Today, almost 1.5 million applications are available both on Google Play and on the App Store: competition is fierce! But 80% of them are said to be “zombies” on the stores, those that do not reach 500 downloads. So how can you be visible on these stores and generate more than 500 downloads? How to make it appear in the first results of a keyword search? How to appear in the top of a category? We tell you everything…

The blind classification algorithms take into account 3 criteria:

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  1. The number of downloads within 24 to 72 hours;
  2. Retention (number of application openings, session time);
  3. The average rating given by the users of your application as well as the number of reviews.

It is therefore important to work on these 3 key points:

  • The number of downloads : the more downloads you accumulate, the more the application is visible in the rankings. At the same time, you’re generating more free “organic” downloads from users who will see the app for themselves in app stores. So it’s a virtuous (or vicious, depending on the marketing budget you have …) circle where the apps that generate the most volume manage to generate even more in the process.
  • Retention of its application : the more a user will use an application, the better it will be classified in the app store rankings. In any case, this is a key element for a developer at the base: making his application appeal to be ranked well. But this is not neutral on overall rankings. Apple and Google are increasingly giving importance to this notion of retention to establish their rankings. This explains why we now find in the top rankings many apps with intrinsically high retention: Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat, YouTube, etc. at the expense of other types of applications.
  • User ratings : here too, they depend on what the application is. It is however possible to maximize them by placing messages within the application to ask users to rate them. The developer can therefore have an impact on this element.

How can you improve your performance in ASO (App Store Optimization)?

Studies show that around 50% of an app’s downloads come from keyword or tag searches. The first thing to do is therefore to optimize those associated with your application. On the Apple App Store, there is a 100 character field for each language. Make sure you leave no spaces between words in this field and use only singular terms.

On Google Play, there are no fields dedicated to them. Google takes into account all the words as well as their occurrence, present in your title, your short description and your long description. So be sure to prioritize your keywords in your title and short description. Also be sure to repeat each of them 5-6 times in your description.

How to choose the best keywords? In theory, your goal is to be ranked # 1 in the search bar results for each keyword that you find critical. If you appear too low, beyond the top 5-6 in the results given for a tag, users will not see your application. Review the current ranking of your keywords using tools offered by sites like Searchman or Sensor Tower. Identify those for whom you are not sufficiently visible and abandon them. Brainstorm to create a large list of potential tags by taking inspiration from your competitors for example. Then compare them according to their characteristics:

  • Relevance : is there a relationship with my application?
  • Difficulty : is my keyword already used too much by my competitors?
  • Traffic : How much research do users use this keyword for?

Then reject any keywords not relevant to your application. A user typing the word “beach” for example will be unlikely to be interested in your strategy game “War Beach” even if you want to be inspired by a competitor! Favor the keywords combining high traffic and low difficulty. Success lies in your ability to find “niche” keywords on which there is less competition, but whose traffic remains high. Indeed, it is useless to use innovative tags if no user has the idea to type them in the search bar of the store.

What else can I do to encourage users to download the app once on the app’s description page?

Optimizing keywords is the first step in ASO. Once you’ve brought users to your app page, you need to make sure you maximize your “arrive on Appstore> download” conversion rate. Equip your app with a clear icon, colorful and relevant screenshots, as well as an attractive video preview and description.

The icon must be representative and meaningful of what the application is, as well as its title. If the title + icon duo does not make it possible to understand what the application consists of overall, why would users want to download it? We must therefore make an effort to reflect on the representation of what is the concept of the app on the icon.

Regarding the description and screenshots, keep in mind that few users will make the effort to look at them in detail. Most will get a feel for the app in a matter of seconds and often based almost exclusively on screenshots, and mostly the first ones. You must therefore summarize the key points of your app on the very first screenshots (the first 2-3) and the first lines of your description (the first 5 displayed on a screen).

Can we then hope to be well referenced and generate a large number of downloads?

The blinds will favor the classification of the application thanks to this optimization work, but this will not be sufficient in itself to emerge strongly. In addition to the criteria mentioned above, the appstores take into account the number of downloads in their algorithm. For them, this is synonymous with success and reputation for an application, which gives it interest in the long term. It is therefore important to ensure a significant volume of downloads to start the life of an application.

This will of course allow you to acquire mass downloads in the short term. And in the long run your ranking in categories and your ranking in keyword search results will be improved. The result: free organic downloads generated over the long term. Without it, the app will never take off and will vegetate at very low levels.

How to do ? Two major methods are possible: the first is to get a promotion from stores (Apple, Google, Amazon). For 7 days, they will display the application as one of the “best new apps” on the “Selection” page of their app store. This can bring a significant volume of downloads and be a good start for an app. The downside is the unsecured randomness and the fact that you have to have a great app suitable for these blinds to get there. Few are the chosen ones.

The other solution is to carry out mobile marketing / User Acquisition campaigns in order to promote the application on as many mobile media as possible. At the same time, this will maximize download volumes at low cost. Many tools exist on the market to acquire downloads from several sources of acquisition in parallel in an efficient and profitable way like Addict Mobile or Fiksu. This strategy has the disadvantage of being expensive, of course. However, it can be profitable thanks to the additional organic downloads acquired through these campaigns, in the short and long term. Campaigns will also need to be properly managed to target the users and sources who will actually use the app after downloading it.

About the Author

Claire Calligaro: Claire is co-founder of Addict Mobile, the first mobile media agency 100% dedicated to profitability. With more than 5 years of experience, Addict Mobile takes care of your campaigns from A to Z worldwide: definition of the strategy, creation and translation of visuals, technical implementation, campaign optimization, time reporting real.

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