How to measure ASO performance: Metrics & KPIs
Growing an app is like watering a plant, it requires patience and a lot of time and work. It will rarely ever be an overnight success. Unlike with UA campaigns, it is not easy to track spend vs return to measure the effectiveness of your ASO efforts. Organic growth is driven by a number of factors including the app product page, app quality, brand strength and the spill-over effect from paid acquisition campaigns. Not surprising, the primary question any ASO manager has today is, how do I track the effectiveness of my ASO efforts?
Below we have listed some of the main KPIs any ASO professional can use to measure the success of their organic efforts:
1. Visibility in the App Stores
One of the main goals of ASO is to improve the app’s visibility in the app store search results. The primary KPIs to measure visibility in the app stores are:
a) Category Rankings: Category rankings used to be a major KPI but over the years, stores have reduced the visibility of categories, therefore, category rankings are now more of a vanity metric and should not be used anymore to measure ASO performance. Category Rankings nevertheless reflect the amount of daily downloads of different apps, which can still help you understand who gets more traffic overall.
b) Keyword Rankings: One way to measure ASO performance is through keyword rankings. In general, the more keywords an app ranks on, the higher the app’s visibility. However, the number of ranked keywords should never be a goal or KPI by itself. Instead you should take into account the keyword volume and the specific keyword rank. For example, an app that ranks on a total of 200 keywords with a keyword volume below 10 and average rank higher than 50 will have lower visibility than an app that ranks on 50 keywords with a volume higher than 70 and average rank in the top 10.
Ex. With AppTweak’s Keyword Master feature you can see the total number of keywords your app is ranking on, split by rank, volume or keyword type. This specific app ranks on a total of 1,754 keywords. However most of these keywords have a volume lower than 40 or rank higher than position 10.
c) Visibility Score: AppTweak’s Visibility Score helps you understand how visible your app is in the search results compared to your competitors. It takes into account the number of keywords the app is ranking on, the volume of the keywords and the app’s rank on each keyword. The example below describes how a game’s visibility increased 52% on car-related keywords after a metadata update.
Ex. The app’s visibility increased 52% as rankings for high volume keywords like “car racing games” increased from #8 to #1.
d) Keyword Impact: An even more impactful KPI is AppTweak’s Keyword Impact tool. This feature helps you estimate exactly how many organic downloads your app or game has gained on specific keywords after a metadata update. In the example below AppTweak estimates the app gained 21 daily downloads by gaining one rank position for the keyword ‘workout’
Ex. AppTweak’s Keyword Impact feature estimates how many downloads an app has gained due to keyword ranking changes.
2. Conversion Rate
Others use the conversion rate as the main KPI to measure ASO performance. Keyword optimization or paid acquisition campaigns might drive a lot of traffic to your app page. But it is the conversion optimization efforts that will make sure that this traffic converts and users download the app.
Ex. You can use AppTweak to see conversion rate benchmarks per app category of any country and store.
3. Reviews and Ratings
Reviews and ratings play a vital role in conversion rate optimization as they are visible in the search results for both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and thus influence users when they are making the decision to download your app. Few reviews and low ratings might discourage users to download your app and will lead to lower conversion rates. Therefore the number of ratings and reviews as well as the review score are important KPIs to track.
4. Organic Installs
Ultimately, many marketers will say that organic installs is the main KPI to effectively measure the return of ASO efforts. Both Apple and Google however do not make it easy to measure organic uplift:
- Apple breaks down impressions and installs by source, but the source ‘Search’ includes both downloads from organic search or Apple Search Ads
- With their new console design, Google is following the same logic as Apple. Installs from Search now include both organic searches and downloads from Google Ad placements in the Play Store Search Results
Also acquisition campaigns outside of the app store can impact organic installs. Brand awareness campaigns on social media for example can result in an increase in branded searches in the app store. Apps will see organic downloads will increase, but these cannot necessarily be attributed towards ASO activities.
Therefore to most effectively measure the uplift of your ASO efforts it is important you carry out your updates outside of any major app updates or advertising changes. Also splitting up keyword updates from creative updates will help you to best measure the impact of each update.
It is important to be realistic when setting out targets. Now taking into account what we covered in the previous points, these targets can be very difficult to achieve without getting a complete understanding of the app’s entire marketing strategy. On top of that it is important to take into account that ASO success does not come overnight. Do not aim to achieve an instant/quick boost in your install growth, instead aim to achieve sustainable growth with quality installs for your app.