App Store Optimisation Guide 2022

App Store Optimisation Guide 2023

Table of Contents

How can you ensure your ecommerce store increases its business revenue and reaches its full potential?

Before I answer this question, let’s look at an interesting fact first. The mobile ecommerce industry is driven by shoppers using mobile devices to purchase goods and services.

The good news for small ecommerce businesses is the number of Smartphone users worldwide has almost doubled over the last six years.

According to Oberlo, in 2023, global e-commerce sales are expected to reach $6.3 trillion.

So, with every shopper jumping onto the mobile bandwagon, a mobile app is indispensable to your ecommerce store to reach its full potential.

You don’t need to rely anymore on printing materials or bulletin boards to promote discounts or special offers. Instead, you can use a mobile ecommerce app to market your products and services more productively.

What is App Store Optimisation?

App Store Optimisation (ASO), also known as Mobile App SEO and App Store Marketing, is a way of ensuring your ecommerce app fulfils various app store ranking criteria and jumps to the top of the App Store search results.

App store optimisation helps you increase the discoverability of your app on the major app stores. Google’s Google Play Store for Android devices and Apple’s App Store for iOS devices are the two major app stores.

One thing is evident: App stores are overcrowded. There are more than 8.93 million apps worldwide in the app market fighting for the attention of customers. With this kind of competition, you simply can’t expect luck to help your ecommerce app get discovered.

Why is ASO Important for Your App Growth?

As mentioned above, App Store Optimisation helps increase your app’s visibility.

With improved visibility, your app will have a higher chance of being found and get more downloads. Higher conversion rates mean you’ll have lower customer acquisition costs.

A well-optimised app can improve the user experience, which can lead to positive user reviews and higher ratings. This, in turn, improves your app’s chances of being featured in app store recommendations and top charts.

How Is ASO Different from SEO?

Let me quickly explain the main difference between ASO and SEO. In SEO, you rank a website or website content on a search engine. But in ASO, you rank an app in a specific app store. That’s the reason ASO is referred to as SEO for apps or Mobile SEO.

The web and the app stores are two totally different ecosystems. Hence, there are many differences between ASO and SEO. Let’s look at the main ones among them.

1. Goal

The primary goal of ASO is to get more organic downloads and lower UA (User Acquisition) costs of your ecommerce app. 

The primary goal of SEO is to get more organic traffic (shoppers) and grow your store revenue.

2. Focus on Different Ecosystems in the Digital Space

The focus of ASO is on the app stores for iOS and Android devices: Google Play Store, Huawei AppGallery, Apple App Store, etc.

The focus of SEO is on web search (both desktops and mobile devices). SEO can be done for search engines, such as Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo!, etc.

3. Investment (Budget)

Investing in paid marketing is very important for ASO. Making substantial investments in Google Ads, Instagram Ads, Snapchat Ads, Facebook Ads, etc., is highly beneficial. The more non-organic downloads your ecommerce app gets, the more visibility and organic downloads the app will get in return. This is known as Organic Uplift.

SEO is, however, independent of your advertising investment. Paid promotion has zero impact on your store’s organic visibility. The other thing is if you are interested in boosting your store’s SEO, you need to invest in backlinks, PR, inbound marketing, etc.

4. Optimisation

Since ASO and SEO are in different ecosystems, you’ll find that the optimisation process is also not the same.

ASO primarily involves optimising app metadata. This includes the app title, description, keywords, and visual assets like icons and screenshots. User reviews and ratings also play a crucial role.

On the other hand, SEO has a broader range of optimisation elements. This includes website content, meta tags, backlinks, and site structure. You also need to pay attention to technical aspects such as page speed, responsiveness and mobile friendliness.

5. Time to See Positive Results and Business Growth

The results of ASO are fairly quick. You can see a positive uptick in a matter of days or weeks. The results, however, depend on a lot of factors, such as your budget, industry, country, etc.

SEO is more complex than ASO. And unlike ASO, SEO is highly competitive. It’s not about simply building an ecommerce website.

You need to create unique content (URLs), get backlinks, engage shoppers, deliver a better User Experience (UX), and so on.

eCommerce SEO is, without a doubt, a long-term strategy. The results are slow, and most often, there may be none in the first few weeks/months.

6. Important Factors

In ASO, the two important factors are on-metadata factors and off-metadata factors. These factors don’t vary much for different app stores. Let’s take a quick look at them.

On-Metadata Factors:

  • Ecommerce App Name / Title
  • Subtitle / Brief Description
  • Promotional Text (Ecommerce App Store)
  • Visual Assets: Videos, Screenshots, and Icons
  • Keywords Field (Ecommerce App Store)

Off-Metadata Factors:

  • Ratings and Reviews
  • Downloads
  • Backlinks

In SEO, there are three important factors: on-page, off-page, and technical factors. Let’s take a quick look at them.

On-Page Factors:

  • Ecommerce Site Architecture
  • UX (User Experience) 
  • Content Quality
  • Content Optimisation (Text, Images, and Videos)
  • Responsive / Mobile Design
  • User Engagement

Off-Page Factors:

  • Traffic
  • Backlinks (quality, quantity, topic relevance)

Technical Factors:

  • Site Architecture
  • Site Performance
  • Accessibility
  • Crawl-ability

7. Tracking (KPI)

You need to track some critical ASO and SEO KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure the success of your digital marketing efforts. These KPIs are not the same for ASO and SEO.

The most important ones are:

ASO:

  • Keywords Rankings
  • Conversion Rate to Visit
  • Conversion Rate to Download
  • Featured Tracking
  • User Ratings and Reviews
  • Organic Uplift
  • Organic Downloads (Search)
  • Revenue

SEO:

  • Link Profile
  • Organic Traffic Keywords Rankings (Desktop and Mobile)
  • Revenue
  • Click-Through-Rate (CTR)
  • Bounce Rate, Time Spent Per Session, Etc.
  • Google PageSpeed

What Are the Benefits of ASO?

If there’s an App store you’re thinking of optimising, the following benefits will convince you to devote more time to ASO.

1. Get Your Ecommerce App in Front of Shoppers Looking for Your Products/Services

Relevance is utmost importance! You don’t want your app to be seen by shoppers who aren’t interested in your products/services. This is precisely where ASO steps in.

When you use the same keyword that your target audience is typing in or your app description explains everything that your app does, it’s so much easier to be found by the shoppers with the right intent.

Hence, optimising will work in your favour when you make your app easily discoverable.

2. Reach Shoppers Worldwide with Your Ecommerce App

ASO helps you take your ecommerce app global and outperform the competition. App localisation is an ASO process that will help you make your ecommerce app available in other languages. This way, you can get shoppers from all over the globe to discover your app.

3. Get Higher Organic Installs and Reduce Customer Acquisition Costs

The main benefit of ASO is that you can increase organic app downloads and bring down the acquisition cost of new customers. After optimisation, your ecommerce app will rank higher for different keywords.

With regular monitoring and optimising, the visibility of your app will improve, and the organic downloads will increase. As a result, your customer acquisition cost will come down as you’ll be spending less money on paid downloads.

4. More Profits

More visibility of your ecommerce app translates to more downloads. And more downloads means more customers for your store. More shoppers will, in turn, lead to more business. And more business will lead to more profits.

Remember, you are in business to generate higher revenue. The marketplace is relentless and unforgiving. The competition is fierce, too. So, you need to make a lasting impression.

5. Increase Brand Credibility

ASO helps in increasing the credibility of your brand. As your app ranks higher on the app store, it will instantly show up in the category of top ecommerce apps. Hence, ASO allows your app to rank faster. 

t builds the credibility of your app as well as your brand. Shoppers prefer to download apps that rank higher in the app store. Only a few shoppers would download an app that ranks at the bottom of the pile.

6. Cost-Effective Way to Drive Business to Your Store

ASO is a low-cost route to get higher ranks and more traffic. You don’t need to invest a lot of time and money to get your ecommerce app to the top position. You only need to implement the right techniques to achieve better results in lesser time.

How to Do App Store Optimization?

Optimising your ecommerce app to perfection is vital for getting a higher number of downloads. The following are the chief optimisation items you need to focus on and keep on improving:

1. Research Your Competition

In ASO, it’s crucial to understand the strategies of your key competitors. I’d like to emphasise the first step you need to take before adding your ecommerce app to the marketplace. Spend time on research. Nail down the right category for your app. The factors you need to consider when picking the right category include:

  • The popularity of the category (in terms of downloads).
  • How many competitors are there in your chosen category? 
  • How many apps are being consistently updated in your chosen category?

After picking the right category and adding your ecommerce app to the marketplace, you need to monitor the top-ranked apps in your chosen category. Check if there’s any change in their ranking when they add a new keyword or make any changes in their metadata.

Make an effort to rank your app for new keywords. Don’t wait for your competitors to make the first move. Also, track the ASO moves of brands that have a similar business model as yours.

Stay especially alert to apps that are using the same prime keywords that you are using. Narrow down your competitors’ list to five. The reason is it’s easy to monitor the ASO activities of just five competitors. 

2. Use the Most Relevant Keywords

Researching the top keywords for your target audience is an essential activity. You need to undertake this activity in all earnestness. Focus on pinpointing the keywords that potential shoppers are keying in.

Most often, they could be the very keywords that your top competitors are targeting. Matching your prime keywords with the needs of potential shoppers’ will help them find your ecommerce app on the app store easily.

Some important points to note:

  • Never use keywords that are unrelated to your app. Such indiscriminate use of keywords will penalise your ranking.
  • Use only one form of a keyword (either singular or plural).
  • Avoid using keywords that include the brand names of your competitors or the word app.

For analysing keywords, start with Google Keyword Planner. You can then migrate to a premium app store optimisation tool, such as Sensor Tower or Mobile Action.

3. Optimise the Title and Subtitle of Your Ecommerce App

The first thing that a shopper will see on the app store’s search listings is the title of your app. The title is a ranking factor on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store. And on the Apple App Store, the subtitle gives context to your app and adds further insight. 

Use keywords carefully here. Aim to incorporate keywords naturally, as this has the maximum weighting across all ranking factors. Ensure you’re creating a compelling and memorable name.

Including a keyword in your app title increases the chance of getting ranked by atleast 10%.

In the example below, you can see that New Look Fashion Online includes the app’s name, as well as its association with New Look, an established fashion brand.

New-Look-Fashion-Online-App
New-Look-Fashion-Online-App

Note: Keep an eye on the character count for your titles. While Google Play Store offers space for 50 characters, Apple’s App Store offers space for only 30 characters.

4. Optimise the Description of Your Ecommerce App

The description of your ecommerce app for both Apple, as well as Android apps is like the landing page of your online store. You’ve brought a potential shopper this far. Now, you need to close the deal and clinch the sale. Hence, the description of your app is a vital part of your ASO strategy.

You need to start by assuming that shoppers know very little about your ecommerce app other than its name. Think like how a shopper would think. Your description should answer the following three questions:

  1. What does your ecommerce app do?
  2. What specific problem does your app solve?
  3. How will your app make the shopper’s life easier?

According to StoreMaven, less than 5% of shoppers click the Read More button that is located just below the brief description on Google Play. On the iOS App Store, this number is even lower at only 2%.

Therefore, the value of every character in your short description is so obvious.

5. Include Striking Icons and Captivating Screenshots

Eye-catching visuals give you a definite edge in the ecommerce app marketplace. Pick an app icon that shoppers can recognise easily. Your icon needs to be memorable for your brand. Use distinct colours that none of your top competitors are using. This strategy is useful in eliminating any confusion that potential shoppers might have.

Most shoppers will take a good look at the screenshots of your ecommerce app on the app store first. Only then they will decide to download your app. Hence, you shouldn’t cut corners on these. I’d suggest you use multiple screenshots or at least as many of them as the app store allows you to upload.

Using a colourful template (as the Asda app below) will make your screenshots look not only professional but also aesthetically pleasing.

Asda-app

Don’t focus on the text too much. Try to highlight the visual features that indicate how your app offers more value to the shopper than its competitors. Don’t be afraid to test different screenshots. This could easily have a huge impact on your app store optimisation performance.

6. Add an App Preview Video

Adding a preview of your app as a video will give your prospective users an insight into what your app offers them and its value. You can upload a 30-second preview video in the App Store to catch your audience’s attention.

While creating this preview video, ensure that you add text overlays of important features as most people view videos on mute. 

7. Add Relevant Categories for Your App

App categories help users discover your app.

For the Google Play Store, you can add a category and up to five tags to your app.

While on the Apple App Store, you can add two categories to your app — a primary and a secondary category.

You need to make sure that the categories or tags that you add are the most relevant to your app. When the app store algorithm thinks that the categories you added fit the users’ needs, then it’s likely that your app will be shown in the search results.

8. App Ratings and Reviews

App ratings and reviews are crucial in App Store Optimisation. These factors indicate your app’s quality and popularity.

Hence, encouraging users to leave positive reviews and ratings is something you can’t leave behind.

Here are some tips to optimise app ratings and reviews:

  • Provide a well-optimised and excellent user experience
  • Respond to user feedback, address concerns, and show engagement
  • Don’t spam your users by asking for ratings and reviews too often
  • Ask for ratings and reviews following positive actions

9. Promote Outside the App Store

To do further App Store Optimisation, you can use other channels to promote your app.

Channels like social media, email marketing, or even your website help drive traffic to your app store listing and increase the chances of downloads.

If you have enough budget, consider using paid advertising campaigns to further boost visibility.

App Store Optimisation Tools

The main goal of ASO is to get shoppers to download your ecommerce app. An app store optimisation tool is very helpful as it plays a decisive role in the success of your app. You can use an ASO tool to make it easy for shoppers to find your app. 

In this app store optimisation guide, let’s examine some of the best ASO tools in the marketplace today.

1. AppTweak

AppTweak, a leading ASO tool, presents you with all the essential data and insights to increase the visibility of your ecommerce app. This tool can help you find new growth opportunities and boost organic downloads. 

AppTweak’s clients include PayPal, Udemy, LinkedIn, Expedia, Amazon, Yelp, Jam City, Big Fish, Adobe, and several other big brands. AppTweak is the simplest and most effective ASO tool you could invest in. I say this because, during the last 12 months alone, AppTweak has released more than 50 new features.

The top features of AppTweak include finding new keyword opportunities, researching your top competitors and monitoring the movement of your prime keywords. This ASO tool enables you to uncover fresh insights to drive your mobile ad strategy. 

Want to spy on the social media advertising strategy of your competitors? Or want to find the keywords that your competitors are bidding on? AppTweak can do them both in quick time.

The four pricing plans of AppTweak are:

  1. Starter: $69/month
  2. Pro: $99/month
  3. Guru: $299/month
  4. Power: $599/month

2. Mobile Action

Mobile Action helps you find the keywords that have high potential. You are probably aware that data intelligence plays a decisive role in ASO. So, any insight you can gain on your competitors will present you with a huge advantage. This tool enables you to spy on your competitors – you can see their prime keywords.

The main feature of Mobile Action is it reveals the top strategies of your competitors. You can then leverage this knowledge to enhance the performance of your ecommerce app. The point I want to make is when you have a better understanding of the strategies of your competitors, it’s easier to get a head start in the ASO game. 

The ready-made reports in the dashboard of this tool save you valuable time. You can have these reports delivered to you via Slack or email.

The three pricing plans of Mobile Action are:

  1. Startup: $49/month
  2. Growth: $299/month
  3. Business: $599/month

3. AppFollow

AppFollow, a do-it-all ASO solution, monitors the performance of your ecommerce app, its ratings and reviews, as well as its organic growth. This time-saving review management platform helps you acquire users organically.

AppFollow is an incredibly flexible tool that fulfils the requirements of ASO, product and support. This tool integrates the different areas of your app, making it easy for different teams to share a single tool and associated data.

AppFollow’s clients include Sony, Yahoo!, Hubspot, HBO, Zinga, Disney, JamCity, Comcast, Flo, Vevo, and many others. Keyword research automation, conversion rate benchmarks, ASO alerts in email and Slack, store performance index and competitors overview and analysis are some of the key features of this tool.

AppFollow offers two different pricing plans (Independent and Company). You can customise the plan based on the number of apps, responses to reviews, keywords and team members. You can also add other features to your subscription.

The pricing plans of AppFollow are:

For Startups – Growth: $55/month

For Companies – Advanced: $111/month and Pro: $399/month

4. Sensor Tower

Sensor Tower helps you develop a clear action plan customised to your ecommerce app to rank higher in search. You can discover new keywords using this app search optimisation tool and drive shoppers who have the intent to buy your products/services.

Sensor Tower presents the data and insights you need to master the Smartphone app ecosystem. You can understand the opportunities in your ecommerce niche, discover trends and drive growth. 

Sensor Tower provides you with personalised alerts when a competitor makes a new strategic move or soft-launches an app. You’ll get an insight into what’s working for your competition much before they do. With this tool, you can understand the mobile landscape better, scale your marketing faster and direct your product strategy with greater precision.

The pricing plans of Sensor Tower are not publicly displayed. You can, however, request a product demo by filling out their Contact Us form.

5. App Radar

App Radar makes starting with ASO and growing your ecommerce app a breeze. You can also use their database of 25 million+ keywords to find the best ones for your brand. The main advantage of this app store optimisation tool is you can get started anytime by choosing only the features that fit your needs. 

App Radar’s client list includes Wargaming.net, Mixvibes, Meister, Kolibri, iTranslate and Arise.

App Radar’s free ASO tutorials teach you how to do ASO yourself. And you can quickly put everything you learn into practice. This tool helps you in finding the most relevant keywords for your app, as well as tracking your app store rankings.

App Radar offers a flexible pricing plan. Whether you’re interested in just the keyword research feature or a comprehensive management platform, you can find a plan that matches your needs and budget. You can then upgrade as your business grows.

The three pricing plans of App Radar are:

  1. Starter: $39/month
  2. Advanced: $69/month
  3. Expert: $129/month

6. AppFigures

App Figures is one of the best ASO app rating and review tracking platforms for app developers. This app converts powerful data to easy-to-understand insights and is trusted by agencies, app developers, and marketers. 

AppFigures can be integrated easily into apps on the Google Play Store. The app tracks downloads and sales, reviews, app usage, ranking, monetization, and more. 

Another great feature of AppFigures is that the data can be integrated with other dashboards and exported to various formats. 

The app provides a 14-day free trial for users to try and make their decision. The pricing is as follows:

  1. Connect: $7.99/month
  2. Monitor: $35.99/month
  3. Optimize: $119.99/month
  4. Grow: $299.99/month

7. ASOdesk

ASOdesk is an ideal app to increase your app’s visibility and accelerate business growth. Along with app store optimisation features, it also comes with competitor research tools, reply-to-review automation, and more for the apps in App Store and Play Store.

Some of the key features ASOdesk provides its users are top charts and analytics, store console, and automation of replies and reviews. 

The pricing of the ASOdesk is as follows:

  1. Pro: $39/month
  2. Guru: $129/month
  3. Power: $189/month
  4. Ultimate: $349/month

App Store Optimisation Checklist

Follow this 9-step ASO checklist to ensure your ecommerce app gets the maximum visibility:

  1. Work out a clear-cut app store optimisation strategy.
  2. Analyse your competition.
  3. Be meticulous in your keyword research.
  4. Target high-volume keywords that are most relevant to your ecommerce niche.
  5. Create a unique, captivating app title making full use of title tags.
  6. Write a description that emphasises the core features of your app using high-volume keywords.
  7. Use engaging screenshots and video clips to highlight your app’s functionality.
  8. Target the top geo-markets for your app.
  9. Manage the reviews and ratings of your app.

If you liked this detailed blog post, you might also want to read the following informative blog posts:

Ecommerce SEO Guide: In-Depth Coverage [2023]

Optimise Your Ecommerce Site for Image Search: A Detailed Guide

Your app store optimisation strategy starts with these points. The points outlined in the app store optimisation guide are just the basics. The ASO race is much more complex and competitive than you can imagine. It’s demanding and time-consuming.

 

If time is a constraint, Contact us for data-driven ASO solutions.

Medha Dixit
medha@digitalchakra.co.uk

Medha Dixit is an eCommerce SEO Consultant and Founder at Digital Chakra, a UK based Internet Marketing Company, focused on helping small & mid-sized eCommerce Businesses rank higher in Google's Organic Search Results. Medha is a Computer Science Engineer and an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, India's Top Business School. She considers herself to be a sponge, absorbing knowledge whilst also constantly striving to build & improve. Medha has helped clients in UK, India, and US generate millions in revenue through SEO. Say hello on LinkedIn or feel free to drop an email at hello@digitalchakra.co.uk.

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