Beginner’s Guide for Mobile App Optimization
Have you ever wondered why your amazing app wouldn’t rank well in the App Store search results? Mobile app industry is growing at an unprecedented pace, but with a great business opportunity comes a huge competition. As thousands of apps are being uploaded to App Store and Google Play daily, it’s getting harder to get noticed and make sales on these mobile platforms.
At the same time just a handful of apps manage to get through the clutter and occupy first spots in the mobile apps ratings. What are their secrets?
One of the major marketing strategies to consider when releasing an app to a mobile platform is Mobile App Optimization, or App Store Optimization (ASO). It may sound like it’s very close SEO, and it’s partially true, but there are major differences.
This brief guide will help you assess your app’s appearance and enhance its performance on App Store and Google Play.
Why mobile optimization is key to winning the business?
App Store and Google Play are all about conversion, and these platforms rank apps based on downloads and engagement. It’s not enough to just show up in the App Store search results. When a potential user lands on your app’s page on a mobile platform, they see your app’s description, screenshots, videos and other types of data. Is your information convincing/engaging enough?
That’s when the mobile optimization comes into play – ASO not only allows you to attract visitors, but also reinforces these initial installs that will boost the interaction factors and will help your app get recognized.
What to consider when optimizing a mobile application?
As you are getting ready to release the next big hit on App Store, it is crucial to think strategically about things like demographics, your audience’s preferences and intentions, as well as competitors’ plans and performances. Let’s briefly discuss these two factors as they are determinant in how your app should be presented online.
Who is your audience? A successful mobile optimization strategy starts with a clear understanding of the target demographics. Things to consider here:
- What is your target audience looking for in an app like yours?
- How would they describe the app? If you have no idea what language they would use, it is helpful to set up a couple of focus groups to figure out how people will talk about an app like yours.
- Why would your audience download this app? What goals will your users accomplish using your app?
What are your competitors up to? It’s important to perform a competitor analysis to understand what marketing efforts are needed for your app to get noticed. Questions to think about:
- What distinguishes my app from competitors’ apps?
- What marketing strategies are my competitors using? Do these strategies succeed or fail to promote their apps based on their value proposition?
- What strategies can I copy and enhance for my own use?
Steps to mobile app optimization
Now that you have a solid understanding of the competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as your audience’s preferences, it’s time to map out some steps to successful mobile app optimization.
Keywords and search optimization
Google Play sees six million unique app searches monthly, according to AdWeek. So, one way or another, initial app downloads come from search results. Focus groups, interviews and keyword research using such tools as AdWords Keyword Planner will help you come with the right metadata description for your app. Here are a few tips on how to fill out metadata to make your app easy to find:
- The app’s name should immediately tell visitors what it does. It should fit into the screen – no weird cut out phrases allowed. Use the shortest name possible and check how it looks on different screens.
- App name, publisher name and app description should work together to attract visitors. This approach leaves you a plenty of room to play with keywords. For instance, you can choose a unique and creative name for your app, but use phrases that suggest the app’s industry, such as “automotive” or “gardening”, as your publisher’s name. It’s especially helpful for publishers who work within a single industry.
- Above the fold description of your app is really important – it’s what users will see when they land on the page. Just 1 or 2 sentences are set to sell your app. Make the description short and to the point. Under the fold description should complement and amplify your short pitch. Use keywords sparingly.
- And finally, localize your app’s description for different markets. An app for the U.S. and Venezuela audiences should have different descriptions.
Improving your app’s visual strategy is another step in the mobile app optimization process. Enticing visuals will make people want to download an app, which, in turn, will improve the rankings.
- Crisp and tasty icon that aligns with your app’s name and description will attract more clicks.
- Use screenshots and videos to promote your app’s key functionality. App Store allows 8 screenshots per app. Google Play permits 10 images to be used for app’s promotion.
- Think broadly about how to use those images – they do not need to be just straightforward screenshots. Companies get really creative in using these vertical images. Treat them as marketing materials that will communicate your app’s strategy.
External factors are the things that you cannot influence (in theory). These include backlinks, ratings and reviews. Here are a few tips on how to engage your users to get best ratings:
- First, don’t write fake reviews. They are obvious. Instead, gently ask your visitors to review the app – trust us, dedicated users will be happy to do that. Make the reviewing process easy to access from within the app and kindly remind your regular visitors to leave a note.
- Prompt users to rate the app when they are at some positive conversion point, for example, when they are about to make a purchase. This way you make sure you get positive rating, which affects your app’s performance on app store.
- How to get quality backlinks to your app’s page on Google Play or App Store? The tricks and tactics are pretty much the same as for the regular SEO. Use link marketing strategies that you would normally use to promote a website, but, in this case, point the links to your app’s page. Forum commenting, quality blog posts, reviews and news releases will affect your ranking. Please note that inbound marketing only works for Google Play market, as Apple doesn’t take link factors into consideration.
Lauren Tate is a Content Specialist for Cibirix, contributing a significant amount of content creation for our marketing clients. Lauren enjoys writing about lead generation strategies, successful content marketing strategies, how to increase mobile conversion rates, and tips for boosting SEO, among other topics. Her drive for success, coupled with her dedication to help organizations improve and grow their business, has helped to fuel her continued growth with Cibirix. In her spare time, she’s currently working on earning a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.