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Brand vs. Generic Keyword Optimization for App Store Search

Taya Franchville by ,  ASO Expert App Market Insights

Analyzing the breakdown of generic vs. brand keywords is important when optimizing your app’s metadata. Generic keywords are those which are not identified as being attributed to a specific brand. For example, a brand’s name is a brand keyword, but the products the brand offers within its app are almost always going to be generic keywords.

When doing ASO work, it is crucial to utilize both brand and generic keywords in order to optimize an app to the best of your ability. In this blog, we break down the importance of both types of keywords and highlight how AppTweak can help you discover which generic keywords are ideal for your app to target.


Brands (24% of all keywords) drive 49% of App Store traffic

We wanted to know how frequently users searched for brands vs. generic keywords on the App Store. To do so, we had a look at all keywords that have a Search Popularity score above 12 and separated the brands from the non-brands. We then estimated the number of daily searches a keyword drives based on Apple’s Search Popularity score and our aggregated app data. We found that, although brands only account for 24% of all keywords (as in 2019), branded keywords currently drive 49% of all App Store traffic, a 14% increase since 2019.

Comparing the percentage of unique keywords with a Search Popularity above 12 against the traffic they drive on the US App Store.

Comparing the percentage of unique keywords with a Search Popularity above 12 against the traffic they drive on the US App Store.

It’s interesting to note that search from generic keywords still accounts for more than half of App Store traffic, although we tend to think that users mostly look for brands in the store.

Should you add your brand name to your title? Read this blog to learn all about keyword optimization for the app title

97% of keywords with search volumes above 75 are brands

It’s true that brands typically have much higher search volumes than generic keywords. On the graph below, we show how the distribution of brand vs. generic keywords changes across different levels of search volume. The proportion of branded keywords increases significantly as we look at keywords with higher volumes. This explains how 24% of keywords end up driving 49% of App Store traffic - these keywords represent a high concentration of the App Store’s high-volume search terms.

Distribution of brand vs. generic keywords and the traffic they drive for a group of keywords with given volumes (US App Store).

Distribution of brand vs. generic keywords and the traffic they drive for a group of keywords with given volumes (US App Store).

Among all App Store keywords with a volume above 75, more than 97% are brands. This percentage drops down to 18% for keywords that have a volume below 25. If we look at the full spectrum of generic vs. brand distribution across volumes, we also note that all keywords with search volumes above 90 are exclusively brands!

The percentage of keywords that are brands vs. generic across keyword volumes (Apple Search Ads Popularity score).

The percentage of keywords that are brands vs. generic across keyword volumes (Apple Search Ads Popularity score).

Learn more about our brand algorithm

Leverage keyword optimization to drive downloads to your app

That said, we have to keep in mind that our analysis considers 3 times more generic keywords than branded keywords. When it comes to App Store traffic, although high-volume keywords are mostly brands, there are many low-volume keywords which, when strategically combined, represent a big portion of App Store traffic.

Proportion of unique brand vs. generic keywords across volumes on the US App Store.

Proportion of unique brand vs. generic keywords across volumes on the US App Store.

In other words, generic keywords constitute a very long tail of App Store traffic. This is where you can make a difference - capturing the traffic from those generic keywords can really help to increase the overall downloads to your app.

There are several ways in which you can optimize your app’s metadata by utilizing generic keywords! To start, you can use AppTweak to discover the generic keywords driving installs for your competitors - then target those keywords within your own app’s metadata.

We recommend that most (or all) of the keywords targeted in your iOS keyword field be generic. Repeating keywords in your App Store metadata will not help to increase your app’s visibility for those keywords. So, since your brand name will most likely already be in the title, there is no reason to target it again in the subtitle or keyword field.

Expert Tip

In theory, Apple forbids app marketers from adding competitor brands to their app store listings. Even if your app manages to organically rank in a good position for a competitor term, conversion rates tend to be much lower since the user already has a particular app in mind. We estimate that the conversion rate of an app on its own brand is around 85%, but this falls to around 25% for the first app in a generic keyword search.

Utilize generic keywords even if you have a strong brand

If your app already has a strong brand, most of your downloads are most likely driven by your brand keywords; however, this should not influence you to only continue targeting these brand keywords in your metadata. Generic keywords are highly useful to gain new customers. If you have an outdoor clothing app with a highly developed brand, many people are probably searching for your app by its brand name - but what about users who are not loyal to your brand yet?

For example, a member of your target market may be searching for an “outdoor clothing app” or “high quality hiking gear.” If your competitors are targeting the keywords “outdoor,” “hiking,” and “clothing” in their metadata and you are not, these competitors will most likely rank higher for such keywords and gain this user’s download. By not working on your generic keyword optimization, you are missing an opportunity to convert even more store visitors than you are now.

Discover how to choose the best keywords for your app on the App Store and Google Play


TLDR

Making your app visible for relevant generic keywords can increase your app installs and capture part of the long-tail traffic they generate. This is where ASO tools like AppTweak can help you identify the best keywords for your app and monitor its performance over time. Based on our actionable ASO KPIs, you’ll be able to tweak your app listing to fully optimize it and leverage the potential of generic keywords.

  • Although brands only account for 24% of all keywords, branded keywords currently drive 49% of all App Store traffic.
  • Among all App Store keywords with a volume above 75, more than 97% are brands. This percentage drops down to 18% for keywords with a volume below 25.
  • You can use AppTweak to discover the generic keywords driving installs for your competitors - then target those keywords in your own metadata.
  • Making your app visible for relevant generic keywords can increase your app installs and capture part of the long-tail traffic they generate.

How does your app perform on branded vs. generic keywords? Discover how to optimize your metadata fields with AppTweak.

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Taya Franchville

by ,  ASO Expert

Taya likes dogs, coffee, and poetry! She lives in Indianapolis, IN, and she spends a lot of time outdoors!