5 Indexing Factors that Impact your App Store Ranking

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App Store Optimisation provides a lot of opportunities for your app’s growth. As a process, it’s aimed at increasing your app store rankings helping your potential customers to discover your app. Your app store ranking, whether you’re focused on acquiring iOS or Android users (or both!) plays a big role here. Why? A higher ranking allows for better app discoverability, which in turn drives more traffic to your app store listing and increases the number of downloads your app receives.

There are many factors that can determine whether your app ranks at the top of the app store results. Some of them may be already familiar to you, such as the app’s title, description, targeted keywords, etc. However, there are a few less obvious factors that can influence your app’s ranking and provide the opportunity to gain more users. So, what are they?

Here are our top 5 indexing factors that can impact your app’s position in the app stores.

#1 Paid User Acquisition

Paid UA and App Store Optimisation share the same goal. They both intend to drive quality users to your listing, increase its conversion rate and bring the Cost per Install down. But the correlation between paid UA and ASO is even stronger – your paid campaigns can have a positive impact on your app store ranking too. Here’s how it works.

Your app category ranking is highly influenced by the volume of installs your app receives, quite simply: the more app installs, the better your category ranking. By driving more traffic to your listing through paid user acquisition campaigns, you increase the number of impressions and installs of your app, which improves its position in category ranking. In turn, high category ranking allows for more users to discover your app, which boosts your organic traffic – an essential factor of your app’s growth.

Apple Search Ads (ASA)

There are many user acquisition platforms to choose from, but Apple Search Ads, as a relatively new acquisition channel, provides various benefits for your app that reach beyond increasing your app’s discoverability:

  • The platform gives you access to important keyword metrics
  • It allows you to protect your brand against competitors who are bidding on your branded keywords
  • It can support you with new keyword discovery  

Finally, ASA is more cost-effective in comparison to Facebook or Google, so, with the right acquisition strategy, you may get more bang for your buck than on other acquisition platforms.  

OUR TIP: Before running your Paid UA, you need to lay the groundwork to safeguard your marketing spend. Ensure your app’s listing is compelling enough to encourage downloads, otherwise, you’re in danger of huge drop-off rates and low conversion to install. Incorporate gripping and informative visual elements to your listing which showcase the value proposition of your app and leverage your app’s brand presence in the three most important brand elements of your store listing: icon, title, and subtitle. (Check out this post for more tips on Paid UA strategies.)

#2 Total Installs

Total installs are the combined number of organic and non-organic installs that your app receives. As mentioned above, app downloads have a big impact on your category ranking. Here’s an example. If two apps have the same keyword in the title but app A has 1 million installs and app B only 100k, and all other metrics are the same for both, app A will rank higher in their category. Why is that? The app store algorithm favours the apps with a higher volume of installs as it considers them more relevant and valuable to the users. Therefore, it’s essential to keep increasing your conversion rate and download velocity to improve your ranking.

OUR TIP: Don’t try to compete with big players in your category but look at the competitors within your reach. 

Remember that your category ranking can only take you as far and regular metadata optimisations, as well as creative A/B testing, can lead to great results too.

Metadata Optimisations

With regular metadata optimisation you can quickly increase your app’s visibility and kick-start your organic app downloads. Words can be powerful, so use a compelling app description to convince users your app is a solution to their needs.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is a great tool as it eliminates the guesswork from your optimisation strategy. Even though it predominantly focuses on boosting your conversion rate, it also provides valuable insights about your audience, user engagement and helps you measure the efficiency of new traffic channels.

#3 Revenue

This probably doesn’t come as a surprise but the more money your app generates, the higher its chances are of being featured in the app stores, which is a great way of showcasing your app to a wider audience. Whether you’re offering a freemium or subscription app, there are various strategies you can implement to monetize your app and increase its chances for long-term success.

OUR TIP: Test your pricing. Testing different price ranges, especially for subscription-based apps will help you understand how much you should charge for your app and what type of subscription (weekly, monthly or annual) works best for your audience. By running A/B testing you can quickly assess how different prices affect sales and discover which strategy leads to the highest LTV and revenue.

#4 Number of Reviews + Rating

It’s clear that reviews matter. Whether you’re choosing a restaurant, buying new equipment, or picking a service provider, the reviews section would be the first thing you check before making the decision (at least that’s what we do!). Quite simply, your app user ratings and reviews can make or break the success of your app. Additionally, they can also have a huge impact on your app store ranking.

Firstly, the number of reviews influences the ‘weight’ of your listing, meaning that the more reviews your app receives, the more users enjoy your product.

Secondly, it’s not just about any reviews that your app gets, but the 5-star ones that demonstrate your app’s value to the app stores algorithm. That means that you must, quite literally, aim for the stars to push your app to the top.

So how do you go about it?

Typically, happy users already understand the value of the app (and leave great reviews!) but there are ways you can avoid negative ratings that can destroy your app’s reputation. One piece of advice would be to ensure that any users experiencing difficulties within your app are funneled away from the app store and into a private conversation with the app’s support team, who can provide a solution before the user has a chance to leave a negative rating.

Some other tips include:

  • Ensure your product is bug-free, your UX is on point and your onboarding explains the values of the app in a clear and concise way
  • Reply to every review, and don’t use a generic script, but genuine, personalised replies wherever possible
  • Make sure that users have easy access to a support team in the app
  • Prompt users to leave a review only when they experience something positive in the app
  • Ask your users to review your app at several different points in their app journey to ‘catch’ as many reviews as possible.

#5 Crash Rate

It’s worth mentioning that a high crash rate can also negatively impact your app rating, however, only when it drops below a specific threshold. When that happens, the app stores consider your app as an incomplete product and move it down your category ranking. To avoid this, keep an eye on your crash rate and stay in touch with your app developers so that they can quickly react with necessary bug fixes. This way you’re not only looking after your app store ranking but ensuring your app is enjoyable to use too.

If you want to find out more about how improving the mobile customer experience can impact your app marketing campaign or you have any app marketing questions feel free to reach out to the Yodel Mobile Growth Team. Additionally, you can sign up to our newsletter for exclusive industry updates and app marketing insights from the ASO Agency of the Year. Want to find out more about optimising your app? Make sure to subscribe to our Mastering Mobile Marketing video series. Follow us on LinkedIn, chat with us on Twitter @yodelmobile, and join our #AppMarketingUK LinkedIn group.

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Smokehouse Yard, 44-46, St John Street, London, EC1M 4DF 🇬🇧