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App Store Optimization – Vital in Mobile App Marketing

Last year alone, smartphone users downloaded 194 billion apps. As the demand increases, the application creation grows as well. Apple’s AppStore started with only 500 apps. Today the number reaches nearly 5 million Android and iOS apps combined. And though for customers it means more freedom to choose, marketers see it a bit differently – as an increase in competition. In the end, they’re left with a puzzle: how they can get the users to download their app? 

App Store Optimization (ASO) is a vital, yet rather a mysterious piece to Mobile App Marketing. With a single goal – getting users to download the app – there’s still a lot left to the imagination. So, this week we’re trusting Gžegož Zablockij, our Mobile Marketing Lead here at Tesonet, to explain what ASO really means for Mobile App Marketing. 


Can you explain what ASO exactly is?

ASO is a fancy marketing acronym for App Store Optimization. As the name suggests, it’s all about optimizing mobile apps to get a higher rank in search results in app marketplaces such as Google Play, Apple AppStore and others. You do that by changing descriptions and screenshots on app marketplaces that are important to your target audience. In a sense, ASO is a never-ending process – you’re constantly working on improving visibility to increase downloads and customer retention.


Why is it so important to Mobile App Marketing?

Well, as Mobile App marketers we use a mix of marketing methods – Paid traffic, Website traffic, Affiliate Networks and Organic traffic. Research shows that Organic traffic – direct searches on GooglePlay and AppStore – is constantly increasing. More and more app users download and use the app regularly when they discover them themselves, rather than seeing an ad and clicking on it. Yes, media, ads, your friends recommending an app do affect downloads, but Organic traffic brings the best results. Sometimes it can make up even for 99% of all app downloads. 

Because of this shifting tendency of users browsing themselves for apps, ASO specialists play a huge role in Mobile App Marketing. They’re the ones tweaking keywords and descriptions so the right audience would discover the app. It’s a meticulous job, but when done right, it can bring the biggest return. 


What can affect the visibility on app marketplaces? 

It’s difficult to pinpoint just one thing that affects visibility – this is a job where more than anything else, you need to look at the big picture. But I would say that relevance is key here. You need to understand your target audience, why and how they search for apps to reach the right people. If your app name, screenshots and descriptions represent exactly what the app does and doesn’t mislead the user, you’ll most likely succeed in keeping that user. So, you need to think about a mix of things and factors and how they affect each other, such as:

  • App name
  • App description
  • Keyword list (iOS apps)
  • Screenshots
  • App icon
  • Number of downloads and growth
  • App file size
  • Number of crashes
  • Number of reviews and rating (stars)
  • Time (how long users use it)
  • Number of uninstalls


So, what does a typical day of ASO Specialist looks like?

Research is a big part of being an ASO Specialist. These marketers have to constantly think about what could make people download the app and therefore, create hypotheses and test them over and over again. Not to mention the never-ending keyword research. Besides that, creating new marketing strategies and coming up with new problem-solving approaches is a part of a job description as well. 

Of course, ASO Specialists don’t work alone. Behind them, there’s a whole team of copywriters, analytics, designers and product owners working together on increasing app visibility and discovery. 


What are the biggest challenges in this kind of job?

You might have heard that SEO people are doing some kind of wizard magic, right? A fancy acronym, no one understands what they’re doing… It sounds similar to ASO and honestly, it kind of is. Just like in SEO, there’s a lot of guessing and sometimes not knowing what did the impact. Was it one change or a mix of things? That’s the biggest challenge – learning to be OK with sometimes not knowing and learning things through trial and error.