App Store Optimisation, or ASO, has become an increasingly trendy topic among mobile marketers, app owners and agencies. Someone not familiar with what ASO is can find hundreds of blog posts, beginners guides and “how to” articles. Typically, these websites say that App Store Optimization is a way of increasing traffic by ranking high for relevant keywords. High ranking means more people will find the app and download it.
However, here at Somo, we take a slightly different approach. We see App Store Optimisation as a two-fold process which allows apps to increase the traffic that lands on the page and the number of users that are exposed to the app’s existence as well as to increase the number of users who convert after landing on the page.
For Somo to deliver successful ASO campaigns, our highly skilled team needs to analyse three main aspects: app discovery, search semantics & decision making. To put it simply, we need to know how users think, search and behave in the App Store or Google Play Store. Let us explain.
A successful ASO strategy starts with this step. In general, Apple have confirmed that 65% of people find apps through what we call active search. This is when you open up the App Store/Google Play and start typing in the search bar. Search continues to dominate as the de facto way users will discover and download your app.
However, search is not the only way people find apps. There is also a discovery method we call a feature listing. That is when someone opens the store and starts scrolling. Your app icon, category, and name show up in curated lists like “Games Starter Kit” or “Get Your Tickets” or “Trending apps”.
Last but not least there is another way to find apps through category listings. Users select a category in the store and hit the top charts. Apps are displayed based on how many downloads they have reached, or how much money they generated (top grossing charts). We mainly see apps discovered this way in the games category.
The key takeaway from all of this is that through whatever method users discover an app, there are certain elements that need to be optimised. These elements include graphics, ratings & reviews and this is where the next part comes in: keywords.
Apps, no matter what vertical, need to put a great emphasis on search optimisation through a well-defined keyword strategy to be visible in the search results. A lot of people we talk to are a bit confused when we talk about search semantics. “Everyone searches for a brand name on the App Store, right?” – they ask. They are so very wrong.
Google shared that less than 50% of the Play Store searches are brand driven and we expect a fairly similar number in the App Store thanks to a study done on the recently introduced Apple Search Ads. This study indicates that the average length of an App Store query is 2.4 words. It means that if your app is not optimised for general terms, the app is not going to show up for popular search terms. This also makes optimising not only for the single terms but also the long tail combinations critical.
The general question for app marketers is simple: What motives an install? A TUNE study revealed that task accomplishment is overwhelmingly the biggest driver of app installs, so why would search be any different? Users are going to search for terms hoping the app store will surface apps that help to complete that task. ASO specialists are tasked with finding all of these search terms and making sure they are included in the metadata.
Search optimisation for apps is an art, there are so many factors to take into account. But here, at Somo, we focus on relevancy, traffic and difficulty to deliver the best results for our clients.