Your 2021 ASO Strategy: The 5 Tips to Improve Your App Store Ranking and Get Users Onboard Pre-Install

In an app ecosystem that is looking increasingly like an impenetrable jungle of competition, your app needs to focus more than ever on both improving its app store ranking and starting to find ways to build the relationship with users before they have even downloaded your app.

To demystify this, we’ve assembled the 5 most important ASO strategies you can use as your digital machete to cut through the undergrowth to the canopy of success.

App store optimisation (ASO) is integral to app success (that much is clear!).

Your ASO strategy generates organic user acquisition, has diverse potential in its wide applicability, and increases your app’s visibility in the marketplace. What is often less clear though, is what ASO strategies you should be prioritising to promote app growth.

ASO Keyword Optimisation

If you’re looking to take your ASO to the next level, then your first port of call should be keyword optimisation.

For instance, AppTweak found that popular health and fitness mobile app Peloton changed its app description to include “at home fitness” – in keeping with the effects of the global pandemic – to become perceived as more relevant to users. 

The result? 

Organic downloads of Peloton from app store search tripled in a matter of weeks. Furthermore, reviews surged, category rankings skyrocketed as Peloton leapt to #4 in Health and Fitness on the App Store, resulting in the keyword volume for the Peloton brand name soaring by nearly 20%. 

app store optimisation example

With small changes like these leading to significant app growth, constructing an effective framework that identifies and evaluates keywords relevant to your mobile app can be game changing!

Use these 5 steps to find and apply keywords within your ASO strategy:

top tips for ASO strategy
  1. Decode which keywords are most important for your app business. To do this, research what keywords are used in your industry and vertical. You can even use reviews and media coverage to understand what keywords might apply to your app. 
  1. Select keywords that relate to your app’s strengths and USP’s; give your app a distinctive identity that appeals to users. Calibrate keywords to your app’s current status on the market. For instance, you can use more niche long-tail keywords that are easier to rank for to help establish a new app.
  1. Prioritise keywords based on your target audience’s expectations and interests. This ensures that you are catering effectively to your desired market segment. 
  1. Next, examining the strength of your keywords using A/B testing allows you to quantify their real-life impact. 

5. Evaluate keyword effectiveness by analysing the data previously gathered, and then seamlessly implement the most effective keywords into your app profile.

2. Improving Your ASO Strategy With Creative Assets

We all know it – consumers are capricious. Creative assets are your way of persuading consumers to abandon their fickle ways and know with certainty that your app is what they’ve been looking for. Various creative elements on your app profile such as its icon, videos, and screenshots, play a key role in determining your conversion rate from impression to install, making creative assets integral to app growth.

App Icons

Though often overlooked, app icons can have a massive impact on a mobile brand’s performance. One study found that optimising icons can improve conversion rates by an impressive 12-18%. To create an effective mobile app icon, you should take into account factors such as recognisability, how the icon serves as a distillation of your app’s UX and USP, and how it visually stands out from other app icons in your market sector.

App Store Screenshots and Videos

Screenshots and videos are the lens through which consumers gain their first impressions of your app. As such, it is important to utilise them effectively. According to studies, when video assets are done correctly, installs tend to increase by 20-30%. However, they are an especially sharp double-edged sword: when they are done inadequately, installs can decrease by 15-20%.

Essential to effective screenshots and videos is a clear and visually appealing demonstration of your app’s USP’s and the user journey, an authentic view into the workings of the app, and a coherent pitch that exemplifies to users how your app can add value to their lives.

3. Using Your ASO Strategy to Reach Your Target Audience

Another big facet of App Store Optimisation is knowing how to reach your target audience effectively and efficiently. Numerous questions come into play here that need to constantly be evaluated for in order to achieve additional app growth: 

  • What app store is your mobile app on?
  • What is your target audience?
  • Where is your target audience?

There are countless targeting opportunities to help your app reach its desired audience, but some of the most important ones are listed below:

  • Use Apple Search Ads (ASA) in conjunction with ASO to entice users and increase ROI.
  • Localise your app to each market through language and creative assets. By tailoring your app store listing to the different countries your app is available in, you will see a significant increase in conversion rate to install..
  • Taking localisation a step further, culturalise your app store listings to make your copy more culturally relevant and relatable to each individual market space.
  • Take advantage of features that appeal more to highly interested users, such as the App Store’s “Closer Look Video”, that allows viewers to gain a more in-depth understanding of your mobile app’s functionality and aesthetics.

4. Resonating With Your Consumer: Developing Empathetic Copy

ASO keywords and copy

One way to increase app store visibility is to build your app description copy effectively through a user-centric, empathetic approach; don’t hesitate to integrate character and flair into your copy. 

A great example of this is how Duolingo’s creative copy makes the consumer feel as if they are interacting with a character and not a computer program, helping foster an empathetic connection between brand and consumer. 

Duolingo’s mascot Duo embodies this personality and acts as a representative of the app, while additionally demonstrating that the app is of a high quality (“Duo is trading in his usual diet of mice for bugs this week”). Furthermore, this personality does not obscure the app’s functionality due to the clear and concise app description included. The short description of the app demonstrates to users that Duolingo is useful to them, while the empathetic copy showcases a user-friendly attitude and ergonomic UX.

These crucial points are subtly woven into the app’s copy with a splash of personality that combine to encourage the consumer to purchase the app and believe in its utility.

5. How to Improve your App Store Rating

Last but not least, having a plan in place to improve app store ratings and reviews is an integral component of a successful ASO strategy. Your app store rating is correlated directly to customer satisfaction, and has a clear impact on both your visibility on the app store and the level of trust that users have for your app. In fact, 79% of consumers check an app’s rating before deciding whether or not to use it. So how can you optimise your ratings?

  • Reply to user concerns: directly responding to customers about issues they have in the app increases engagement, grows user retention, and is associated with a 1-star increase in rating.
  • Improve reviews by growing customer engagement in-app for a more satisfying UX (use gamification, pop-ups, rewards, etc). Use KPIs such as LTV and CAC to monitor engagement and assess performance.
  • Act quickly if ratings drop to prevent a vicious cycle from occurring. In Google Play, newer reviews are weighted more in an app’s rating than older ones, so ensure any issues are instantly solved and focus on incentivising positive new reviews.
  • Aim for a rating between 4 and 4.99. Below 4, there is a clear drop-off in consumer trust and perception of the app. Almost paradoxically, at a perfect rating of 5 stars, consumers tend to trust an app less (believing such a rating is “too good to be true”).
  • Request reviews after an in-app user achievement; users are more likely to give positive ratings when a happy moment has just occurred.

Utilising these tactics together is key to mastering ASO, and could result in a massive boost in user engagement and app store ranking for your mobile brand.

ASO Strategy and Decision-Making with a Holistic Perspective

Taking into account the diverse network of strategies that you can use to optimise your app on the app store, informed experience is critical to succeeding in such a competitive app marketing environment. 

Strategic and holistic decision-making tailored to your app can illuminate your path through the app ecosystem’s seemingly “impenetrable jungle”. Whatever facet of App Store Optimisation might be most beneficial for your app, it is most important to consider synergies between different strategies while maintaining a broad bird’s-eye perspective on what tactics to use in order to maximise your app’s growth and guarantee app marketing success.

Make sure to sign up to our newsletter to get notified when we release a new blog post. Want to find out more about optimising your app and incorporating advanced growth metrics? Make sure to subscribe to our Mastering Mobile Marketing video series. You can also get in touch by visiting the Contact Us page. Follow us on LinkedIn, chat with us on Twitter @yodelmobile, and join our #AppMarketingUK LinkedIn group.

About the Author:

Jeremi is the Marketing Intern at Yodel Mobile, a leading app marketing company. Jeremi utilises the latest app marketing insights and data to produce educational app growth content.

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