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ASO Pre-Launch Strategy: Why & how to get started

Suzanne Tablas by ,  Former Marketing Executive at AppTweak

There are different elements you should consider when defining your new app marketing strategy, and ASO should definitely be one of them!

App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of improving an app’s visibility in the app stores with the objective of increasing organic app downloads. If you start with a solid analysis of your competition and a strong pre-launch keyword optimization strategy, you will get off to a better start! It will help you obtain higher rankings and more visibility for your app 🏆.

If you are still in the process of developing your app and are not sure how to get started with ASO, we’ve got you covered! Just read on to learn how you can use AppTweak to create your ASO pre-launch strategy.

Understand Your Competition in the App Stores

An ASO competition analysis is the process of identifying who you’re competing against and understanding what those competitors are doing. It should be your starting point because it will allow you to make better-educated decisions for your pre-launch strategy.

How to get started?

Learn how you can use AppTweak to identify and research your main competitors in the app stores. Keep in mind that your app doesn’t have to be live in stores for you to start using ASO. At AppTweak, we have many features to help you get started with your competition research.

Already launched your app? Read this blog for a step-by-step guide to getting started with ASO on the app stores

1. Identify your ASO competitors

The first step in your ASO competitor research is to establish a broad pool of apps with which your app might compete. You probably already have some competitors in mind, but we suggest you take your research one step further and find other apps that target a similar audience or similar keywords. Create a list of up to 10 potential competitors you want to analyze.

With AppTweak, you can start out by adding your main competitor to your dashboard. Then check our “Suggested Competitors” section which shows you a list of competitors that share similar features and keywords. This is the easiest way to regularly identify your most important competitors.

E.g. Here, we are displaying the Suggested Competitors of King of Crabs for the iOS Store in the UK.

Second, find which apps are your strongest competitors by taking a look at our Top Charts. Apps and Games that rank highly in their category are very powerful apps that get thousands of downloads per day. These apps and games are likely to be your strongest competitors.

For a deeper analysis, filter them by the store, country or category of your preference (e.g. ‘Games’, ‘Games-Action’, ‘Games-Adventure’, etc).

E.g. Here we are displaying the Top Charts for the Games Category (UK, iOS Store).

Third, you should also look at “Similar Apps” or “Apps You May Like”. Analyzing ‘Similar Apps’ (Google Play) or ‘Apps You May Like’ (iOS) is a very important step in your competitor research as it shows those apps that Apple and Google think might also be of interest to your users.

E.g. Here, we are displaying Apple’s suggested list of apps “You May Also Like” for King of Crabs in the UK iOS Store.

Finally, use our Live Search to find additional competitors who are strong on a specific keyword you are interested in. We call these apps ‘ASO competitors’ because they compete with you for visibility on specific keywords, even if they are not a direct competitor in terms of activity or features. This process will help you gather all the information you need to identify opportunities for your pre-launch strategy.

E.g. Here we are displaying a Top 10 Live Search Result for the keyword “crabs” for King of Crabs in the UK iOS Store.

2. Research and analyze your competitors

Once you’ve identified your main competitors, it’s time to start your competitive analysis! Now you can use our features to dig deeper and gain a better understanding of your competitors’ ASO strategies.

ASO Overview: Start by analyzing your competitors’ metadata (app name, subtitle, screenshots, etc) to get a better idea of their strategies in terms of keyword optimization, design or feature releases. All of this can be done very easily with AppTweak, using the Overview tab.

E.g. Here we are displaying some metadata from King of Crabs, Catapult King and Candy Crush Friends Saga for the iOS Store in the UK. The keywords that are highlighted are those shared between the competitors.

ASO Timeline & History: ASO is a long-term process and search behavior in stores changes frequently. Successful apps review their keyword strategy regularly and update their metadata accordingly. Our ASO Timeline feature gives you a better understanding of how often apps update their metadata and the “before/after” view shows you exactly what they have changed.

Learn how often you should update your app store metadata for iOS & Google Play

The timeline can also help you explore how competitors respond to trends and seasonality. Many games will adapt their visuals and keywords to a period of the year, so it’s interesting to understand when and how apps in your category are doing it.

E.g. On November 26, 2018 the icon and promotional text of Candy Crush Friend (iOS, UK) was adapted for the upcoming Christmas season.

App Power: Next, it is crucial to understand how your competitors are performing in the app store. To make this task easier for you, we calculate a unique metric called “App Power”⚡.

The App Power, a metric that ranges from 0-100, is based on the app’s category rankings, which is based on app download history and velocity. A higher App Power usually means the app has more downloads, which makes it easier for the app to rank for certain keywords.

E.g. Here we are comparing the App Powers of King of Crabs, Catapult King and Candy Crush Friends Saga for the iOS Store in the UK.

After launching, you will see how your app progressively starts increasing in App Power. Keep in mind that ASO takes time and needs to be regularly monitored and adapted.

App Download Estimates: To get a better understanding of how many downloads your competitors get, consult our “App Download Estimates”, available for any app on iOS or Google Play.

E.g. Here we are displaying the Download Estimates of a competitor of King of Crabs for the iOS Store in the UK.

This feature will truly help you understand your competition and market potential, alongside helping you set expectations or KPIs for your own app.

Reviews & Ratings: Last but not least, it is important to understand what users are saying about your competition. By checking out your competitors’ reviews, you’ll be able to understand what users complain about, what they love about other apps and how they talk about these apps.

We understand this might sound like an exhausting task - don’t worry! We have gathered all the information related to what customers are saying about your competitors.

In our “Reviews and Ratings” tab, you will find a summary of your competitors’ reviews.

E.g. Here we are displaying the reviews from Candy Crush Friends Saga for the iOS Store in the UK.

Now, let’s take moment to recap before jumping into the next big step (keyword optimization!):

  • Use our different features such as: Suggested Competitors, Top Charts, Similar Apps and Live Search to make a list of 10 potential competitors
  • Determine from your list who is your strongest competitor, why, and what customers think about him.

Define your pre-launch keyword strategy

This is where a critical part of ASO happens! It’s essential you execute high-quality keyword research before launching your app to increase your chances of visibility and conversion once your app is market ready.

AppTweak provides keyword picking and auto-suggestion features to help you find inspiration for your brainstorming and keyword optimization. For example, with our keyword picking features, you can spy on your competitors and see for which keywords they rank or find top category keywords to build a strong semantic dictionary🕵.

E.g. Here we are displaying the Search Ads Recommended Keywords of King of Crabs, Catapult King and Candy Crush Friends Saga for the iOS Store in the UK.

Once you’ve created a good list of keywords (150 - 250) that are relevant to your app, it’s time to choose which ones have the best potential for your pre-launch strategy!

To find those keywords with the highest potential, take a closer look at the metrics in the Keyword Analysis table. For example, the volume score helps you understand how often people search for this keyword; the difficulty score helps you understand how competitive this keyword is. The more competitive a keyword is, the more difficult it is to rank in the top 10 for that keyword.

As new apps have low app power, it is important that you select keywords that have a lower difficulty score as it will be easier to rank in the top 10 for that keyword and get some downloads.

E.g. Here we are displaying the Keyword Analysis of King of Crabs, Catapult King and Candy Crush Friends Saga for the iOS Store in the UK.

Discover the other ranking factors that can affect your app’s visibility in the app stores!

Get your app ahead in ASO before launching! You now have all the elements you need to start optimizing your app’s metadata. Before launching your app, we also recommend familiarizing yourself with iOS and Google Play privacy settings and understanding how privacy updates may affect your ASO strategy.


  • Understand your competition. Compare different apps and identify which are the strongest
  • Analyze your competitor’s metadata
  • Track down ASO competitor’s changes to understand trends
  • Pay close attention to what customers are saying
  • Execute a high-quality keyword research & analysis to determine what you’ll write in your metadata the day of the launch

Feel free to schedule a demo with us so we can show you how AppTweak can help you understand your competition when developing a new app!📈

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Suzanne Tablas

by ,  Former Marketing Executive at AppTweak

Suzanne is a former Marketing Executive at AppTweak .She believes new technologies and mobile marketing are changing the way we live. She’s also an almond & chocolate lover!