App Store Optimization (ASO) is like SEO for Apps. ASO makes it easy for potential users to find and install your app while searching in the app stores.
According to a report by Nielsen, 63% of Android and iOS users have utilized search to discover new apps in their respective app stores.
Understanding what the core components are of a good app store optimization strategy will ensure your app stands out from the competition.
Continuing our Interview series at App Inspiration by Arkenea, I spoke to Olivier Verdin about getting sustained press coverage, nuances in app localization and one important hack in App Store Optimization.
Olivier is the co-founder of AppTweak – an App Store Optimization Platform that offers an affordable and easy to use tool to help app developers in discovery of their apps. He is also a serial entrepreneur and an angel investor in several fast-growing startups.
Can an app developer or entrepreneur use PR over the longer term? How can they sustain the momentum of press mentions over say a year or two?
Olivier: Using PR over the longer term is actually quite challenging. Getting press coverage and mentions over a year or two requires app developers or entrepreneurs to provide multiple significant news and improvements. Journalists or bloggers love to share useful and relevant facts to their audience. Trying to get media coverage for every new feature is nonsense and it will not seduce influencers. Instead, it is more interesting to communicate on an important milestone like an impressive amount of downloads or new funds for example.
In all cases, it is important to make regular app updates; the ideal would be once every 3 months. The point is to keep the app fresh and active.
The standard App Store Optimization practice constitutes title, screenshots, keywords, description, reviews and ratings, etc. Is there something beyond that which most app developers miss or largely don’t know about – say a hack?
Olivier: Majority of apps are being downloaded after a direct search in the App Store with keywords. Any app developer or marketer should therefore maximize their discoverability by finding the best keywords for their app. This is, however, not an easy task since it implies to find the right balance between relevance, competition and volume.
Many app developers tend to forget the importance of keywords whereas they are one of the most important parts of App Store Optimization. What they often miss is to include one or two strong keyword(s) in their app title. Indeed, keywords in the app name weigh more than in the rest of the sections (e.g.: Keyword field for iOS apps and app description for Google Play apps).
How can one track the performance of App Store Optimization and the changes one makes from time to time? Are there tools that let you measure the performance?
Olivier: Just like in every app marketing strategy, App Store Optimization requires the setting of objectives and goals. In order to measure the effectiveness of the undertaken actions, it’s highly important to track various factors.
There are 3 measurements that can be easily done in order to track the performance of App Store Optimization:
1) Both global and category rankings of the app.
2) The evolution of the rankings of targeted keywords and potential ones.
3) Rankings of the competitors.
Once an App Store Optimization effort has been done, it is easily detectable and measurable using specific tools such as AppTweak. Both app and keyword rankings are displayed on a graph through time. It is therefore quite easy to see if there has been a positive evolution after the date the changes were made.
Is getting traction through app localization an easy way to get more users or are there nuances to consider while implementing this strategy?
Olivier: App localization can be an excellent technique in App Store Optimization to gain traction and therefore to get more installs. However, it is important to be careful in the process and to put a lot of thoughts into it.
Firstly, it is extremely important to make some market research before localizing an app. It is essential to evaluate the worthiness of a market by measuring its potential. It is important to take cultural differences into account while implementing this strategy.
Secondly, localization does not mean translation, especially for keywords. Taking a certain keyword in English and then using a tool to translate it automatically in another language is not a good solution. Indeed, there is a huge risk that the keyword will not exactly mean what it is supposed to. Worse, it could be totally meaningless.
Finding keywords in another language requires the exact same process as for English keywords: finding the best balance between relevance, competition and volume. AppTweak can also help you here. Our platform offers a unique Keywords Tool available in 6 languages (English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Dutch – with more to come) and provides the Competition Volume and the Search Volume for any keyword.
App localization is therefore not a ‘copy-paste’ process. It demands a whole new work and ideally to hire a native speaker. It is important to take the character limit into account. English is a relatively ‘short’ language, whereas French or German would use much longer words.
Finally, if an app is available in a certain country and language, its support should be in this same language as well. That’s why here also, it would be great to have a native speaker to answer users requests.
What in your opinion is the most significant announcement in the WWDC 2015 for app developers?
Olivier: In my opinion, the most significant announcement in the WWDC 2015 for app developers would be the arrival of a search API for iOS 9 based on deep linking technology. Indeed, it will now be possible to find content from apps directly through Apple’s native Search. This is actually great news for app developers since their content will now be discoverable through an additional spot. With more than 1.5 millions apps in the Store and an average of 119 apps per device, app store discoverability is more than ever important.
What’s a really good strategy to launch a mobile app that you’ve seen works most of the time across categories?
Olivier: There is no magical recipe in order to make a successful mobile app launch. However, there are some elements that are inevitable to work on. First of all, the app itself must be perfectly crafted and well designed. Once the product looks great and perfectly functional, it’s time to focus on App Store Optimization. Each element (app name, description, screenshots, keywords, etc.) should be tweaked in order to get the best out of the potential of organic search through the store. App Store Optimization is too often skipped by app developers or marketers who prefer to use paid acquisition directly. This can be seen as an advantage for those who actually work on their App Store Optimization since a lot of apps are not optimized at all.
The next step is to work on a strong PR strategy in order to gain traction and more visibility. Getting press coverage will be a serious hand and will attract new users who will attract new ones, etc. Along with the PR strategy, it’s important to focus on social media. Their high potential of virality is a strong weapon that should not be underestimated.
Finally, some paid acquisition could be handy in a launch strategy. It all depends on the budget and the objectives that were set. Unlike App Store Optimization, paid acquisition is not essential but it could be helpful to boost a campaign.
What are some of the most insightful blogs that you feel app developers and entrepreneurs must read to help them build a successful app?