App Store Optimization Archives - BuildFire

The Complete Guide to App Store Optimization (ASO)

The app store is one of the top places for potential users to find your app. In fact, 48% of new mobile app discovery comes from browsing app stores. An additional 34% of new app downloads are the result of app store recommendations. 

So when it comes to mobile app marketing, the app store is your most powerful channel. 

There are more than 1.96 million apps Apple App Store and a whopping 2.87+ million apps on the Google Play Store. How can you possibly make your app stand out in an ocean of countless alternatives? 

The answer is simple—app store optimization.

But what exactly is ASO? And how does it differ from search engine optimization (SEO)? This complete guide will answer these questions and provide actionable ASO techniques for maximum impact on app store rankings and organic downloads. Let’s dive in.

What is ASO (App Store Optimization)?

ASO is an acronym that stands for “app store optimization.” 

App store optimization is the process of ensuring that an app appears in the top search results for relevant keywords in the app store. It’s a great way to boost downloads and increase revenue for any app

Most of you are likely familiar with SEO (search engine optimization) for websites. ASO can best be described as the cousin of SEO. Instead of competing with other websites, you’re competing with other apps for organic search terms. The higher your app ranks in a search result, the greater its visibility to potential users. This increased visibility typically translates to more downloads. 

ASO Metadata

Each app store has its own algorithm to determine how apps rank for any given search. So you may need to slightly tweak your approach to get downloads from Android users compared to iPhone users. These algorithms are based on several factors, and many of those ranking factors are unknown. But what we do know is that the app stores index keywords used in your app’s metadata.  

The best way to approach ASO is by conditioning your app by using relevant search terms or keywords in your metadata. 

What exactly is metadata? It’s the following five elements of your app:

  • Title
  • Subtitle
  • Keystring
  • Promo Text
  • Description

Not every component of metadata is indexed by search algorithms. Here’s a visual example to show you the differences:

App store metadata is important because it helps you gain more exposure. As you can see, each metadata element has a character restriction. To get the most out of your ASO strategy, we strongly recommend using as many characters as possible with your metadata. 

Avoid using terms like “and” or “the,” as these will be ignored by the algorithm. Instead of wasting characters on those types of words, you’ll want to maximize your metadata characters with highly relevant keywords. 

Everything surrounding ASO starts with your metadata. You want to make sure that the information you include will help your app stand out and encourage people to download your mobile application

Keyword Research: How to Select Keywords For App Store Optimization

Keyword research is the most crucial component of optimizing your app for searches. 

App store algorithms pick up the keyword combinations across your app title, subtitle, and keystring.  Most people don’t realize this, but the title of your app is the keyword field that has the most significant influence on search rankings. So your keyword strategy should always start with the app name. Subtitles also play a large role in ASO visibility.

Include your brand name in the title, followed by the most relevant terms that best describe the core components, functions, and features of your app. Think about search terms consumers may use when searching for your app on the app store. With so many different combinations available, don’t be afraid to try variants and test them over time. 

Pro Tip: Do NOT repeat keywords across your title, subtitle, and keystring. 

Since the app store algorithms pick up keywords throughout your metadata, repeating a keyword is just wasting character space. Instead, use that as an opportunity to include other relevant keywords. Here’s a great example from Mint:

As you can see, Mint uses all 30 characters in the title. It starts with the brand name, then continues with the most relevant terms to describe the app’s functionality—”personal finance & money.”

The subtitle shows even more relevant keywords, without repeating anything within the title. You’ll also notice that the subtitle uses 28/30 potential characters, trying to squeeze every last potential keyword in there. 

One of the best ways to decide what keywords to use is by creating a list of your app’s key features. Then create another list of search terms that people would use to search for an app similar to yours. Test the terms on both lists to see which types of results they produce.

ASO Keystrings

Keystrings are not customer-facing. So they won’t be seen anywhere in your app store listing. This is specifically made for search algorithms in the app store. 

Make sure that you use the best keywords in your app name title and subtitle. Any remaining keywords on your list can be included in your keystrings. You can update your keystring within your App Store Connect account. If you can’t access this account, speak to your development team. 

According to Apple, avoid using the following in your keywords:

  • Plural words that have already been used in the singular form
  • The word “app”
  • Names of categories
  • Duplicate words
  • Special characters like @ or # (unless they are part of your brand name)

Consider whether you want to rank for highly competitive keywords or less popular terms. Competitive keywords like “job” or “social” tend to get a ton of traffic, but they’re much harder to rank for. So you might be better off going for the low hanging fruit—or less popular search terms and keyword rankings that you have a higher chance of ranking for. 

App Store Description

Your app’s description can be up to 4,000 characters. This is an opportunity to sell your app to consumers. 

Descriptions are not directly indexed by the search algorithms. However, Apple Search Ads and search engines like Google will index these keywords. So it’s still important to have a keyword strategy in your description. Include relevant keywords from your title, subtitle, keystring, and other relevant keywords in the description at least 4x. 

For example, let’s say someone searches Google for “personal finance app.” Mint is one of the top organic search results:

Where exactly did those keywords come up from? Let’s at a snippet of Mint’s app description in the app store:

So even though the app store algorithms technically don’t use the description for rankings, search engines do, which can lead to more visibility and potential downloads for your app. This is known as app store SEO.

How to Optimize Screenshots For ASO

App screenshots are always a hot topic when it comes to app store optimization. Technically speaking, the screenshots aren’t used as an algorithm factor for ASO.

However, high-quality screenshots are arguably the most important way to catch people’s attention and entice downloads for new users. It’s widely accepted that downloads play a role in search rankings. So if you’re getting more people to download your app, it will move you up in the app store search results. That’s why your screenshots matter for ASO.

Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when optimizing your screenshots:

  • Don’t clutter the images with information
  • Use graphics to clearly show the app’s key features
  • Don’t use too much text
  • Avoid giving users too much information to read and consume
  • Try different variants of screenshots with A/B testing

Check out this amazing app store screenshot case study from ClearScore. Here’s what the app store screenshots looked like originally:

After analyzing elements like the copy, graphics, in-app visuals, colors, background, and layout, it was determined that there was a ton of room for improvement for the app preview on the app store page. 

This became the new and improved version of the app store screenshots:

As you can see, there’s a significant difference between these before and after shots. But did the changes actually make a difference? Absolutely.

In the 50 days prior to the new screenshots being implemented, the conversion rate of impressions to app installs was an average of 7%. In the 50 days after the new screenshots were added, the average conversion rate jumped up to 13%, nearly doubling.

Organic vs. Paid App Discovery

Organic vs. paid discovery will always be part of the app store optimization discussion. This is similar to the paid vs. organic search conversation for websites and SEO.

Here’s the simplest way to explain these two components:

  • Organic — App Store Optimization (ASO)
  • Paid — Search Advertisements (like Apple Search Ads)

So which one is better? Which is more important?

The two work best when used side-by-side. Paid discovery is a faster way to get your app in front of potential users. But once you pull the ads down, your app’s visibility will drop. That’s why it’s equally as important to focus on ASO. App store optimization is more of a long-term game. It gets your app in front of users even when you’re not running advertisements for certain keywords.

As previously mentioned, downloads impact organic search rankings—regardless of where those downloads are coming from. So if you’re driving downloads from your search ads, it will help boost your position in the organic search results. 

What is Apple Search Ads?

Apple Search Ads is the quickest way to boost the visibility of your app in the Apple App Store. That’s why it’s such a popular tool for new mobile apps. 

At the top of search results, the advertised app will appear with a light blue background. You’ve probably seen this in your personal life, even if you haven’t run any ads for your own app. 

Here’s an example of what those ads look like in the App Store search:

Even though you and I both know that Instagram is the name of an app, it’s not the top option that appears in this search for “Instagram.” Instead, the Apple Search Ad is at the top of the listing. It can be identified with the light blue background and the small “AD” icon. 

The actual Instagram app is the first organic search result. 

Only one app is advertised at a time for any given search. Apple decides which advertisement is shown based on the app’s relevance, the search, and how much the app owner has said they’re willing to pay for exposure. The relationship between Apple Search Ads and organic search is bi-directional, meaning they both impact each other. Any marketing strategy used for one, the other must be taken into consideration.

The optimization of your app’s product page is important for two reasons when it comes to successful ASO:

  1. Unlike some advertising networks, Apple Search Ads create ads solely from assets on your product page. The screenshots and even the app’s description could be used. That’s why Apple recommends reviewing your metadata before you start an Apple search campaign. Screenshots, descriptions, and other components must clearly show what your app offers, or the ads won’t be successful.
  2. Apple search matches functionality. When used correctly, this can be a way for you to find new keywords for your app. Apple uses keywords from your metadata for search ads. So if you have a relevant title, description, and more, it can really impact the performance of your ad campaigns through the discovery of new keywords. 

Apple Search Ads create more downloads, and in turn, boost organic visibility. 

The Best App Store Optimization Tools

Tackling ASO on your own can be tough if it’s your first time creating a strategy. Even app developers and marketers who have previously been through this process still need assistance. 

That’s why finding the right ASO tools and resources can significantly improve your strategy.

Here at BuildFire, we always want you to be successful long after your app has been developed and launched. As a partner in your success, it’s our job to constantly research and test different ASO tools. After testing and using dozens of options on the market today, Redbox Mobile has become our new favorite. 

The Redbox Toolbox is available on iOS and macOS. The software allows you to review your ASO score for your own app as well as your competition. 

It’s perfect for testing new metadata for your title subtitle, description, promotional text, and keystrings. You’ll even have the ability to review your ratings score and the content associated with your reviews. The tool has at-a-glance looks for how your app ranks across all of your categories. Use it to see the top charts for any app category in and app localization. 

The platform is a great way to review screenshots, especially if you want to assess your competitors. You’ll also get a full ASO guide with best practices for ASO creation and strategy implementation. 

Best of all? The Redbox Toolbox from Redbox Mobile is free to download and use.

ASO Tips and Best Practices: How to Optimize Like a Pro

If you’re in a rush and just want to quickly refer to some of the top highlights mentioned throughout this guide, the following points identify the key takeaways:

  • Use as many characters as possible for your metadata (within the limits)
  • Avoid using terms like “and” or “the” (the algorithm ignores these)
  • Include brand in title, followed by most relevant terms describing app’s core functions
  • Do NOT repeat keywords across title, subtitle, and keystring
  • Use your best keywords in the title and subtitle
  • Use relevant keywords in your description at least 4x each (for search engines)
  • Avoid using lots of text in your screenshots
  • A/B test variants of screenshots
  • Use a mix of organic and paid search strategies for app discovery
  • Try ASO tools like Redbox Mobile to gain a competitive advantage

ASO is an ongoing strategy. It’s not something you do once and forget about. You need to constantly come up with new ways to improve ASO and get more app downloads. 

Conclusion

It’s impossible to have a successful app without having an ASO strategy. You’re competing with millions of other apps available for download. For iOS apps and Android apps alike, the only way to stand a fighting chance is by leveraging app store optimization. 

Don’t get overwhelmed. I know this guide contains a ton of information. Trying to implement everything at once is unrealistic. So start with a few points, like optimizing your title and subtitle, then go from there. 

Using a mix of organic and paid strategies will be the best way to drive downloads in the short-term and long-term alike. Good luck!

Increase Your App Downloads and Improve Mobile App Rankings

What makes an app successful?

Sure, there are lots of factors that go into this question. We could talk about how well your app performs or go into detail about your marketing strategy.

But one of the best ways to ensure that your app is successful is by getting lots of downloads. It’s a simple concept, but for the most part, downloads will translate to dollars.

Your ranking in the app store has a big impact on how many downloads you’ll get. This is ironic, because if you can achieve one of these, then the other will follow suit and come automatically.

So if you can get lots of downloads initially, it will improve your app ranking. Once you have a high app ranking, it will be easier for you to get even more downloads. Make sense?

The concept may be easy to comprehend, but applying this is definitely easier said than done.

If it could be accomplished in the blink of an eye, then everyone would be doing it. But that’s what separates the good apps from the great apps.

As an expert in this space, I’ll explain how you can master this art to drastically improve the success of your app.

Continue reading “Increase Your App Downloads and Improve Mobile App Rankings”

Get to 1+ Million Installs For Your App

When your app first launched, I taught you how to get your first 1,000 downloads for it.

But now that your app has been out for a while, it’s time to aim much higher than that. We’re shooting for one million installs.

With so many apps available in the app store, you’ve got lots of competition. Some of you may think that this number is unrealistic or unattainable.

Where are you right now? You may not even have 100,000 downloads yet, nevermind one million. But I’m here to tell you that it’s possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that this will be an easy task.

But if you follow my advice, I’ll steer you in the right direction and you’ll be on your way toward one million.

Continue reading “Get to 1+ Million Installs For Your App”

A Complete Apple App Store Submission Checklist

Building a mobile application for the Apple App Store requires lots of attention to detail.

It’s not easy to juggle development tasks, design, and daily business operations.

I’m sure you’ve got a lot on your mind. I can relate because I’ve been through this process dozens of times myself.

With so many moving parts, it’s easy for things to get lost in the shuffle.

You’ve got to come up with a way to stay organized so nothing gets overlooked.

With that said, there are certain app best practices that have evolved over time.

But no matter what type of app you’re building, these practices boil down to a handful of common items.

Furthermore, the Apple App Store can be very picky about the apps that they allow on their platform.

They also have rules and regulations in place for how they let their users find these apps.

That’s why I came up with this checklist of best practices for the Apple App Store.

Following these guidelines will increase your likelihood of creating the best app you can.

It will help you make sure that certain tasks or app elements don’t get overlooked.

You’ll also have an easier time getting approved by the App Store.

Here’s what you need to know.

Continue reading “A Complete Apple App Store Submission Checklist”

How to Get Your App Ranked In The Google Play Store

Building an app is a big deal.

So you should feel proud of your accomplishment.

Time to sit back and relax, right?

If only it were that easy.

Developing an app is only the first step if you want to actually make money.

You’ve still got to get your app approved and find a way to get users to download it.

Getting downloads is much easier if your app is ranked high in the Google Play Store.

But how do you improve your ranking?

Similar to the Google search algorithm for websites, we don’t know the exact weight of each factor.

However, we do know that there are certain things you can do to increase your search optimization.

optimization 1

I’ll discuss the main components of the Play Store optimization that will improve your app’s Google Play Store ranking.

As an industry expert, I’ve launched several apps on the Google Play Store myself.

I’ve also helped numerous companies get their app off of the ground.

So I know which strategies work and which ones won’t lead to success.

Luckily for you, this is the right place to find out how to make improvements that will boost the overall perception and performance of your new app.

Continue reading “How to Get Your App Ranked In The Google Play Store”

How to Get Your App Ranked In The App Store

So you’ve finally built your first app.

It’s a big step for your company and your career.

If this is your first time building an app, you’ll quickly learn that the building process is only the first step.

You’ve still got to get people to download your app and find a way to actually make money.

In order to do both of these things, you’ll need to get your app ranked on the Apple App Store.

Nobody will be able to see, find, or download your app if it’s not ranked properly.

It all comes down to search optimization.

You may be familiar with this concept if you’ve done search engine optimization (SEO) for a website.

Well it’s the same idea here, but the rules and algorithm are slightly different.

If you’re not sure where to get started, fortunately, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve got experience building my own apps as well as apps for other people, so I’m an expert when it comes to getting ranked in the App Store.

Every time I do consulting with a company, there’s always someone in the room who doesn’t think that the search ranking is important.

Let me take a minute to address this points in case you or someone in your company feels the same way.

I tend to hear something along the lines of, “We’ve got other ways to promote our app. We can generate downloads from our website, social platforms, email, and other marketing strategies.”

While I won’t argue that those are all valid ways to promote your app, the data still suggests that your app store ranking will significantly impact downloads.

Here’s a study that shows how people discover various apps.

how people discover apps

Two of the top three most popular ways that people find apps has to do with your search ranking.

Now that I’ve explained the importance of getting your app ranked, I’ll show you exactly how to do it.

It’s not as hard as you might think, but it definitely requires some effort and attention to detail.

Here’s what you need to know.

Continue reading “How to Get Your App Ranked In The App Store”

How to Get The First 1000 REAL Google Play Store Downloads

So you’ve finally launched your first mobile application.

It’s a big accomplishment.

You should be proud of all the hard work, effort, and money you put in while completing this process.

Now that you released your app on the Google Play Store, you can just sit back, relax, and watch your app rise to the top of the charts – right?

Wrong.

If you want your app to actually make money, which I’m assuming you do, you’ll need to get downloads.

Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t seeing a massive surge of downloads right away.

As an expert in this space, I can give you some tips for how to get downloads fast.

Follow my guide, and you’ll be on your way to 1,000 downloads faster than you ever thought was possible.

Just because your app didn’t have the initial success that you thought it would, it doesn’t mean that it’s time to enter panic mode or do anything drastic.

I’ve steered you in the right direction when I explained how to get downloads on the Apple App Store, and now I’m going to do the same for the Google Play Store.

Here’s what you need to know if you want to be successful and how to increase app downloads in Google Play Store.

Continue reading “How to Get The First 1000 REAL Google Play Store Downloads”

10 Tips to get the App Store to Approve Your App

You’ve spent hours building your app.

The idea that started as a sketch on a napkin has transformed into an iOS application you’re proud of.

But still, you’re worried.

What if your app gets rejected from the App Store? That single move can transform your entire journey into a nightmare.

All that work for nothing. The countless hours of planning, testing, and building feel wasted.

But not to worry. You can make sure the team behind the Apple App Store falls in love with your app from the minute they start testing it.

If you follow the right strategies, you can almost guarantee that your app will be accepted. And once it’s accepted, you’re on your way to publishing your app and displaying it to the world.

In this article, you’ll learn exactly how to get your app approved.

We’ll cover ten tried-and-true tips so you can build your app stress-free, knowing you’ll land that coveted spot in the store soon after you submit it to Apple.

Continue reading “10 Tips to get the App Store to Approve Your App”

How to Get The First 1000 REAL Apple App Store Downloads [FAST]

Congratulations!

You’ve successfully built your first mobile application.

After long months of testing, coding, trial, and error, it’s finally complete.

Now what?

You need users to start downloading your app.

Unfortunately, apps don’t always promote themselves.

You’ll need to come up with a launch strategy.

So if you just released your app and came to the realization that nobody is downloading it, don’t worry – all hope isn’t lost.

I can show you some powerful strategies to boost mobile app downloads.

Here are some of the most popular apps available on the market today.

most popular apps

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not saying you need to try and compete with Facebook or YouTube to have a successful promotion strategy.

The graph can just give you an idea of which kinds of apps people like to download the most.

It’s never a bad idea to model your approach after companies with proven success stories and track records.

There is lots of misleading information out there on the Internet.

I’ve seen so many “helpful guides” on this same topic that don’t provide any actual techniques.

It’s just a bunch of generic suggestions.

As an industry expert, I’ll show you proven methods and data to back it all up.

If your new app is struggling, here are the best ways to get REAL downloads – fast.

First, figure out exactly why you even want build an app

Let’s backtrack for a second here.

Not everyone has already completed the app building process.

Some of you are still coming up with ideas and designs.

Why are you building an app?

Here are some potential scenarios.

  • Because it’s cool
  • You need an app to make your business more efficient
  • It’s a new way to monetize your business
  • You’re trying to build the next unicorn (like Tinder, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.)

Except for the first bullet point, the rest of these scenarios are valid reasons.

OK – so “being cool” may be your initial motivation for wanting to get involved in the mobile application industry, but it’s not enough to get started.

If you need some inspiration to get the ball rolling, take a look at which kinds of apps people spend the most time using.

app category

This is useful information to those of you who want to build the next unicorn as well.

The top categories that encompass the most time spent on mobile apps are:

  1. Social networks
  2. Music
  3. Multimedia

There may be a lot of big name competition in this space, but it could be a home run if you’re successful.

If you already have an existing business, mobile applications can be a great way to improve your current concept.

You can also incorporate a monetization strategy into your app.

What’s monetization?

It’s a process that converts existing traffic to revenue.

Websites do this by implementing advertising strategies such as:

  • Pay per click (PPC)
  • Cost per impression (CPI/CPM)
  • Banner advertisements
  • Affiliate programs
  • Data monetization

You can apply some of these concepts to your app as well.

But let’s take a look at some of the most successful driving forces for in-app revenue.

in app revenue

Take this into consideration when you’re determining why you want to build an app.

Regardless of your reason, you need to get this straightened out before you start worrying about downloads.

Once that’s done, you can proceed with your launch strategy.

Understanding the iPhone App Store algorithm

To get lots of downloads, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the Apple App Store algorithm.

Here’s a comparison you can probably relate to.

If you have a website, you’re always trying to optimize your page to get a high ranking on Google’s search engine.

That’s pretty much the same concept here.

We want to make sure your app is a top hit on iOS platforms.

Similar to Google, Apple doesn’t release an exact blueprint that describes specifically what you need to do in order to get a high ranking.

You’ve got to read between the lines to figure it out.

It’s an imperfect formula, but the Apple developers share some pointers.

Here’s what you need to know.

It all starts with the name.

Make sure the name of your app:

  • Has less than 30 characters
  • Is easy to spell
  • Indicates what the app does
  • Doesn’t have a similar name of an existing app

Focus on the features and functionality when you’re coming up with a subtitle and description.

Your description shouldn’t say “The best app on the planet.”

Instead, write about some of your top features and make sure users fully understand the purpose of its functions.

Here’s an example from TypeShift.

typeshift

The title and subtitle both describe what the app does.

Make sure you assign an accurate primary category for your app.

The category is the best way for users to find you based on what they’re looking for.

Examples of categories include:

  • Games
  • News
  • Music
  • Social Networking
  • Travel
  • Photo & Video
  • Health & Fitness
  • Entertainment
  • Medical
  • Education

Here’s something else to consider, if you select a primary category that’s irrelevant to your app’s functions, Apple will reject you from the App Store.

Let’s say you have an educational app.

But you know (based on the statistics we saw earlier) that social networks are more popular.

You might think you’re being slick if you choose to assign social networking as the primary category.

Big mistake.

Apple sees this as grounds for removal.

Obviously, you can’t get downloads if your app isn’t available.

Another way to get ranked high in the App Store is by promoting your in-app purchases.

in app purchases

Here’s how TypeShift promotes those upgrade options.

For $1.99 users can get started with 180 primo puzzles.

Apple encourages developers to include in-app purchases in their design.

If you’re not sure how to do this, take a look at this guide for setting up in-app purchases on BuildFire’s control panel.

It’s really easy to do, so don’t exclude it from your app.

Apple allows you to promote up to 20 total items on your in-app purchases page of the description.

Ratings are important as well.

First off, users may be discouraged from downloading your app if it’s got negative reviews.

But furthermore, the Apple App Store algorithm factors these ratings and reviews into your search ranking.

Your app must create a positive experience for the user.

Once they have time to get used to your platform, send them a notification asking for a review.

Take the user feedback into consideration whenever you’re updating your app.

Understanding the basic concepts behind Apple’s algorithm will make it easier for users to find you in the App Store.

Ultimately, this will help you get more downloads.

Figure out exactly what it takes to get to 1000 downloads(or whatever target you are aiming for)

So how many downloads do you want?

Sure, 1,000 would be great. But 10,000 is better.

You can use the concept of quant-based marketing to predict this execution.

Here’s how it works.

Think backward.

Don’t look at it as an uphill climb from zero.

Instead, start with the number of downloads you’re aiming for and work in reverse.

So the first step of this process involves coming up with your goal.

Just makes sure it’s legitimate and realistic. Set a reasonable time frame.

Think about your target market as well.

app hours age

What audience are you going to focus your launch strategy around?

Based on this data, people between the ages of 18 and 24 are the only group that spends over 3 hours a day using mobile digital media.

Users aged 25 to 34 have the second highest daily usage.

With that in mind, it’s a smart idea to target these groups.

What’s your customer acquisition strategy?

Here are some suggestions you may want to consider.

  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Public relations
  • Content marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • Direct sales
  • Blogs

It’s totally acceptable to choose more than one of these options.

In fact, I highly recommend that you use a combination of these methods.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Diversifying your launch strategy through different marketing channels will increase the chances of getting more downloads.

That’s exactly what we want to accomplish.

Continue reading, and I’ll give you some more details about the strategies that have high success rates.

Get influencers and big blogs to mention your app (even with no money)

If you’ve maxed out your budget during the development stages of this app, you might be worried about finding the funds for advertising.

Fortunately, you can try and get big blogs and other influencers to pitch your app without giving them any money.

But before you can do that, you need to look for the most relevant results.

Use a website like Buzzmo.

buzzmo

Their platform can help you search for the top blogs that are related to your app.

Earlier we talked about the importance of finding the right primary category for your app on the Apple App Store.

Search for that same category on Buzzmo and see what kind of results you get.

For example, let’s say your app is in the health and fitness category.

If you search for “health blogs” the results will look like this.

buzzmo2

This is a great place to start.

You’ve got the top 2 most shared links in the last year about this topic.

Play around with the filters to narrow the results.

You can sort this data by the shared source (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) or by date.

Now you’ve got to reach out to these sources directly.

Don’t be intimidated.

Sure, they’re going to be helping you out if they feature your app on their blog, but you’re doing them a favor as well.

These sites are always looking to provide their readers with fresh information about the industry.

That’s what keeps people coming back.

So send an email.

Email is the preferred method of communication for 81% of writers.

Keep it short and be direct.

Here’s some information you should include in the message:

  • You’re full name
  • The name of your company
  • The name of your app (if it’s different than your company’s name)
  • A link to your website
  • Short description of the app’s functionality
  • Why you’re better than competitors in this space
  • The status of your app (have you launched yet?)

Contact as many relative blogs and influencers as possible.

You don’t have to offer any money or incentive other than the relevancy to the category they cover.

Don’t be discouraged if not everyone jumps on board.

But keep sending out these messages, and I’m sure you’ll get featured in several legitimate publications.

It’s a great source for downloads.

The blog readers will take the advice of the authors if they faithfully read and trust the websites.

Run pay per install campaigns

If you’re willing to spend some money, you may want to consider a pay per install strategy.

The publisher gets charged based on the number of downloads for the app.

This strategy increases your exposure in the App Store, which can lead to more downloads.

Here’s the average CPI based on your country.

cpi country

Let’s break this information down a little bit further.

We’ll focus on the United States.

For our purposes, we only want to look at the Apple App Store.

Here’s what it looks like.

looks like

This may not be the most cost-efficient way to get downloads, but it could be one of the most effective.

So run the numbers and see if this customer acquisition cost can still be profitable for your app.

If you combine this method with other strategies, like contacting influencers and big blogs, your marketing budget can still be reasonable.

Here are some places to look at as a promotional channels for your pay per install strategy.

Check out some of these platforms and see which ones you think would be the most beneficial for your company.

Keep your target audience in mind when you’re choosing an advertisement platform.

Use email marketing tactics

Not all mobile applications are for a completely new business.

As we discussed earlier, you may be building an app to monetize your business or make it more efficient.

Take advantage of your existing resources.

You don’t have to start from scratch.

If your business has a current customer base, contact these people.

Send them an email about your new app and let them know how it will improve their customer experience.

Here’s a great example of this approach from Walgreens.

walgreens

So come up with an effective email campaign and reach out to your current list of subscribers.

Since these people are already familiar with you and your company, they will be more apt to download your mobile application.

That’s especially true if you give them an incentive and it enhances the user experience.

SMS marketing

Instead of just sending an email, try sending a text message to your customers as well.

If you have their phone numbers in an existing database, you can send them information if they’re signed up to receive alerts.

Include a promotion in the text message.

“Receive 20% off your next purchase if you download our app.”

Something to that effect should do the trick.

Find an SMS marketing company like Slicktext to get started.

slicktext

Platforms like this make it super easy to contact your customers via mass messaging.

It’s an effective way to get more downloads.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve built your first mobile application, it’s time to start getting people to download it.

Unfortunately, this won’t happen if you just sit back, launch the app, and do nothing.

You’ll need to come up with an effective launch strategy.

You should keep this strategy in mind from day one when you’re figuring out why you want to build an app in the first place.

Whether you want to be the next big hit like Instagram, or you’re trying to monetize your current business, you’ve got to get downloads in order to be successful.

Make sure you put lots of emphasis on the Apple App Store algorithm when you’re trying to get downloads.

apple downloads

The graphic shows how many billions of downloads happen on Apple’s App Store each month.

That number continues to grow, so there’s a huge opportunity for you here.

Focus on:

  • The name of your app
  • Subtitle
  • Description
  • Primary category
  • Reviews
  • In-app purchases

Use the quant-based marketing strategy to come up with a plan.

Start with your goal.

How many downloads are you trying to get?

What’s the time frame you’re going to get these downloads in?

Who is your target audience?

Once you answer these questions, you can proceed with your marketing strategies.

If you’re on a tight budget, reach out to big blogs and other influencers.

Contact them directly and ask if they will feature your app in a blog.

You can also run a pay per install campaign on various platforms.

If you’re an existing business with a database of customer email addresses and phone numbers, take advantage of these resources.

Use email marketing and SMS marketing techniques to promote your app and get more downloads.

If you follow these tactics, you’ll be on your way to 1,000 or even 10,000 real downloads in no time at all.

What kind of in-app purchases will you offer to increase your ranking based on the Apple App Store algorithm?

The Must-Have ASO Checklist for a Successful App Launch

They say you don’t get a second chance at making the first impression. Likewise you only have one go at launching an app. That’s why it’s critical to get everything right from the get go. This checklist will help you make sure you get all the essential App Store Optimization (ASO) elements covered before you hit the release button on your app.

 

Mobile App ASO Pre-launch Checklist

App Store Optimization (ASO) is a central element of any successful app launch regardless of the marketing and promotion strategy that you choose. ASO is a two-part process: on the one hand you need to make sure that your app is visible in search for the right keywords. On the other hand you need to optimize your conversion rates so that visibility turns into users. Whether you’re counting on viral growth, search traffic, user acquisition, cross-promotion or all of the above, having a well optimized app page will amplify your growth and ROI manyfold.

 

1. App Name

ASO step 1 app name optimization

App name is important for several reasons. It affects your search performance, conversion rates and also the viral potential. Therefore you need to make it:

  • Unique – so that you always rank first for your own app name
  • Relatively easy to spell and pronounce – so that you can leverage word of mouth and not lose traffic to misspelled searches
  • Descriptive – to let users know what your app does and rank better for relevant keywords

And of course you have to fit the limits:

iOS – 50 characters

Android – 30 characters

In addition to your app icon, the name is the first impression that users will have of your mobile app.

 

2. Keywords (iOS only)        

ASO step 2 app keywords optimization

App Store also gives you 100 characters per localization to specify the search terms relevant to your app. It’s critical to get this right if you want to have meaningful search traffic. Here’s what you need to remember:

  • Don’t use spaces
  • Don’t repeat words (you only need one mention either in title or keywords)
  • Keywords in title have more weight
  • Word forms like singular and plural are often interchangeable so you only need one, but sometimes they can be different – so always check the search results to decide if you need both
  • Take advantage of other localizations (MX spanish keywords will affect search results in the US, UK – in AU, and so on – you can always check these cross-relations in iTunes Connect).
  • Use App Store typeahead search suggestions, Search Ads suggestions, related searches, competitor’s app names to brainstorm keyword ideas and analyze them. Specialized tools like ASOdesk, ASOdragon or MobileAction can help save time and make you more productive.

 

 

3. Icon

ASO step 3 app icon optimization

Being the first thing a user sees on the App Store, your app icon has to be simple, recognizable and eye catching. It has to stand out from the crowd (i.e. being different) but at the same time should give at least a general idea of what your app does. Here is what can help you design the perfect icon:

  • Avoid using lots of text or small details
  • Use a clean color palette
  • Opt for contrasting colors
  • Keep a simple clear concept

Chances are you will come up with several ideas for your icon and you will want to know which one you should pick. You may feel like trusting your guts, or go and show your icon designs to your friends, family, colleagues, ask for advice on developer forums and discussion groups and have them choose. Don’t!

First of all you shouldn’t care what you or your friends or colleagues think. The only people who should decide are your users. Secondly your users shouldn’t know they are taking part in an experiment, so they behave naturally, therefore you can’t just show them several icons and let them choose. So the best way to really find out which icon works best is through A/B testing.

 

 

4. Screenshots

ASO step 4 app screenshots optimization

App screenshots are the most prominent element of both your app page and your search results listings, therefore we can’t stress enough how important they are. This is the element that has the biggest impact on your conversion rates and it requires your undivided attention. Always remember to:

  • Use all five screenshots
  • If your first screenshot is portrait, make sure second one is in the same orientation
  • Use caption texts describing and selling your app: tell a story, highlight features and benefits
  • Analyze competition and look at apps outside your category for inspiration
  • Experiment, experiment, experiment

Just like with icons – A/B test all your assumptions and act based on data, not hypotheses and guesses.

 

 

5. Description

ASO step 5 app description optimization

When it comes to description, the main thing you should be aware of is that you only have 252 characters visible before the “More…” link. These 3 lines are of the primary importance.

  • Make sure your description is written so that the text above the fold clearly explains what your app does and why it’s better than the others
  • Try to avoid interrupted sentences – you really want people to install the app, not tap to read full description
  • Don’t forget to use bullet lists to highlight the main benefits of the app
  • And by all means, have a call to action! (if you can’t think of one just use ‘Install now!’)

 

 

6. Preview Video

eZ0h725

A video app preview can make or break your app’s success. We’ve seen enough examples of both scenarios, that’s why we strongly recommend app developers to A/B test new video previews before uploading them to the App Store. And here is what can help you when creating video previews:

  • Pay special attention to the poster frame, as it is taking a place of your first screenshots, so make sure it follows the same guidelines as your screenshots images.
  • Remember that you only have one version for all localizations so keep your messaging clear and universal

 

7. Ratings and Reviews

ASO step 7 app reviews optimization

Even though it may seem that user reviews are out of your control and all you can do to impact them is learn how to build a great app, but there’s more you can do to get better ratings:

  • Give users a place where they can leave a review
  • Try to capture and work with negative feedback directly, while directing positive feedback to the App Store.
  • Encourage reviews. Make sure to find the right segments and the right timings for doing this. Don’t make your users annoyed with the pop up windows all the time

 

8. Retention

ASO step 8 app retention optimization

Retention is an important factor for several reasons. First: the cost of retaining a user is as a rule much lower than that of acquiring a new one. Secondly, retention is considered to be a factor in search results (more so on Google Play, but according to some reports on iOS as well).

  • Push notifications

When done properly, push notifications can help you improve your retention as well as alert your users of major updates or promo campaigns. The key here is to only send a notification when it really provides value. Don’t make you users feel spammed.

  • Email Newsletters

While a lot of developers go on abusing push notifications and spoiling it for the rest of us, email remains an underused but very effective channel in the mobile world. First of all make sure that you build your email list via an opt-in form, so your users know that they are subscribing to emails. And just as with push notifications – put user value at the center of your communication.

  • Retargeting/Reactivation

If you can allocate a budget to it – consider running retargeting and reactivation campaigns, especially when it comes to loyal/paying users.

 

aso prelaunch checklist conclusion

Naturally, these guidelines alone won’t magically push you to the top charts overnight, you still need to have a decent app and work on your marketing and user acquisition. But if you get these points right they will amplify the effect from everything else you do to promote your app giving you a bigger bang for every buck or effort that you invest.

Most importantly, App Store Optimization is not a set-and-forget activity that you do once and run with it. You need to be constantly optimizing your app: monitoring your keyword positions and refining your keyword list, coming up with new ideas to improve all elements of your app store page page and running A/B tests to prove your theories, monitoring your ratings and reviews and making your app better for the user.

We tried to cover all the most critical pieces of app launch, but if you think that we missed something important – do share in the comments!

Apple Search Ads Are Here, And They’re Kind Of A Big Deal

When Apple announced the arrival of Search Ads in the App Store, it sent shockwaves through the iOS community.

This is a big deal for app developers, and that’s why today, we’re going to cover everything we know thus far about this groundbreaking new addition to the App Store, which will be extremely helpful for your mobile marketing strategy.

 

What Apple Is Saying About Search Ads

If you want to promote your app in the United States, Apple Search Ads on the revamped Apple Store is going to be your best option.

There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Your ad will be displayed while people are searching for apps similar to yours
  • Your ad will be displayed at the top of the search results
  • Only one ad is displayed at any given time

If iOS users were more adverse ads, this might be a problem, but according to a test conducted by Splitmetrics, the top listing on any given search page receives the most clicks, whether it is a paid listing or an organic listing.

When an Apple Search Ad was listed at the top, it received 57% of user clicks, while apps listed at the top organically received 71% of user clicks. The click percentage dropped dramatically from there, with 4th place organic listings getting merely 1% of user clicks.

splitmetricsdotcom

Image Credit: Splitmetrics

What this means, all things equal, is that having your app displayed once every four queries would result in roughly the same click-throughs as being the #2 organic result for that query.

Small App Developer Benefits

Apple says they have put a lot of effort into creating a way for small app developers to get more downloads from search ads, and that the new program has features to ensure this.

App developers only pay for Search Ads when someone taps on the ad. Added to that, there is no minimum spend, and you can start or stop ads at any time, as there is no commitment required from the developer. That’s why this is a mobile marketing strategy you should definitely consider.

Apple is claiming that small developers won’t be at a disadvantage to the Big Guns, because ads are generated from the metadata on product pages rather than allowing large app companies to optimize around any keyphrase they wish to rank for.

Apple Store Product Page

Image Credit: Appshots.io

All you can do is advise Apple Search Ads which app you want to promote, and they’ll set it up to match what users are searching for in the store. It remains to be seen whether or not this will actually be a good deal for small developers, but that’s Apple’s claim for now.

User Privacy

Consumer information will stay private. No ads will be displayed to users whose Apple ID is registered to a minor (13 years or younger), or whose account is registered as a Managed Apple ID.

Benefits For Consumers

According to Apple, Search Ads will make finding niche apps easier for users.

If someone has already downloaded an app, they won’t see an ad for it, so the most popular apps won’t be able to monopolize Apple Search Ads, giving smaller developers a better chance of getting positive results. Demographic and device targeting will also make ads more relevant.

At most, one ad per query is shown to users, and any ads presented are based on relevance to the search query. Apple will then take a user’s response to specific ads into consideration for future ad selection.

How Apple Search Campaigns Work

Apple search campaigns are unique in that there are no targeting options.

You can’t target prospects based on gender, location and device. You can’t set up your own ads. Ad copy can’t be keyword-optimized for relevance, and no A/B testing can be conducted.

Instead, ads are automatically generated using the metadata information advertisers provide on the app product page when creating the app, which is why that step is so important, because the words that developers input will be used to generate the ads.

If you are a developer with no PPC expertise, this is potentially perfect for you. If you are an advertising guru with a knack for optimization, this might drive you mad.

journaldunetdotcom apple search ads

Image Credit: Journaldunet.com

A typical Apple Search Ad.

Apple Search Ads will provide keyword insights, as well as the standard broad match and exact match, for advertisers to find the best keywords for product pages. Search volume can be measured by keyword insights.

The ads are arranged in three levels:

  1. Campaigns
  2. Ad groups
  3. Keywords

Search Ads Apple App Store Creation

Image Credit: Appradar.com

The grapevine has it that Apple will develop an API and tools and make them available right from the start, so that ads can be maximized for performance.

Apps can only be advertised in their categories.

Bidding

Advertisers can bid on:

  • Maximum cost per tap, or
  • Target cost per install (this needs historical conversion data)

Advertisers are able to target various locations as well as specify exact days and times for ads to be displayed.

Techcrunch reported that Phil Schiller, Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, said that, “by not requiring a minimum bid, the ads would be open to developers with even a small amount of money and that large developers couldn’t simply outspend on a given term in order to buy it out”.

Apple Search Ads Display

For each search, Apple displays a maximum of one ad. While this is good, if there are many apps competing for the same keywords, it could translate into a fairly high cost.

If an app is not relevant to a user’s search query, it won’t be shown no matter how high the bid. For example, a health app won’t be eligible to show an ad for the search term “bird games” no matter how much advertisers are prepared to spend. Apple decides relevance based on the metadata from the app’s product page.

Metrics Apple will use to determine relevancy include downloads, keywords, the app’s title, the app’s description and reviews.

Reporting

The Search Ads platform will make reporting data available so that developers and marketers can understand what is and isn’t working.

Advertisers will be able to target and reporting based on performance by age, gender, and device. Unfortunately, it’s unclear whether data for targeting segments (location and scheduled times) will be included in reporting. If not, this could possibly present an optimization problem.

 

Conclusion

There’s a lot we still don’t know about Apple Search Ads, but that will change soon.

For now, all we really know is that it’s a big deal, and it’s already shaking up the App Store universe. Be sure to check back (subscribe?) for more information on Apple Search Ads as we continue to update this article.

How To Optimize Your Google Play Store App Listing Page

Global app revenue is expected to reach $76.52 billion in 2017.

That’s a big pie.

And as with any big pie, there’s plenty of competition jockeying for every slice. There are currently over 4 million total apps available across the top 5 app stores. The Google Play store alone has over 1.6 million apps listed, with Apple’s app store coming in close behind.

It’s a saturated market, and in order to compete, you need the ability to optimize your app listing for both store searchability AND direct user appeal.

This process is called App Store Optimization (ASO), and just like SEO in the late 90’s, it’s rapidly become it’s own dedicated industry. For a multi-store overview, check out BuidFire’s Ultimate Guide To App Store Optimization.

Today, we’ll be looking specifically at the Google Play Store.

Unlike when optimizing a landing page, optimizing a Google Play Store listing comes with some extreme limitations in terms of what you’re able to do. You can’t simply create anything you want in order to sell viewers on your app. You are given only 6 different areas to customize, and how users find and respond to your app will be based entirely on what you do with them

The 6 app listing areas we can optimize are:

  1. Title
  2. Icon
  3. Description
  4. Images
  5. Downloads
  6. Reviews

In this guide, I’ll show you how you can make the most of your Google Play Store app listing by teaching you how to optimize each of these key areas.

Let’s get started!

1. Optimize Your Title

Your title is possibly THE most important part of your app listing. It’s also one of the more challenging pieces to nail down.

Why?

Because you are trying accomplish two very different goals:

  1. Get your listing to show up for the right search queries
  2. Get people to get excited and click on your listing

In other words, it needs to be attractive to both the app store search engine AND the actual people who are doing the searches. Fortunately, since Google’s app store uses Google’s search algorithm, we have a bit more insight into it than some of the alternatives.

To begin, let’s look at what Google itself tells us about your listing title:

  • Your title should be unique and accessible, avoid common terms, and reinforce what your app is about.
  • Keep your title focused – longer titles are likely to be truncated depending on the device your users are browsing on.
  • Avoid using subtle misspellings of general terms, as users may end up correcting misspelled search terms.

The most important takeaways here are that your title should be brief, unique, and descriptive. Make sure it focuses on the idea of your app.

In other words, your title shouldn’t be like a typical blog headline that runs around 70 characters long and makes some elaborate promise. That works great for blog content but not so much for app listings.

Instead, shorter titles tend to work best for. Short, descriptive titles.

For example, if I type in “Productivity”, I get the following screen:

image08

You’ll notice that there’s only room for around 2-3 words in the titles displayed. Anything more is cut off, so it’s best to create the best possible 2-3 word (or 25 characters) title in order to attract clicks.

Obviously, if you have already selected a brand name for the app, you are fairly limited in what you can do, which is why it’s best to make the app name highly relevant to the actual purpose of the app.

For example, “Photo Editor Pro” is typically a much better title for a photo editing app than “BeautyPlus – Magic”, because it makes the app’s function immediately apparent rather than requiring users to risk clicking on an app that doesn’t meet their requirements.

image14

In review, the 3 requirements for a great title are:

  1. Relevant keyword
  2. 2-3 words or 25 characters
  3. Describes app function

If you can accomplish all three of these things with your title, you’ll already be ahead of most of your competition.

2. Optimize Your Icon

As you can see in the images we showed above, the title isn’t the only thing users see when browsing for new apps. Your icon is also a HUGE factor in helping users decide whether or not to click on your app.

image00

So what distinguishes an effective app icon from a mediocre one?

In turns out there are a number of distinguishing factors that differentiate “iconic” app icons (heehee) from those of their forgotten competitors.

  1. Distinct Shape
  2. Limited Color Palette
  3. Unique Creative Element

Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.

 

Distinct Shape

When I say “shape”, I’m talking about the shape of your icon’s core. Obviously, every icon is square, but the core of the design will display a certain shape, and that’s where you want to be distinctive. For example, what do you notice about the shapes used in this row of icons?

image13

The core shape in EVERY single one of these icons is either a square or a circle.

Every. Single. One.

There is nothing distinctive about circles and squares, particularly when every other app being made is using this shape to form it’s icon.

These icons, on the other hand, display a very unique shape that grabs the eye and distinguishes the app from examples like those above.

image03

When designing or redesigning your app’s icon, look for opportunities to create a unique shape that catches the eye and sets your app apart.

Limited Color Palette

Colors can be an asset or a liability to your design, and as a general rule in today’s landscape, less equals more.

Simply put, the more colors you add to the equation, the harder it is to make your design pop. It requires a world-class designer to make 5 colors look amazing in an icon design, but if you cut that down to 2 or 3, you can create some really exceptional looks with limited design skills.

image04

Simple color schemes tend to be far more iconic, but keep in mind they need to be paired with the distinctive shape we talked about previously. Otherwise you end up with exceptionally forgettable icons like these.

image12

Because of the benefits of a limited color scheme, it’s almost never a good idea to use a photo in your icon design. There are some notable exceptions, but most businesses will benefit from keep the design simple with a limited color palette.

Unique Creative Element

Many top performing apps have icons that fit perfectly with the previous two points: they have distinctive shapes with 2-3 colors and that’s it. This 3rd point, however, tends to be required now that smartphone applications have become an extremely over-saturated market.

If you want to stand out today, you need to be unique. This doesn’t have to happen within the icon, but if design is your strength, it’s a great place to attempt a homerun.

When I say “unique” I’m talking about adding a creative element that nobody else has. There is no formula for this, but I can offer some example of apps that pulled it off.

image07

The above apps distinguish themselves via the incredible addition of unique textures into their icons. We see a watercolor spread effect, a rainbow sheen, a realistic keyhole, and an unbelievably lifelike stitching pattern.

These unique elements really make the icons stand out.

image10

In the above example, the icons are made to look like a 3D model of a relevant item related to the app’s function. Combining a unique look like this with a descriptive title is the perfect way to tell viewers EXACTLY what your app will do for them.

3. Optimize Your Description

The purpose of having an effective Title and Icon is to get initial clicks from browsing smartphone users. Once they have clicked, however, it’s time for you description to do the heavy lifting.

Again, let’s start with Google’s recommended best practices:

  • Focus on your users and what they will get from your app.
  • Review your app’s description on the Google Play app and web store to ensure that the most vital text is visible “above the fold”.
  • Use SEO Best Practices in your Description, but be mindful of Google Play Content Policies regarding SPAM and IP Infringement (e.g. keyword spamming, impersonation, etc).

Basically, Google is telling you what every great website copywriter already knows: FOCUS ON THE BENEFITS! Additionally, like with any landing page, it’s important to optimize the copy above the fold, ensuring readers will select to continue reading the rest of your description.

Let’s look at an app listing.

image02

As you can see, you really only have two lines before the “Read More” section. Use this section like you would a traditional value proposition headline on a landing page. Describe what you are doing and how it will help the reader.

Once the reader selects “Read More”, you have a lot more room to make your pitch. You’ll want to write something reader-focused while also including the right keywords. For a more in-depth look at app listing keywords, read BuildFire’s Ultimate Guide To App Store Optimization.

4. Optimize Your Images

In addition to your description, a feature image and collection of screenshots displaying your apps functionality are essential to closing visitors once they’ve click on your app listing.

Your feature image can either be a 1024px by 500px JPEG/PNG or it can be a Youtube video. This is the first big image/video people will see once they land on your listing, so it’s important to make it synergize with your description and sell new visitors on your app.

image09

While using a video does take mobile users outside of the app store in order to watch it, virtually all of the top-selling apps today use videos in their feature image section. In other words, it’s almost mandatory to have a video for new apps seeking to compete.

But don’t worry about dropping a bunch of coin. You can quickly and easily create professional-quality feature videos with a tool like PowToon.

Next come the screenshots.

The Google Play Store allows you to “add up to 8 screenshots for each supported device type: Phone, Tablet (7 inch & 10 inch), Android TV, and Android Wear.” To even publish a listing, you are required to provide at least 2 screenshots.

To publish your Store Listing, you must provide a minimum of 2 screenshots.

  • JPEG or 24-bit PNG (no alpha)
  • Minimum dimension: 320px
  • Maximum dimension: 3840px
  • The maximum dimension of your screenshot can’t be more than twice as long as the minimum dimension.

While these images are called “screenshots”, they don’t have to be raw screenshots. Rather, you can incorporate your screenshots into promotional images as demonstrated by Duolingo.

image01

Evernote does this as well:

image06

While it may not seem like a big deal, adding that extra bit of promotional copy can make a big difference, which is why most apps you’ll see these days use this format.

When selecting screenshots to include, try to highlight shots that demonstrate the most intuitive aspects of your app’s UX as well as some of the most popular functions. Include the best shots first and then you can add pretty much whatever you want.

5. Increase Downloads

Thus far, we’ve covered every part of your listing that you have 100% control over. But we’re not quite done.

One of the primary factors Google looks at when arranging store search results is your number of downloads. Download counts are considered both cumulatively as well as in the recent short term.

image11

While you don’t have direct control over how many people download your app, of course, there are a number of things you can do to quickly increase downloads and give yourself a shot at getting onto the list of trending apps, which will skyrocket your total downloads.

These strategies are best implemented simultaneously, as that will give you the best chance of spiking downloads over a 48 period.

1. Make It Free

People love “free” and have been conditioned to pay next to nothing for apps. If you have a winner that needs exposure, make it free for a limited period of time in order to encourage maximum downloads.

A price drop could work as well, but since the goal of these strategies is maximum downloads, free tends to work best.

2. List On Voting Sites

Sites where people are actively looking to view, upvote, and engage with new products/content are a great place to go for quick download boosting. Sites like Product Hunt, Reddit, Inbound.org, BizSugar, etc. allow you to post content or a direct product feature and the community upvotes their favorite entries.

If you can organize a group to help upvote your entry initially, you can get more views and, if people like it, begin snowballing for some massive exposure!

3. Condense Your Paid Advertising

It takes money to make money. If you’ve invested in creating an app, you probably have planned out a marketing budget. If you’re willing to go for a download blitz, try condensing a month’s marketing budget into a single 24-48 hour window along with your other efforts.

As I mentioned before, hitting certain download thresholds in a short amount of time can boost your app listing’s ranking within the Google Play Store, resulting in an exponential increase in downloads.

6. Increase Positive Reviews

The final way in which we can increase the ranking of an app listing is via the number and percentage of positive reviews. Similar to downloads, while you don’t have direct control over the reviews you receive, there are ways to increase both the quantity and quality of views you receive.

image05

The best, most “white hat” way to increase positive reviews is to simply prompt users to review your app. Many app developers make the mistake of requesting a review too early or too late in the user lifecycle.

If you request a review before the user has had a chance to benefit from your app and develop an appreciation for it, they typically won’t oblige. Alternatively, if you wait too long and try to prompt a review after the user has gotten over the initial excitement of your app or simply forgotten about it, you might lose out on reviews as well.

The sweet spot tends to be after around 5 uses, but you can always split test and see what will work for your unique app.

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Simply asking for a review at the right moment will land you a decent amount of positive reviews from satisfied users, and as review guidelines have become more and more stringent, this is really the only white hat way to prompt reviews.

In addition to asking for reviews, the best way to encourage positive feedback is to provide a fantastic user experience and do something many app developers fail to do… TAKE CUSTOMER SUPPORT SERIOUSLY!

Simply responding to complaints and questions in a timely manner will help prevent negative reviews and encourage positive engagement with your apps and brand.

Conclusion

Well that about covers it. After all, there’s only so much you can do.

  1. Include a succinct, descriptive title
  2. Create a distinctive icon
  3. Write a benefits-drive description
  4. Include attractive, promotional screenshots
  5. Implement strategies to spike downloads
  6. Prompt users to review at the right moment

If you’ve had any big wins (or massive failures) in optimizing your app for the Google Play Store, I’d love to hear from you. Sound off in the comment section, and if you learned something from this post, don’t forget to share!

 

diy

 

10 Powerful Strategies to Boost Mobile App Downloads

You’ve finally built your own app.

You love your design, your app icon, and it works flawlessly on every device you tested it on. The niche you found is unexplored and competition-free.

There’s only one problem (and it’s a big one):

No one is downloading your app.

If that’s the case, you’ve run into the same problem many developers encounter after they publish their apps. But don’t be discouraged – if you have an app you want the whole world to use, you can make it happen.

Once you get downloads you’ll be able to make some real money.

All it takes is a little effort and the right know-how to bring your app to the attention of the masses. So, to learn the best ways to boost your mobile app downloads, let’s first understand how apps are downloaded in the first place.

 

How App Store Optimization Works

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The first thing you need to grasp to generate more app downloads is how the app stores you publish your app to actually work.

Let’s go over some basic app developer language.

You may have heard of SEO – Search Engine Optimization. But have you heard of ASO – App Store Optimization?

The two are very similar in relation to your app’s success, but ASO has even greater impact on its listing than SEO does for Google search results. ASO is specifically what increases the visibility of your app in the marketplace. The higher its rank, the more users will find your app when they search.

And once a user finds your app, ASO also helps determine whether they actually download it. There are quite a few factors that affect your ASO:

  1. Positive reviews: The more positive reviews an app has, the higher its rating will be. When users rank an app highly, it will also be ranked highly, which naturally improves downloads.
  2. App downloads: The more downloads you have, the more downloads you’ll get. App publishers should aim for a steady amount of downloads to rank highly.
  3. Keyword relevance: Apps with popular keywords in their title and description may see more downloads.
  4. Revenue: Apps with a good record of revenue generation will get more visibility from the app store.
  5. Country: Regional success can influence your ranking in that region. Boosting your ranking in multiple regions can have a snowball effect.
  6. Backlinks: If you can include backlinks to many relevant pages, you can improve your app ranking.
  7. Social proof: Your app’s popularity across social media platforms can affect its app store ranking – especially on Android. Shares and +1’s on Google+ can determine whether users notice your app or ignore it.
  8. App starts: The number of times users actually open your app also has a significant impact on ranking.
  9. Retention: The number of people who uninstall your app vs. the amount who keep it within 30 days also affects rankings. To ensure retention, cater heavily toward your target audience in the app description.

Taking all of these into account can dramatically alter the way your app is perceived by the general public, and how it’s treated by app store algorithms.

For more information on App Store Optimization, check out this blog post.

Now that you have a better understanding of where your app lives once its published, let’s look in more detail at the 10 best ways to boost your app’s downloads.

1. Create an Enticing App Icon

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Your app icon is the first thing someone sees in the app store, so the design you choose is critical to your success. As users scroll through the app store, yours should pop out as eye-catching and recognizable.

Make sure you use a design that serves as a clear representation of your app. It should provide as much of a clue as possible to what users will find after they install it.

With that said, you should keep the app icon as straightforward as possible, and not too flashy. Simplicity is best – you don’t want it cluttered and confusing to the eye.

Tip: For more information on designing a perfect app icon, check out this blog post.

 

2. Social Media Outreach

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Before you decide on which social networks to use to build your app’s public persona, you have to decide what angle to start from. This means your social media voice must match your app’s personality.

Who is your app? If it were a person, what would it sound and act like?

When posting, use that voice consistently. If your app is edgy and “cool,” don’t bore your fans with bland business language. But if your app is geared towards young professionals, that business speak might suit your audience well.

The social media platforms where apps tend to get the most attention are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • FourSquare

But don’t just post information and promotions concerning your app to these platforms. Create conversations and engage with your fans. Reply to comments in your app’s voice to increase engagement. Such a relationship will increase word-of-mouth praise of your commitment to users, and increase downloads as a result.

One word of caution: each social media platform has its own terms of service regarding contests, giveaways, and advertising. Be sure you’re never in violation of them while you draw attention to and build loyalty for your app.

3. Name and Describe Your App Appropriately

A good title means the difference between people knowing your product by name and referring to it as “This thing on my phone.”

So, if you want your app title to stick in people’s heads, the name needs to be unique and appropriate. And while no one can give you the perfect name, here are some evergreen tactics for coming up with your app name:

  • Don’t use names that are already in use – Search extensively before you settle on a name and click Publish, or else you might end up face-to-face with a lawyer.
  • Keep your app name short and sweet, easy to spell, and memorable.
  • Do your best to choose a name that reflects what your app Users should not scroll past your app when looking for something to fit their needs.

And while app stores give you a 225 character limit, you should only use around 25 of them. That’s all that shows up in a search result, so be sure those characters are used wisely.

Your description, on the other hand, is where you need to be most strategic about ASO. It works similarly to the meta description tag for a website but isn’t searchable on the app store.

So, while you don’t need to pack it with keywords, you do need to be strategic with it. By listing important information, benefits and features, social proof, and a call-to-action, you can greatly affect your ASO.

4. Market Your App Effectively

If you’re fortunate enough to have a marketing budget, don’t be too conservative with it.

Typical marketing is structured over a few weeks or months. But if you want to get a sharp spike in downloads for your app in a very short time, concentrate all your marketing spending into a small time frame.

It takes some courage and dedication to roll out a full marketing campaign all at once, but if done successfully, you can see some awesome returns.

Depending on your total budget, you should spend the money within a few days or a week at most. Spread your advertising across the channels that are most popular with your target audience, which could include:

A lot of your downloads will come from organic searches, but many downloads will come from your web-version landing page. That’s why you should also create a webpage dedicated to your app with a clear call-to-action directing users to download your app.

 

5. Using Eye-Catching Photos and Videos

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One of the most important aspects of your app description is your collection of photos, screenshots, and videos.

Photos related to your app that highlight your most popular and needed features will immediately encourage downloads. Screenshots from your app itself are what users will typically look at after they first find you in search results.

A good combination of these two is crucial to encouraging users to click that download button.

Here are a few ways you can use photos to make users more interested:

  • Show what your app actually looks like for users – not splash screens.
  • Make sure your screenshots contain different aspects of the app in action.
  • Include explanations, captions, and arrows that show users what they can do inside your app.
  • Put extra emphasis on the most popular and needed features of your app.
  • Convince users that your app has a better design than that of your competitors.

If you have the necessary tools, you can even design a video for your app. If you don’t have the tools to make your video, you can hire a professional agency or find mobile specific video editors like the creators at Apptamin.

And if you can, have your app subtitled and translated in several different languages. Reaching out to as many people as possible is key to increasing your download rate, after all.

6. Ask for Reviews

If you can draw positive reviews from fans of your app, you can see your downloads increase exponentially.

Reviews that declare your app a valuable download or say it provides a great user experience are “testimonials” that let other users know your app is worth downloading.

You might be tempted to purchase fake reviews just to increase the amount of attention your app is receiving as a whole. But if the app store finds out you used this tactic, you may have your app suspended entirely.

Organic reviews from real people are far more valuable to your app than fabricated ones because you as the developer can learn from it as well. Not only will the feedback provide other users with an understanding of your product, it can also inform you about what needs to be fixed or changed.

So, send out requests to a variety of people with real influence. Popular YouTubers and critics on major tech websites with large readership are some great targets for your requests.

In your press releases, mention the fact that you’re looking for feedback. In some cases, the media outlets you’ve sent them to will already have someone on their staff specifically there to review apps.

Because you took the time to alert them to something related to your product, they might return the favor by reviewing you positively. And once a publication writes about you, contact every smaller outlet you’ve reached out to in the past. Refer them to the new article and they might write their own with the initial reviews in mind.

You can also offer incentives to users who leave you reviews. This is a great method to increase the amount of users who actually choose to do so. Coupon codes, tangible prizes, or redeemable points to be used within the app can all be great encouragement for people to leave you positive reviews.

 

7. Devise Clever Promotions

If your app is available with a pay-to-download monetization model, you can experiment with temporary price drops to drive downloads.

An analysis by Distimo compared downloads and revenue data estimates for 12 games from the week of their price-drop promotion to the previous week without the promotion.

The games were able to increase total global revenue by an average of 437 percent in the seven days during the price-drop promotion.

Sure, this might not work for every app or game. But if you have loyal users and powerful word-of-mouth, people might jump at the opportunity to snag your app on the cheap.

 

8. Hacking the Press

According to a story from Entrepreneur.com, one app developer was able to dramatically increase his downloads and drive impressive revenues by “hacking” the press.

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Iliya Yordanov, founder of the personal finance app MoneyWiz, first tried to get publicity by contacting US media and app review sites. To his disappointment, none of the media sites got back in touch with him.

He then realized that if he sent the same press releases to select foreign markets – Russia, Spain, Germany, Italy, and France – he could get reviews and write-ups on his app. The response from the media in these countries drove his app all the way to the number one spot in the finance category on the App Store.

As a result, his app got noticed in the US, which led to Apple featuring his app. After that, the US media quickly took notice.

You can take a similar approach in boosting your app downloads. When you make a list of media outlets to send your presses to, include many in Europe, Asia, Australia, and any other substantial market. If you think users there might love your app, tell them about it!

9. Sharpen Your Keywords

Remember when we talked earlier about the difference between SEO and ASO?

We’ve covered a lot about ASO so far, so here’s how to make sure your app is optimized for search engines.

Say you have a finance app called “Modern Finance.” When choosing your keywords, you’ll want to include the word “finance” as many times as possible in any relevant copy or descriptions found by search engines.

What other terms do you think users are searching for when looking for the need that your app fulfills? Take the time to perform keyword research to see which words tend to get the most traffic.

You can also use the normal Adwords Keyword Tool to search for lateral keywords to use as well. Lateral keywords are the ones suggested by Google after you’ve located your app.

But remember – you shouldn’t just choose any keyword because it has high search volume. Any keyword you use should be accurate and relevant to your app and audience. If you pack your descriptions full of irrelevant keywords, your app could lose credibility and your downloads might suffer as a consequence.

 

10. Focus on the User

It’s not all about the number of downloads you get. It’s also important to know how, when, where, and by whom your app is used.

Analytics are very important to determining what your users want the most out of your app, and how you can deliver that. They’re also the key to generating continuous downloads.

Analytics should inform you of your users’ behaviors from download until deletion (if they ever do delete your app!). They should also facilitate A/B testing to determine what works best based on certain trigger points you set up inside the app.

The most used analytics on the planet is undoubtedly Google’s Universal Analytics.

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Universal Analytics allows you to connect to multiple devices and associate multiple sessions with a unique ID. When you send that ID to Universal Analytics, you can get an accurate user count, analyze the signed-in user experience, and get access to a huge amount of other helpful data.

There’s also Flurry Analytics, a service that boasts huge clients like Yahoo!, EA, and Groupon.

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Flurry provides you with loads of info about your app, including:

  • Usage: Active users, sessions, session lengths, frequency, retention, and more.
  • Audience: Your users’ interest, personas, and demographic breakdown.
  • Technical: Device information, carrier data, firmware versions, and details on bugs and errors.
  • Events: Define events, see user paths, and create funnels.

There are a lot of other resources out there for analytics for your app. Here are a few:

Any of these are great options to know how your app is used and what you can do to improve the user experience. The data you’ll get along with your download tracking will help you adjust your app marketing and improve your tactics for boosting those downloads.

 

Final Thoughts

Generating more downloads for your app is not always the easiest thing to accomplish.

But, if you make use of these tips and best practices, you’ll see a considerable boost in downloads and app store rankings.

Always remember to keep your target audience’s preferences in mind when trying out these strategies. What works best for general consumers might not work as well for your audience – so use these tips while keeping their best interests at heart.

And here’s one last tip: the iTunes App Store and Google Play sometimes change what they consider most important for apps to feature. So, always stay on top of on industry trends and update whatever elements of your app are necessary to deliver exactly what your users need. That way, you’ll always stay high in app store rankings.

If you do all of this successfully, you can feel pretty confident knowing you’ll be able to drive some serious app sales.

Which of these methods for boosting mobile app downloads are you most excited to try? Share below in the comments section!

 

App Store Optimization 101

Do you remember how you found the last app you downloaded on your tablet or smartphone? If you’re like most people, you probably searched for it in the App Store or Google Play. As it turns out, the battle for app discovery is being won (or lost) in app store search results, according to research by TUNE, an ad analytics company. Take a look at these interesting charts:

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charts courtesy of Tech Crunch

This study shows pretty clearly that app developers need to focus on app store optimization (ASO), as opposed to other mobile app marketing channels, if they want their app to be discovered. If you’re about to release your new app, or want to get better organic download numbers from an existing mobile app, here are the basics of ASO to help you the best results.

What Is App Store Optimization (ASO) Exactly?

Simply put, app store optimization are the steps you take as a mobile app marketer to help your app rank higher in app store search results. ASO functions as a tool to drive traffic to your app in the app marketplace and prompt more users to download your app. You can liken it to SEO for your mobile website, because the general idea and overall strategy is the same, but the tactics are somewhat different.

ASO requires a good understanding of your buyer persona; it will shape your keyword strategy. You need to know what keywords your target customers are using to search for apps so you can choose yours wisely. Because keywords matter just as much for ASO as they do for SEO, perhaps even more so, since you’re working with smaller, more tightly focused fields.

Basically, app store optimization is one of the most crucial components of your overall mobile app marketing plan. So…let’s get started.

The 8 Basic Parts of App Store Optimization

While there are a few variations between optimizing for Google Play versus Apple’s App Store, the process for both rests on eight basic elements. For simplicity’s sake, you can break them out into three main categories:

Optimizing Keywords

➤choosing the right title

➤writing an optimized description

➤including localized keywords where appropriate

App Store Visuals

➤your app icon

➤the screenshots you use

➤the promotional or preview video

Offset Factors that Affect ASO

➤number of downloads (and uninstalls)

➤number and quality of your app ratings and reviews

We’ll look at each of these elements in more detail and break out the differences between optimizing for the App Store and Google Play.

Choosing Keywords for App Store Optimization

You probably already know how important identifying the right keywords are for ASO, but you may not know which factors are most important when it comes to choosing them. Don’t make the very common rookie mistake of looking for keywords with the highest search volume—your top priorities should be choosing the most relevant keywords and the ones you have the best chance of achieving a higher rank. After all, it isn’t going to do you a bit of good to choose a keyword that gets 500,000 searches a month if your app ranks 699th for that term.

If you need help with keyword search, try tools such as Sensor Tower, TUNE (formerly MobileDevHQ) and App Annie. You’ll find a wealth of useful app analytics to shape your marketing efforts.

Of note: Keywords are more important for Apple’s App Store ASO than for Google Play, but you should still choose wisely.

Title Keywords for App Stores

Simple rule: Use a keyword in your title. Period. The graph below gives you ample reason to do so:

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Image courtesy of MobileDevHQ via Kissmetrics blog

As a matter of mechanics, the App Store displays 25 characters in the title, while you can use 30 characters for Google Play. Don’t use special characters ($,%,&, etc.) in your app title; keep them all URL friendly. And don’t use category words (free, game, puzzle, etc.) in your app name, because you already select those when you list your app.

The App Store also gives you 100 characters to list your keywords; here are some tips:

➼Separate words by a comma, but don’t use a space after the comma. Use your 100 characters wisely.

➼Don’t repeat keywords.

➼Use numerals, don’t write out numbers.

➼Skip stop words like “the,” “at,” etc.

➼Don’t repeat the app name in this section.

Optimizing Your App Description

This is the space where you sell your app by offering compelling copy about all the features and benefits they user can expect if they download your app. Since the recommendations for optimizing the app description are quite different for the App Store and Google Play, we’ll break them down here by marketplace.

The App Store

Google Play

First three lines visible; make them count Focus on first 167 characters for web search
Prioritize compelling copy over keywords Watch keyword density; don’t keyword stuff
Include social proof (awards, reviews) Don’t use testimonials
Highlight features/benefits list If possible, get backlinks
Include press releases and updates in the “what’s new” section Use long-tail keywords and take advantage of all 4,000 characters
Don’t overuse keywords, it will lower your rankings Use main keywords a maximum of 5 times each

One other important note about optimizing your app description: This is a good place to do A/B testing and find the copy, keywords, and features or benefits that do best with your target customers. You can also A/B test your icon, screenshots, or any other part of your app page. Google has added improvements to Google Play so that you can A/B test your app page elements right from the Google Play Developer Console.

Localizing Your Keywords

Depending on your app and your target audience, it may well be worth your while to localize your keywords. What does it mean to “localize” your keywords? It just means to translate your title, the first sentence or two of your description (including a call to action), and even your screenshots. Is it worth it? Check out these charts based on one developer’s experience with keyword localization and the “Harlem Shake Yourself” app:

            Before localization, approximately 3,000 downloads

non-localized-app

After localization, approximately 23,000 downloads (760% increase)

localized-app

Of course, your results may vary, but if you are marketing an app that targets customers in more than one country, you should definitely do keyword localization.

Getting the Visuals Right for ASO

Technically, your visuals aren’t going to really impact the ranking algorithms, but they are going to make a huge difference in how your app is perceived by potential users and how many of them will be interested enough to click through and ultimately download your app. So yes, you do need to get them right for ASO. Let’s look at the three main visual elements in detail.

The App Icon

This is the first (and sometimes only) visual impression you will give potential customers, so it needs to be powerful, yet simple, and consistent with the rest of the app design. This is also a great place to emphasize branding. Some tips for icon design:

?Don’t use words or text in the icon design.

?Borders help your icon stand out.

?Focus on one idea; don’t let the icon get “busy.”

The Right Screenshots for ASO

With the App Store, you get slots for up to five screenshots, and Google Play allows up to eight. Use them all, but give special attention to the first two slots, because they are the ones that searchers will see when they visit your app page. Best practices for screenshot ASO:

?Avoid generic screens such as menus.

?Add explanations if necessary so people know what features/benefits the screenshot is illustrating. Localize your screenshots if applicable.

?Don’t neglect A/B testing.

?Consider combining two or four screenshots in one slot if you need more images to explain app flow.

One note about Google Play: You must submit a “feature graphic” if you want your app to be featured anywhere in Google Play. Use this space to tease or highlight some feature of your app, don’t load it down with text or make it too fussy.

The Promo Video

You can add a preview or promotional video to your app page in both stores; there are separate guidelines for the App Store previews and for Google Play promo videos. While these aren’t mandatory, they can be extremely compelling and give you a leg up on branding and promoting your app. Some tips:

?Write a script and stick tightly to your video plan.

?Get to the “magic moment” right at the beginning; this is especially important with the App Store, since you only have 30 seconds to make your point.

One major difference between App Store and Google Play videos: You can localize your video on Google Play, and in fact, you can add a separate video for each language translation. You only get one video on the App Store, so it has to work for all countries you are targeting.

Off-Site ASO Factors

These are the most difficult ASO factors for mobile app marketers because they have a relatively high impact on rankings—and they are pretty much completely out of your direct control.

Both app store algorithms factor in the following offsite stats:

?average rating and total number of reviews

?number of downloads and uninstalls

?user engagement (how many times they open the app, session length)

?growth trend line

Moz did some research into just how important each of these factors were in each of the two app marketplaces; one of the key takeaways was that ratings and reviews matter much more to the Google Play algorithm, and there are almost 16 times more rankings on Google Play apps than iOS apps (3.1 million versus just 196,000).

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Downloads and Uninstalls

This is difficult metric to influence, but obviously, all your app marketing channels need to be oriented toward achieving as many downloads as possible—your website, press presence, social media, and app website should all be focused on this goal.

But downloads aren’t the be-all end-all for offsite ASO, either. The Moz study referenced above showed that monthly active users (MAUs) was one of the best indicators of rank, the keyword being “active.” There are several steps you can take to increase engagement and reduce churn, not least is using push notifications to keep users involved.

Ratings and Reviews

As we mentioned, there are two factors involved in weighting this offsite ASO criteria: Total number of ratings or reviews, and the average review quality (number of stars). Rating quality, in particular, is important, because few potential customers will download an app with a poor review rating.

You really have no choice but to ask users to rate your app, but some ways are better than others when it comes to posing the question:

➼Don’t ask users to rate your app when they are in the middle of doing something; keep the overall user experience in mind and time the ask with sensitivity.

➼Give users an alternate channel to communicate with you if they are having trouble or need technical support with the app. You do not want feedback in the form of a crash report on your page.

➼Consider offering an incentive in exchange for an app review. This could be a one-time discount, an extra life in a game, a free product—whatever works with your business.

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Image courtesy of DanCounsell.com

Once you’ve taken care of all the basics in your quest for ASO, you can’t afford to rest on your laurels. App store optimization is a process, and regular testing, tracking, and optimizing every element of your app page and listing. It’s also a good idea to take a look at what your most successful competitors are doing and see if there are elements you can recreate for your own app.

If you’ve done your work with ASO, you’ll go a long way toward ensuring that your app is getting in front of your target audience as often as possible. Are you using any app store optimization tactics we didn’t cover? Share them in the comments below.

The Ultimate Guide to Effective App Store Optimization

Everything You Need to Know to Get App Store Optimization Right the First Time

It’s been eight years since Apple launched the App Store for iOS. EIGHT years.

It’s certainly an eternity in tech—most of us can’t imagine our lives without messaging apps, dating in the palm of our hand, and having our favorite brands interact with us even though we’re not in their physical location.

But even though it’s been nearly a decade, the search and discovery functions of the app stores (Google Play, too) don’t operate anything like the internet itself.

SEO is one thing. ASO (app store optimization) is another beast entirely.

But just because the search in app stores isn’t as refined as it is in search engines doesn’t mean it’s any less irrelevant.

“For the average app,” said Ankit Jain, the Head of Search & Discovery at Google Play, “search actually makes up the vast majority of installs.”

That means that no matter how good your marketing to increase downloads is, you’re still going to be highly dependent on app store-based search.

Which is why setting up your app’s page the right way within the different app stores is so, so important.

And by the end of this guide, you’ll be able to do just that.

 

ASO’s Technical Backend

Just like you take care of the metadata ground work for your website’s SEO, you have to take care of your app’s metadata in the same way.

This is the setup you can control, and is a foundation you can lay out before you ever launch your app to the public, boosting your performance from day one.

#1. Title

This is the main and most important piece of metadata you’ll create for your app.

It’s the very first thing people will see (along with your icon) and it’s what will let them know if your app is relevant to the search they’ve made or not. So it needs to be descriptive in some way. Not to mention it’s effect on relevance within app store search rankings.

Ideally, you’d be able to fit everything into 25 characters, since otherwise you get those funny little ellipses that cut off your app’s name… which kind of defeats the purpose.

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“Photo Editor Pro” is a great name for this app. It includes both the function of the app (editing photos) and gives it the right sense of weight by adding “Pro” on the end. The name fits within the display limits, and there’s no question as to what this app is about.

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This app, however, which also came up in my app search for “photo editor”, doesn’t immediately tell you what it does with it’s name. All you can see is “BeautyPlus – Magic”—which could really be anything about physical or inner appearance. Thankfully their app icon is helping them out.

BUT if you already have an app name set in place that doesn’t really do a good job of describing what you do, you can add a slug after the name for some descriptors, which will help in both search and with users identifying the relevance.

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Truth be told, I don’t know anything about BeautyPlus, so it’s entirely possible that they’ve already got an established brand and felt they needed to use that name for their app name, which is fair enough. But the fact that they’ve added the keyword “camera” in their title will help them rank for their intended purpose.

 

#2. App Description

While your app description is one field to be filled out in your app’s metadata, there’s two parts of it to consider: above the fold and below the fold.

As you can imagine, a lot more users will only read the “above the fold” part, which is just enough space for a 1-2 sentence description.

Because users care less about keywords and more about the utility of the app in their day-to-day lives, use the first couple sentences to focus on the function and the benefit of the app. You know, so people will actually want to download it.

Of course, fit in keywords where they fit, but don’t go overboard. It’s your chance to put your app idea in writing. 

The section below, though, is where you can really focus on making sure you include your relevant keywords and talk about the app’s individual features.

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Here you can see the “above the fold” description of this app. It’s very concise and talks all about it’s utility.

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When I clicked on “…More” all of this popped up. There’s in-depth information on all the features and keywords worked in to help them with their rankings.

#3. Keywords

Google Play doesn’t have a separate section for specific keywords, but Apple does.

And needless to say, it’s a section you’ll want to take advantage of since these characters are taken into consideration in search results.

The only real drawback is you’re only allowed 100 characters, which only about 2/3 of a tweet.

BUT you can still pack a punch with these keywords, especially if you know some insider hacks to doing so.

We suggest:

  • Only using single words (no long tail phrases)
  • Separating words with a comma (no spaces)
  • Not repeating keywords that are already used in your title
  • Using single versions of nouns so you can save characters by not using “es” or “s”

image18

This is what the keyword entry field looks like when you’re inputting your app’s metadata. (Screenshot from App Annie)

#4. Localizing Keywords by Country Store

Apple and Android both have country-specific stores their users visit depending on their physical location and the language they speak.

When you change your keywords used for each of these stores based on the keyword search patterns of those areas, you greatly increase your app’s rankings and downloads.

So much so, that one app increased their downloads by 767% with this strategy. That’s over 7.5x users… which is a huge chunk.

image00

Here is the AliExpress app in the US iOS store.

image02

And this is the AliExpress app for Brazil’s iOS store. Because people are searching with different words in a different language, AliExpress increases their relevancy with each country-based audience by tailoring the language and phrasing they use in their app descriptions. (It’s not always a direct translation.)

 

#5. Publisher Name

“The publisher name is also used by the App Store algorithm,” said Sylvain Gauchet on Apptamin. “Search phrases mixing keywords between the developer’s name and the app name seem to work.”

So if you’re a company that creates and publishes lots of different apps across lots of different industries, you might not be able to use this trick to your advantage.

But if you’ve only published one app for your company, or you develop apps that focus on one specific niche: like workouts, cooking, or outdoor adventure, making sure your developer name has relevant keywords in it could help you rank better for people doing a generic search.

image03

This app is for tracking pregnancy, but the related keywords “health” and “parenting” in the publisher name can help it with its ASO rankings.

 

Where to Find These Keywords

Now that we’ve spent a fair amount of time bossing you around about what to do with your keywords when it comes to your app’s ASO metadata, we’d be remiss if we didn’t actually help you out in finding those things.

Because it’s not nearly as easy as checking out what Google Autocomplete suggests. (If only.)

Like SEO, you do still need to take things like search volume, competition, and relevancy into consideration… but the way keywords perform in a browser-based search engine is much different to how they perform in app stores.

So here’s some good places you can go to get that app store-specific keyword data you’re after:

#1. App Annie

App Annie is used by 94% of the top 100 app publishers, so you know they’re doing something right.

They go much deeper than just keywords and into things like the intelligence of how people actually interact with your app, but we’ll save all of that good stuff for another blog post.

When it comes to discovering keywords, it has an ASO section in its dashboard where you can see any app’s top-ranking keywords. (And these store stats are free to access after you sign up for an account.)

image16

This is an iOS report for the Unscientific Calculator app. Near the bottom, you can see they give the top keywords this app ranks for.

#2. TUNE

Formerly MobileDevHQ, this tool helps you boost your app’s search results and rank higher in charts—most of their clients see a 20% increase in downloads after implementing the suggested keyword changes.

image19

See how well your app ranks for certain keywords, and find suggested keywords to integrate into your ASO metadata.

 

#3. Sensor Tower

This is a tool that focuses on helping you pick out the most important keywords for your ASO campaign and lets you look at what kind of competition you’ve got stacked against you so you can decide which keywords are the best to target and which ones might be best left alone.

image12

It even lets you see the differences between iPhone and iPad if you’re looking at keywords for iOS apps, for example. (source)

 

#4. App Tweak

This is a tool that has a free one week trial, which is certainly enough to find a solid list of keywords, and they’ve got other cool features beyond just keywords that would make them worth paying for.

Specifically focusing on keywords, however, App Tweak helps you find localized keywords in six different languages (English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese) and lets you see their daily performance so you can identify trends popular in your app’s industry.

image07

This, for example, is a sample keyword analysis for the Google Play store.

 

#6. Keyword Tool

This tool helps you find keywords using App Store Autocomplete, which means it focuses on the most commonly searched items by users wanting to download an app… so the search intent behind the keywords is high.

image20

When I searched the word “productivity” in their App Store search function, these were the results it gave me.

 

Image-Based ASO

Images are more about presentation than actual metadata-based optimization.

You can have the best keyword-optimized metadata setup in the entire app store, but if you’re images aren’t enticing or explanatory, you’ll lose rankings because no one will interact with your app description or download it.

#1. Icon

Basically, your icon has to look good enough to make people want to click on it. The image quality needs to be high, and the design needs to correlate with both your app’s name and it’s function.

Instagram’s icon, for example, reminds you of an old polaroid camera. This works because the app is based around personal photos (what the polaroid camera was for) and shares them in a square shape.

image01

The Instagram icon is both colorfully enticing and does a great job conveying the description of the functionality & benefits of the app.

To get the most impact with your icon, Optimizely suggests to avoid cramming words into it (save that for your title and description), and to add a border or background color behind your main image to make sure your image stands out on all screen colors.  

 

#2. Screenshots

First things first: the “screenshots” you upload into your app’s page in the app store don’t have to be exclusively and only direct screenshots that demonstrate the app’s flow of use.

Instead, think of them as promotional graphics that incorporate app screenshots to show the action of the app and the benefits of using it in a visual form. Kind of like a description, but for people who don’t want to read.

image06

Instead of showing the exact process you go through with direct screenshots, Duolingo shows only those screenshots that show the ease of the learning process with descriptive text to entice more downloads.

As a rule of thumb, try to make your first two the most impactful, focusing around the end user benefits of the app, rather than the technical functionality.

 

ASO’s Third Party Factors

Up until this point, we’ve talked about ASO factors that you have 100% control over setting up yourself.

You can get a long way with these alone, but it’s some of the more arbitrary factors that will push you over the edge into greater success.

Reviews and ratings that come from your users, for example, play a big part in how well you rank in your category, and subsequently how well your app performs overall.

 

#1. Reviews

Well-written, happy, and thoughtful reviews can be a great factor that helps increase conversions.

Just don’t fake them.

I used to work for a company that did this (thank God I left), and it was so obvious and easy to spot.

Yea, you might have a great app, but 15 people claiming “It’s the best app I’ve ever used!!!!!” and all with five stars is insanely obvious.

image15

These reviews, for example. Clearly fakes. (Source)

Clearly, it’s much better to let your users be the ones to review your app, and when you prompt them with a question like “What do you like most about [your app name]?” it gets them thinking and increases your chances of getting an honest, positive answer to that question… which is what prospective users are looking for in the reviews section, anyway.

If I was asked that question about a real estate app, for example, I might respond with something like “I like how easily I can find properties in my price range in my area” rather than simply “nice app, easy to use” which is something I might write if not prompted.

image17

Here’s some five star reviews for Candy Crush Saga. You can see how the first two reviews, though five-star, really didn’t take much thought even though the users love it. The third review, though, is very substantial and could have easily been elicited from the two users above if they’d used a question like “What’s got you hooked on our game?”

To get more and better reviews for your app, you can use a plugin like Rate Our App to prompt responses, while also creating an incentive like more lives or in-app credit in exchange for leaving a review.

#2. Ratings

You know, those things where your users either give you one star (if your app is terrible), five stars (if your app is great), or somewhere in between.

How highly your app is rated is directly connected to your app store performance, ranking, and number of downloads. (Clearly, no one wants to download an app everyone else thinks is crappy.)

If you’re lacking in ratings… getting more is easy. You can simply use a plugin to prompt your visitors to rate you while they’re using their app.

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Here’s what Rate Our App (mentioned above) looks like on iOS.

You’ll get better ratings, though, if you time the prompt to pop up after a positive experience within the app rather than just when someone is about to close out of your app.

For example, in the screenshot above, you can see that the rating prompt pops up right when the user is about to spend money by making a purchase… which means that they used the app to find exactly what they were looking for… meaning they’re more than likely happy with it.

Plus, according to Apptentive, the top 100 apps in either app store often had at least 10,000 ratings… so the more ratings you can prompt (and the higher those ratings), the better your rankings will get.

 

#3. Backlinks

This is something that only matters for Google Play, since, like Google’s search engine, it takes PageRank into consideration.

So if you have an app on Android, you can use the same kind of tactics you’d use with SEO to get backlinks from quality sites to point to your website, but instead point it to your Play Store url.

image05

This page on Indie Game Hunt, an app review site, gives a link back to each of the apps they feature directly to their Play Store url.

If you’re doing a web-based SEO backlink strategy, then incorporating your app store link into the mix of your guest blog posts, your forum commenting, and your info-building efforts, switching between when you use your website’s url and your app’s url.

“Google has access to PageRank and the link graph of the web, while Apple does not,” said Ian Sefferman on Moz. “Thus, Google will take into account the inbound links to your app’s detail page as a factor in Google Play search.”

 

Apple vs. Google

For the most part, the basic mechanics of ranking in the App Store and the Play Store are pretty much the same.

Certain keywords may perform better or worse in one store over the other, but if you’re just getting started, you can more or less use the same strategy for both and tweak descriptions and keywords along the way as you see fit.

image11

Cartwheel by Target for iOS.

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Cartwheel by Target for Android. As you can see, the descriptions are slightly different, but the screenshots they’ve chosen are the same, except for the iOS vs Android versions.

The only major and obvious differences that you have to account for, of course, is the 100-character keyword field that Apple allows and the consideration of backlink “juice” by Android.

Oh, and the fact that you’ll want to make sure your screenshots are representative of the store they’re in.

 

Go Get ‘Em Tiger

While part of App Store Optimization is a clear, cut and dry science, parts of it are art, too. Which, unfortunately, makes even the most straightforward scientific parts not completely predictable.

And while things like category-based top charts ranking, ratings, reviews, and number of downloads can help you get an idea of how successful your app is, none of those numbers really tell you the ultimate truth: how your app is affecting the bottom line of your business.

We’ve given you guidelines for ASO setup to give you a great start, but we’d suggest always keeping your hand in the ASO game with one experiment or another, seeing how tweaks in one place affect metrics like ranking and downloads, and whether or not those app store boosts bring you boosts in revenue.

They don’t have to be difficult experiments, but ASO (like SEO) is always changing, so constant learning about app store performance and behavior will keep you ahead of the game.

 

Mobile App Store Optimization: A Different Type of SEO

How app developers can get more visibility for products

There’s no question that high-quality app developers have potential to really rake in some serious dough.

As of June 2015 over 100 billion apps have been downloaded from Apple’s app store.

There are over 2 million apps available through all the major app stores online, and this number is only going to continue to grow.

More and more smartphones continue to be sold and a younger generation that grew up with technology continues to increase their overall purchasing power.

However, there is a very obvious problem when it comes to getting your app recognized by the masses: how do you get attention with over 2 million competitors?

This is where you need to understand how search engine optimization (SEO) works when looking to get attention for your mobile apps over the competition.

Plus, this will help you make more money for your mobile app and ultimately offset some of your development costs.

The first step in this starts with finding critical information, and a good starting point is to know that SEO for the app markets even has its own name: App Store Optimization (ASO).

“App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of improving the visibility of a mobile app (such as an iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry or Windows Phone app) in an app store (such as iTunes for iOS, Google Play for Android, Windows Store for Windows Phone or BlackBerry World for BlackBerry).” – Wikipedia

Why Is ASO So Important?

First off, a few numbers. There’s no question that App Store Optimization is too important to just ignore.

When people are searching for a new app, it’s judged that 58 to 63% of all app purchasers have said that their new app purchases or downloads started with someone doing an app search in the store.

Obviously the higher your app is ranking for certain keywords, the more likely it is to be found before the competition.

On the other hand, if your app is buried then good luck making it to the top.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing has often been touted as a good way to get attention, and while this can be a great tool in conjunction with ASO, it’s important to note that only 15-20% of apps come from social media ads, reviews, or referrals.

That isn’t a bad number, but it certainly isn’t any 63%!

In addition to this, getting found and getting to be one of the top downloaded apps can be rewarding in and of itself.

Getting on those lists is huge because 25-34% of people reported downloading an app after seeing it on a best-selling or best rated list.

This is one example where clearly the rich get richer!

Warning!

This is also an important time to make a simple disclaimer: not much is static in the world of SEO for your apps right now.

Just as Google is constantly changing and tweaking their algorithm (including mobile) to change up their results, the idea of ASO is relatively new and can/will change over time.

That being said, there are several main factors and secondary factors that are going to always matter when it comes to ranking high in the app stores, and several strategies to help individual apps get to where they want to be.

Primary App Store Ranking Factors

There are two main ranking factors that are always going to matter.

The first is the title of your app. You should think about this very carefully because not only do you want a popular keyword (if possible) in the title, but you want a name that is easy to remember.

This is going to make it easier for word of mouth to spread, and good branding is just always important no matter what the business.

Plus a unique title means no one will mistake a competing app for your specific offering to the marketplace. Besides your app icon, the title is the first thing users will see.

Another tip for the title: keep it short. You only get 25 characters on a phone screen before it gets cut off, and if someone can’t see the full title they are far more likely to just skip on by rather than take a serious look at your app and what it has to offer.

The second main factor you need to look at to rank your app in an app store are keywords.

Just like with classic SEO, having the right combination of a few important keywords not only helps you show up for searches but makes sure that your app is actually being found by people who want what your app has to offer.

Don’t underestimate the importance of keywords in the description, tags, and title.

And, never keyword stuff, but otherwise make sure it’s there.

Secondary Ranking Factors

There are also several other secondary app ranking factors that you will want to keep in mind when it comes to getting your app in front of searchers.

The total number of downloads do matter. Not as much as many people think, but it does make a difference.

This is why an early push for free downloads to employees, friends, or a beta testing team can make an important difference in where your overall app ends up appearing in the total app rankings for your main keywords. Social proof carries weight as you know.

Ratings

Overall ratings also have some type of an effect on ranking. While no one is 100% sure exactly how much ratings matter or how they’re weighed against one another (benefits for a positive or negative effect for a bad review, etc) there’s no denying that this is part of the rating process.

Ratings will help for what apps appear at the top of a list and which don’t appear anywhere close to the top.

What Is Keyword Optimization?

People talk about keyword optimization when it comes to SEO for your individual apps, and this is simply the process of keyword research. Questions to ask yourself:

  • Which keywords are most searched for that relate to your app?
  • Are there any keywords that are related to your app that have very little competition?

Doing basic research to see what valuable keywords look the most valuable can go a long way to getting you the best possible results.

What Is Asset Optimization?

Asset optimization for apps is simply making sure that everything in your app’s layout is giving the best possible impression to potential downloaders. Another way of thinking about this is sales optimization.

You want everything looking as professional and appealing as possible so that anyone who does find your app’s listing is much more likely to download it or buy it.

What goes into asset optimization?

  • Do your screenshots look good, especially on mobile devices?
  • Do you have an excellent icon that is clear and distinctive?
  • How does your video preview look to potential buyers?
  • Does your setup look good on both computers and mobile devices?

What Are the Current ASO “Best Practices?”

The ASO best practices list isn’t something official like the “Google SEO best practices” guide (good read for beginners).

This means as more is discovered about the app market and how they rank apps, and as those things change, a best practices list can (and will) change over time.

However, this is a great starter list of what to do to help increase your chances of rising to the top in the app stores.

Starter list for ASO best practices:

  1. Keep titles short, memorable, and under 25 characters while using an embedded keyword
  2. Make sure to have a preview video uploaded
  1. Check to make sure your app icon looks good and is clearly visible and eye- catching
  2. Make sure your screenshots are scaled for mobile
  3. Have a good detailed description of what the app does
  4. Translate listings into other languages if you want an international market

In Conclusion

You don’t need to be a business genius to understand the importance of ranking towards the top of your most important keywords in the app store.

By following the SEO (ASO) tips outline in this article, you will end up extremely happy with the results you get for your next world-changing app!

About the Author: Jon Rognerud is the CEO at Chaosmap, Author of a Best-Selling Book with Entrepreneur Press, “The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website”. Want to learn more? Register your FREE seat for John’s next online marketing (SEO) webinar: https://bitly.com/seotrafficwebinar

A 3 Step Guide to Improving Your App’s Mobile Search Ranking

You’re always on the hunt for something to help grow your business.

Now you have a business app that has brought you more sales and better marketing.

Overall, it’s been a success.

The issue is, you think your app can perform better if more people downloaded it.

Well, aside from running app-install campaigns on social media and advertising in-store, what else could you do?

How could you reach other customers interested in your app? 

How can you make more people know that your business has an app?

These are very valid concerns and many mobile marketing professionals have weighed in on how to improve app discoverability or how can apps be found easier.

Mobile search—as in, searching through a mobile browser—has already exceeded searches done on desktop. You want your business app to be on the search results page when customers search for your business name and other related keywords.

What’s more is that people who make buying decisions within apps purchase more than through mobile sites.

It’s clear. Making your app easily discoverable is an excellent way to get more downloads and increase sales.

What can be done?

This post will guide you through three approaches to improving your app’s discoverability on mobile search. This is crucial for your mobile marketing strategy. 

Ready? Let’s dive right in.

Google App Indexing

Google App Indexing is a system that allows an app listing to appear on a search results page. When a user clicks on the listing, they are taken inside the app. This works for both Android and iOS mobile devices.

It looks like this:

and this:

When a user does not have the app installed, they are taken to a mobile webpage dedicated to the app.

If your app is not in the Google index, you’re missing out on searches that can show your app as a listing. Say you own a Mexican restaurant, your app could appear on mobile search results for ‘Mexican restaurant’ or ‘Mexican food’ if the user is within your location and if your app is in the Google index. Of course, it’s not a given that you will immediately rank high on certain searches, but it definitely gives it a boost

This is what Google said, “For both Android and iOS users, App Indexing will influence ranking, whether or not the user has your app installed. This means that if your app is indexed, Google will use the content within your app as a signal in ranking, not just your web content.”

Google really wants app publishers and businesses to index their apps because it improves users’ overall experience on their mobile search browser. So, they made indexing simple. Here’s a video they released that explains how to index your app:

Is your app in the Google index? DEPRECATED

Specific questions regarding your app? Reach out to the amazing support crew at BuildFire. They’re always ready to help.

One thing, if you want to reap the maximum benefit from app indexing, you also have to have your app store listing optimized for both Apple App Store and Google Play.

Which brings us to the next point:

App Store Optimization

Getting a good ranking in the app store bumps your ranking in mobile search.

Ranking better in the app store can feel like a very lofty goal that isn’t very realistic. But only those who exhaust all the possible ways to rank better actually do. As much as businesses invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for their websites, basic App Store Optimization (ASO) can go a long way for mobile marketing purposes.

Why is it important?

Working to rank high on search is indispensable if you want to be found on app stores.

According to Tune, nearly half (47 percent) of iPhone users in the US find apps by searching within the app store. Chasing app features seemed to have less returns since only 10 percent of users find apps through top charts and featured screens.

 

To optimize your app, it’s important to know these top ranking factors:

  • Keyword in the app title and description
  • Number of downloads
  • Ratings and reviews
  • Icons and screenshots

Let’s start with keywords.

Choosing the right keywords improve your search ranking up to 10 percent. So you really cannot discount its importance when optimizing your app. How do you search for a good keyword?

How do you search for a good keyword?

Firstly, understand that the function of your title and description is to convey the essence of your app. Using an irrelevant keyword just for ASO will backfire, so stick to what is relevant.

There are three things to consider:

  • High volume of searches
  • Low level of competition
  • High relevancy

Thankfully, there are online tools like SearchMan or KeywordTool. These tools help you find a good competitive keyword based on language, country and category.

While you can’t impact the number of downloads directly, know that app store searches reward apps that do well.

Another thing you can do to improve your chances of ranking higher in app store searches is getting good ratings and reviews.

Here are some ways to increase reviews for your mobile app:

  • App review plugins

Why don’t you ask users for reviews while they’re inside your app? There are a number of plugins that allow you to do so. It’s simple and easy to implement—and usually works for both iOS and Android apps.

  • Run an in-app rating campaign

Give a small discount or any other valuable incentive for users who would leave ratings for your app. A small warning: this technique works on Android but is penalized by Apple.

  • Run an in-store contest.

Run a contest for customers of your physical store. Each customer who gives your app a 5-star review gets a raffle entry. Get their name and contact number and put it in a lot. Set a date for the draw and other additional  mechanics for the contest.  You can award the winner with gift cards, free products and any prize you think can pull interest to your contest. Not only did you get reviews, you’ll get some new downloads as well.

Icons and screenshots

Images pull in more interest than text, so know that icons and screenshots are a big component of what your users remember when they think of your app and your business. Use eye-catching images for your icon, and make sure to use your app’s most interesting screenshots. Make sure all images are representative of your brand and your app’s function.

Here are some business app icon design tips from designer Dan Counsell:

  • A great app icon should be simple, memorable and beautifully designed, and it should convey the main purpose of the app from just a quick glance.
  • Match the key colours of your icon to those within your app.
  • Don’t use icon borders. They look ugly, and simply don’t fit in anymore.

Media and Influencer Outreach

Get people talking about your app. An essential part of getting the word out about your application is reaching out to the media and online influencers. Google will pick up the signals if more credible people are mentioning your app, linking to your site and driving traffic to your app. Overall, getting a good ranking for your website and mobile site helps your overall authority and bumps up your ranking in mobile searches.

Media

If you are rolling out a new feature, having a business promo that you’re rolling out through your app or if your app is fairly new, there is definitely something newsworthy there. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the media. They are used to getting pitches from businesses. If there’s an opportunity there, they will not hesitate to let you know as well. However, getting the attention of bigger media outfits could be tough – so pour in more effort on local media.

Influencers

Popular bloggers, celebrities, industry experts and local personalities are all people who can impact the popularity of your app. Reach out to them. A friendly “letting you know” email will suffice. But if you want to do more than this, you have to narrow down your contact list to include only people who have an audience that might be interested in your app.

Let’s say Anne owns a Mexican restaurant and she wants to boost her business app’s reach. Here’s a sample email she could send to a local food blogger:

Reach out to local personalities who have influence over your direct customer base. Most of the time, these people are not very privvy of the whole internet influencer situation where people who have a certain following charge businesses to promote their products. Most local personalities would be happy just to be recognized as a person of interest. Knowing these people are good for your business too, as you also expand your network to reach people of note in your community.

You can reach out to online celebrities who do app reviews, but know that most of them charge you a fee. Even some app review sites offer to feature your app for a payment.

There are tools like NinjaOutreach and BuzzSumo that can help you identify the influencers in your field or location.

Here’s a video that shows how NinjaOutreach can help you reach influencers:

The Secret To Getting Exposure From Influencers - 4 Examples

 

Final thoughts

Growing your business through a mobile app doesn’t end when you launch one. Apps can power-up your marketing, branding and sales. If you want maximum benefit from it, you need to put thought and effort on how it can best represent your business.

By implementing the tips outlined in the post, you will surely get a boost in your mobile search rankings. Remember, patience is also an essential ingredient of any search optimization campaign. Be diligent in monitoring – but make sure you keep marketing your app and business on other channels and through other techniques.

Let us know your thoughts and questions. See you in the comments!

 

How to Get Your App Submitted to the App Store

All app developers dream of releasing a hit app; the kind that goes viral, receives heaps of critical acclaim, and generates bucketloads of cash.

Of course, this is easier said than done: if you want downloads, you need visibility. With over 800 apps downloaded every second in 2013, Apple’s App Store is one of the places to be.

Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as uploading an app, then sitting back and watching the money roll in; first, your app has to be accepted.

Today, I want to help you take your first step towards owning a successful app, by providing tips for getting your app accepted by the Apple App Store.

[note]Note: As a paid subscriber you won’t have to worry about the app submission process as our team of specialists will handle everything for you.[/note]

1. It Should Be Glitch-free

Apple prides itself on providing a great user experience for its customers. To maintain this reputation, all apps are tested thoroughly before they can be downloaded on the App Store.

Apple know that an app full of bugs will disappoint users, and will therefore want it as far away from their store as possible. If your app has glitches, Apple’s rigorous testing will find it, and they will reject it. Before submitting, make sure your app is free of all errors, glitches, and bugs.

2. Follow the Guidelines

Apple has a stringent set of guidelines your app must meet for it to be accepted to the App Store — a key set of criteria Apple believes will maximize user experience. These include rules on advertising, user interface, and objectionable content (violent, racial, pornographic, or defamatory.)

Fail to meet all of these criteria, and your app will be rejected, quickly. Familiarize yourself with all 177 of them, and check them off one by one — only when you’re happy you satisfy them all should you even consider submission.

3. It Should Offer Value

If your app doesn’t provide value for users, you’re unlikely to be accepted. The App Store has over 1 million apps already; if your app offers nothing new, is boring, or outright useless, Apple probably aren’t interested.

Do your market research before you begin developing your app. Make sure there is a market for your idea, the niche is not over-saturated, and your execution is strong, otherwise your app will be rejected by Apple.

4. Make the First Submission Simple

Obviously, you want to build an app that really wows its audience — and an app with all the bells, whistles, and fancy functions is more likely to get people excited.

However, when you first submit your app, keep it simple. Strip the app down to its basic framework, as the initial approval process is the most time consuming, and therefore the most important to get right. After this, your future updates will be passed through much more quickly — if your advanced features are rejected, it will cost you less time.

5. Use an Accurate Description

One common reason for a rejected app is a misleading description — a description that does not match up with the actual experience of using the app.

Of course, you are trying to promote your app, but make sure you aren’t making promises that your app can’t deliver on. Lying about features — or even being ambiguous about your app’s capabilities — is a sure-fire way to earn your app a place on the rejection pile. Make sure the description of your app is clear, and, above all, realistic.

6. Have Patience

Finally, with thousands of apps submitted every day, it might take Apple some time to get around to reviewing your app — you’re going to have to be patient. With all the rigorous quality control procedures employed by Apple, small delays should be expected.

If you want to avoid being stuck in limbo waiting for your app to become available on the App Store, make sure you only have to submit your app once — in other words, get the submission right the first time.

Final Thoughts

Do you have any other tips for getting an app accepted by Apple? Let us know in the comment section below!