Mobile App Marketing: App Store Optimization

January 22nd, 2014

From the mundane “Get Your Family to Download Your App” to the off the wall “Create Beer Coasters” join us on a 52-week journey of some of the top ways to promote and market your mobile application.

Last week we talked about the “importance of picking the right name for your app“. Today I wanted to talk about App Store Optimization.

Week 3

Mobile Marketing Tips: App Store Optimization

Mobile App Marketing Tip - App Store OptimizationWhat can you do to make your app rise to the top? There is a magic bullet, one thing that you can do to make it to the top and I’m going to tell you right…wait, no, I meant there is NO magic bullet. There really isn’t any ONE thing you can do to generate instant success. There are however, A LOT of things that you can do to start pushing you in the right direction though.

App Store Optimization, or ASO for short, is similar to SEO for websites; ASO helps to improve your rankings within the app store. Now, Apple and Google won’t come out and say “This is exactly what you need to do,” but through the years, some tactics have emerged as ones that generally help apps rise in the ranking.

  • It’s all in the Name

    Like we discussed last week, the name of your app is HIGHLY important to helping you rank well in the app store. If you are building an app that helps musicians tune their guitars, an app with a name like “Guitar Tuner” would be much preferred over “Martin Tuner.” Unfortunately for Martin, “Guitar Tuner” was uploaded to the app start in 2009, over 4 years before Martin thought to create their app. However, by using Guitar in the name, such as “Martin Tuner – Guitar Tuning Made Easy,” Martin would have been able to add important keywords to his app name such as “Guitar,” “Tuning” and “Easy” while keeping their branding. The other unfortunate thing for Martin is that it looks like his app is far superior to “Guitar Tuner” but alas they have the upper hand initially when you do a search for “Guitar Tuner App”

  • Keywords Are Like Gold

    When you’re uploading your app to the app store, you’re asked in add in keywords. You’re given 99 characters to add in, so make them count. Don’t be adding in useless spaces, and don’t include words that are already in your app’s name. We suggest using Google’s Keyword Planner to help you come up with ideas for keywords to use. It’s important to note that when you want to update your keywords on iTunes, you have to submit another build of your app to Apple, so it will take a few days to have them approved (hopefully) and live.

  • Description…..Kind of

    Now before all of you ASO nerds jump on me for this, I know that the description doesn’t directly help in optimization, as in the text within your description isn’t monitored to help with where your app shows up in results. But it does help in selling your app. For many of your potential app’s users, the description and images you choose to showcase your app help determine whether or not someone downloads your app. So be cognizant of how you write it, what you say, and how you say it. A well written description can be the difference between having 2% of the people that view your app download it versus 30%.
    Take a look at Writing a Killer App Description for ideas on what to do when sitting down to write your description

  • Images…Just like Description

    Similar to the description, pick your images wisely – images that showcase your app well, will help with download numbers. It would be a good idea to have a graphic designer help to enhance the images you post online. I’m not talking Cosmo-type photoshopping, but small enhancements even overlay text can go a long way.

  • Reviews

    This is a tough one – but positive reviews and ratings can help with your app store ranking. But how do you find them? We suggest against using sites that pay people to review your app. I liken that to “black hat SEO” where you may get away with it, but it’s frowned upon and when you get caught it’s nearly impossible to rebound from it. Basically if it sounds shady, it probably is and you probably should stay clear. We’ll take a look at different techniques to get positive reviews & ratings for you app later on.

  • Pick The Right Category

    Some Categories are Bigger Than Others – especially games and utilities. If your app fits in multiple categories, picking a smaller one can make it easier for you to optimize your app and rise to the top.

Doing a little App Store Optimization doesn’t take a ton of time, and while you won’t see overnight results, it is one piece of the puzzle you should do to be effective.

Tune in next week when we talk about Submitting Your App To Review Sites


The 52 Week Series of Marketing Mobile Applications
Week 1: Talk to Friends & Family
Week 2: Picking the Right Name for Your App
Week 3: App Store Optimization
Week 4: Submitting Your App to Review Sites, Blogs, and Directories

Jon Stroz

Jon Stroz is a marketing guru, mostly in online marketing strategies and brand management. After graduating from Towson University with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations, he quickly became an integral part of a technology firm in Baltimore, MD. Since then Jon has honed his marketing skills and focused on online marketing strategies where he is also a Google Adwords Certified Individual.

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