Back to school — Going Back to The Basics with ASO Tips That Will get You Extra Credit

The end of August is near and that means only one thing; summer break is out and school is in. The first of September always symbolizes a fresh start filling the air with the sweet smell of fall and bouquets of sharpened pencils. To celebrate the beginning of the school year we decided to “go back to the basics” and give you some ASO tips that will prevent your app from flunking out.

Knowledge is power

You’ll learn either the easy or hard way that ASO starts with you. In order to gain app discovery and downloads you need to know the fundamentals: your customers and competition.

The answers to this “quiz” will determine if you pass or fail

  • Do you know your targeted audience as well as you should?
  • Do you know the languages your audiences use?
  • Who are your competitors and what are they doing differently?
  • What makes your app better than your competitors?
  • Are you targeting similar keywords?
  • Why do people download your app?
  • Do you know how customers are using your app?

If you easily answered these questions, you must have a solid understanding of your customers and competition. If not, you may need to go back and do some extensive research. The more you learn about your audience and competitors the better your chances to target effective keywords that will generate large amounts of traffic.

Keywords are the key to popularity

When you think about keywords think about all the kids in school. You don’t need to be friends with all of them, just the ones you like or have common interests with right? Just like you do a bit of research before picking playmates you need to research which keywords will most likely lead users to your app page or which terms are important to your brand. How do you find these specific kids or keywords? By looking for the search queries that brought the most traffic to your app.

The following tools are available to help get you started:

It’s not enough to research which keywords get you traffic or which ones have high amounts of search volume. Determining which keywords your competitors are targeting will provide you with the knowledge to make educated decisions. Should you target specific keywords that focus on your value? Or, should you try competing with your competitor’s top performing keywords? Either way you need to have all the pieces of the puzzle before creating your ASO strategy.

Since we’re already on the subject of keywords, remember to make the most of them! The App Store offers a 100-character field just waiting to be jam-packed with your top performing keywords. Take advantage of this and use up all the characters you can get.

Don’t goof around with your description

Your description should let your potential customers know why they can’t live without your app. When you write, make sure to focus on your customers and not the search engine. We’re not saying not to include some strategic keywords in there, but make sure to always keep your customers in mind. Include your apps value proposition in simple language your customers will understand and show off exclusive features and benefits while still having a strong call to action.

Because people today have so many options and view countless apps a day, the first few lines of your description should knock them off their feet if you want a chance of downloads. Don’t forget to update your description every time a new version of your app is updated or new features are added to give users all the insights they need.

Stand out with an awesome icon

There are literally Millions of apps on the App Store ( 2 million to be exact according to Statista ). It’s almost as competitive as trying to get accepted to an Ivy League school. Think about it — students need to get the best grades, participate in sports, volunteer and belong to a gazillion extracurricular clubs and that’s not even taking into account their background or economic status. They really need to stand out and as a developer competing for user’s attention, so do you.

Usually users will download your app if they want to accomplish an immediate task. How to make them click on your app? You can start by having an awesome Icon. Every day thousands of people browse thousands of apps and your icon can be a determining factor in their decision making process.

How do you compete with so many options? Deliver an eye catching icon that will grab user’s attention.

Okay okay…no need to beg, we’ll give you an example.

We’ve searched the App Store for a specific keyword like fitness diary and received the following options:

What comes to mind when looking at these fitness diary icons? You guessed it, these developers seemed to have a GREEN thumb. In this case the blue Diet Watchers Diary tends to stand out a bit more. When you create your icon Research your competitors and see what’s out there, imagine you are the future user of your app, what will make you want to click your own over others?

Make your icon shine by:

  • Being different
  • Making it pop out
  • Not overusing colors
  • keeping it clean and simple
  • Investing in your design and creating something truly unique.

Check out the iOS icon gallery for icon design inspiration.

Localization is as easy as ABC

This may come as a shock but not all app users are English speakers. In fact, According to App Annie “ 50% of the countries within the top 10 for downloads and revenue are non-English speaking countries from Europe and East Asia.” So basically, you have a ton of potential you may not be maximizing.

The App Store enables the localization of listings, start segmenting your audience and invest some time in creating content and graphics dedicated to specific languages and locations. Don’t forget that every translation is indexed in the search engine and has the potential of producing results both in and out of the targeted country.

According to Or Tamir VP of Moburst “ localization is not just about translation, it’s about understanding what’s the next market going to be and how to best penetrate it”. He recommends building a native app page that focuses on the following factors:

  • Specific keywords that are relevant to the location
  • User behavior
  • Geographical differences
  • Cultural differences

Localization is a simple yet important concept, If your advertising in France speak to your audience in French. Speaking to your customers in their own language can increase chances of app discovery as well as conversion rate.

Give a sneak peek into your app with unique screenshots

App store screenshots have a huge effect on converting app page views into downloads. Screenshots are so important because they provide your potential customer with a chance to visualize what your app is like before they download it. The App Store lets you upload up to 5 screenshots. Invest the necessary resources into your screenshots and make sure they encompass details that will entice your customers.

You can use text in your graphics to showcase new features or emphasis important characteristics you wish to show off. Try to provide the experience your customer would get when downloading the app. For example, Game of War — Fire age has some screenshots that describe the experience and some describing characteristics of the app itself.

With or without text is totally up to you but make sure your screenshots display your most exciting features or hottest updates.


  • Think outside of the box — a standard design won’t cut it
  • Use human elements like peoples faces or hands
  • Showcase your USP’s
  • Create screenshots that portray some sort of action
  • Give customers a sneak peek into your exciting app
  • A/B testing is crucial to examine your best performing screenshots

Be above average

You don’t have to be a genius to understand the significance of ASO but you do have to be above average if you want to separate your app from others and be ranked in the top charts. Sometimes the best strategy is to go back to the basics, review and keep trying new things. So, take a whiff of your metaphorical pencil and get ready for fall, this is your chance for a new beginning.

This post first appeared on the Appnext blog

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