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Savvy App Store Optimization strategies for UA managers


App Store Optimization (ASO) is vital for app marketers to remain competitive. With over 230 billion apps downloaded worldwide last year, it’s essential to provide your app visibility within the app stores. ASO is the key to achieving this. Learn the importance of optimizing your app store listings to improve your user acquisition (UA) efforts.


What is ASO, and why does your app need it?

ASO, or App Store Optimization, is the process of optimizing mobile apps’ app store rankings to maximize visibility and make the most of incoming traffic. The goal is to increase install conversion rates and organic installs.

There are numerous ways that ASO marketing can improve your user acquisition efforts.

An ASO strategy can:

  • Give your app maximum exposure in app stores. When your app store listing is optimized, it has a chance to rank higher in search results and top charts, where users browse to find a product they need.
  • Make your user acquisition more cost-effective. The more organic installs you receive, the lower your cost per install (CPI). With an optimized install conversion rate, you'll source quality traffic, both organic and non-organic.
  • Improve your user LTV. By securing organic downloads, your app is more likely to find high-value users organically and, consequently, raise your user lifetime value (LTV).


Seven app store optimization strategies

While some differences exist, several app store optimization best practices apply to both Google Play and Apple App Store. Let’s explore the ASO strategies you can begin implementing today to drive more organic installs and find high LTV users without spending your ad budget.

1. Use relevant keywords

Ranking high in an app store’s search results for terms that have little to no relevance to your app won’t bring in the relevant users to your app. Source relevant search terms that attract users with a high download intent.

This can be achieved by targeting mid and long-tail keywords, which are keyword combinations for specific searches such as “food delivery in Boston” or “drawing app for kids”.

Although some generic, broad keywords have an appealing search volume, the retention rates for users who come to your app via these keywords are less than those who discover your app using specific search terms.

During your keyword research, extend the list with mid and long-tail keywords. Balance the levels of competitiveness and traffic toward reaching maximum visibility. The goal should be that your app ranks in the first five to 10 positions for relevant and specific search terms.

And don’t forget to reinforce your branding—brand keywords make up almost 70% of search traffic on the App Store and over 50% on Google Play. Therefore, make sure users are familiar with your brand and can easily find you via a branded search.

  • Bonus Tip: Try adding trending keywords to your app title, subtitle, or description and take advantage of current search behavior.

2. Don’t forget to A/B test

An A/B test of a product page consists of building a hypothesis and comparing two different versions of the product page with a change in one of the variables (app name, icon, screenshots, video, etc.). Both versions should receive enough traffic to reach a statistically significant result—showing which version will lead to a greater increase in conversion.

To make it worthwhile, research and analyze your audience first. Keep in mind the particularities of the user acquisition channel and measuring the results correctly to achieve the desired increase in conversion rate. For example, users you’re driving from a specific Facebook campaign might respond better to specific creatives on your listing than those coming from display ads run on web. If you have an Android app, you can use Google’s built-in A/B testing tool for your app store listing. Since iOS 15, it’s also possible to use product page optimization (PPO) and custom product pages to create more relevant, individualized and tailored pages on the app store, which can be linked to specific campaigns.

  • Bonus Tip: Your app screenshots are the perfect opportunity to showcase how your business answers changing consumer needs. Highlight unique features that will help your app stand out from crowded search results and start A/B testing to see what wins over potential users.

3. Get better user reviews

Don’t underestimate the power of user ratings and positive reviews. Firstly, they play a significant role in the stores’ ranking algorithms. The best-ranked apps are considered more stable, bug-free, and offer a better user experience. On Google Play, frequently-used keywords from your user reviews can be understood as relevant to your app and will likely positively affect your Android app rankings.

Secondly, a significant number of recent five-star reviews and a high overall rating will also influence your app’s conversion rate and encourage page visitors to download your app. In fact, 80% of users check ratings before downloading an app. So, pay attention to your user sentiment and encourage them to rate your app at the right moments in the customer journey.

  • Bonus Tip: If your app is among the many that gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, translate this influx of installs and usage into positive ratings and reviews. Take the time to craft a review strategy that prompts users to leave a review at the most opportune times. This can have a lasting impact on your keyword visibility.

4. Localize and go global

Localization of an app is an absolute must—with over 4.19 billion unique mobile users to find, reaching new audiences can bring tremendous value to your business.

A properly localized app lowers entry barriers, generates trust among users, and has identifiable sources for demand. Customers who use an app in their native language show higher engagement and retention rates and are more likely to spread the word about your app organically.

However, if full content localization is not yet an option for your business, you can start by localizing your app’s product page and app icon. Then, apply ASO keywords and conversion rate optimization to your listing in the target locales.

Always proofread and check all user-facing text and graphic content with a native speaker. Poor localization can harm your business and result in negative reviews and low download rates.

  • Bonus Tip: Consider Huawei users. The third largest app marketplace in the world — behind Apple’s App Store and Google Play — is Huawei’s AppGallery. Serving roughly 600 million Huawei users worldwide, the AppGallery prioritizes editorial suggestions and discovery by highlighting the most popular apps for the viewer’s region. However, with a layout that facilitates browsing rather than searching, ASO for Huawei is a very different task. So, be sure to create a Huawei App Gallery ASO strategy before starting.

5. Monitor the performance of your ASO

The main challenge for user acquisition managers is to find a proper way to measure and understand the effectiveness of their work. Keyword ranking, user feedback, and conversion rate all impact installs and growth. But how can you identify and prove this correlation?

Several ASO tools can be used for this purpose as they integrate external data sources from developer consoles. In doing so, the tools visualize the correlation between your ratings volume and installs and estimate the organic uplift produced by your user acquisition efforts. However, most user acquisition managers need to monitor not only their ASO effectiveness but also their campaign performance across multiple channels. We suggest partnering with a mobile analytics platform like Adjust that empowers you to do both for comprehensive and strategic app marketing.

6. Develop a video strategy to increase exposure

App preview videos autoplay in the App Store and Google Play search results. For lesser-known apps which receive decent visibility from general keywords, a promotional video is a great way to quickly explain what your app does to encourage users to install it.

For the gaming vertical, videos are vital. As multiplayer games have gained popularity, Apple and Google have curated lists geared toward this trend like ‘Multiplayer Favorites’ or ‘Play Online Together’. All the games showcased in these lists have a video that demonstrates the game in action. If your game or game category has recently gained substantial traction, now is the right time to invest in a video to increase your exposure to potential users browsing app stores.

7. Review your Google Play Store tags

Google Tags help Google understand what your app is about and might impact where your app appears in the store—in the Similar Apps cards, search suggestions, browse, etc. Tags are displayed in the Google Play search results alongside the app title and developer name.

If you are looking for different ways to increase your app’s visibility, it makes sense to take a closer look at Google Tags. Find out which tags your competitors are using and research how these tags impact your app’s visibility in the Similar Apps cards. Click here to see how you can track events with Adjust’s integration with Google Tag Manager.

For additional tips, read ASO in 2022: Best practices for metadata, creatives, and optimizing for conversions.


Download our ASO guide

Adjust recently released a two-part guide covering the best ways to  to grow your app to 1 million users.

In part 1, we dive deep into app store optimization as a main channel for user acquisition.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • The connection between ASO and paid user acquisition
  • How to create a highly optimized ASO strategy
  • Best practices for app store listing creatives
  • How to run an ongoing ASO discipline

So, if you’re looking for further information regarding ASO, download our free guide today. Scaling your app to 1 million users: The ultimate guide. Part 1 — App store optimization and user acquisition.

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