App Store Optimization (ASO): 10-Step Audit
About the author
Bart Stemkens is a growth advisor for tech startups. He loves building online businesses and bringing them to live through bold ideas.
Given the millions of apps that can be found on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store today, the probability that your app will be found without any form of user acquisition strategy is very slim.
This means that you have a lot of competition to tackle. Even if your app is the best one among all, it wouldn’t be as successful without its downloads. For users to download your app, they need to come across it. This is where App Store Optimization, or ASO, steps in.
Conducting an ASO audit can help you feel confident about your app retaining and increasing its visibility.
Most users will download an app after searching for it, making App Store Optimization a very important strategy for all apps.
Your app’s ranking will depend on the number of downloads you experience. Without a proper ASO strategy, there is a lot of organic traffic that you would be losing.
What is ASO Strategy?
Put simply, ASO marketing is the strategy you need to use in order to increase your app’s organic visibility in the Google Play Store or App Store.
Users who find your app after organically searching for it are the users who engage with it the most. To acquire your target users who will search for your app, you need good ASO tactics that will lead to higher visibility, and this can be done in various ways.
Why is ASO Important?
Because of the competition being faced by app developers, they cannot target growth by only depending on their app’s quality.
ASO helps you increase the organic visibility of your app, making it easier for users to find it and encouraging them to download it.
What is ASO Auditing?
ASO auditing is when you analyze various factors that point to your app’s visibility, such as your app indicators, your competitors’ apps, what keywords work, who is getting more positive reviews, and so on.
How To Conduct An ASO Audit Step By Step:
In today’s app market, you don’t have to create an app that is original or even something extraordinarily useful. Your app’s visibility will determine your app’s success, and the best way to increase your visibility is through ASO auditing.
In this article, we will share the 10 steps required to conduct a full ASO audit for your app, which will lead to an increase in your app’s visibility, growth and overall conversions by using ASO tools such as Mobile Action.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
1. Identify Your Audience
The first step you want to take is understanding your audience. This helps you see your app from a third party’s point of view, making you determine why they search for your app and which keywords they would use to search for it.
A Keyword Tracking page will help you track generic keywords for your app, which are most usually associated with the category of your app, such as Business or Travel.
This will help you see where you are in the competition with other apps. Another good way to locate keywords is by analyzing your Search Scores and Chance scores.
The search score will help you track the search volume of any keyword, and the chance score will help you determine the possibility of ranking in the top 10 for any keyword. When it comes to keywords, make sure to target them with high search and chance scores so you can generate higher organic visibility.
2. Analyze Your Competitors
The second step of your app store optimization audit is to check out the Category Rankings that help you discover your competitors.
After you’ve established your target keywords, you can use them to discover the apps that use these keywords by discovering more competitors.
Being one of the most important steps of ASO auditing, analyzing your competitors will help you understand your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses so that you can undertake the strategies that have proven to be successful, and dismiss the ones that have failed.
3. Optimize Your Keywords & Graphics
After you’ve collected about 10-20 keywords, you can start writing your metadata. The factors that affect your rankings will greatly differ in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
In the Apple App Store, you will need to index your title, subtitle, and keyword list. Whereas in Google Play Store, you will have to index your title, short description, and long description.
There are also some differences in the character limitations in these app stores. In any case, it’s good to take advantage of both spaces to leverage as much data as possible.
Through Keyword Optimization, you can oversee your keyword pool, existing metadata, including your competitors’ metadata in a single page which makes your decision process so much simpler. You’re also able to try out various versions of your new metadata.
When you are writing your metadata, try to prevent yourself from using too many keywords. You need to make sure that your metadata is meaningful yet short and cohesive. You can do this by prioritizing the most important keywords in your title and leaving the ones that increase difficulty in the keyword list for iOS and long descriptions for Android.
For your graphics, you want to make sure that it is representative of your app’s brand. An icon is very important for your app because your target users will learn to associate your app with it.
Try to experiment with your logo’s background color, fonts and sizes. Using A/B testing will be of great help in making you decide which is the best option.
4. Optimize Your Screenshots
Screenshots form a part of your Creative assets, which are vital to your app’s success. Since it’s usually one of the first impressions that is left on your target users, you want to make sure you’re optimizing your screenshots as best as you can.
When designing your screenshots, you should try and mirror your user experience. Whether you use vertical or horizontal screenshots will depend on how you will want your users to use your app. Overall, the screenshots should help you tell your app’s story, which will help attract new users.
Your app icon and screenshots should be aligned with one another. It is recommended that you use screenshots with smartphone mockups, along with a short promotional text of how your app can benefit potential users.
You can also switch landscape screenshots with portrait ones. To experiment further, you can also add a video in place of the first screenshot.
5. Analyze Your Click-To-Install Conversion Rate
A number of factors can play a difference in your click-to-install conversion rate, including texts, graphics, ratings, popular reviews, traffic quality.
To calculate your mobile conversion rate, take the number of conversions and divide that by the total number of app visitors. According to research, most mobile apps have a 1-2% conversion rate on average, so if you reach anything above 2%, you should see it as a strong conversion rate.
Your conversion rate can also vary according to each traffic acquisition channel you use. It is one the most challenging steps of ASO, but it holds immense potential in fostering the highest download rates.
6. Study Your Reviews
If you gather positive reviews and ratings, these are crucial to the algorithm and your app’s ranking as it is still seen as being relevant. So, it’s crucial that you plan a good review and rating management strategy.
To get an overview of reviews and user opinion for any app, you can use the Most Mentioned Keyword Analysis in the Reviews feature.
7. Analyze Your User Churn Rate
Analyzing your user churn rate (the rate of users who uninstall or stop engaging with your app) can help you understand your users and why they use your app, retain older users and track your competitors’ activity.
You may notice that your churn rate will increase when your competitors launch promotions, discounts, or updates, until you come up with new features that tackle that competition.
You can calculate your churn rate by dividing the number of churned users by your total number of users, even though your result may be affected especially if you own an app with a much larger user base.
8. Keep Re-Optimizing
As much as you have tried to perfect your ASO strategy. Since algorithms and competitor actions are constantly changing, you need to make sure that you are planning for long-term success by treating your ASO as a process that is always developing and keeping up to date with the latest updates and trends.
The App Update Timeline lets you track changes in your competitors’ actions and how successful their latest tactics have been. A Custom Alert can be created to help you stay alerted about the updates that are being made by your competitors as well.
9. Optimize Your Long Description
After getting your app seen by your target user group, you need to encourage them to download it. This is where your long description comes in, as it will be what your users tune into and so act as a huge contributor to your conversion rate.
Especially in the Google Play Store, your long description gets indexed so filling it with appropriate keywords is your best bet. The Keyword Optimization feature helps you analyze long descriptions and compare it with your competitors as well.
The main goal of your long description should be to draw attention to the value that your app brings to potential users, including details about what your app is about, what makes it original, and why it should be downloaded.
In the end, you need to make sure that your long description’s readability is easy and can engage with a general audience. The Google Play Store allows you to experiment with different formats by using features like bullet points or bold titles. If you don’t know what will work best, try doing a A/B test to play with different ideas and understand what attracts the most users.
In a few words, App Localization is the process of getting your app to fit in a certain language, culture and other factors of a specific country where you intend to have your app available.
In ASO auditing, App Localization means optimizing the important category ranking factors of your app, such as what keywords and visuals you’re going to use in your app profile.
Mobile App Localization can lead to more downloads in the App Stores belonging to other countries. This is because Google and Apple like to feature apps that are localized, which are guaranteed to provide users with a better experience.
It also helps your app rank higher in countries where English isn’t spoken a lot, as people may choose to engage with an app in their native language.
But it also helps with ranking in English-speaking countries, as there are significant differences in the keywords searched by users in the UK, US, and Australia.
App localization goes beyond simply translating your app’s metadata. It also includes adapting your creative assets to the culture of a particular market. This can be anything from images, videos or even the currency being used.
Taking all of these factors into account, it is safe to say that app localization helps boost your conversion rates and user engagement, helping you to grow your brand awareness on a global level.
The first step of localization for your app is internationalization, which means that your value proposition and app are not locked into a single language in order to operate. Your app can be coded in such a way that you can change the language without needing to overcomplicate it.
A good point to consider is to learn words and phrases used by the people of the culture you are targeting so that you know you are expressing a certain meaning or feeling as best as possible. This can be easily accomplished by hiring a native speaker as a proofreader for the language you are thinking of adapting your app to.
All the steps that we’ve mentioned form a part of the checklist you need to conduct a full ASO audit for your app. Followed carefully, this ASO tutorial is guaranteed to make your app reach the Features tab of the Google Play Store or App Store.
To experience the full benefits of ASO auditing, try to be experimental. See what text and visuals appeal to your target user group, and notice any shifting trends that take place.
In this way, you can stay up to date with the latest trends and avoid having your app losing its visibility.
You may want to see which combinations of words, screenshots or banners work to attract the users that you seek.
For the App Store, there are a number of ASO audit tools including Mobile Action that you can use to help you with the process, such as Raise Metrics and SplitMetrics. These tools help you achieve the results you seek in a short amount of time, provided that you complete each step properly.
Need help with conducting an ASO audit for your app? Get in touch with us.