It’s Not You, It’s Your ASO (Part 1)
Prolific Interactive

It’s Not You, It’s Your ASO (Part 1)

Prolific Interactive

In this two-part blog post, you’ll find some quick tips to get you started on the right track with App Store Optimization. This post will be focusing on the iOS app store, with Android optimization to follow in part 2.

You’ve spent countless hours working on the strategy for your iOS app, testing and getting the design just right and racked up a formidable amount of all-nighters coding away. You finally submit a stellar app, but people aren’t downloading it as frequently as you anticipated. What gives?

Since almost half of all iPhone owners found the last app they downloaded by searching the store, it may be time to take a look at your app store optimization (ASO) strategy.

Here are 5 things you can do to get started with your iOS App Store Optimization.

1. Pick your app title carefully

Titles are searchable in the App Store, so it is important to choose the words in your title deliberately. Apple gives you 255 characters for your title, but users can usually see only 33 of those. A good strategy is to combine your brand name with a few words or a phrase that describe the key features of the app.

For example, Kayak does a good job with it’s title “Kayak: Flights, Hotels & Cars”. It is short enough, not spammy and gets right to the point.

2. A catchy description

A description that sells is a great thing to have in your marketing arsenal, especially for the on-the-fence user, or someone who is weighing your app against your competitors.

People can usually only see the first 3 lines of the description without having to click “more”. This is called “above the fold” content, and should excite the user about your features and show some personality. This example from Lilly Pulitzer does just that!

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 4.39.33 PM

Below the fold content should be scannable – use bullets for key features. Also feel free to include quotes from your most favorable reviews, awards won, or anything else you think may help seal the deal with potential users.

3. Are you maximizing your keywords?

Besides the words in your app title, the keywords you enter into the iTunes Connect Keywords field are the most pertinent factor in determining your app’s rank in search. This keyword field has a 100 character limit that you can fill up with relevant words that will help your users find your app in the store.

A common oversight in the keywords field is to use spaces. Each space counts as a character and should be replaced with a comma. Apple groups words that you have entered into keyword phrases so you don’t have to worry about grouping or order of words. For example, if you have entered in “dresses, wedding, gowns, formal” Apple will automatically create phrases like “formal dresses”, “wedding gowns”, “formal gowns”, “wedding dresses”.

App publishers often select keywords solely based on traffic volume, instead of optimizing for visibility. While it may be ideal to rank for keywords that get a ton of searches, relevance and competitive standing are equally, if not more, important. The most highly trafficked words are also usually the most competitive. Therefore, it is better to rank #3 for a less popular word as it will likely be clicked on more, as opposed to ranking #95 for a highly trafficked word. The chances of people downloading your app and becoming engaged users are much higher when the app offers content, products or services relevant to the searched term.

The easiest way to figure out which words are highly trafficked is to use a vendor that provides you this information. But there are other ways to get around it. This blogpost from Tune does a good job outlining some considerations.

4. Pictures speak louder than words

Screenshots are another compelling way to convince potential users to download your app. Make sure to use screenshots that communicate the features of your app, and place the best screenshot in the first position. Most times, using additional text to highlight the benefit is useful.

In the example below, Lilly Pulitzer chose screenshots with bright, clean and easy to read design.They make a compelling case for the user to download the app by highlighting the most important features first, and using each screenshot to communicate a specific benefit.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 3.47.59 PM

5. Testing, 1.2.3. Testing

Make one change at a time for a more accurate attribution of each change to the number of downloads. Keeping a log of what has and has not worked will help you fine tune your strategy and prevent you from considering the same thing twice.

In today’s crowded marketplace, more apps are published every day, and there is a constant stream of new ratings, reviews, and downloads – making an app store strategy indispensable. By positioning your app to rank better when users are actively looking not only boosts organic traffic to your storefront, but has a much higher chance of converting that potential user to an engaged fan.

I hope these tips help you get started on your iOS App Store strategy! Keep an eye out for a post on Google Play Store optimization and the difference in strategies required for it.