Optimising your app in app store does not have to be complicated. In this guide, you can find tips on how to improve your app downloads in the App Store. Only by having your app effectively optimised, you can then do the next step – implementing promotion and marketing strategies to further push your app traffic, downloads, engagement and conversion.

Let’s rewind. Does this story sound familiar to you? You took out your savings in hope to be the next app maker. You engaged third party developers, worked with project consultants, spent countless hours formulating your branding and positioning, commissioned some part timers for user testing and other 1001 things before your mobile app launched.

Yay or nay?

App-Marketing-Strategies-Promotion | www.santosomartin.com
How to market your app (Photo: BuildFire)

Having your app launched turns out to be the beginning of your worries. Yes, how can you make sure there will be downloads? How do you make people find your app easily? This complete guide to app optimisation in app store will give you some interesting lists for you to follow, so as long as you implement these, rest-assured your app marketing will be a breeze!

How to optimise your app store (ASO)

Optimising your app store is the SEO building blocks of your app. In fact, this step should be the priority prior to launching your app to the App Store or Google Play Store. If you have not done this carefully, it will limit the success of your app launch.

Optimise your app store title – step 1

You app store title is the first thing that people will see when they are searching for your app. A good app store title should be simple, unique, memorable, associated with your business branding as well as easily understood by your intended users. Try to snoop around your competitor app store title, research for app names, and test it by asking your close circle of friends, relatives and coworkers.

Optimise your app icon name – step 2

Your app icon name is the name shown below the app icon after you downloaded the app. Ask yourself whether it should be in a single word, multiple words, alphanumeric and so on. Does it represent the app? Does it confuse the user with other apps? Remember that app icon has limited character limit.

Optimise your app store description – step 3

Please remember to avoid “keyword stuffing” for your app store description. Another mistake is to simply add as much information as possible about what your app can do. All these will only give negative user’s experience. Simply tell how awesome and useful your app in the first few sentences (example: benefits, functionalities, features, incentives if applicable, and the like). Whilst the second part of information can be about your accolades and achievement that will convince your user to download the app and start using it.

Optimise your app category – step 4

There are about 25 different main category types in the app store. Main category for your app should be the representation of what your app is all about. Although app category is not as crucial as the other points above, but it will help your user to find your app within your intended category.

Optimise your app keywords – step 5

Keywords are the essential building blocks for ASO (For SEO building blocks, click here). App Store has its own dedicated section where you can insert the keywords. Try to do research and put yourself in your intended user’s shoes to come up what keywords they will be searching. It is advised not to include these when creating your keywords

  • plural words already used in singular form (i.e using “boys” if you already used “boy”)
  • names of category
  • the word “app”
  • duplicate words
  • unauthorised trademarked terms
  • celebrity related names
  • irrelevant terms
  • competitor app names
  • offensive or vulgar words

Optimise your app icon – step 6

App icon should be relevant and catchy. Your user will be attracted to app that has interesting or attractive icon, yes people are quite judgemental about this unfortunately. Work with your favourite graphic designer to come up with a good app icon.

Beautiful app icons | www.santosomartin.com
Beautiful app icons (Photo: Apple)

Take a look at these app icon guidelines set by Apple:

  • Embrace simplicity. Find a single element that captures the essence of your app and express that element in a simple, unique shape. Add details cautiously. If an icon’s content or shape is overly complex, the details can be hard to discern, especially at smaller sizes.
  • Provide a single focus point. Design an icon with a single, centered point that immediately captures attention and clearly identifies your app.
  • Design a recognizable icon. People shouldn’t have to analyze the icon to figure out what it represents. For example, the Mail app icon uses an envelope, which is universally associated with mail. Take time to design a beautiful and engaging abstract icon that artistically represents your app’s purpose.
  • Keep the background simple and avoid transparency. Make sure your icon is opaque, and don’t clutter the background. Give it a simple background so it doesn’t overpower other app icons nearby. You don’t need to fill the entire icon with content.
  • Use words only when they’re essential or part of a logo. An app’s name appears below its icon on the Home screen. Don’t include nonessential words that repeat the name or tell people what to do with your app, like “Watch” or “Play.” If your design includes any text, emphasize words that relate to the actual content your app offers.
  • Don’t include photos, screenshots, or interface elements. Photographic details can be very hard to see at small sizes. Screenshots are too complex for an app icon and don’t generally help communicate your app’s purpose. Interface elements in an icon are misleading and confusing.
  • Don’t use replicas of Apple hardware products. Apple products are copyrighted and can’t be reproduced in your icons or images. In general, avoid displaying replicas of devices, because hardware designs tend to change frequently and can make your icon look dated.
  • Don’t place your app icon throughout the interface. It can be confusing to see an icon used for different purposes throughout an app. Instead, consider incorporating your icon’s color scheme. See Color.
  • Test your icon against different wallpapers. You can’t predict which wallpaper people will choose for their Home screen, so don’t just test your app against a light or dark color. See how it looks over different photos. Try it on an actual device with a dynamic background that changes perspective as the device moves.
  • Keep icon corners square. The system applies a mask that rounds icon corners automatically.

Optimise your app screenshots – step 7

App-Store-Screenshots | www.santosomartin.com
Importance of App Store Screenshots (Photo: TestNet Blog)

Users will swipe through your screenshots to get a feel for your app. They will want to know what your app can do from the graphic point of view. This is where screenshots come to play. You can either take a screenshot of your app or get your graphic designer friend to create a fantastic looking graphics for you.

Optimise your app video – step 8

App video is a powerful tool to tell a story about your app offering / functionality. Try to provide simple walk through video of the app that helps give the idea how to navigate your app (from screen to screen). There are some app video maker app or website you can use to create this.

Optimise your app packages – step 9

If you are startup, maybe it makes more sense to boost download by providing FREE app. Also, if your businesses has loyalty program or simply intend to improve customer journey, it is advised to sell your app for FREE in App Store. You can choose to offer FREEMIUM, if you intend to make money when users reach a certain stage of usage (i.e. to unlock next level of a game, remove advertisement, and so on). Be sure to only sell PAID app if you believe users are wanting to pay for the functionality that your app provides.

Optimise your app international reach – final step

To get international reach, you need to study your user demographic and target market. It is also useful to have analytic tools to study about your app market. It is recommended to come up with the translated version of your app content / app itself for your international audience. There is little benefit to offer English based app for users living in a country where they do not speak English.

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