Get discovered: ASO and organic acquisition

For your app to make an impact on a crowded marketplace, you need to launch strong. But you only get one chance at a launch – so our App Launch Marketing Series blogs are here to help you do it right. With such fierce competition, it’s essential that you stand out from the crowd and get it right from the start. One key part of that is ensuring your app is discoverable to as many users as possible.

The importance of organic acquisition

While paid user acquisition is an important way of building your audience, it’s not sustainable as the only way of attracting users. Organic installs are vital as they represent a portion of high intent users actively searching for your brand or services, who will be incredibly valuable to your business in the long term.

There are plenty of ways to utilise your organic channels to capture these users. In this blog, we’re going to focus on the two main entry points for organic installs: the mobile web, including search, and the app store itself.

From mobile web to app

If you have a mobile web presence, it’s worthwhile directing those users to your app, where conversion rates are over 3x higher than the mobile web.

The best way to guide users between these channels is with a smart app banner on your mobile site, driving exposure to your app and encouraging users to download it by sending them to its app store listing. Apple offers its own banner for iOS Safari, which provides native features like a download progress bar but doesn’t have much room for customisation. There’s no native Android equivalent, but cross-platform banners are available. These allow for richer visual customisation, and other features like tracking and targeting. We recommend implementing a custom banner that is tracked, with deep-linking functionality.

Foursquare’s Custom Banner

It’s best practice to enable deep linking – taking users directly to the relevant section of the app so users can pick up where they left off. This is a great way to re-engage those users who already have the app installed, and surfacing in-app content that’s relevant to their needs.

Mobile search

Outside of your owned channels, search is also vitally important. According to Google, 27% of users find apps through a mobile web search. Obviously, there are paid opportunities in search – but focusing specifically on organic installs, we recommend optimising for App Packs.

App Pack search result on Safari for ‘travel apps’

App Packs are groupings of app tiles shown at the top of Google Chrome or Safari mobile search results when the user appears to be looking for an app, or a task that could be completed with an app. In 2016, the latest published research available showed that one in ten mobile searches presented users with App Packs, a number that has likely risen since.

The apps shown are selected algorithmically, based on numerous factors. These include the app name, URL and descriptions on your app store listings – both Android and iOS matter here – as well as off-page factors like user reviews, install numbers and backlinks. This is why App Pack optimisations are integral to our ASO programme here at Yodel Mobile. Get all this right and App Packs can provide a great way to increase visibility of your app, and your brand as a whole.

ASO: discovery

The biggest contributor to discoverability, though, is your presence in the app store. According to Apple, 65% of all iOS apps are discovered by searching the App Store – and you can improve your chance of reaching these users through app store optimisation (ASO).

ASO is a huge topic – for more details, you can watch our Mastering Mobile Marketing video guide – but here are a few quick principles you can follow.

Your ASO strategy should consider integral on-page and off-page factors to improve your visibility in the app stores and also improve conversion rates from impression to install through a compelling listing.

An integral off-page factor is your keywords strategy. Keywords are vitally important to ensure you rank highly in app store searches and drive visibility amongst the millions of competitors on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. There are multiple ways to figure out the right keywords for your app. ASO tools such as AppTweak, The Tool and SensorTower will not only help generate keywords but help with ongoing optimisation by tracking performance and keyword efficiency.

You should also consider applying learnings from other channels, like the keyword-level conversion rates from your Apple Search Ads, and carrying out competitor research. As well as surfacing new keywords, this can also establish which keywords have a lower level of competition so you can ensure a higher ranking.

For more on optimising keywords, read our dedicated blog on the topic.

ASO: conversion

There’s still important ASO work to be done once users find your app store listing. Conversion depends on a variety of on-page factors, including the title and subtitle, description, screenshots and video preview. If your copy or creative aren’t up to scratch, this can be a friction point, but do it well and you’ll encourage more users to install your app.

Good copy should educate users on the app’s features and benefits, as clearly and simply as possible. The first line of your description is especially important, as under 1% of users expand to read the full description.

This is where good creative comes in. On average, users spend just 7 seconds on the store listing page so you need to grab them quickly with visuals. Your choice of screenshots is integral to converting users from impression to install, as is the inclusion of a video on the App Store – again, competitor learnings can be a great source of information.

Creative and copy should be continually tested after launch. The Play Store offers Google Experiments so you can test variants of your descriptions, screenshots and feature graphic. Apple doesn’t offer an equivalent, but learnings can be transferred between app stores.

Taking the next step

Combining mobile web, search and app store optimisation should give you a great foundation to build a userbase on, ensuring that your paid activity is far more effective. And better yet, all the learnings from your organic channels can be injected into your user acquisition strategy. But we’ll get to that next time.When it comes to ASO and discoverability, we know what we’re talking about. In fact, Yodel Mobile just won an award for our organic growth strategy for UKTV Play. So if you’re considering ASO for your apps – and you should be – make sure to get in touch to find out more.

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Want to find out more about optimising your app and keeping up with the latest OS capabilities? 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 #mobilemarketingUK LinkedIn group

About the Author:

Arazoo Kadir is the Associate Marketing Director at Yodel Mobile, the number 1 global app growth consultancy. Leading the agency growth efforts for Yodel Mobile, she regularly shares insights on the importance of holistic app marketing for true app growth success.

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