The Definitive Guide To App Store Optimization 
The App Store was launched with just 500 apps in July 2008. Over the decade, the number of apps in the App Store has exploded to millions, and several other app stores (such as the Google Play Store and Amazon Appstore) have also sprung up.
With this insane competition, developing an app is only the beginning of a successful app business. Discovery, i.e., how your users will find your app, becomes a real issue and a matter of concern.
This is where App Store Optimization (ASO) helps in improving your app's visibility in the app stores to generate more installs and increase your app conversion rates. Over a decade ago, developers started with ASO, mostly through keyword optimization. But now, ASO requires a wide array of resources and skills to optimize your app listing.
Let's find out the best of the best ASO tactics in this blog to gain visibility in the app stores (both Google Play Store and Apple App Store) and get more downloads.
Table Of Contents:
- What Is App Store Optimization?
- What Is The Importance Of App Store Optimization?
- Top 8 App Store Optimization Strategies To Help Help You Rank Higher
- Top 3 Tools For App Store Optimization
- App Store Optimization Best Practices
- App Store Optimization Checklist
- Get Started With ASO Now!
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
You can directly jump to a section of your choice or keep scrolling.
What Is App Store Optimization?
App Store Optimization (ASO) attempts to make your app rank as highly as possible in user searches of the app stores.
As with web traffic, the attention span of app store users is also short. Why will they scroll through dozens of options to download an app when the top ones fit their purpose? So, to enjoy success with your app in the app store, you need to be at the top of search rankings or listed in the charts of your chosen category.
What Is The Importance Of App Store Optimization?
- Boost Brand Awareness
- Reduces User Acquisition Costs
- Stand Out Among Competitors
- Get Relevant And High-quality Users
- Target Global Audience
Boost Brand Awareness
ASO gives your app increased visibility in the app stores as search is the top method of Apple App Store, and Google Play Store users use it to discover new apps.
Image Source: Split Metrics
Reduces User Acquisition Costs
ASO helps you get more organic downloads. That means your downloads and installs increase with zero or minimal additional investment. This helps in lowering your user acquisition costs.
Stand Out Among Competitors
App store optimization helps to get your app identified by more users. People focus on what they find easily, no matter how great your app is. App store optimization plays an important role in getting your app discovered by more users than your competitors.
Get Relevant And High-quality Users
Using ASO, apps are easily found by users in app stores that are actually on the hunt for an app. It helps match the required app with the relevant keywords the user searched for.
Target Global Audience
With the help of app localization, you can make your app available in different languages, making your app to be used all over the world. ASO helps you understand the strategies that can take your app to the global level.
Top 8 App Store Optimization Strategies To Help Help You Rank Higher
- Lay The Correct App Store Optimization Strategy
- Conduct Keyword Analysis
- Select The App's Title With Purpose
- Write A Compelling App Description
- Design A Great App Icon
- Choose Your App Screenshots Wisely
- Localization: Translate Your App Listing!
- Monitor App Ratings And Reviews
1. Lay The Correct App Store Optimization Strategy
Depending on the app store you are trying to grow on, there are different elements you should be optimizing for ASO. Here are the points of differences to note as you begin crafting your ASO strategy for the Apple App Store and Google Play Store:
|Google Play Store||iOS App Store|
|App Icon||App Icon|
|App Title||App Title|
|Long Description||App Description|
|Short Description||App Screenshots|
|App Screenshots||App Preview Video|
Once you know which factors to concentrate on, it's time to understand your audience. You must understand their search habits, such as which keywords and languages they use when searching for apps in the app stores.
2. Conduct Keyword Analysis
Distill the main features of your apps and their descriptive synonyms to know which are relevant to you. You can use app store optimization tools to know the most suitable keywords for apps in your category.
The main steps in the keyword research process include the following:
- Brainstorm a long list of keywords suitable for your app.
- Look for keyword suggestions and create combinations of different keywords.
- Find mid and long-tail keywords.
- Do a competitive analysis to know for which keywords similar apps are ranking.
- Analyze traffic and difficulty of your selected keywords.
- Add the best-performing keywords to your list. There are some fields in which the most relevant keywords should be included, such as app title, short description (Google Play), long description (Google Play), subtitle (iOS), and keywords field (iOS).
3. Select The App's Title With Purpose
App title is an app's short recognizer. Hence, it needs to communicate the most essential aspects of your app in a catchy and memorable way.
Apps having the target keywords in their titles have a stronger likelihood of high ranking. Your app title should be unique, convincing, and easy to read, along with being optimized with high-value keywords, but you are limited to only 30 characters. The app title even gets truncated in search results, so try to optimize the few words and characters of your app title to its fullest.
4. Write A Compelling App Description
App description should summarize the purpose and functionalities of your app. Avoid keyword stuffing or irrelevant use of keywords in the app description, as it is unappealing for users and can damage your app store ranking.
Ensure your app description is genuinely informative, easy to read, and understandable. Use bullet points and emojis to make it more reader-friendly.
You need to describe your app well by answering the following:
- What does your app do?
- What problems can it solve?
- How will it make users' life easier?
- What makes your app different from competitors?
- Why is it worth the price?
Read more: 6 Tips To Write Perfect App Title & Description On Play Store
5. Design A Great App Icon
The goal of your app icon is to differentiate yourself from the competition, catch users' attention, and convey what your app or brand is about. Along with your app's title and rating, the app icon is the only element that is displayed at all costs in the app stores.
6. Choose Your App Screenshots Wisely
App screenshots are critical for conversion rate optimization. You should tell a visual story to your users with them: the need your app addresses and how it does so easily and intuitively.
Ensure you abide by the guidelines for dimensions and layouts for Google Play Store and Apple App Store screenshots.
Stay tuned for our complete guide on app screenshot guidelines and tools for app store optimization this month.
7. Localization: Translate Your App Listing!
If you want to reach new users across different locations, then app localization will play a huge role in your app store optimization strategy. App stores allow you to post your app listing in different languages so you can reach the widest possible audience.
You should translate all the written elements of your listing, including the screenshots or video previews you may have included, to reach as many local audiences as possible.
Read more: The Definitive Guide To App Localization 
8. Monitor App Ratings And Reviews
Most prospective downloaders read at least one review before installing or purchasing an app from the app stores. Positive app reviews and high app ratings are critical for click-through and conversion rates. The higher your app rating, the higher your app will rank.
Reputation management tools like Statusbrew can help better take care of your app store reviews with minimal time and effort. Statusbrew allows you to manage, track, and analyze your reviews from Google Play Store, App Store, Google My Business, and more from a single dashboard.
Here's how Statusbrew can help you to manage your app store reviews:
- Respond to your user review quickly by getting notified of all incoming reviews.
- Understand your user's emotions at a scale using AI-powered sentiment analysis.
- Automatically route reviews of a particular category to a particular inbox/team member.
- Keep track of all your users posting reviews across platforms using inbuilt CRM.
- Auto-assign reviews to different team members for quick response.
- Collaborate with your team members in real-time from the same dashboard to handle user queries quickly.
- Get in-depth brand reputation insights.
Book a free demo today to learn how we can help! 👇
Top 3 Tools For App Store Optimization
AppTweak is one of the best app store optimization tools with an innovative user interface. You receive an instant list of all the improvements you need to make to increase your ASO score by simply adding your app.
Features: Support for 60 countries, personalized reports, keyword selection, and competitor tracking and comparisons.
2. Sensor Tower
Sensor Tower is not only an ASO tool but also an app store intelligence and search ads intelligence platform. You can see exactly where you and your competitors stand in a few clicks. Its keyword translation feature translates your app keywords into multiple languages to increase app downloads in other countries.
Features: App ranking, keyword translation, keyword optimization, download, revenue estimation, and competitor tracking.
3. App Annie
App Annie is an app analytics and app market data tool for developers and marketers. It delivers the most trusted app insights and data for your business to succeed in global app stores.
Features: Keyword tracking, competitor tracking, advanced search filters, and keyword rankings analyses.
Bonus Tool: Statusbrew
Statusbrew is a review management tool that allows easy review management from Google Play Store, App Store, Google My Business, and more from a single dashboard. You can collaborate with your team members to quickly resolve customer issues and get notified for every review so that you don't miss out on any.
Features: Review management, team collaboration, social media management, brand reputation insights, keyword moderation, and filtering.
App Store Optimization Best Practices
- Understand Your Target Audience And Competitions
- Update Your App Frequently
- Carry Out A/B Testing
- Track And Monitor Your ASO Efforts
Understand Your Target Audience And Competitions
A perfect ASO strategy emphasizes understanding how customers use your app and a deeper view of the competitive landscape. Here are a few questions you must ask yourself before launching your app in the app stores:
- How will your target audience describe my app?
- What is the common language of your target audience?
- Do you have any competitive advantages?
- What can be the top reasons to download and use your app?
- What are the targeted keywords of your competitors?
- How will you compete against similar apps based on the exact keywords?
Consumer research is one of the best ways to find optimal keywords. Likewise, surveying the keywords used by your competitor apps will help you determine different variations of the exact keywords.
Update Your App Frequently
Even if you have the most attractive app with all the top features entailed, it will not succeed if you don't update it regularly.
Apps that have not been updated for a long time become outdated, and such apps might not adapt to the latest devices or versions. Fixing bugs and errors also requires frequent updates from time to time.
Carry Out A/B Testing
If you want to give a boost to your app downloads, you have to A/B test your app listing elements and find out where the greatest conversion rate comes from.
Test your visual assets first (icon, screenshots, and video), as they are the ones responsible for attracting most of your users' attention. If you A/B test all the elements of your app at the same time, you won't be able to understand the most effective one.
Track And Monitor Your ASO Efforts
To know if your ASO strategy is showing results, you must monitor the most important KPIs such as keywords rankings, organic downloads coming from ASO, Top Charts rankings, reviews, ratings, and revenues. Learn what's working well and what can be improved. Keep in mind that ASO is a never-ending cycle, so there is always enough room for improvement.
Read more: 8 Key Mobile App Performance Metrics You Should Track
App Store Optimization Checklist
- 30 characters max for Apple App Store and 50 characters max for Google Play Store.
- To ensure the app title doesn't get truncated in search results, limit it to the first 10-12 characters.
- A short summary of your app with relevant keywords. It appears below the app name.
- A subtitle can be up to 30 characters long in the Apple App Store, and short description text can have a maximum of 80 characters in the Google Play Store.
- 250×250 px for Apple App Store and 512x512 px for Google Play Store in PNG format.
App Store Keywords
- Keywords make app store search results more accurate.
- Up to 100 characters in App Stores.
- Google Play Store determines keywords from the app description. So specific keywords are not required.
- App description details your app's features and functionality.
- Up to 4,000 characters in Google Play Store and Apple App Store. About 255 characters are displayed before "read more."
- Only 2% of users ever click "read more." So, you have 252 characters to make your pitch convincing enough for someone to download.
- Use relevant keywords where they logically make sense in the app description.
- Highlight the features and functionality within the first 2 to 3 attention-grabbing paragraphs.
- Add your contact or support details at the end of your descriptions so your users can find all the necessary information about your app in one listing.
- Up to 5 screenshots in the Apple App Store and up to 8 screenshots in Google Play Store.
- Only the first 2 to 3 app screenshots are displayed in the gallery view, so choose them carefully.
- For Apple App Store, select 1 (or 2 if necessary), and for Google Play Store, select 1 app category.
- A URL with support information for your app. It's visible on the app store.
Promo Video (Google Play)
- Displayed before your app screenshots. Users can watch your app's promo video by selecting the Play button that overlays on feature graphics.
- Keep your promo videos short (about 30 seconds to 2 minutes) and focus on the most compelling features first.
Ratings And Reviews
- Your app ratings and reviews serve as social proof for future users.
- Respond to both positive and negative reviews promptly and take negative reviews seriously to resolve their issues.
Get Started With ASO Now!
App store optimization is vital for exposing your apps to new users. And by now, you even know how to hit user acquisition out of the park from the top app store optimization tactics.
Remember: you really need to focus on improving your product to get featured by the app stores, enhance visibility in search and run tons of A/B tests to get the highest CTR and CR (conversion rate to download).
Come up with the best keywords for your app, A/B test your visual assets, and share a fantastic Promo Video to blow your potential users' minds in a few seconds!
Need help tracking your online reviews on Google My Business, Google Play Store, App Store, and more? Sign up for a free demo with Statusbrew today to learn how we can help! 👇
Statusbrew is an all-in-one social media management tool that supports Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and even Google My Business.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Here are some commonly asked questions about app store optimization:
How does app store optimization work?
App store optimization (ASO) helps to optimize your apps to rank higher in the app store's search results. ASO helps you optimize your app listings according to the specific app store so that the app store can find and show your app easily when a user searches for similar apps using relevant keywords.
How do you increase SEO on the app store?
Add keywords in your app title and description, use visually appealing app icons and screenshots, add alt text to your app screenshots, and improve your app ratings and reviews to increase SEO on the app store.
Why is ASO important for app growth?
ASO helps to increase your app's visibility in the app store, rank it higher in relevant search results and increase organic app downloads, thus impacting your app's growth.
What is the ASO strategy?
An ASO strategy consists of app marketing and growth tactics to increase an app's organic visibility and downloads in the app stores.
What is ASO analysis?
An ASO analysis involves combining resources and results to help strategize plans to improve your app's visibility inside an app store search engine.
Which is the best ASO tool?
Here are the top 3 ASO tools:
- Sensor Tower
- App Annie
If you're looking for a top app review management tool, then Statusbrew is the one for you.
How do I improve app store optimization?
Here's how you can improve app store optimization:
- Using focused keywords in your app title and description
- Optimize the app store listing for your keywords
- Make good use of screenshots
- Improve your app ratings and app reviews
What's a good way to optimize an app for the users?
Here's how you can optimize an app for the users:
- Build an app that solves real customer problems.
- Your app should add value to your customers.
- Use inviting images and visuals in your app.
- Remain engaged with your app users.