Announcing the ASO Awards

Since its instantiation with the release of the Apple App Store, the field of App Store Optimization has grown tremendously, including the number of participants, complexity, and techniques for driving results. Since 2016, Phiture and Incipia have been devoted to studying the structural changes, pioneering new optimization methods, and helping practitioners navigate the growing field of ASO.

Not only that, but we have placed a special emphasis on sharing our learnings and educating the industry at-large, informed from our own experiences, conversations with fellow marketers, and through experimentation in our work. Beginning with blog posts and whitepapers, gradually these efforts took more substantial form in the ASO Stack framework and continuing on with the nearly 400-page Advanced ASO Book, which coincided with the creation of the ASO Stack Slack, a community for ASO marketers globally which has swelled to a membership of over 1,000. Most recently, Phiture and Incipia also launched the ASO Conference, with two events planned in 2019 in Berlin on May 22nd and New York City in early October.

Incipia and Phiture are now excited to announce the next step in our tradition of knowledge sharing: The ASO Awards.

The ASO Awards is an initiative designed to recognize app developers that demonstrate exemplary ASO, based on a set of objective criteria that evolve as the industry does.

The ASO Awards consists of two parts:

  1. A new framework to guide the tactical execution of App Store Optimization, distilled from best practices into a firm set of objective criteria.
  2. A tangible award that recognizes app teams who go above and beyond the competition to present truly top-notch ASO.
  3. Nominees and winners will be recognized on the ASO Awards website, and winners will also receive a commemorative glass engraved plaque.

Round 1 will recognize apps which have demonstrated exemplary screenshot design, with future rounds focusing on the implementation of other elements of ASO strategy such as video design, keyword optimization, and ratings/reviews optimization. The nominees for Round 1, Best Screenshots are now live on the ASO Awards website, with three winners of the following awards to be announced at the ASO Conference Berlin on May 22nd.

  1. Overall Best — decided via the highest combined judges score (ties decided via tiebreaker single vote by judges).
  2. Most Innovative — decided via vote by judges of the app with the highest score in the innovative sub-criterion.
  3. Crowd Favorite — decided via the nominee that earns the highest ASO Stack Slack community survey vote (ties decided via re-vote by the ASO Stack Slack community).

It is also important to note that the ASO Awards is not meant to be a closed-door ring of secret judging, where the criteria are opaque and winners are selected by subjective or suspect means. While the act of judging what can be inherently subjective elements such as screenshots does pose a challenge in building a stable consensus across many different viewpoints, we aim to solve for objectivity in four ways:

First, we will be transparent from the start with the criteria used for judging so that observers can see the same check boxes judges use to select the winners. Moreover, we will welcome your feedback in refining the criteria. As with any sustainable ASO strategy, the effort for determining the best criteria is bound to an iterative one, with an ever-evolving optimal criteria that tracks with the ever-changing nature of App Store Optimization. With this in mind, we appreciate your support in sharing the word about and participating in the ASO Awards, providing feedback on the criteria and the initiative, and your patience in allowing us to take in your thoughts and evolve the process.

Second, we have created two awards that do not require nominees to have the best score of the bunch, which could be influenced by having more resources, visibility, or years of expertise.

Third, for future rounds we plan to open up the nomination process to the ASO Stack community to crowd source new nominees, so that we can ensure diversity in the selection process.

Last, we pledge to hand-vet the judges for each round to select those who do not have any potential for bias that might cast doubt on the judge’s ability to remain impartial, such as judging one’s own clients.

The nominees include:

  • Bandlab by BandLab Singapore Pte Ltd.
  • Clash of Clans by Supercell
  • Lime — Your Ride Anytime by Neutron Holdings. Inc.
  • Pure, the hookup app by GetPure Inc.
  • Rover — Dog Sitters & Walkers by Rover.com
  • Ship — Dating made fun again by Connect LLC
  • StubHub: Event Tickets by StubHub, Inc.
  • Transit • Bus & Subway Times by Transit App, Inc.
  • YouTube Kids by Google LLC

The current criteria for Round 1, Best Screenshots are as follows:

  1. Messaging — this criterion focuses on addressing the screenshot’s ability to effectively communicate a reason or story strong enough to convert a user, which is primarily conveyed via text but can be supported by visuals.
  2. Legibility — arguably the easiest criterion to improve, this focuses on the screenshot’s legibility, which more often than one may think is a bottleneck to enabling the messaging to be properly received by the user.
  3. Innovation — the most challenging of the criteria and one of the more subjective, this criterion seeks to identify whether apps are able to push the envelope and get creative within the bounds of the App Store screenshot UX. Here, we will recognize those who continually redefine what it means to stand out as new trends become ubiquitous and lose their once-innovative edge.
  4. Design — another inherently subjective criterion, this assesses the visual best practices of the screenshots and works to provide a clear path to resolving issues in visual presentation.

We adopted a 3-point scale from -1 (poor) to 0 (neutral) to +1 (excellent) in order to make the process of judging many apps manageable, and to encourage decisiveness.

Again, our hope is that the criteria can be used and improved over time in part with your feedback, so that the framework can be a valued jumping-off point for ASO marketers to use in their process. While some criteria, such as legibility, may be an obvious fix, the purpose is to point out key opportunities, which if addressed can raise an app’s score, and ultimately improve an app’s ASO results.

Head over to the ASO Awards website to see the nominees for Round 1, Best Screenshots, and check out the ASO Awards channel in the ASO Stack Slack to provide feedback and cast your vote for the crowd favorite.

We look forward to hearing from you.

  • Team Phiture & Incipia