The mobile app marketer’s definitive guide to app store optimization


App store optimization (ASO) is vital for your app’s discoverability, conversions, and user quality. Even the most amazing apps can fall short if they don't have proper visibility in the app stores. A strategically curated listing is a must to maximize your app's revenue. After all, more impressions funnel down to more paying users. It’s also great for keeping user acquisition (UA) costs lower and improving user lifetime value (LTV).

So what is app store optimization, exactly? ASO is a cycle of changes that a marketer makes across a number of factors that affect an app’s ranking in app store search results. Its necessity has ramped up as the number of apps increased from hundreds at the launch of app stores to the millions available to download today. This fierce competition leaves no doubt that ASO is a crucial component of a successful marketing strategy. And small changes can deliver big wins.

Think of ASO as selling a house. Before you put your house on the market you might paint the walls, fix anything that’s broken, and make it as tidy as possible for pictures. You make sure there are no tripping hazards and that it smells good for potential buyers at viewings. Because a realtor will have better luck selling a well-presented house, they make a higher effort to push this house to their clients. It’s the same with app stores. Once an app store algorithm sees that you are putting in the effort to show your app in the best light, and optimizing the listing for potential users, it’s going to push your app to the top of search results and select your app for featured locations across the store.

Getting started

How to get started with app store optimization

Before you start developing your own strategy, you’ll want to get your ducks in a row.

Conducting app store optimization in-house or with a vendor

First, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll optimize your app store listing with your own in-house marketing team, or with the help of an external marketing agency or vendor. There is no right answer to this question. Your choice will likely depend on your budget, time capacity, and team knowledge level and experience surrounding ASO.

What to look for in an ASO vendor

We’ll progress from here on out assuming that you are conducting your ASO in-house. However, if you opt to choose the external route, here are a few things to look for in a quality vendor.

  • Their strategy involves continuous analysis and optimizations.
  • Competitor research is included in their service.
  • The vendor stays on top of the latest news and updates from the App Store and Google Play Store.

Competitor research

Take the time to conduct thorough research on the competition. Competitor research will clue you into the existing landscape. This will allow you to identify opportunities to stand out, as well as see what methods are already performing well, which will give you hints for your own potential strategies for success. Here are some pointers for your research:

Analyze the top five

Start by navigating to the primary category of your app. One by one, go through each of the top five results. Make note of their design elements, highlighted features, and copy.

Repeat this process for the secondary category of your app, as well as both categories’ featured apps, if applicable. If your app is available on both the App Store and Google Play Store, make sure to do this for both stores as results may vary.

Identify strengths and weaknesses

Pay attention to the similarities and differences between each app’s listing. This will give you a better understanding of what is helping their ranking, as well as opportunities for a competitive advantage when you create your own listing.

Compare low-ranking results

What are these apps doing differently from those in the top results? Consider how you can improve upon these aspects.

Ultimately, thorough competitor research ensures no stone goes unturned when crafting effective ASO. Apps that take care with this step increase their chances of achieving high rankings.

iOS vs Android

How to do app store optimization for iOS vs. Android

For each element of ASO that we’ll discuss, you must tailor your listing’s content to the App Store for iOS and Google Play Store for Android. This is something many developers overlook, which pays off significantly if done correctly.

App stores analyze how consumers use their platforms and what drives the most revenue for them. Naturally, these trends can differ slightly between the platforms. Based on this data, they create algorithms which promote listings they believe will perform well and provide a positive user experience. With that in mind, here are the top three ranking factors for the two primary mobile app stores.

Apple App Store ranking factors

  1. Name
  2. Subtitle
  3. URL

Google Play Store ranking factors

  1. Title
  2. Short description
  3. Long description


Use of every field to its full potential

Now that you know how the ranking works, let’s dive into each available field one by one. These optimizations will not only help your listing in the eyes of the algorithm, they’ll also help convert users who come across your app organically, or who visit the page through your paid UA campaigns.

Naming your app

Much like naming a child, naming your app can feel high stakes. You have to take into careful consideration how users will search for your app, as well as its overall brand identity. Start by brainstorming. Jot down a list of words, phrases, or puns related to your app’s purpose. Use a thesaurus to expand your list. Conduct keyword research (more on this later), and see where there is crossover with your existing list. Consider the language of your target audience, and make sure there won’t be any errors in translation.

Next, make a short list of potential names that will fit within the 30 characters you’ll have to work with. Check whether they are already trademarked by another company to avoid future legal issues. If you have the time and budget, test your short list with a focus group from your target market.

Here are a few rules of thumb to follow when making your final choice:

  • Make it memorable and catchy.
  • It should accurately represent what your app does or stands for.
  • Choose a name that’s easy to spell and pronounce so that people can easily search for it.

Choosing a strong subtitle for iOS

If your app is going to be on the Apple App Store, you’ll also need to strategically write your subtitle as this will appear in search results. This field allows you another 30 characters to differentiate, provide a clear offer of your app’s value, or highlight key benefits.

Your app’s icon

Just as important, if not more important than your app’s name, is its icon. 90% of the information processed by the brain is visual, and the brain accommodates this by processing images 60,000 times faster than text.

As you design your app’s icon, keep in mind all of the places it will appear. It should look good and be appropriate for all of these formats:

  • Phone home screen
  • Phone settings
  • App store
  • Search engine results

Before you begin, make sure you’ve completed your competitor research. You may find that most, or even all, of your competitors use the same primary color in their icon. This is likely due to the psychology of color. For example, many finance app icons are blue–a color associated with trust and dependability, or green, a color associated with money. On the other hand, many food apps use red and orange in their icons–colors proven to increase appetite.

Do some research into which colors your competitors are using and delve into the complex world of color psychology before making any decisions for your own app. You may even decide to use a contrasting color from your competitors to stand out in search results. No matter what colors you choose, you’ll ultimately want to abide by these best practices:

  • Make it simple, unique, and attractive.
  • It should be immediately recognizable.
  • Keep it scalable for different devices.
  • Use graphics over imagery.
  • Reflect key elements of your app in the design.
  • Only use text if it is an absolutely essential part of your brand.
  • Maintain a consistent icon across all platforms for recognizability.

Perfecting your screenshots

Another very important visual representation of your app you’ll want to knock out of the park is your screenshots. Ask yourself these questions as you get started:

  • Is my app used most in portrait or landscape mode? Your screenshots’ orientation should match this answer, and should be consistent–pick only portrait or landscape.
  • Do I want to tell a story through my screenshots? This is very relevant for games with a storyline, but can be relevant for other verticals as well. If you answer yes, you will want to consider the order of your screenshots more carefully. Some apps choose to create one long landscape image which they divide into the dimensions of portrait screenshots to create one seamless scrolling experience.
  • Will I be localizing these screenshots? If you are active in more than one market, or are looking to scale to multiple markets, keep in mind that you will need to localize this imagery, which will come at a higher cost if you use an agency for assets.

With the answers to these questions in mind, you can proceed while abiding by these best practices:

Showcase your app's best features

Choose images that highlight what makes your application unique and attractive to potential users. Focus on features they may not find in other apps, such as intuitive design elements or exclusive content offerings. Make sure you show your app in use! Place your best screenshots in the first slots.

Quality is essential

Your images should look professional and high-resolution. They should in no way look blurry, pixelated, or cheaply designed. You can use cheap or free design tools if you are on a tight budget, but the end quality of your screenshots should reflect the quality of your app, as this is how the consumer will associate the two.

Make it eye-catching

The design should be clean. It’s going to be viewed on a mobile device, so overwhelming your screenshots with text will make them less readable. Use vibrant colors to draw the eye in and stick to your brand guidelines to create a unified feel.

Maximize visibility

Use every chance you’ve got to demonstrate value and convert potential users. That means 10 screenshots in the Apple App Store and eight in the Google Play Store.

How to make your description the cream of the crop

We’ll delve deeper into keyword strategy in the next section. For now, it’s important to keep in mind that your short description will be limited to 45 characters on the App Store and 80 characters on the Google Play Store. This is the text the user will read before tapping “read more”. Think of it as your elevator pitch. It should be snappy, attention-grabbing, and sell your app in one sentence.

For the long description, you’ll have 4,000 characters to work with. This is your chance to drill into what sets your app apart from competitors, show off its key features, and get creative. Your description should answer the question, “What problem does your app solve?”

Character count is not your only consideration. Formatting will play a huge role in how much information consumers take in from your writing. Keep sections short and use lists to break down concepts for the reader. This is not a place to include URLs as they will not be clickable for the user, nor will they be able to copy from your description and paste into a browser. You won’t be able to format text in the description; if you need to set titles apart use capitals rather than symbols so you are not eating into your character count.

Don’t underestimate categorization

Choosing a category for your app is a strategic decision. On iOS, you’ll have the opportunity to select both a primary and a secondary category out of 27 category options. Only your primary category will be displayed on your listing. Game apps may choose two subcategories from a selection of 19.

On Android, you may choose just one category out of 32 category options. However, you may also select up to five tags on the Google Play Store, which behave similarly to Apple’s secondary category.

When deciding which category is the best fit for your app, first consider how your users will navigate to your app if they search by category. Then, evaluate how much competition that category has and if it will be possible for your app to rank highly among existing competitors. Choosing a less competitive category could potentially improve discoverability for your app.


How to optimize app store keywords

We’ve built up the strong bones of your app store pages, but now it’s time to get to the meat: Keywords. Keywords are terms searched by consumers looking for an app. In the same way search engine optimization (SEO) optimizes content to appear in search engine results, keywords can optimize app store listings to appear in an app store’s search results.

Your keywords should tie into your app’s ability to solve a problem, its unique features, the demographics of your audience, or what actions your app performs. With these types of keywords in mind, you’ll be able to start your keyword research.

What is keyword research and how do I get started?

Start with brainstorming. Use the above considerations to think of terms, phrases, and questions your end user may search for. Start broad, then work your way down to your niche. Consider terms related to:

  • A problem a user would solve with your app
  • A unique feature of your app
  • What your users are interested in
  • Who your users are
  • Where your users are
  • How a user will interact with your app

Do some research. Read through user reviews to get an idea of what phrasing people are using to describe your app. If your app is not listed yet, read through competitor reviews. You can also check the titles and descriptions of competitor app pages to get an idea of what keywords they are using.

Elaborate on your list. Next, use the words you have already listed and check them against a thesaurus, adding any relevant synonyms. Start some searches in the app store, and see what recommendations come up in the auto-complete.

Use keyword app store optimization tools. Use your above list to research what keywords are being searched by users in your target region(s). Tools like AppRadar, Keyword Tool, ASO Desk, or AppTweak, among many others, can help you identify appropriate keywords for the App Store and Google Play Store (Hint: Keywords will oftentimes differ between the two stores!).

Keyword research tools will give you an idea of what’s being searched and how much it’s being searched. For example, you can analyze whether the singular or plural of a keyword has a higher search volume. They’re also very useful for providing suggested keywords related to the phrases you have listed above. You can also see what keywords your main competitors are already ranking for.

Narrow it down. At this point, you’re going to have a wealth of keywords to choose from. So which ones do you actually put into your limited character count? Here’s where you can identify which terms have high search volume but low to medium competition. First, choose the most relevant keywords to your specific app. For example, you may have a music app, but do not use the keyword ‘hip hop music’ if you do not offer this genre.

Then, using tools such as the above, filter by your target region and gather the following data on the keywords you have compiled:

  • Volume: How many times a keyword is being searched
  • Difficulty: How many top competitors are already using this keyword
  • Top position: Which app is appearing at the top of search results

A particular keyword may have a really high volume, but if a huge player in the industry is ranking highly for this keyword it is much less likely that adding the keyword to your own listing will lead to your app taking over that coveted position. You’ll need to strategically look for keywords that have higher volumes but lower difficulty.

Where to use keywords

You can, and should, pepper keywords throughout nearly every text field available. However, the fields available will differ between Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. For each app store, some fields will affect ranking while others will not. There are other ways that your use of keywords will vary between app stores. For example, the Google Play Store ranks pages that repeat a primary keyword across the app’s text fields, including a maximum of five times within the long description.

Let’s take a look at the App Store first. You will have a dedicated field called ‘keywords’, which is limited to 100 characters. The description is not considered within its ranking algorithm, but the keywords are nonetheless important for consumers to organically find your app. Instead, you’ll want to focus your keyword strategy on your app’s title, URL, and subtitle on iOS.

On the Google Play Store, you’ll pepper your keywords throughout the title, short description, and long description.

Top tips for successful app store keyword optimization

With a method to the madness in place, you are now ready to take into consideration our do’s and don'ts of keyword optimization.


  1. Track performance. Once your listing is live, pay attention to how your keywords are ranking and what changes your competitors are making so that you can strategically optimize your copy.
  2. Use digits instead of spelled-out numbers. You’ll save on character count, and consumers are also more likely to use a digit over a word for a number in their search.
  3. Inject your most valuable keyword into your app’s title. This is your golden opportunity. Make the most of it.
  4. Use shorter keywords. Including more keywords means you’ll have more chances of ranking, so make sure to include a higher volume of shorter-character keywords to maximize your listing’s potential.
  5. Localize. Keywords should be researched for the region of your listing. If your app is listed in multiple regions you’ll need to do separate research and optimization for each region.
  6. Avoid special characters. Unless they are a specific and important part of your branding, do not include characters like the hash (#) or at symbol (@).


  1. Keyword stuff. You absolutely want to maximize your character count with keywords integrated strategically throughout. However, if your placements don’t sound natural, are random, or just don’t seem to fit seamlessly within the context of a sentence, it’ll come across as spammy to both your audience and the algorithm. Read: You’ll rank lower!
  2. Use spaces between keywords on the App Store. They’ll take away from your character count, and do nothing to help the technology separate keywords. Instead, use commas.
  3. Constantly change your keywords. Give them time to work. Once you have collected enough data about conversion performance you can optimize accordingly.
  4. Repeat keywords in the keyword field. For example, if your app is about chess, you do not need to include the keywords ‘chess game’, ‘strategy game’, and ‘classic game’. Instead, you can use the keyword ‘game’ once with the following keyword string: chess,strategy,classic,game.
  5. Use too many high-volume keywords. You’ll find more success in ranking highly for lower volume keywords.
  6. Include protected words and phrases. Do not use trademarked terms, celebrity names, or other keywords that you are unauthorized to use. From Apple themselves: “[This] is a common reason for App Store rejection.”
  7. Put keywords in the promotional text. This text, which covers the first 170 characters of your App Store description, will not affect your ranking.

App store optimization checklist for keyword research

Use this checklist as a worksheet when completing your initial keyword research.

What's next

Taking your app listing to the next level

You’ve got the basics of your app listing down. Now it’s time to take it up a notch.

Creating a superb app preview video or app promo video

Testing over the years has proven time and time again that having a high-quality, well thought out video on your app store listing significantly increases conversion. For iOS, this video will be called a preview video, while for Android it will be called a promo video. Despite the difference in name, the concept is the same. You can follow these app store optimization best practices across both platforms to help you create the perfect video.

Best practices for your app store video

  • Clearly communicate your app’s value in the first few seconds.
  • Make sure everything shown in your video is legible in mobile format.
  • The video should be understandable without audio.
  • Localize your video for different regions.
  • Create a high-resolution video.
  • Use quality in-app footage.
  • Preview videos are especially important for game apps.

Here are some guidelines for each platform to keep in mind.

Preview video creation for iOS

  • The length must be between 15 and 30 seconds.
  • Do not use device images, device frames, or anything other than in-app footage.
  • Use text elements because videos on the App Store autoplay on mute.
  • Create a landscape and portrait version.

View Apple's full specifications by device.

Promo video creation for Android

  • The length must be between 30 seconds and two minutes.
  • Limit use of title screens, logos, cutscenes, or promotional content.
  • Display core features through in-app footage within the first 10 seconds.
  • Only the first 30 seconds autoplay, so keep your core message within this time.
  • Create your video in landscape orientation.

View Google’s complete promo video guidelines.

Tapping into the power of reviews and ratings

A key factor in successful ASO is understanding user ratings and reviews. Reviews offer benefits to three core audiences:

  1. The app store algorithm: Both the App Store and Google Play Store consider reviews and ratings a ranking factor.
  2. Your potential users: App reviews are another UA channel! Ratings and reviews play a major role in user acquisition because they give prospective customers insight into how others view an app before downloading it themselves. Positive ratings and reviews lead directly to increased downloads over time.
  3. The app developer and marketer: App reviews are an important gateway into valuable insight about what people think about your app’s features, updates, functionality, and monetization methods.

In 2020, Storemaven found that ratings have a much higher impact on conversion than reviews do. This makes sense, as the algorithm can more easily quantify an app’s quality with a number rather than words conveying complex thoughts and emotions. Your app’s overall ratings need to average 4.0 stars minimum to have a positive impact on conversion. Here’s how to get there.

Stay patient in the beginning

As you work out bugs and performance issues after launch, you may see some lower ratings at first. This can also be the case as apps typically launch with fewer features, and users are quick to point out the gaps in what they would like to see. Instead of getting discouraged, act on any practical feedback.

You can also avoid some of this initial rating curve by placing an emphasis on gathering thorough feedback in beta testing, which you can act on pre-launch.

How to respond to app store reviews

When someone does take the time to leave a review, show your appreciation with a reply. If it’s a positive review let them know you’re glad they’re enjoying your app and thank them for using it and rating it highly. If they’ve left a review with four stars or less, reply to any complaints they have raised. If you have already made a change to your app that resolves a complaint, let them know that they can update the app and the issue will be fixed. These interactions will also let other users know that you care about their experience and will be easy to get in touch with.

Encourage positive ratings

Assess when in the user journey someone is most likely to have a positive experience and therefore willing to leave a positive rating and/or review. Then, display a prompt asking the user if they are enjoying their experience. If they say yes, ask them to leave a review on the relevant app store. If they say no, direct them to send feedback straight to your development team so that you can act on any suggestions.

Make changes

Of course, the number one way you can improve customer ratings is to continually strive to make changes to your app which cultivate the best user experience. Aim to keep on top of trends, feedback, and bugs.

Start anew with a clean slate

For iOS apps, any time you release an update for your app on the App Store, you can reset your app’s summary rating. If you are struggling with lower reviews from the past even though recent updates have led to many more positive ratings, let your recent user feedback speak for itself with a reset. On the Google Play Store, this process is built into the algorithm, with more recent ratings carrying more weight in the displayed average.

Adding in-app events

In-app events are limited-time events in your app like tournaments, challenges, competitions, or live streams. Events are a great way to integrate further keywords into your listing, especially seasonal keywords. Here are a few guidelines to follow for your app store in-app events.

In-app events for iOS apps

  • Create up to 10 in-app events at a time.
  • Publish up to five in-app events at a time.
  • Events can last up to one month (31 days).
  • Schedule start, end, and publish dates according to country.
  • Localize metadata in different languages.

Promotional content for Android apps

  • Choose between five event types: Events, major updates, offers, crossovers, or pre-registration announcements.
  • Publish an unlimited number of in-app events at a time.
  • In-app events are displayed on the home tab, events tab, your app’s listing, and within search results.

Increase your number of app backlinks

A backlink in ASO is similar to a backlink in SEO. In this context, it’s a link to your app’s listing on an app store. Specifically, to impact your ASO, these links should not come from you, but rather from trusted individuals and companies across social media platforms and websites. As a rule of thumb, the more backlinks your app has the better because it increases the number of opportunities a user has to reach your listing.

However, backlinks also play a more important role within Google Play Store’s algorithm. Your app’s number of backlinks are used as a ranking factor to indicate your app’s authority. So how do you earn these backlinks? Here are a few strategies to get started.

  1. Contribute to a blog as a guest author. Link to your app’s listing at an appropriate place within the blog.
  2. Send press releases to general and specialized media sources. You can do this in-house or via a media agency.
  3. Work with other companies through sponsorship or collaboration and request a link to your app on any promotional materials.
  4. Create a Wikipedia page for your app. Wikipedia has a very high domain authority.
  5. Reach out to quality technology blogs or resource websites and ask (kindly and strategically) for your app to be featured.
  6. Analyze competitor backlinks. Use a tool like Semrush’s Backlink Analytics Tool to input the link of a competitor’s app store listing and view where their backlinks are coming from. You can strategically approach these websites as you see fit.
  7. Work with influencers as part of your overall marketing strategy and request that they link to your app store listing from their social medias.

Optimizing for seasonality

App store seasonality refers to changes in user activity throughout different times of the year, which can significantly impact downloads and revenue for your app. As an app marketer, it’s important to factor seasonality into your marketing strategy.

Different app verticals will see an impact on installs, sessions, or other in-app KPIs at different times of the year. You can analyze this data yourself through mobile attribution, or you can research available data for your vertical. For instance, Adjust has released reports detailing app trends around Valentine’s Day, the Super Bowl, Ramadan, Black Friday/Cyber Monday, Lunar New Year, winter holidays, and more.

Here are a few examples of seasonality:

  • The end-of-year holiday shopping period lends its increased spending power to e-commerce app users.
  • In the summertime, many people take vacations away from home with plenty of free time available – the perfect conditions for downloading new apps that are fun or useful while they’re away from home.
  • During the back-to-school season, students will often seek out education apps.

Harness seasonal opportunities with relevant keyword research and optimization, in-app events targeting seasonal keywords, and, when relevant, integration of the seasonal event into your static and video assets. Join these ASO strategies with your overall paid marketing strategies for maximum impact.

Relevancy through localization

Don’t forget to localize your app store listing. Different regions will have very different demographics, wants, needs, culture, and language. Localization is one way to show your users that you understand, and care about, who they are. Complete market research and keyword research for your top target markets.

Getting your app featured

There are several locations where your app can be featured across the App Store on the today tab and top charts. How does one get a coveted featured slot?

In Apple’s own words, “We highlight new apps and games as well as those with significant updates, special in-app events or exclusives, cultural or seasonal moments, and more. We also highlight unique stories – for example, a behind-the-scenes look at how a developer launched an app that changed an industry or supported their community, or a spotlight that shows how an app helped a user solve an uncommon problem.”

The factors that are considered when choosing an app to feature are:

  • UI design: Beautiful visuals and intuitive controls.
  • User experience: Functional and easy to use.
  • Innovation: Solves a user problem.
  • Uniqueness: Unlike its competitors.
  • Accessibility: Usable by a wide range of users.
  • Listing components: You’ve done all of your ASO homework and your app’s page is truly optimized to the best of your ability.

There are further factors for featured slot app store optimization for games:

  • Gameplay design
  • Art and animation
  • Controls
  • Story and characters
  • Replayability
  • Sound effects and music
  • Technical performance
  • Overall value

Contact the App Store directly eight weeks ahead of launch (for new apps or updates) to let them know why your app should be featured. If you are selected to be featured on the today tab, you’ll need to submit special promotional artwork. App Store Connect will email you with their requirements for evergreen artwork.

You’ll only have five days to submit your artwork, so it’s a good idea to do some competitor research and be prepared with concepts ahead of time should you be selected. Keep in mind that once you’ve submitted your files, there’s no going back; you won’t be able to iterate, change, or fix anything. After your app has been featured, it’ll maintain its header image – adding another dimension to your listing.

You can also pay to feature your app on the today tab with ASA, as detailed below.

Combining ASO with ASA

Apple Search Ads (ASA) are paid advertisements that appear at the top of search results when someone searches for a keyword related to your app. Despite existing at opposite ends of the spectrum, ASO and ASA need to work in tandem to drive growth for your app.

ASO’s impact on paid UA

One of the main KPIs of a UA Manager is a low cost per install (CPI). The main obstacle here is often a low conversion rate on the app store page. Since ASO is responsible for optimizing the app store page for optimum conversions, the co-dependent nature of ASO and paid UA is apparent. To get the most value out of your UA campaigns, your creatives and other features need to be up to scratch to continue the conversion process.

The relationship between ASO and ASA

ASA allows you to build a keyword database where you can see which have the highest click-through rates (CTR). Keywords with a positive CTR generally lead to more conversions. So if you run an ASA campaign using keywords with only positive CTR, you’re inevitably going to boost your app’s ranking. What’s more, App Store Connect considers ASA campaigns as part of search traffic, which is organic.


When you combine ASO and ASA, you’ll run the risk of cannibalization - when you pay to market to a user that would have likely downloaded your app organically anyway. An example of a time you might be cannibalizing is an ASA campaign that bids on a keyword you’re already ranking #1 for organically.

Branded keywords are also high risk in this respect. If users are searching for your brand name and are met with both a paid and organic result for your app, is it worth spending the money on the paid result? They had a high intent to find your particular app when they started, so the chances are they’ll ignore the top result and just head where they intended (your app) anyway.

On the flip side, it’s unideal to have another brand appear when a user searches for your app. If they’re a competitor they could be stealing valuable users from you, and even if their offering is different it still acts as a distraction and shows that they’re outbidding you.

How do you know when to bid and when to avoid it? Generally speaking, when you’re organically ranking #1, #2, or #3 in the search results for a particular keyword, you’re at risk of cannibalizing yourself if you also bid on that keyword. So, bidding on keywords that you’re currently ranked low for is often a better tactic.

By combining these two strategies together you can maximize your chances of success on both fronts–increasing organic downloads as well as boosting sales through advertising campaigns. With ASO you can make sure your app stands out from competitors in terms of design and features while also ensuring it ranks highly in relevant search queries; with Apple Search Ads you have access to more sophisticated targeting options such as location-based targeting or demographic segmentation, which allows you to reach potential customers who otherwise may not find out about your product organically.


Measuring, optimizing, and iterating

An often neglected but vital component of ASO is measuring all of the hard work you’ve put in. Analyzing the performance of your app store optimization metrics allows you to optimize and continually iterate your listing(s). Here’s what to keep a close eye on.


The most obvious metric to analyze is your conversion rate. How many people are visiting your app’s listing, and how many are then going on to download your app?

Keyword rankings

Keep track of how competitors rank against your app by monitoring keyword positions for your app – and for theirs.

Visibility score

Taking into account your keyword rankings, your visibility score also looks holistically at how your app falls within top charts, categories, and related apps.

Net Promoter Score

Your Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a simple one-question survey that asks customers how likely they are to recommend your app on a scale of 0-10. It’s an important metric for app marketers to measure customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Install velocity

Compare your app’s increase in installs over a period of time to show the speed of your growth. Is it slowing or increasing?

User feedback

Your rating summary, volume and recency of ratings and reviews, and the sentiment within reviews.

Quality of UA

Analyze the journey of the organic users you are drawing in from your ASO. You’ll gather this data with a mobile measurement partner (MMP) like Adjust. What actions are they taking in-app? How is their retention rate? Are they spending more in-app than users acquired through paid campaigns? What’s their churn rate like? How engaged are they? Examining this data can help determine where you need to allocate your resources to get the highest quality of users.


App store optimization checklist


ASO is complex. The inputs that affect it are many and diverse, ranging from keywords, to icon design, to selecting screenshots that tell a narrative. ASO requires both strategic thinking and creative approaches.

When it comes to optimizing your app store listings, commitment is the name of the game. You need to commit to keeping up with what your competitors are doing, testing and reviewing your approach continually, and doing everything you can to solicit positive reviews. You also have to be comfortable with change; the mobile ecosystem evolves quickly. What works one month might not work the next.

With careful consideration of all of the ASO equation, your app will see increased visibility, improved rankings and downloads, and additional revenue opportunities, ensuring success within today's competitive mobile marketplace.

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