5 Essential Tips For App Store Optimization
App Store Optimization involves more than just changing your app's keywords and title. In order to help your app reach as wide an audience as possible, you must take into account multiple factors before the launch of your app. After all, a strong marketing campaign isn't one that's left on the back burner until a week before launch. You'll have to take multiple points into consideration from the very genesis of your app, making the marketing process one that begins and ends well beyond your traditional development cycle.
Here are a few tips for starting your pre-launch marketing and ASO campaign.
With millions of apps in both the App Store and Google Play, it can feel a little crowded for your app when you start considering your launch. There's an app out there for practically anything; with all that competition, what makes your app stand out? What makes you and your team unique?
If you can't answer these questions, don't expect users to come up with the answers for you. As amazing as your app may be, the average user doesn't have the time to delve through dozens of apps and extol their virtues to friends and family. It's up to you to find the unique nugget that separates your team and your app from others, and put that feature forward in your app's marketing materials.
As an added bonus, press and writers love it when you give them a compelling story to tell their readers. Taking the burden of storytelling off of their shoulders means they'll be more inclined to give you and your fascinating team/app a feature.
One common mistake made by developers small and large is to overlook marketing until a app is nearing release, or even released already. While it is important to focus on the quality of your app before it launches, don't let quality come at the expense of a solid marketing campaign. Word of mouth can only take you so far, after all.
But what if your app isn't ready to show off just yet? No problem. There's a lot more you can do beyond showing off videos or sending out pre-release builds of the app. You could, for example, begin a weekly blog, participate in social media conversations using relevant hashtags, or even start up a fundraising campaign. The important thing is to get word out there and make people interested in your app from as early a phase in development as possible.
You wouldn't want to spend months developing an app only to find out there was no market for it, right? Likewise, it would be crushing to pour your soul into your app's artwork, only for your audience to prefer another, completely different style.
Three of the most important items to test are your app's icon, screenshots and title. After all, these are the most public-facing elements of all, and testing them will give you a great idea of what your users are looking for. Do users prefer a short, one-word title, or a longer explanatory title that better describes the features of the apps? Would players rather click the icon with a soldier charging into battle, or a medic saving his teammates? Which screenshots and feature callouts do users respond best to?
You can bet your competitors will be conducting plenty of testing, so start testing early to avoid falling behind.
With over 65% of App Store discoveries occurring through search (and a similar number on Google Play), it is vital that your app rank for as many popular, relevant search terms as possible whenever a user searches.
Increasing your App Store and Google Play keyword ranking is the best way to get your app discovered organically. You will want to create a portfolio of relevant, highly-searched words and phrases which users can use to find you by. If your app is designed to track sports scores, for example, you would want to rank for terms like "sports", "live scores", "live scoring", "basketball", "football", "ESPN", etc.
The best way to increase your portfolio of rankings is to include relevant words in your title and keyword bank (or in the case of Google Play, title, short description and long description). By seeking out and targeting relevant words that are searched often, you can capitalize on the intent of a user in key moments, prompting additional page views and downloads from interested parties.
Betas and test launches can be great ways of discovering issues in your app before releasing it to the world at large.
Beyond their bug-fixing use, test launches can be great for establishing a community of loyal players before the app even goes live in most territories, creating hype and spreading word of mouth while you prepare for the big launch.
When your app launches in major markets such as the United States and China, you want as many users flocking to your app over the first few weeks as possible. Prepare for the worst by conducting your bug fixes in smaller countries, and simultaneously set yourself up for the best by having an installed base of users who are already passionate about your app.
And there you have it – five tips for a strong launch on the App Store and Google Play. First, outsource software development to build an app within your budget; then find the story in it, start marketing it, test your app's creatives, complete ASO and launch into a test market, and you'll be ready for a strong influx of users come launch day.
September 26, 2016
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