, you need to stay on top of your ASO strategy to maximize their visibility.

Key Takeaways

It’s critical to avoid these common ASO mistakes to maximize visibility in the app stores. Before developers get started, they need to learn about ASO and how it can affect their app’s performance.

Google Cracks Down on Glitchy Apps

Quality over quantity is a concept that is increasingly difficult to achieve in the app market, especially on Google Play. Currently, the Play Store has over 2 million available apps, but in an attempt to help users find quality apps and games, Google has made drastic changes to their search algorithm.

Google will now hide crashing apps from the Play Store and display higher quality apps more often than lower quality apps. The tech company made its decision after conducting an internal analysis of current app reviews on Google Play, where they noted that half of 1-star reviews mentioned app stability.

Hiding apps that crash is Google’s way of trying to meet users’ expectations for performance and quality, and essentially weed out unstable apps and games.

Google has expressed that they have already seen a positive impact on user engagement, and that users have already been able to use higher quality apps, which has in-turn lowered uninstall rates.

Despite Google hearing positive praises from users, what about the developers? For those that fear their app or game falls into this category, there are ways they can monitor their app’s performance to ensure their app will not be hidden by Google’s new search algorithm.

How Developers Can Monitor Their App

Google strongly suggests that developers should use Android Vitals to identify key performance issues, especially if they are fearful about the stability of their app. Google also suggests that developers pay close attention to their ratings and reviews for any additional insights related to the quality and stability of their app or game.

Gummicube recommends that developers implement an ongoing reputation management campaign, taking advantage of the opportunity to respond to user reviews.  Developers need to identify all responses populated within 24 hours of a new review post and take note of the specific issues that users are mentioning. If developers aren’t already monitoring and responding to reviews, Gummicube offers a turnkey reputation management solution to respond to reviews and resolve issues.

Looking to the Future

While Google wants to offer users an expansive app store, their decision to hide crashing apps offers developers an ultimatum: have a stable app or suffer the possibility of your app being down ranked.

Developers need to look at their options and start incorporating user reviews in their daily tasks. If they are monitoring their audience and the current experience users are having, there is the possibility to see their averaged rating steadily improve after responding to user reviews.

If developers ignore the cries of their users, technical issues and bug fixes will never be addressed in a timely fashion. Ignoring user reviews can lead to not knowing about stability issues, lower conversion rates and now the possibility of not appearing on the Play Store.

No one wants their app to be hidden, meaning it is crucial now more than ever to stay up to date with monitoring an app’s performance. As a recommendation, if your app falls into this category you should monitor  user reviews to quickly address any possible issues. Focusing on the quality and performance of your app can find you continued success on Google Play.

Why Popular Brands Need ASO

Popular comics, TV shows, movies, and celebrities have recently made the shift to mobile by recreating their content into mobile apps. While developers are struggling to get recognized on the App Store and Google Play Store, well-known names such as Gordon Ramsay, Marvel Comics and more, have found an instant groove, reaching a new audience, and increasing daily downloads.

Transitioning into the app world with a recognizable and popular brand is great, but to remain relevant, you need an ASO strategy. Games like Pokémon GO have proven that they need an ASO strategy to continue success in the app stores and retaining users.

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While Pokémon GO proved that it could attract loyal fans without having a great ASO strategy, many of those fans ended up abandoning the game within six months due to monotonous gameplay and no new updates other than one-time bug fixes. With an ASO strategy, Pokémon GO could have gained new users that were unaware of its brand or popularity.

Having a built-in fan base is great and automatically guarantees a number of downloads, but understanding ASO and why a strategy is important, can do wonders for continuing an app’s success.

Why Does Having Brand Recognition Help?

A key reason behind popular brands’ success is due to having a well-known name and loyal fan base. Companies like Nintendo, and EA Sports have been rapidly growing their presence on the mobile, making a stark transition from being well-known console games. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Gordon Ramsay have also entered the app stores, and have seen mild-success in their categories.

It only makes sense that celebrities like Kim Kardashian will have some success due to their fans. Her social media following is astronomically huge, which means she has a built-in user acquisition campaign without doing much optimization or marketing.

How Brands Can Attract More Users

Popular brands have a head start over other apps because they have already done the hard part; gathering fans. These popular brands, however, still need to use ASO to attract new users and continue attracting new users for ongoing growth.

Recognizable brands cannot rely solely on their fan base. They need to attract new users, and improve visibility in the App Store and Google Play Store, by working on optimizing their metadata (app name, description, and creatives).

Developers can continue targeting their current audience, but need to expand their reach using high-volume keywords that are carefully placed throughout the app’s metadata. These keywords are needed to expand on general gameplay terms such as “create,” “adventure,” “battle” and more to not only address the app’s core features, but to build relevancy for user searches.

With ASO, developers will be able to build relevancy for these keywords, which are closely tied to how their current and new audience searches.

While brands like Family Guy or The Simpsons do rely on their brand name, they also make sure their metadata is optimized to target their audience. Comparing descriptions of the three apps: Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, and The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff has the best-looking description.

This app uses high-volume keywords such as “create” and “battle,” along with character names and locations, which are closely tied to the brand. These keywords are carefully placed throughout the app’s metadata to address the app’s core features and improve visibility in the app stores.

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Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, however, has a description that mostly uses quotes from popular magazines or other celebrities, meaning the app isn’t taking an opportunity to become relevant for more keywords like “create” and “celebs.” When apps mostly use quotes, it gives competitors the chance to become relevant for keywords, which pushes the app further down in user searches.

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A well-known name does not automatically guarantee its success. Having a recognizable brand and a well-built app does help, but it’s imperative an app’s metadata is optimized with ASO to extend its reach past its loyal fans.

ASO Tips

There are always ways for apps to improve their metadata, regardless of its popularity among fans or within the app stores. Developers can see success by following these tips:

1. Using the Brand in App Name

First and foremost, popular brands need to use the brand name in the app name. This establishes the app or game as part of the brand and makes it more likely to appear in user searches.

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2. Recognizable Characters/Logos

These apps or games need to use a well-known or recognizable character or logo so fans and new users instantly know this app or game is tied to its brand. Using popular characters or logos within the screenshots or preview video is also encouraged.

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Having well-known or recognizable visuals will greatly help improve conversion and entice users with the opportunity to play as their favorite characters.

3. Don’t Forget the Description

Regardless of how popular a brand is, they cannot forget about their description. Users still need to know what they can do with this app or game, and the description is the perfect place to name-drop key characters, gameplay and more.

Key Takeaways

In the competitive app market, it is always key to have something about the app and its metadata that helps it stand out among its competitors. While having an app or game based on a popular brand may seem like an ingenious idea, using an ASO strategy is vital to determining an app or game’s continued success.

A popular brand may earn some initial downloads but that does not guarantee an app will be first on “Top Charts” for multiple weeks. Instead, developers want to insure their brand is displayed properly throughout the metadata to attract not only loyal fans, but new users.

How to Target Different Generations with ASO

Mobile apps – a growing market that affects nearly every person in the world. On top of creating an app, developers must market their apps to a specific audience. For an app to advance, keeping their audience in mind throughout every step of the optimization process is crucial.

As technology continues to grow and the app market progresses, developers need to continually market their app to their target audience. Recently, as more and more developers crowd the marketplace, some have started adjusting their app’s metadata toward millennials.

Smart phone users around the world run into the billions and within the US alone 85 percent of smart phone users are millennials. For the most part, once an app goes live on the App Store or Google Play Store, roughly 25 percent of the world’s population can access the app.

Even though 25 percent seems like a small number, it still adds to an app’s overall visibility. Should developers really focus their efforts on targeting just millennials, or should they broaden their scope and target everyone?

Generations of Users

In today’s society, it is a commonly known fact that millennials have grown up with technology more than previous generations. For most, their daily life consists of staying connected through their mobile device, which strongly includes the use of mobile apps.

Even emerging markets such as India have millennials making up the largest population group, meaning there are rapidly growing markets with easy to target audiences.

While ASO best practices highly suggest targeting your app to a specific audience, targeting only millennials can limit your app’s visibility in the app stores. By focusing on only one group of individuals, your app can never reach its full potential or become relevant to other generations of users.

Instead of focusing on just one generation, it’s important to look at what your app does and understand who the app is intended for. Once you understand who your target audience is, it will be increasingly easier to optimize your metadata.

1. Kids

Apps for kids have been rapidly appearing on the app stores in recent years. Developers are looking to target kids because newer generations are being born with instant access to technology.

When optimizing metadata and creatives for apps targeting kids, it’s important to keep things light-hearted, fun, and most importantly colorful. Make the app name catchy and the description informational and entertaining.

Since kids are most likely to install the first app they see, it’s crucial for the screenshots and preview video to be bright and colorful to instantly grab their attention.

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2. Teenagers

While the majority of mobile users are millennials, roughly 45 percent of those users are less than 24-years-old, meaning they are considered “teenagers.”

Teenagers tend to be pickier on what apps they download. Often times, however, their decisions are based on the current popular app featured on one of the app stores, or an app they learn about from friends.

While it’s important to get featured on the App Store and Google Play Store, it doesn’t always guarantee that teenagers will be interested in your app. When targeting teenagers, it’s valuable to explore Search Ads or even look into online influencers through social media to help promote your app. Teenagers are impressionable; take advantage of their ties to social media and watch as your app’s popularity grows.

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3. Young Adults

Young adults, or “millennials,” are often glued to their phone for work, school, relationships and more. If developers want to target young adults, they need to optimize their metadata by highlighting how important the app will be to a young adults’ busy life.

While young adults are more likely to be drawn to recognizable social media apps like LinkedIn or Facebook, users in this age group utilize search more. Make sure that you’re following ASO best practices and take advantage of Search Ads so your app will appear first in user searches.

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4. Adults

Adults are the generation where there is overlap between those that are advanced with technology and those that are still apprehensive to learn. This generation was not born with nearly as much technology as kids, teenagers or young adults, but that does not mean they should be forgotten.

This generation knows exactly what type of apps they’re interested in, which means your app’s name and description need to be straight forward and to the point to gain these users.

Developers need to keep in mind that their description will most likely be read by adults more than other generations. Having an easy to read description that utilizes bullet points would be incredibly beneficial when targeting adults.

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Key Takeaways

It’s crucial to know who your target audience is when creating your ASO strategy. Does it mean that you have to target just millennials? No, but it’s important to understand that millennials make up the majority of mobile users.

Not all apps should target millennials alone, but instead developers should take the time to understand who their audience is and develop their ASO strategy around that specific type of consumer.

Take the time to understand your audience and their needs, then make sure to target their wants through your app’s metadata. Taking the time to understand your audience is just one essential part of your ASO strategy that will greatly aid the progression of your app in the long-run.

App Store Optimization (ASO) Blog | Mobile App Marketing