SEO revolutionized the way companies optimize the visibility of their websites. Fifteen years later, another optimization tool is gaining traction among the apps’ developers community.
Creativity is just the first step
Having a great idea is just the first step in a long and complicated process. If you wanna be the next Mark Zuckerberg, you should rather think about “marketing”, “advertising” and “optimization”.
Totally, there are more than 775.000 apps available on the App Store right now, and the probability to have yours at the top ranking might be close to 0.01%. That being said, there are a few ways to create new opportunities for your product and to improve your chances to hit the top spot. Gaining visibility by optimizing your description, keywords, app name and ranking will drive the consumers to check your app and maybe to download it if the screenshots and the description is appealing.
Being creative is great. But do not expect to sell thousands of copies of your app within a few weeks without marketing your product and optimizing its visibility. No big deal here. Creative minds need to work with the black suit men since the very first days of the Internet.
It’s all about ranking
Whatever you might have heard online, the iPhone remains the first source of revenues for most of the developers. Nowadays, the App Store remains the first source for people to discover new apps. Though, the structure of the App Store gives the opportunity only to a few hundreds of apps to hit the top spot. As a matter of fact, it is essential to get the highest rank as quickly as possible.
If you are familiar with SEO, you probably know that the keywords are one of the key elements to gain traction and rank higher. Choosing the right words and the right name gives you the opportunity to come first when visitors are spelling your name on the App Store.
… and converting visitors in buyers / users
Once people are checking your app, you’re just half way to heaven. The next step is converting your visitors into users. To do so, it is essential to optimize the description of your app, its compatibility with devices and the visuals. Exciting descriptions and screenshots will convert way more visitors than any marketing campaign you could make with third party tools.
ASO also gives the opportunity to app developers to check the quality of all these elements and to break into the top spots with easy-to-use and convenient tools. As getting into the game without the right expertise can be tricky, it is essential to follow the advice of experienced companies that are working in this business for years.
Users deserve the best
If you wanna be the next big hit, keep an eye on your users’ satisfaction. There’s nothing more hazardous for your reputation than having a couple of negative reviews on your App Store page. Tracking the reputation per country, market and version gives you the opportunity to answer quickly to your customers’ requests by adding value to your apps. Users can also give you a few tips to improve you features and be aware of a few bugs.
Specific ASO tools also give the opportunity to better understand the target audience and keep an eye on the competitors. App Store optimization is not a one shot activity. This is why app developers need to check statuses of their app and rivals regularly.
Forget the black hat
When it comes to App Store Optimization, Apple applies pretty strict rules to competition. Since February 2012, Apple is actively fighting what ASO experts call the “black hat”. By using bots, developers add fake reviews and additional “hits” to their apps and gain top placement on the App Store. Disapproved by Apple, “black hat” attempts are extremely risky. Recent surveys show that a couple of developers using these methods have seen their apps banned from the Store without further notice. Starting your business with a “complicated relationship” would’nt be the best choice.
Understanding the ranking factors
Apple and its politics can be tricky. If most of the people think that the amount of downloads regulates the rankings, the truth is that only apps that get a huge amount of downloads in a short period of time get the top spot on the App Store. Of course, there are a couple of exceptions, but mostly from huge studios employing hundreds of employees, such as Rovio, Spotify or Electronic Arts.
Hitting the top spot for a couple of days gives you the opportunity to reach a whole new audience. 75% of the users download apps without having heard of them, simply because they find these apps in the top spot. And 81% of UK users stop browsing through the AppStore after checking the first 50 apps…
By Etienne Froment