How to Optimize your App Page for the Apple App Store (iOS 12)

There is a lot you can do to improve your app page’s visibility and conversion rate in the Apple App store.

Use this comprehensive ASO checklist to learn how you can optimize each element of your app product page to increase your app’s visibility and downloads in the Apple App Store.

App Store Optimization is very different for iOS and Android apps. Are you looking to optimize your app in the Google Play Store? Check out our Google Play ASO Checklist

Choose a Unique App Name

  • Choose an app name that is memorable and consistent with your brand
  • Avoid app names that are too generic or are widely used by the competition
  • The app title has the most weight in the Apple App Store’s algorithm so use the available space to include your most important keywords (and place them at the very beginning if possible)
  • Translate and localize your app name for each targeted language
  • App Name Character limit (iOS): 30

Write a Compelling App Subtitle

  • The subtitle appears underneath the app name (both in the search results and on the app page) and should summarize what your app is about
  • Use this field to highlight your app’s features and purpose
  • Always include strong keywords in the subtitle to help increase your app’s visibility
  • Don’t repeat keywords that are already used in the app name. Repeating keywords in the subtitle won’t give them more weight in the Apple App store algorithm
  • App Subtitle Character limit (iOS): 30

Optimize the Keyword Field

  • The keyword field helps Apple determine when to display your app in the search results and is invisible to App Store users
  • When choosing keywords, think about the specific search terms people might use when browsing the app store
  • Look for keywords that have a high search volume, but low competition. Learn how to find the best app keywords
  • Use commas to separate each keyword (no spaces)
  • Use single keywords rather than combinations. The iOS algorithm will combine the terms automatically to form long tail keywords.
  • Don’t repeat keywords from your app name, subtitle, or publisher name. Repeating the keywords won’t give them extra weight in the algorithm and therefore is a waste of characters.
  • Use singular words, in most cases you will then also rank for the plural word
  • Don’t add the category name to the keyword field, Apple already automatically matches your app with that keyword
  • Localize your keywords for each language
  • Use all available 100 characters

    Free tip: Don’t include the words ‘app’, ‘free’, ‘iphone’ or ‘ipad’. The algorithm will automatically rank your app for these keywords

  • App Keyword Field Character Limit: 100

Write a Comprehensive App Description

Potential weight on the algorithm.

  • In contrast to Google Play, the long description is currently not a ranking factor in the Apple App Store. That means that keywords in the app description will not help your app rank in the Apple App Store.
  • The long description is also the last element people see when scrolling your app page (the first 3 lines plus a ‘more’ button appear underneath the screenshots on your app page)
  • But that does not take away that the long description plays a major role in conversion optimization. Those that scroll down and click to read your long description are really interested to learn more about your app before downloading it
  • Use the description to highlight your app’s features and functionality and how people can benefit from downloading your app
  • Make the first lines count as they are the ones that appear before the “more” button.
  • Include mentions, awards or nice reviews
  • Localize your copy for each targeted language
  • App Description Character limit: 4000

Make Use of the Promotional Text

  • The promotional text is currently not a ranking factor, that means that the keywords used in the promotional text will not rank your app in the search results
  • However, it provides a unique opportunity to get people excited about your app by highlighting promotions, upcoming features and other time-sensitive content
  • The promotional text appears above the long description on the app page
  • App Promotional Text Character limit: 170 characters

Communicate Changes with ‘What’s New’

  • When you update your app and release a new version you can use the “What’s new” text to communicate the changes
  • The “What’s new” section only shows on the app page for people who have already downloaded the app
  • Therefor, the “What’s new” section does not play a major role in conversion rate optimization but should be used to showcase new features and significant improvements to existing users
  • Keywords in the “What’s new” section won’t help to increase app rankings
  • Instead, use this field to get people excited about new features and updates
  • Avoid just listing bug fixes and try to tell a story about new features or improvements that have been added

Optimize Your Seller Name

  • The seller name appears on your app page underneath the app title
  • It only shows for a few seconds and is then replaced with the app subtitle
  • This makes that the seller name has a small impact on conversion rate optimization
  • But it has been found that the keywords in the seller name do rank
  • Changing your seller name on the App Store is hard, but if you are just starting out, make sure to choose a name with your most important keywords in it.

Design an Eye-Catching App Icon

  • The app icon is a very important element as it is one of your app’s first impression
  • Choose a visual that, together with your app name, describes what your app is about
  • Opt for a clean and simple design that differentiates you from your competitors
  • Make sure to use a single focus point to capture attention
  • Use a border, shadows and gradients for contrast
  • Use a High-res image and optimize the size for each device
  • Choose the right colour palette

    Use our icon colour palette tool to see which colours are used the most in your category

Design Engaging Screenshots

  • The screenshots are one of the most important elements impacting your app install rate on the Apple Store
  • Screenshots appear in the apple store search results and are one of the first elements users see when opening the app page
  • When using portrait screenshots, the first 3 screenshots will show in the app store search results, underneath your app title and subtitle. (If you add a preview video, then preview video plus only 2 screenshots will show in the search results)
  • If you add landscape screenshots, then only the first screenshot will show in the app store search results.
  • Use the screenshots to visually communicate your app’s user experience.
  • Create a panoramic experience and visually connect your first three screenshots
  • Add short captions and use a large font

    Use apptweak to easily spy on competitors’ screenshots

  • Use all 10 screenshot slots
  • include screenshots for each device
  • Use apptweak to easily spy on competitors’ screenshots
  • Localize your screenshots for each language
  • A/B test your screenshots

Create an App Preview Video

  • Preview videos are a major conversion rate optimization tactic on the Apple App Store
  • They aim to increase user experience in the app store and autoplay directly in the app store search results, on mute
  • You can add up to 3 app previews or videos to your iOS app.
  • If you design portrait videos, than the first preview video will appear in the search results, together with your first two screenshots
  • If you design landscape videos, then the first video will appear in the search result (without extra screenshots)
  • On the app page itself, the app previews appear before the screenshots and each video will autoplay when the previous video has finished
  • The videos should actually showcase the user experience in the app. They need to explain to users the journey they will experience when using your app.
  • Keep the videos simple and focus on one one feature per video
  • The videos should be between 15 - 30 seconds long
  • Design thumbnails or poster frames for each video. The videos will autoplay automatically, but if users have a slow internet connection, the poster frame might show first for a few seconds
  • Create separate videos for each device
  • A/B test your app previews
  • Need help to create your app preview? Check out Apptamin

ASO Optimize In-App Purchases

  • In-app purchases are a major factor for keyword and conversion optimization.
  • You can promote up to 20 in-app purchases on your app page, and each IAP can be optimized with its own unique name, description and icon
  • Individual IAPs can also show in App Store Search results, providing you with an opportunity to rank for way more keywords than just the keywords in your app title, subtitle or keyword field
  • Whereas before the IAPs would only show in the search results for exact matches, recent findings show that for iOS 12 the IAPs also match for close variants
  • Best practices used to optimize your app should also be used to optimize the IAP icon, name and description
  • IAP name character limit: 30
  • IAP description character limit: 45

Manage App Reviews & Ratings

  • Ratings and reviews do have a very important impact on app rankings in the Apple App Store
  • Having a lot of positive reviews will also help your app stand out from other apps and encourage downloads
  • Try to get as many positive reviews as possible
  • Ask family and friends to rate your app after you have launched to quickly build a strong pool of reviews
  • Use a 2-step pop up notification process to ask your users if they like your app or not. If they do, ask them to rate your app; if they don’t, ask their feedback
  • Provide your contact info in the app description so that users can contact you directly when they experience difficulties. This might divert them from writing a bad review.
  • Reply to negative reviews to show prospective users you are trustworthy
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