What is ASO in App Marketing | App Store Optimization guide

 App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of increasing your app’s visibility in the app stores so that it is in the top search results; it’s the mobile app version of search engine optimization (SEO). It’s crucial to note that instead of a one-time project, ASO should be treated as an ongoing process of testing and measuring updates to app store marketing assets with the goal of increasing visibility and driving more downloads.

A sound ASO strategy depends on two core components: discoverability and conversion. Targeted keywords help place your app in the top of search queries (discoverability) and strategic app store assets like your icon, description and screenshots improve the chances that prospective users will download your app (conversion).
With more than 65 percent of app downloads coming from organic searches in an app store, ASO is the foundation every marketer needs in order to acquire valuable new users. It’s also much more robust and strategic than many may think, comprising research, testing strategy and even some real creativity.
Why does ASO matter? The app market is one of the most competitive spaces in the world. And it’s crowded, with approximately 2 million iOS App Store apps and 2.5 million Google Play Store apps. Between the sheer number of apps and the skyrocketing costs of advertising, successfully acquiring and retaining users is more challenging than ever.
As an app marketer, your job is to cut through that clutter and get in front of the right audiences. Increasing exposure for your app helps increase downloads, boost store rankings and ultimately drive revenue for your business. ASO is crucial to your app’s long-term exposure, and particularly with the advent of iOS 11 and changes in the App Store design, you need a strategy that will capture attention both through search and iOS 11’s new emphasis on curation.
Finally, it’s important to be aware of just how important ASO is if you’re planning on moving into other markets. Just because your ASO strategy works in one market doesn’t mean it will in others. When you go global, you’ll have to not only localize to take into account language and cultural differences, but come up with an ASO strategy for specific regional or country markets.
Keyword Strategy With millions of apps available from the top app stores, choosing keywords that move the needle for your business is no easy feat. Your keyword strategy should neither exist in a vacuum or be static — it must be fluid and continuous, taking into account competitor and cultural changes plus the impact on your app’s ranking, downloads and revenue.
Competitor Research: Finding the best keywords means closely tracking and monitoring competitors. By analyzing how a competitor ranks for a specific keyword, or determining which other apps rank for your app’s keyword, the vendor can strategically select keywords to help your app rank higher.
Leverage User Reviews: One of the best ways to describe your app uses language from user reviews — their words may resonate better with prospective users than the ones you had in mind. Additionally, reviews can provide new cultural and geographic insights into certain user segments.
Ranking Assessment: Once you and your vendor have selected a group of keywords, it’s important to review how these keywords will impact your ranking. In addition to monitoring keyword impact on key performance indicators (KPIs), you and your vendor should also pay attention to other factors that affect ranking, such as download levels and download velocity
Keyword analysis is particularly important. Your vendor should create customized peer groups and compare across a number of keyword metrics including ranking, traffic share, search volume and difficulty. Keeping track across these metrics will allow them to easily identify changes in an apps’ ASO strategy. See for example how Hotel Tonight gained in traffic share for the keyword “Hotels” as tracked by App Annie’s Intelligence tool. This information helps to easily identify areas of opportunity for adjustments to be made within an ASO strategy so you don’t miss out on being at the top of search results.
Keep Tabs on Competitors Before selecting the categories for your app, you and your vendor should first research what your closest competitors are doing. This will help you determine the competition in that category and show how users are searching for similar apps. Choosing a less competitive category could improve discoverability for your app. In addition to the primary category, Apple introduced subcategories as part of its iOS 8 release, which divides the App Store into micro segments and allows developers to rank highly in specific fields. Yelp, for example, could be categorized in the cluttered Social Networking category or in Food and Drink (where its competitor Foursquare is listed). However, it’s also categorized in Travel, where it maintains a secure spot in the top 10.
App Categorization There are two ways to be ranked in the app stores: by category and overall. Every app publisher is responsible for choosing how to categorize its own app; it’s important to choose a category that is relevant to your app, but also one where you stand to beat the competition. ASO experts can help ensure that you have selected the right category. In the iOS App Store, you can choose a primary and a secondary category. The primary is most important as it’s where your app will be displayed in search results and the top charts. So how should you and your vendor choose your primary category? Here are some things to keep in mind: ► Where you believe your app naturally fits ► How target users will search for your app ► How competitor or similar apps categorize themselves
To improve discoverability, some publishers recategorize their apps to move into less-cluttered territory. For instance, in April, Twitter was recategorized from Social to News, effectively moving up to a top-ranked position. For iOS, publishers can select up to two categories for apps, and three categories for games. Remember to select categories that will be both relevant for your app, but not ones that are overly saturated. For Google Play Store, publishers can only choose one category for their app, so it is even more critical to choose carefully.

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