I have been doing a lot of research recently in trying to identify with the various ways by which one could promote one’s app in the most cost effective way. In fact in my previous post, I had covered a lot of things a growing App developer must take care of in order to get good traction during start. The App-store is a gold mine for App developers and there is no inquiring this fact. However the reality is that the money is eaten up by the big guys more often than not. It’s really difficult for a new developer to get his App rated in the Top 10 or even the Top 100. I agree it’s a must that one should build an amazing app, but many times having an awesome app doesn’t result in your app getting featured in the Top 10 if it doesn’t reach enough traffic. And for that for a new participant it’s important that he takes note of each and every thing that would boost the visibility of his/ her app and especially the ones that’s free.
There are various channels one could use in advertising one’s app. A research from Apptentive shows the percentage distribution of the various App discovery methods. The techniques of optimizing mobile apps so that it ranks higher. In the App Store it’s known as ASO or App Store Optimization. The increased visibility on the App Store results in increased downloads for your app.
What are the parameters that decide your ranking in the App Store and hence require an optimization tactic for?
Title – The title of your app contributes heavily on your ranking in the App store, in fact I would say it has the maximum weight. Hence, it’s extremely important that you do your research before deciding on the title of your app. You can always try changing the title with every submission of a newer version however I wouldn’t suggest you to keep changing your app title as your app would have got mentions at various places and constantly fiddling with your title might in fact lose you a few new users.
Keywords– This is an equally important component that determines your ranking in the app store for various search queries. I will cover in detail, the various techniques and tips on doing your Keyword research and optimal use of these keywords in your app’s metadata.
App Description – It’s extremely important to have a clear, catchy message in your app description not only because it gives you a better chance for getting rated for a particular keyword but also because once your app gets discovered people read your description along with viewing your screenshots and reviews before taking a call on downloading your app. The keywords in your App description might not have the same weight as the ones in the Title and the Keywords section of your metadata but it is important nevertheless.
App Ratings and Downloads – This is yet another factor that indirectly influences your ranking for a particular keyword. This makes it very important for you to consider getting yourself rated for keywords that does not have extreme competition from apps that already has raked in thousands of downloads and reviews. Here in, the recent velocity of downloads and reviews matter rather than historic numbers.
Key things to understand and follow in ASO:
ASO is not something that you do once and you are done with. If you think you can put in enough effort on a regular basis to do your research, optimize and track the results then I would suggest you to not waste your time on ASO. ASO requires repeated monitoring of the performance of your Keyword strategy and chopping and changing the ones that does not perform or get you rated for, reasons being any.
Localizing the metadata of your app is extremely crucial if you want to further improve your chances of downloads. This might be an extended topic to cover in one single post, however I would highlight the gist of it. One easy way is to hire someone on Odesk, Elance or Copify and translate existing keywords where required, however, such a strategy won’t always bring you the best of results. I would suggest you to use a mix of tools like Google Translate, Google Keyword Tools and Google Trends to get you an idea of the volume of traffic various keywords can generate. I will do a separate post in detail on Localizing App metadata.
Use some fantastic products out there in the market that does the heavy-lifting for you.
These are some fantastic tools that you could use to understand the rankings, search volume, traffic etc for various keywords/ apps on the App store. Few of them would require you to pay a monthly subscription for getting access to their entire list of features but I must say it’s totally worth it. I however use a mix of Straply, Xyo and SensorTower without paying a penny for getting my keyword research done! J
While choosing your keywords you need to keep in mind a few things. The important factors that should determine your keyword selections are:
Search Volume – Target only those keywords that has a high search volume
Competition – Target keywords that has less competition
Strength of your Competition – It’s also important to understand the strength of your competition. If there are a number of popular apps with thousands of downloads using the same keyword you are thinking of using, then it’s better to avoid those as it would be highly difficult for you to get in to the top few for that Keyword.
Let’s understand the way people search on the App Store. According to a study this is how the search would be split:
80% of Searches are “Category” or “Genre” type searches
5% are for specific app titles
5-10% of searches are Inspiration Searches such as “great apps” or “new apps”
The remaining 5% are transactional searches where the users are looking for a particular app function like “write notes” or “filters for photos”
The problem with trying to get a slice of the Category or Genre based search is that the competition is just too high for a newbie. Targeting search for specific app titles and feeding of them is somewhat Blackhat in a way. However it’s entirely up to you to decide the methods you use. It might give a few initial downloads which is crucial for a new app, we can debate if it’s ethical or not later! J However try and use apps that are in your same niche and share similar audience which would give you a better conversion ratio.
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