The Rise of Mobile Devices
The evidence for the ubiquitous nature of smartphones is everywhere. The number of worldwide smartphone users is projected to surpass 3.5 billion this year–one billion more than a mere four years ago. In 2018, Apple, the proprietor of the most popular smartphone on the market, became the world’s first trillion-dollar company.
In regards to their technical capabilities, the popular author and physicist Michio Kaku put it best: “Today, your cell phone has more computer power than all of NASA back in 1969, when it placed two astronauts on the moon.” Given the breadth of such capabilities, you might be wondering: what do most users spend the majority of their time doing on these devices?
As it turns out, roughly 90 percent of global smartphone time is spent using mobile apps. Apple’s App Store alone has more than 2 million apps available for download, while Google’s Play Store is closer to 3 million. With billions of users seeking out and downloading millions of apps, there has arisen a need for a new kind of search optimization: App Store Optimization, or ASO.
What is App Store Optimization?
Whereas standard SEO applies to search rankings in a web browser, ASO–also referred to as ASO Marketing or App Store SEO–is geared towards search rankings in a mobile app store (i.e. Google Play). App Store Optimization encompasses the same principles and strategies of standard Search Engine Optimization, but the importance of certain approaches and tactics differs between the two.
The overall goal of standard SEO is to increase rankings and visibility on search engines, with the intent of driving more users to a website to complete a conversion–be it filling out a contact form, purchasing a product or service, or signing up for an e-mail list. While the desired conversions for a website may vary, there is essentially only one conversion that is the end-goal for mobile app developers: getting a user to download their app.
As is the case with traditional SEO, ASO puts a heavy focus on understanding your target market and your competition. Some key factors that come into play when considering how to increase rankings in app stores include:
- Keywords. As the bread-and-butter of all SEO (along with content), keywords are enormously important in app store optimization. It is therefore crucial to seek out which keywords are being used by your competitors (apps similar to yours) and targeting the ones that drive the most traffic. Similarly to standard SEO, this involves weighing highly-competitive keywords with high search volume vs. highly unique keywords with lower search volume, and figuring out which method applies best with your mobile app.
- Title / App Name. It’s imperative to use highly relevant keywords in your app title. The challenge here is choosing a title that is both highly readable and informative to users, while also utilizing keywords effectively and without seeming too wordy or spammy.
- Description. The app description is an area where developers can expand on the title, offering more detail on the purpose of the app and its benefits. The description should employ strategic use of keywords and act as a call-to-action for users, enticing them to download the app.
- Updates. App stores view apps with regular, frequent updates as being of higher value than those that are not regularly updated. Providing steady updates also encourages existing users to revisit and reconnect with your app to see what improvements have been made.
- External promotion. Because more traffic equates to higher rankings, it is critical that your app be further promoted via external channels such as your website, social media, content, and advertising.
- User reviews. While this factor is decidedly harder to control than others, it remains of utmost significance. Apps with higher numbers of four to five-star reviews simply rank better in app stores than those without. Thus, it is imperative that developers entice users to provide feedback, and then respond to that feedback in a timely, civilized manner.
- Number of downloads. When utilizing highly-competitive keywords in the app store, those apps with the highest number of downloads tend to be listed first. This is why maximizing app downloads is the end-all goal for ASO. All other factors tie into this; strategically implementing the correct keywords, performing regular updates, promoting your app through external channels and encouraging users to review your app all result in more downloads, which in turn results in higher rankings, which leads to even more downloads.
These are just some of the many factors that affect rankings in app stores. In addition to these, it is also recommended that app developers utilize pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, as these are offered by both Apple and Google and can help boost app visibility. These ads link directly to the App Store or Google Play listing so users can quickly and easily download the app.
Why Altitude Agency?
As a full-service digital marketing agency, our knowledge and expertise at Altitude goes beyond run-of-the-mill SEO. As such, we recognize the value of a fully integrated, layered approach to rankings optimization, especially in the realm of ASO Marketing.
We’ve worked with a number of mobile app developers to devise effective strategies that not only provide results in search engines, but also in app store searches. In addition, we’ve successfully executed full-stack marketing campaigns, using content marketing, social media, paid advertising and more to drive consumers to download our clients’ apps and become lifelong users.
As effective as ASO may be, it is surprisingly under-utilized by most marketing agencies. That’s why now is the best time for ASO marketing! So if you’re a developer looking to boost your app’s visibility, rankings and download rate in a sea of millions of mobile apps, contact Altitude Agency today to get started.
The projected number of total smartphone users in 2020
The amount of time on smartphones around the globe that is spent using mobile apps
The number of apps currently available in the Google Play Store