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In July 2015, over 1.6 millions apps had entered Google Play populating the Store and raising the challenge for individual apps to make a mark and attract attention. Forrester Research released survey stating that over 60% of the onliners came to use apps by browsing through app stores like Apple App Store and Google Play Store. This cements the app-stores as the prime location for publishers who intend to grab a chunk of downloads for their apps, amidst the predicted 226 billion app downloads of 2015.
Introducing App Store Optimization
App Store Optimization (ASO) is the system of optimizing your app-store listing in order to increase your ranking on the search results. ASO is the app-sister to the web-SEO. Aimed at bringing in more head-counts and eventually, higher downloads, acing ASO implies increasing the impact of your app substantially.
Criteria for Higher Search Rankings
Though there are differences in the way in which Google and Apple App Stores decide their ranking, both of them have common grounds on the following points—amount of downloads, regularity in downloads, reviews and ratings, and uninstallations.
Amount of Downloads
Tom Cummings, a blog-writer at Fiksu pointed out that the number of downloads play a major role in deciding where your app will stand in the hierarchy of app store.
Through his conversations with app-entrepreneurs, Rahul Varshneya (Mobile Product Strategy Consultant) unfolded 25 ways to promote your app: product video, making it to the app review sites, sharing of content, creating a micro-site and a teaser-site, blogging your app through target audience and winning awards in the virtual world (like The Mobileys and Kiip Build Fund) among others. Once you have implemented the general promotion tactics, ASO will become the last few final touches on a sculpture that makes it a masterpiece.
Regularity in Downloads
An increase in the number of downloads regularly is directly proportional to a heightening of your rank on the search list.
Reviews and Rankings
The cycle of an app in the store reaches its Judgement Day with the feedback received by the users. The app must have lines of communication where the users can apply their reviews. Create notifications requesting your customers’ rating and reviews. Even a small bug on your app feedback could turn into a battle-lost with a series of negative comments – so, make sure you pick out any bugs as soon as possible (it is advisable to run the Pilot App Move: a 50-user test run before publicizing the app).
A lot of users taking off your app from their phones is reflective of the poor experience they have had with your app. To avoid this, be precise while describing your app: this will give the users the correct idea of what to expect. Also, pitch in for the mobile app testing.
Here are four factors that will tell you the purpose of following an ASO schema. By executing a strong ASO operation, you will be able to indirectly climb up the app store search results.
The Cardinal Rules of ASO
Rule 1: It’s all in the name!
When you are naming your app, make sure the name exhibits what you are selling. For instance, for dog-lovers who are looking for an app on dog-care, they will search for ‘dog care’.
Keywords are the potential words that your users will enter while searching for apps. The focus keywords will decide how many users are going to even enter your app-shop. Imagine the app-store as a mall and the apps as individual shops: how do you get people to come to your shop? In the virtual app-store, your title will decide your face.
Through comprehensive keywords research, understand which words will be used to look for your app and then decide on a name. This is exactly what All Pets Radio and Pet Acoustics do. Any pet-owner looking for tips and tricks are bound to come across these. Ensure that you do not heavy the title with too many keywords. Check out the following keyword research tools: App Annie, Search Man, Sensor Tower and AppTweak.
Rule 2: Matches Are Made In App Store with Your Profile Page
The first impression of your app is given through your profile page. Customers spend approximately 15 to 30 seconds before making up their mind about your app. This time is spent on: your description, number of downloads and 5-6 top reviews. To shift users from visitor-zone to customer-zone, you need to create a perfect description along with catchy screenshots.
Start with 255 characters to define your app: the intention must be to showcase value of the app and also, make this a personal experience (by appealing to the user-sentiments). Check out EverythingMe Launcher: their description reads: “EverythingMe is a Contextual Launcher™ that delivers everything you need from your phone in just one tap.”
Don’t upload your app’s screenshots without an accompanying description: this is akin to uploading your photos on FB without any profile details – while looking good definitely gives you points, the real deal is the brains: in showing what you believe and stand for. While choosing screenshots, choose the ones which give the user a hands-on experience of what it would be.
Rule 3: Customers Rule! Get The Thumbs-Up from Third-Party!
Every visitor who downloads your app is hanging your app by the thread which could swing into a positive or negative comment. Encourage users to give ratings through different channels: social media networks (Twitter, FB) and push notifications for reviews (after at least two times app-use). For starters, you can invite friends and family to download and rate it.
A negative comment is your opportunity to show how you value your customers. It is ideal to respond within 4 hours of the comment-posting. Make it a point to address the bug and if the issue is recurrent, write a blog and post your intended response to it. Open ways for your customers to reach you: mail or FB page and other social media channels. If possible, open a quick-forum online where they can discuss your app. This will allow for the negative reviews to receive appropriate attention, allowing the users to give you positive reviews later.
ASO is the fertile soil to your App-Harvest!
ASO is the framework within which the worth of your app will be revealed. You might have an awesome app but without a strong ASO score, your app is liable to be invisible in the crowded App Store.
ASO is a consistent and carefully planned task. Starting from the use of keywords in title to daily follow-up on the customer reviews, every move will determine the number of downloads you will get. Uploading newer screenshots, a blog and opening qForum (quick-forum) are some ways to increase your ASO range.
Since ASO is a field in development, you stand the chance to start new trends. On 30th July 2015, Ashley Collins, a writer with The Huffington Post remarked on the importance of the preview video by adding the need to “have an ASO professional advise and direct you in this important tool, the creation of a video”. 20-second videos which start with “What is DogCare to us?” followed by a series of 2-second description by members: “Passion”, “Love”, “Fun and Work”, “My Bruno”, “Care at home” mixes sentiments and disciplined work in a balanced manner. Check out Elevate – Brain Training‘s 30-second intro-video to get a taste of the trending news on ASO.
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