ASO Blog

ASO Expert Interview: Steve Young

Fri 10 Feb 2017, 10:43 AM - laurie

This Friday we’re having the pleasure to introduce you to one of our oldest supporter and ASO Expert, Steve Young, App Masters founder. In this post, Steve tells us more about his personal experience in the app’s world and gives us his newly discovered ASO tip that will help you boosting your app downloads!


1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company? For how long have you been involved in ASO and app marketing?

I’ve been in the app space since 2011 and, in 2013, I decided to interview some of my heroes in the app space. After building up a little bit of an audience, they started coming to me for app marketing help.

I left corporate life in 2014 and went on my own. Since then, from an ASO perspective, we’ve been able to really help a lot of our clients. We 5x downloads for one of our clients and consistently we’ve been able to either increase downloads or increase impressions. This means that we know we’re doing good from a keyword optimization perspective and, just recently, we’ve helped the client rank from 166 to number 2 for a keyword.

2. What was it about this industry that made you choose it as a primary job?

My background is in digital marketing so it was a nice transition. When people started coming to me, I had no idea about the app marketing side of things, which I think is a good thing. I think what helped me is that I made apps. A lot of people who try to sell app marketing services, they don’t even make apps, so I always rely on that background like “Hey, I’ve been doing this since 2011”, it was only because of the audience that I started transitioning into running an app marketing agency.

So I would say I knew a lot about digital marketing, that was my background, my career. And then, just making apps, I knew nothing about app marketing until I really started interviewing people, and learning from it and building a community.

3. How do you see the world of ASO and App marketing evolving in a few words?

Evolving towards… “be more religious”. There, that’s a few words, meaning that I share a lot of tactics and strategies. But I think if you pull back the foundational elements of really creating a good app, having good retention, those are still key elements of a good ASO strategy.

All the things that I talk about, the tactics and the strategies, they work if you only have the other two, which is a good app that retains users and that monetizes well. I think it’s still the foundations. So I guess… “be more religious” about how your approach to ASO.

4. What should be the biggest focus for app developers and marketers in 2017?

All the different strategies out there, they only work if you have a really good app. So that’s the hard part. And that’s the part that we can’t answer, I can’t give you like a definitive answer to “what makes a really good app” and “what really retain users”, that’s the hard part. If we had like a strategy for that, I think we’d all be there.

5. Tell us about your most challenging ASO “experiment”. How did you manage to help app ranking better for keywords, and which strategy did you use?

So, I’ll take it back a couple of ways. One of the most difficult ones that we help the client was more in the messaging space. We couldn’t increase downloads, it was a free app. But I was doubling impressions! So I was like, “what else can I do here?” because we’ve optimized the keywords, we’re ranking a lot better on his most desired keywords but the downloads were not increasing. So, from that, I’m thinking that “hey we need to be in the Top 3” for the keywords, otherwise it’s not going to do anything. Because we’re number 6 on really popular keywords and it was number 11 first but it was not moving the needle. So that’s my hypothesis and I’ve talked to other people who kind of believe that. You have to be 1 or 2 but I think 3 is okay too. So that’s one difficult strategy.

What we did with them is run a strategy called a “Search Boost" campaign. This is something that I am new to because people have been doing this for a little bit now but essentially what you do is you get a pool of users to search for a keyword and download your particular app. Because of the relevancy score, if I’m searching for a keyword and I pick your app, you will get a natural boost for that keyword ranking. So we did that for the difficult client. We got him to number 1 for the keyword that we wanted to rank for.

For my other client, he was 166 and using the same “Search Boost” campaign we got him to be number 2 and we stayed in that position for about 5-6 days.

6. What was your favourite app in 2016?

I don’t know if it came out in 2016 but I’ll tell you the one that I used a lot in 2016 and that doesn’t get a lot of mention. It is: Pushbullet. I tend to share a lot of photos, like I take a lot of screenshots on my phone, obviously, and when I need to send it, I just email myself with the photos. With Pushbullet, I can send like links and photos from my phone to my computer or from my computer to my phone. Makes it pretty easy. Somebody actually told me about this app on a podcast but not a lot of people know about it.

7. Tell us about your experience with AppTweak and give us your favorite feature.

I’ll be honest. I think it’s a really good tool, comparable to anything else I’ve been using. Ease of use, the scores are really good.

The Pros:

The Down Sides:

8. Do you have any “masterchef” ASO tips?

The newest tip that I have just discovered is using Apple Search Ads. Two ways:

  1. Like the “Search Boost” campaign, if you run Search Ads on the keywords that you’re targeting, you will see a natural boost. Again, because you are sort of injecting the budget, right? People are searching for a keyword, they see your app because your app is number 1 on a Search Ad, they download your app and you’re going to naturally rank higher for that.

  2. The other way that I have discovered doesn’t require that much of a budget on Search Ads. You can use Search Ads to discover new keywords to target.

We noticed that there was a term that was converting really well on Search Ads, but we were not optimizing for it in the app name, so now we’re re-tweaking the app name to target that particular keyword and trying to increase our ranking for it.


Steve (founder of App Masters) has been following AppTweak since its beginning back in 2014. Since then, Steve has appreciated the improvements made on the tool, especially regarding the Keyword Tool. His strong expertise makes him one of the major actor in today’s app marketing industry. Steve has joined the ASO Experts directory recently and would love to help you boosting your app’s performance.

Want to contact Steve? Find all details on his ASO Expert profile page.

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App Store Optimization ("ASO") is the process of improving the visibility of a mobile app (such as an iPhone, iPad, Android, or Windows Phone app) in an app store (such as iTunes or Google Play for Android). App Store Optimization is the mobile equivalent of Search engine optimization. Specifically, App Store Optimization includes the process of ranking highly in an app store's search results and top charts rankings. ASO marketers agree that ranking higher in search results and top charts rankings will drive more downloads for an app. - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.