How to Lower Cost per Install (CPI) with ASO

Lucas Riedinger by
Product Manager at AppTweak

Last updated: 8 min read

App developers spend more money trying to gain downloads than ever before. Global app install ad spend is expected to double by 2022, hitting a record of $118 billion (Appsflyer). As a result, app marketers are always on the lookout for new ways to increase paid downloads while keeping spending under control. However, some still expect ASO to only increase organic downloads, without considering that ASO should also improve the overall quality of app store pages and help maximize the impact of subsequent paid marketing efforts.

In this blog, we will review the specific ASO techniques that have a direct impact on the success of paid marketing campaigns.

App store optimization is more than keywords

Some still believe that ASO is only about keyword optimization. But it’s important to remember that all app store traffic leads to your product page, whether from Facebook ads, TikTok, influencer marketing, etc, or directly from the stores.

It’s essential to have a consistent and seamless customer journey across acquisition channels to reduce drop-offs and improve your ad conversion. This makes it important to have a well-optimized product page, which means aligning your store assets (textual metadata and creatives) with the ads redirecting to your store listings. Finally, don’t forget that your app reviews & ratings also play a significant role in conversion and could work against your ad efforts if negative.

Learn how AppTweak can help uncover interesting insights to improve user perceptions of your app

Increasing paid traffic with creative optimization

As mentioned earlier, consistent messaging between the source of traffic and the product page is essential for your app conversion. In this section, we will analyze how your app creatives enter the game.

App screenshots

Screenshots are one of the most important elements on your app page to help users decide whether or not to download your app. If you are looking to increase your app’s conversion rate, you should definitely start by reviewing and redesigning your app screenshots.

Remember that many users would naturally rather look at your screenshots instead of reading the long description to get a sense of what your app is about. Therefore, the first thing to do is to understand and follow ASO best practices for screenshots and aligning their messages with the value propositions highlighted through other acquisition channels.

Custom product pages

Creative optimization is all the more important now that app developers can benefit from custom product pages (App Store) or custom store listings (Google Play). These native marketing tools allow app marketers to create unique landing pages intended for user acquisition. These can then incorporate promotional text, screenshots, and app previews that differ from those on the default product page.

For example, Deezer has recently created both a custom product page (iOS) and a custom store listing (GP) with a new set of screenshots that rather showcase podcasts over music. With this custom product page, Deezer can then provide a tailored link directing people from a podcast-focused ad campaign to this more relevant product page. With this increased alignment between its offering and the expectations of its ad audience, the app can improve its conversion and lower CPI (cost per install).

Deezer’s custom product page vs default product page on the App Store, US
Deezer’s custom product page vs default product page on the App Store (US).

Remember that on iOS, you can create up to 35 custom product pages that have a unique URL and can be integrated into Apple Search Ads (ASA) and other traffic sources (social media, email, etc). CPP can then be used to direct traffic from a particular group of keywords or a particular social media campaign to a specific custom product page.

On Google Play, you can have up to 50 custom store listings that can be used both for external traffic as well as organic (i.e. if you want to create a tailored custom store listing for a specific market/region). Using these landing pages judiciously will help your ads convert even better.

Expert Tip

Custom product pages can be tailored for a specific semantic ad campaign or ad group. With greater relevancy to store visitors’ needs and expectations, they allow you to maximize alignment between your audience, your creatives, and your offering.

Importance of app reviews & ratings

Ratings and reviews are the key public indicator of your app’s health. App ratings and reviews play a crucial role in conversion. Users are never keen to install an app with a rating below 4.0 stars and, given the intense competition on the app stores, even an app rated below 4.5 stars is at a disadvantage compared to higher-rated competition (Asodesk). In fact, it has been seen that an increase in average rating from 4.4 to 4.6 can lead to a 30% increase in CVR.

First, setting up a ratings prompt is super important to maximize your chance of collecting positive feedback and ratings. Replying to reviews has also proven to help increase average ratings. Furthermore, reviews are a true niche of information: they allow you to understand both user frustrations and the features of your app they enjoy the most. These insights can give you inspiration for future ad campaigns and make their success more likely.

Advanced App Store Optimization Book

Whether you’re an ASO newbie or an industry veteran, explore the foundations of ASO as well as the latest tips, techniques, and best practices for app growth success.

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ASO improves Apple Search Ads performance

Apple Search Ads have played an important role in user acquisition over the years. Lately, Apple has shaken the duopoly held by Google and Facebook, and its share of overall app developer spend on online advertising has risen to 15% (with Google at 34% and Facebook at 28%).

To get the most out of your Apple Search Ads, you need to understand how ASO can help to fuel your ASA campaigns. Two factors come into play here:

  • Keywords: search volume, organic rankings, relevancy, and competitiveness
  • Custom product pages
Synergy between ASA & ASO
Synergy between ASA & ASO. Source: Advanced App Store Optimization (2022), a work by Phiture and AppTweak.

With the help of an ASO tool like AppTweak, you’ll be able to identify keywords with high search volumes that are worth investing in. Indeed, highly searched keywords that are relevant to your app can drive downloads to your app with the help of ASA. Besides search volume, you should also consider how your competitors are ranking organically or if they’re bidding on these keywords.

Bear in mind that the higher your organic ranking, the higher the score Apple will assign your app for ASA auctions, which can potentially result in a lower CPI. This means more downloads for the same price! The importance of ASO comes into play here, as well-optimized text metadata can help you increase your organic rankings for targeted keywords.

We already discussed the use of CPPs for conversion purposes. They are just as powerful for ASA, if not more. As such, tailoring your custom product pages according to your semantic campaigns will help you boost your conversion rate.

Learn all about new Apple Search Ads placements on the App Store

Improve your Google Universal App Campaigns with ASO

Google App Campaigns are a great way to promote your app, as they will subtly place your ads everywhere on the Play Store as well as on other acquisition channels, including Search, Google Play, YouTube, Discover on Google Search, and the Google Display Network, to get your app in front of the right audience.

Somewhat similar to ASA, Google relies on your app metadata to understand where and how to promote your app. ASO is therefore as important for Google UAC as it is for other acquisition channels. Both the text metadata and creatives will come into play, as the keywords and features displayed in the screenshots will indicate your app’s main features and value proposition to Google’s algorithm.

In-app events help improve retention

In-app events on the App Store build hype around upcoming releases in your app/game, which might prevent customers from churning or encourage an already-churned user to re-download your app.

Let’s imagine a simple scenario – you’re about to unsubscribe from a streaming app because you no longer find enticing movies on it. Then, while scrolling through the App Store, you come across an in-app event mentioning that season 2 of your favorite TV show is about to be released on the app. You might then reconsider your decision to unsubscribe.

Detailed view of in-app events on AppTweak
Detailed view of in-app events on AppTweak.

Learn how you can track any in-app events on the App Store with AppTweak (also available for promotional content on Google Play)


In an ever-competitive mobile app environment, the quest for downloads requires more and more resources – but ASO might be your best ally. To lower your app’s cost per install and get the most out of your paid campaigns, you should:

  • Align your app screenshots with the main value proposition communicated in other acquisition channels.
  • Use custom product pages (iOS) and custom store listings (Android) to maximize the alignment of your audience to your app creatives.
  • Set up an app ratings prompt to maximize your average ratings and reply to reviews to maintain a strong relationship with your users.
  • Consider your app’s organic rankings before launching Apple Search Ads or Google UAC campaigns.

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Lucas Riedinger
by , Product Manager at AppTweak
Lucas is a Product Manager at AppTweak, helping to fuel growth for the world's most popular apps and games. He is passionate about rugby, basketball, and video games.