Why app store optimization is a missed opportunity

In a recent piece for AdNews, Sarah Di Mento, Australian Regional Director, discussed the benefits app store optimization provides and why brands and advertisers aren’t fully capitalising on the opportunity. Read Sarah’s piece in depth below and here:

Mobile app usage has grown 11% YOY in Australia, according to the Flurry State of Mobile Report. And whilst people are continuing to use apps more than any other medium, search is by far the most prolific method for discoverability. According to Apple, 65% of people are downloading apps through search.

What does this mean for marketers in Australia? If you don’t have App Store Optimization (ASO) on your radar, you should. Whilst there are other popular means of app discovery: media, word of mouth, and app discovery apps, search within the app stores is by far the most common.

Although Apple and Google’s algorithms denoting app visibility in the stores are veritable black boxes, there are a lot of best practices and tactics, which have been established through good old-fashioned testing and learning. Seemingly minor adjustments to titles, descriptions, keywords and visual listing elements are resulting in measurable improvements in visibility and uptake for apps in Australia.

With Apple’s Search Ads imminent launch in this market, optimizing your app listing will be increasingly important. Paid Apple Search Ads will pull directly from apps’ organic listings, and the strength of these consumer-facing assets will determine paid effectiveness.

Why ASO?

*In recent times, App stores have seen unprecedented growth. The Apple App Store saw a 40% spike in listed apps from June 2013 to June 2016. Specifically, it now boasts listings of over 2,000,000 apps. As of September 2016, the Google Play Store had over 2,400,000 apps listed.

*Looking ahead, nearly 270 billion apps are expected to be downloaded in 2017 across the globe.

At any one time within the major app store categories, an app will have hundreds of competitors in market, which is a staggering prospect for app marketers. As consumers’ attention is almost always above the fold, visibility against critical organic search terms is paramount. Enter ASO.

So where does one start?

To successfully optimise an app listing to increase visibility in the stores, app marketers should view ASO in two segments: keyword optimization for increased discoverability and storefront optimization for increased conversions. Focus on creating a test and learn plan for each respective app store to increase discoverability on your search result page. To convert users, focus on creating and portraying concise and enticing value propositions.

Don’t worry if you see a negative correlation between discoverability and conversion. A well-optimised app listing might increase discoverability, but it may also decrease conversions. This is not a negative result. Optimizing an app listing to set authentic expectations on the values of the features and functionalities of the app should result in higher quality conversions.

These are the main factors to consider when practicing ASO:

App Title: This is perhaps the most important feature. With a maximum of 50 characters, tell users what your app does in the most concise way, or you risk them moving on to the next.

App Description: Finding the balance between too much and too little information here is key. Don’t sell yourself short, but ensure you cover off all the important bits whilst maximizing your keyword count.

App Keywords: Choosing the right keywords requires understanding your market, your competitors and popular search phrases. Choose keywords that are relevant with high search frequency.

App Reviews and Ratings: We know that your app’s ratings and reviews have a significant effect on your ranking. Thus making the analysis of your reviews to gain insights a crucial step in ASO. Understanding how users view your app can give you insights, and help to identify key themes.

App Logo and Screenshots: Capture the user’s imagination with your logo and screenshots. Your logo should stand out from the crowd. And think of your screenshots as another space on which to advertise. They don’t necessarily need to be in app shots.

App Category: Choosing a primary and secondary category for your app is crucial decision that can lead you to the right user. It can also sway your app ranking depending on the level of competition in that category.

App Publisher Name: Users can search by publisher name and so you should consider tying in apps if you have more than one.

Minimise ATL Wastage

Outside of digital and mobile channels, ASO is also critical to maximizing ATL investment. For any brands with a ‘find us in the app store’ call to action across TV, out-of-home (OOH) and digital campaigns, there is serious wastage involved when the consumer obliges, and is presented with a competitor with superior optimisation.

So, App marketers, it’s time to get your houses (app stores) in order to remain accessible and relevant to your savvy mobile-first consumers.

If you have any question on this or more, don’t hesitate to get in touch