Discover with this manual of App Store Optimization (ASO) 2018 the keys to position your app in the first results of Google Play or Apple App Store. Start getting more organic downloads!
The number of mobile applications or games keeps growing in recent years, which makes it increasingly difficult to position and stand out in the first results (without paying for it clearly).
Brands and developers must know the ASO factors that affect the positioning of applications, since it is a fundamental part of the success of an app.
What is ASO (App Store Optimization)?
The ASO or App Store Optimization is the process of optimizing the tab of an application in the application store (iTunes App Store or Google Play) with the aim of positioning it in the first results of the search and the lists of categories.
It is divided into two types of factors, the ON-Metadata factors, which refer to the actions of which we have total control, and the OFF-Metadata factors that are the aspects that do not completely depend on us.
As in SEO, the organic position is fundamental to achieve “free” results and not depend on the investment in recruitment marketing.
The positioning in iTunes and Google Play is similar, but has some differences, so we will treat it separately, to not lose detail.
ASO for Google Play
ASO factors ON-Metadata
The ASO ON-Metadata factors are fields that can be modified in the tab of the app and are practically instantaneous, do not need a version update as in iOS. Its main characteristic is that we have absolute control, as with the ON-Page in SEO, they depend solely on us.
The App Name or the title of an app is considered one of the most important ASO positioning factors. We have 50 characters to include the name of the app or brand and the main keywords.
There are apps that only have the name of the brand (WhatsApp, Facebook, ...) because they are widely known. However, if the app is new in the market it is interesting to add some important keyword. For example, if WhatsApp were launched now: Whatsapp: Instant messages
The description in Google Play is another important point, not like in iOS. This happens mainly because Google uses the keywords of the tab to position, while in the App Store the keywords field is used. If we are going to carry out campaigns of Universal App Campaigns it is fundamental to have chosen these keywords well.
The description should be simple, use an accessible language and take advantage of the use of bold to stand out in the text (<br> Word to emphasize </ br>). We have 4,000 characters to complete this field.
The brief description helps position the app, but above all it has a key function to convert a user into a download.
It should be concise, at most 80 characters, so we have to think that if the user does not display the long description this will be the only text that he sees.
The icon is not an ASO factor that directly affects the positioning, but it does influence the CTR and therefore the conversion rate. The higher the conversion rate, the better positioning.
Screenshots or screenshots should show the greatest benefits of the app with a striking and different design. We have to get away from the typical “screenshots” of the app.
A good idea is to create a story with the 8 images that the Google store allows us to upload.
The highlighted image is something particular about Google Play, in the App Store we can not find it. If before I commented that the icon was an important visual factor to improve the CTR or the conversion rate, the highlighted image is even more important in this regard.
Including a promotional video helps a lot in downloading the app. If we are creative and we do not spend with the seconds of reproduction we can greatly improve the conversion ratio.
The video can be an explanation of the benefits of the app or show to be aspirational. In this sense Google is very permissive with the type of videos that lets us use.
We must select a single category to include our app. This is why you have to be precise, when someone searches within a category expect to find a type of applications, if we are badly placed we will not get good results.
Some categories are: Lifestyle, Home and Home, Appointments, Productivity, Social, Entertainment, Transportation, etc.
The name and age of the developer is a factor recently incorporated by Google and can help us gain visibility. If the developer’s account has launched several apps and has not given problems, it is possible that the following apps that hang from that account are seen with good eyes.
ASO OFF-Metadata Factors
The ASO OFF-Metadata factors are those that do not depend on us 100%. It would be like the OFF-Page in SEO, we can work them, but nothing guarantees us to get what we want. Of these factors, the number of facilities stands out, which has always been a determining factor.
Recurrence of users
The number of active users gives us an idea of the recurrence or engagement that the application has. The greater the number of active users per day (DAUs), the better our positioning will be.
It makes sense that Google is rewarding those most used apps as it is understood that they are useful for the user.
Installations and uninstallations
As simple as it seems the number of installations of an app is a very important factor to climb positions in the store. The number is public, but it is shown by ranges +1000, +5000, +10.000, +100.000, etc.
It is for this reason that when we carry out paid download campaigns, the ASO position gradually improves according to the downloads.
The uninstallations negatively affect the positioning, especially if they occur shortly after downloading the app.
Ratings and comments
The valuations directly affect the ASO positioning, but they also do it indirectly, since they influence the download conversion rate.
Many users read opinions before being encouraged with a download, if these are not positive they will throw back the download. It is important to always respond to comments, whether they are good or bad.
Positive comments add up to less than negative comments, so a 1-star rating does not equate to a 5-star rating. You also have to take into account the number of times the comment is marked as positive or negative by other users.
ASO for iTunes App Store
ASO factors ON-Metadata
As with Google Play, the ASO On-Metadata factors are those that are 100% dependent on us. In iTunes the changes are only made when we upload a new version of the application, so we must be more careful and not make mistakes.
As with Google Play, the App Name is one of the positioning keys. We have up to 30 characters to form the App Name. It is interesting to use the main keyword and the name of the brand if the app is new in the market, although we have very few characters for it.
The subtitle has the function of describing the main functionalities of the app and in turn including important keywords where we are interested in positioning. Same as the Title or App Name has a maximum of 30 characters.
We must not add names of competitors’ brands, we can be sanctioned.
It is an exclusive section of Apple where we can add the keywords for which we would like to position ourselves. We must not use competitors’ brands, repeat keywords that we have already used in Title or Subtitle.
I believe that this field will disappear, just as it disappeared in SEO, but at the moment we have 100 characters to add words.
According to some experts, it is a field that does not directly affect ASO positioning, but I do not believe it. In any case, it can affect the% conversion, so it is important to optimize it.
We can use this section to tell news, promotions, improvements, new features, etc,
The icon is a factor of visual positioning, its design will help us get more downloads. We must take advantage of the image of the icon to transmit the values of the brand and for this we must dedicate time and resources to the creation of this.
It is recommended to start with an icon that has the name of the brand, to help the branding. Then we can do a restyling and modify it. An example has been BlaBlaCar:
In iTunes Connect we have the option to upload up to 5 images for the 5.5 px screen.
It is advisable to add the iPhone 5,8 px (Iphone X) since Apple is betting a lot on this model and if we have an app adapted for iPad we must also add screenshots for the screen of 12,9 px.
We can include up to 3 videos that will be automatically played in the App Store when the user accesses the file. Apple is betting a lot on the visual improvement of the cards and recommends creating videos where the application and its features are the protagonists.
My advice is to stay away from the aspirational videos that work on Google Play. At the moment Apple is quite strict with this.
Category (Top Charts)
In iTunes, you select a category and a subcategory. As in Google Play is very important to choose ours because there are users who browse the rankings of categories looking for new applications.
ASO OFF-Metadata Factors
The ASO OFF-Metadata factors, just like in Google, are those that do not depend on us in full. Of all these, the installations and the uninstallations that greatly affect the ASO positioning stand out since they imply greater popularity or knowledge of an app.
Installations and uninstallations
It is a simple equation, the greater the number of installations, the better positioning, as long as we do not penalize the high number of uninstallations.
Facilities are as important as the speed at which they are achieved. If from the first moment we achieve good download rates we will achieve a positive traction in the ranking.
Ratings and reviews
The valuations and the number of positive reviews are determinant to position themselves, but it is preferable to have some regular and greater number of reviews. Neither do you have to obsess about this, but it is important to respond in this channel and solve problems through other private channels (email, etc).
Hope this post has been useful and looking forward to your comments and recommendations!