The number one way that users discover and download new apps is through a simple search on the app-stores. In fact, this method has been found to drive a massive 67% of all new app downloads. But this doesn’t just happen by magic. To make sure your app is being seen by your target audience you need to dedicate both time and energy into something known as app store optimization, or ASO, for short. Getting apps in front of potential users is the number one problem that mobile app developers and marketers are constantly facing. And with well over 2 million apps available on both the Apple app store and Google Play, it’s so important that your app store page is optimized to the highest standard, otherwise you stand no chance of getting noticed among the crowded market. But what exactly is app store optimization? So I am assuming you are already familiar with how the app store works. You type a keyword or phrase into the search bar. Let’s go with ‘image editor’. Hit search and you’ll see a selection of image editing apps for a user choose from. However, your user isn’t going to scroll down and read about each and every one of these apps. They’re going to download the ones nearer the top, that catch their eye. And this is where app store optimization comes in With a good ASO strategy you can get your app to rank higher for various different search terms, making you more discoverable by your target audience and increasing the number of downloads you receive. So you’re probably wondering now, what exactly is needed from you There are numerous different factors that you can work on that can have a positive impact on your ASO. Things such as keywords, your app name, your icon, description, any screenshots or videos, the category your app is in, user ratings and whether or not it’s localized in any other countries. Let’s talk about keywords first. Choosing the right keywords is the most important step to getting discovered by the right users. This requires a lot of research and continuous re-adjustments in order to be effective. Apple gives you 100 characters in their keyword field to fill with as many relevant keywords and phrases as you can. This field, along with your app name and subtitle are the three main text elements that impact how you rank. With Apple, your app description doesn’t directly affect your rank, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. A good description will persuade those visiting your app-store page to convert into users. Just make sure to put the most important information in the first 3 lines, as this is the part which the users can see without having to tap to read more. For Android, it’s a little different. Unlike Apple, Google Play doesn’t have a keyword field, so the app description, along with the app title are the main factors that impact how high you rank, so you’ll need to carefully work your keywords into both these places. Just don’t get carried away. Excessive use of keywords to the point where your sentences don’t even make sense will be picked up by the app-stores, and your ASO will suffer as a result. Monitor what is working for your competitors and use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner to find the best keywords. The words and phrases with the higher search volumes, but low competition are the golden nuggets you are looking for. These are the ones that will help your app achieve that initial momentum. As for your app name, this should be easy to understand, unique and communicate your app’s main purpose. Use your strongest keywords in your title too. This helps you rank on average 10.3 % higher than the apps that go without. When someone is browsing on the app-store, one of the first things that is going to catch their attention is your icon. A well designed icon has been found to increase app downloads by up to 560%. You want to make it simple and recognizable, but also give the user an idea of what your app is about. Try out different variations. Something as small as changing up the colours you use can have a massive impact on your conversions. Just like your icon, preview videos and screenshots don’t directly affect your search rank, however, they do still have a strong effect on the click through and conversion rate so should not be overlooked when it comes to your ASO. Screenshots are visible in the search results and become the second visual element, after the icon, that the users find in their app discovery process. These need to be designed well if you want to capture the attention of a user who is casually browsing. The idea is to highlight the main features and communicate exactly what your app does in a matter of seconds. Bare in mind that 60% of users won’t bother to swipe past the first two screenshots. So make sure these are your best ones! With a video preview you can take your screenshots to the next level. This is basically the best way for your user to get a feel for your app before they have even downloaded it. Along with music and a voice-over you can show off your app in much greater detail than your screenshots ever could. It’s a totally optional part of your app-store page but a well done video can increase your downloads by up to 25%. Choosing which category your app goes is more important to your ASO than you might think. It helps users find apps that meet their needs, so do some research, and figure out where your target audience is likely to look for an app like yours. Some categories are much less competitive than others, so it might be tempting to choose one of these in an attempt to increase your rank, even if your app does not belong there. However, both app stores will punish you for this so it is definitely not recommended and any gain will only be short-term. Making your app available in different countries is an excellent way to boost your downloads, but it will involve a bit of work. This process is known as localization and has been found to increase your downloads by as much as 767%*! Localization involves translating and adapting all of the content on your app store page, including the screenshots and keywords, to better suit the culture of the country you are trying to target. If your app has a lot of potential in another country then you should consider a full-scale translation. But starting off with your app store page is a good way to test the waters and get a sense of where your app might do well. Finally, let’s talk about your ratings and reviews. This is such an important aspect of your app store page and a crucial element when trying to grab the attention of your target audience. In fact, 59%* of people always check ratings before downloading a new app. Having a great rating and a bunch of positive reviews will impress any potential user. Plus, people trust other people. So if your end goal is to increase your downloads then you definitely want to pay attention to your ratings, and figure out what you can do to improve them. And there we have it, 9 different ways to improve your app store optimization. Start putting these into practice and watch your downloads soar. For more information on ASO and all things app marketing you can visit our resources page on Hurree.co.