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How to improve your performance in App Store Optimization and generate downloads?

Today, nearly 1.5 million applications are available on both Google Play and the App Store: the competition is fierce! But 80% of them are called “zombies” in stores, which do not reach 500 downloads. So, how can you appear on these stores and generate over 500 downloads? How do you make sure you appear in the first results of a keyword search? How to appear on top of the category? We uncover everything for you…

The store ranking algorithm takes into account 3 criteria:

  1. Number of downloads within 24 to 72 hours;
  2. retention (number of times the application was opened, session time);
  3. Average ratings given by users of your application as well as the number of reviews.

That’s why it’s important to work on these 3 key points:

  • number of downloads : The more downloads you accumulate, the higher the app appears in the rankings. Plus, you generate more free “organic” downloads from users who see the app for you in the App Store. So it’s a virtuous cycle (or vicious cycle, depending on the marketing budget we have…) where the apps that generate the most volume manage to generate even more in the process.
  • retention of its application : The more a user uses an application, the higher it will be classified in the App Store ranking. This is an important element for a developer on a premise anyway: to make sure his application is happy to be well graded. But it is not neutral on the overall ranking. Apple and Google are giving more and more importance to this notion of retention to establish their rankings. This explains why we now find many apps with high retention internally in the top rankings: Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, YouTube, etc. To the detriment of other types of applications.
  • Ratings given by users : Again, they depend on what the application is. However, it is possible to maximize them by placing messages within the application asking users to insert notes. So developer can influence on this element.

How can you improve your performance in ASO (App Store Optimization)?

Studies show that about 50% of downloads for an app come from keyword or tag research. So the first thing to do is to optimize the people associated with your application. On the Apple App Store, a field of 100 characters is assigned to it for each language. Make sure that you do not leave any spaces between words in this field and only use singular words.

On Google Play, there is no field dedicated to them. Google takes into account your title, your short description, and all the words in your long description, as well as their occurrence. So make sure you put your keywords first in your title and short description. Also, be sure to repeat each of them 5-6 times in your description.

How to choose the best keywords? In theory, your goal is to rank #1 in the search bar results for each keyword you find important. If you appear less than the top 5-6 in the given results for a tag, users will not be able to see your app. Review your current keyword rankings using tools from sites like Searchman or Sensor Tower. Identify those to whom you are not visible enough and leave them. For example, take inspiration from your competitors and brainstorm to build a large list of potential tags. Then compare them according to their characteristics:

  • Relevance : Is there a link with my application?
  • Difficulty : Is my keyword already being used heavily by my competitors?
  • transportation : How many users are using this keyword?

Then, disallow any keywords that are irrelevant to your app. For example a user typing the word “beach” will have little chance of being interested in your strategy game “War Beach”, even if you want to be inspired by a competitor! Support keywords that combine high traffic and low difficulty. Success lies in your ability to find “niche” keywords that have less competition, but still have high traffic. Actually, there is no point in using innovative tags if a user doesn’t have the idea to type them into the search bar of the store.

What can be done to entice users to download the app once on the app detail page?

Keyword optimization is the first step of ASO. Once you’ve brought users to your app’s page, you need to make sure you’re maximizing your “Visit AppStore page > Downloads” conversion rate. Provide your app with a clear icon, colorful and contextual screenshots as well as an attractive video preview and description.

The icon should be representative and what the application is, as well as its title should be meaningful. If the title + icon pair doesn’t make it possible to understand what the application has as a whole, why would users want to download it? It is therefore necessary to attempt a reflection on the representation of the concept of the app on the icon.

With regard to descriptions and screenshots, keep in mind that few users will try to see them in detail. Most will get a feel for the app in seconds and are often based almost exclusively on screenshots, and mostly the first ones. So you have to summarize the main points of your app on the first screenshot (first 2-3) and first lines of your description (first 5 displayed on screen).

Can we then expect it to be well referenced and generate a large number of downloads?

Stores will boost the ranking of apps thanks to this optimization work, but that by itself will not be enough for it to emerge strongly. In addition to the criteria mentioned above, app stores take into account the number of downloads in their algorithm. For them, it is synonymous with success and prestige for an application, which gives it long-term interest. So it is important to ensure a significant amount of downloads to start the life of an application.

This will certainly make it possible to achieve massive downloads in the short term. And your ranking in categories and your presence in keyword search results will improve in the long run. Result: Additional free organic downloads generated over a long period of time. Without it, the app would never close and would vegetate at a very low level.

How to do ? There are two major ways possible: The first is to get highlights from the store (Apple, Google, Amazon). For 7 days, they will feature the app as one of the “Best New Apps” on the “Featured” page of their Appstore. This can bring in a significant amount of downloads and can be a good start for an app. The downside is the unsafe randomness and the fact that you need a great app suitable for these blinds to do this. Some are selected.

Another solution is to run a mobile marketing/user acquisition campaign to promote the application on as many mobile media as possible. Plus, it will help in maximizing the download volume at a low cost. There are many tools in the market to get downloads from multiple acquisition sources in parallel in an efficient and profitable manner like Addict Mobile or Fixsu. Of course, this strategy has the downside of being expensive. Nevertheless, it can be profitable, in the short and long term, because of the additional organic downloads gained through these campaigns. Campaigns will also need to be properly managed to target the users and sources who will actually use the app after downloading it.

About the Author

Claire Calligaro: Claire is the co-founder of Addict Mobile, the first mobile media agency dedicated to 100% profitability. With over 5 years of experience, Addict Mobile takes care of your campaigns worldwide from A to Z: strategy definition, visualization creation and translation, technical implementation, campaign optimization, real-time reporting.

Image Source: Shutterstock

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