What is App Store Optimization: Your Essential Guide to ASO

Sukanya Surby 
Content Marketing Manager

29 min read

Dive into this series for straightforward, actionable ASO tips & strategies to boost your app’s visibility and downloads in the app stores.

  1. What is App Store Optimization: Your Essential Guide to ASO
  2. 10 Key Differences in ASO Between App Store & Google Play
  3. App Name Guidelines and Best Practices
  4. How to Optimize Your App Store Product Page?
  5. How to Optimize Your App Screenshots to Boost App Downloads
  6. 6 Best Practices to Optimize Your App’s Long Description

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about App Store Optimization, app store ranking signals, how ASO is different for the App Store and Google Play, and how to get started with ASO.

Whether you’re a first-time app developer or looking to refine your existing ASO efforts, this blog provide actionable tips and insights to help you navigate the complexities of App Store Optimization and achieve your app’s full potential.

What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?

The apps we want to download from the App Store or Google Play are more visible when they rank highly in search results for a variety of keywords, maintain a high position in the top charts, or get featured on the store.

But how do you make sure your app is put in front of the right people, in the right places?

And how do you make sure these people actually download your app?

That’s where ASO comes in.

App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of improving an app’s visibility on the app stores and maximizing its appeal to new, existing, and lapsed users. The ultimate goal is to increase your app downloads and (re)activations.

In simpler words, ASO comes down to this simple equation: traffic x conversion = downloads.


The traffic we want to drive to an app can fall under a variety of umbrellas. The main two we’ll discuss are Search traffic and Browse traffic.

There are other sources, like Referral traffic, which is traffic from other apps or websites, but ASO practitioners predominantly focus on organic traffic that happens within the store.

  • Organic search traffic: This refers to users who discover your app through keyword searches on the app stores. Consequently, ASO experts often prioritize keyword optimization as a fundamental strategy to amplify search traffic. We will delve deeper into this strategy subsequently.
  • Browse traffic: Alternatively, traffic can be generated via the Browse or Explore sections when an app gains a featuring on the App Store or Google Play. Store editors are on the lookout for strong apps and games to showcase, so getting featured offers an excellent opportunity to significantly increase traffic and downloads. Running in-app events, for example, is an effective strategy to attract new users, engage existing ones, or re-engage past users.


The next crucial aspect of ASO involves conversion – the process of turning a visitor to your app’s page into a user. With your app now visible and attracting traffic, the goal shifts towards converting this interest into tangible user engagement. Several factors play important roles in boosting your app’s conversion rate, with app creatives (such as the icon, screenshots, and videos) and app ratings and reviews being among the most influential.

The basics of App Store Optimization

A lot of factors can impact your app’s visibility and organic downloads. Depending on a company’s priorities, goals, and KPIs, App Store Optimization can consist of:

  • Executing keyword research to optimize app metadata with the most searched for keywords
  • Optimizing app creative assets such as icons, screenshots, and videos to encourage more users to download your app
  • Localizing an app’s product page to foreign languages worldwide
  • Implementing an effective review strategy to ensure a steady stream of positive reviews
  • Increasing an app’s visibility in editorial content, featured stories, or “Similar Apps” placements
  • Monitoring app store changes and competitor updates to maintain app visibility

Why is App Store Optimization important?

ASO should be included in every mobile marketer’s marketing stack. Sharing the importance of ASO for the success of your app will help you persuade your team that investing resources in ASO is worthwhile.

1. ASO is your key to visibility

If you’re not investing in App Store Optimization, you’re missing out on the largest discovery channels available to your app. According to Apple, 65% of all downloads on the App Store happen after a keyword search. This means that working on your search optimization will put you in the best position to get your app in front of the people looking for it.

AppTweak found that non-branded keywords, and their strategic combinations, account for half of all search traffic on the App Store. This represents a huge opportunity to increase your app’s visibility and conversion.

Search from generic keywords still accounts for more than half of App Store traffic
Search from generic keywords still accounts for more than half of App Store traffic. Source: AppTweak

You might question the necessity and effectiveness of ASO for well-established apps, such as Spotify, Candy Crush, or Netflix. It could seem that these giants mainly rely on searches specifically for their brand names. However, leveraging generic keywords – those not directly linked to the brand – is key to drawing in new users and maximizing brand recognition.

Take Tinder, for instance, one of the most popular dating apps in the world. While many download it by searching for the keyword “Tinder,” a lot of users find it through more general searches like “dating apps,” “online dating,” or “dating app for adults.”

By including these generic keywords in its metadata, Tinder does more than just reach potential users who aren’t initially looking for Tinder by name. It also gains an advantage by ensuring its visibility in search results where its competitors may appear too.

Generic keywords like dating apps drove over 2000 organic downloads for Tinder in the USA in 30 days
Generic keywords like dating apps drove over 2000 organic downloads for Tinder in the USA in 30 days. Source: AppTweak

2. Every app download begins on the app stores

It’s crucial to realize that no matter how a user discovers your app – through social media ads, native ads in an app, or any other channel – your app’s store page is a key factor in persuading them to install your app.

By optimizing your app store page (including any custom product pages), you can boost conversion rates and reduce the CPI of your ad campaigns. As a result, your investment in paid acquisition efforts yields more value.

  • Make sure your visuals (such as the app icon, screenshots, and preview videos) are high-quality and engaging for grabbing attention and standing out from the competition.
  • Run A/B tests on different elements of your app’s page, assess the outcomes, and adjust your strategy to improve performance.
  • Also conduct a detailed competitive analysis. See how your app stacks up against competitors in terms of features, design, and user feedback, and use this information to distinguish your app and showcase its unique qualities.
  • Pay close attention to user reviews. Poor ratings or negative reviews can significantly deter potential users and negatively impact your app’s standing in the store.

3. Make ASO a priority to boost brand visibility

It’s crucial to view App Store Optimization as a key strategy for showcasing apps to the right audience. Even well-known brands should not overlook the power of a well-optimized app store presence in strengthening their brand and message. Featuring your app signals quality and trustworthiness to users.

App stores are more than just download channels – they’re platforms for engaging both current and returning users.

  • Leverage in-app events (App Store) and promotional content (Google Play) effectively to highlight the latest updates and features of your app or game.
  • Further, incorporate seasonality to keep users engaged. Beyond just updating icons or holding sales, aligning your app with seasonal trends can set you apart from competitors. Update your app’s keywords and visuals to match seasonal themes, using specific holiday keywords like “Halloween” or “Christmas.” This helps boost visibility and attract more users during these periods. Such keywords tend to be less competitive, helping in holiday season growth.

Expert Tip

For e-commerce apps, events like Black Friday offer significant opportunities for increased traffic and downloads. To capitalize on “Black Friday” search popularity, consider adding the keyword into your app’s title or updating screenshots to reflect Black Friday deals. Data from our past searches shows that lesser-known apps can rank well for “Black Friday” by highlighting relevant ads and deals, suggesting that mentioning “Black Friday” in the title can enhance competitiveness.
Search results history for the keyword black friday 2023 on AppTweak
Search results history for the keyword “black friday” (2023) on AppTweak.

4. Improve user retention

The retention rate is a crucial app metric. Typically, apps that are downloaded organically boast retention rates that are 25% higher than those of apps acquired through paid methods like advertising or promotions. This indicates that users who discover and decide to download an app on their own, without any outside incentives, tend to continue using the app regularly.

This insight is prompting many mobile marketers to adjust their tactics. Instead of depending mainly on paid strategies, which might lead to swift downloads but poorer retention, they are shifting towards App Store Optimization as a more reliable and long-lasting method for user acquisition.

5. Increase chances of getting featured

Getting featured on the App Store and Google Play can significantly raise your app’s visibility, making it more discoverable. This increased visibility leads to a surge in downloads from users browsing or exploring the stores. Achieving a featuring on the stores is a major advantage and signals to users that your app is reliable and of high quality.

A strong App Store Optimization strategy can improve your odds of being featured. With over 2 million apps available on the app stores, securing a featured spot from Apple or Google is exceptionally challenging. Yet, by following the stores’ recommended practices and guidelines through effective ASO, you can boost your chances of standing out.

Discover how you can increase your chances of being featured on the App Store and Google Play

6. Keep ahead in the competition

Remember, your competitors are already leveraging App Store Optimization. Using advanced ASO tools like AppTweak, you can see how often leading apps in different categories refresh their metadata to boost their ASO effectively. For instance, through our Update Frequency Benchmark feature, we’ve observed:

  • The top 30 social networking apps on iOS typically update their screenshots about twice annually.
  • The leading 30 sports apps across both the App Store and Google Play revise their descriptions roughly three times a year.
  • Action games on Google Play change their icons nearly nine times a year, indicating very frequent updates.
Understand how often the top apps in your category update their metadata with Update Frequency Benchmark feature
Understand how often the top apps in your category update their metadata with Update Frequency Benchmark feature. Source: AppTweak

Impact of App Store Optimization

How Superscale boosted organic downloads with ASO

Undoubtedly, App Store Optimization can generate excellent results when executed well.

This couldn’t be better demonstrated than in the case study of Superscale, a growth platform for apps and games to help increase their visibility on the app stores and boost user acquisition.

When Superscale was tasked with growing the user base of Nimblebit’s Flagship game Tiny Tower, they first implemented a paid user acquisition strategy to increase downloads. However, the traffic and conversion results weren’t satisfying due to Tiny Tower’s outdated product page.

To optimize Tiny Tower’s app store page, Superscale implemented an effective ASO strategy. They turned their attention to both creative and keyword optimization.

1. Optimizing app title & description

They started by optimizing Tiny Tower’s app title and description. Using AppTweak, they analyzed the keywords used most in searches, which also helped them understand where Tiny Tower’s competitors lacked visibility.

Shortly after updating the game’s metadata based on these insights, the Superscale team saw downloads from Google Play Search traffic increase by 25%.

2. A/B testing app icons & screenshots

Next, their team used AppTweak to research creative trends in the game’s category. After spying on its competitors to understand what works – and doesn’t work – for them, Superscale created new visual assets to perform A/B tests on the app icon.

Superscale used AppTweak to research creative trends in the game’s category to A/B test Tiny Tower's game icon and screenshots.
Superscale used AppTweak to research creative trends in the game’s category to A/B test Tiny Tower’s game icon and screenshots.

The game saw a 6.4% rise in conversion rate after a successful A/B test on Google Play. The updates in title and description led to a surge in downloads from search traffic by 25%. With a focus on creative and keyword optimization, Tiny Tower was featured more often on the Play Store. As a result, downloads from Google Play Explore skyrocketed and grew more than 450%.

Tiny Tower downloads grew after implementing an effective ASO strategy
Tiny Tower’s downloads grew more than 450% after implementing an effective ASO strategy.

What are the ASO ranking factors?

To get started with App Store Optimization, you need to understand the app store algorithms. The App Store and Google Play have their own unique algorithms, but the main ranking signals are similar:

Understanding keyword rankings hinges on two main concepts: keyword relevancy and ranking strength.

1. Keyword relevancy

This indicates whether your app matches a user’s search query, influenced by:

  • App’s primary category: Indicates your app’s thematic relevance.
  • Keywords in app metadata: These include your title, subtitle, descriptions, and keywords field, helping the app stores understand your app’s content and its relevance to user searches.

Choosing effective keywords is crucial but challenging. For example, “flights” might seem appropriate for a travel app like Booking.com, but if top results are flight-specific apps, they’re deemed more relevant.

Relevance is key, often judged by matching a keyword to user intent and download metrics. Assigning each keyword a relevance score from 0 to 5, based on these factors, helps to boost your ASO strategy.

Live search results for "flights" on the US Google Play Store reveal that the top 5 apps are predominantly focused on flight-booking services
Live search results for “flights” on the US Google Play Store reveal that the top 5 apps are predominantly focused on flight-booking services. Source: AppTweak.

The app store algorithms use several ranking signals to assess how closely your app relates to search terms. The most crucial is your app metadata’s keyword placement.

Keywords in app metadata

Algorithms evaluate your app’s relevance to a keyword based on its metadata.

  • iOS: Title, subtitle, and keyword field
  • Android: Title, short description, and long description

Your app can rank for searches containing your metadata keywords, with your app title placement being the most important.

2. App ranking strength

Beyond keywords, the app stores also consider your app’s performance data to refine search rankings.

  • App downloads & velocity: Daily download numbers and the rate of these downloads (download velocity) are strong indicators of relevance, influencing your app’s search position and visibility on top charts. Apple and Google really focus on how quickly an app is being downloaded. This means a new app that’s getting a lot of downloads every day can rank high, even if it hasn’t been around for long or doesn’t have a massive total number of downloads yet.
  • App conversion rate: A high conversion rate boosts your search ranking. For instance, if lots of people download your app after searching for a certain word – like “flight booker” – and this keeps happening, your app will probably show up high in the search results for that word. Google Play also factors in user retention, valuing apps that keep users engaged over time.
  • Ratings & reviews: Your app’s reviews and star ratings are another major ASO ranking factor. A lot of positive reviews and high star ratings signal to the algorithms that users are liking your app.
  • Android Vitals: The Play Store’s algorithm factors in app performance, including stability, crash rate, and battery usage, affecting app visibility. Poor performance can lower rankings, so optimizing your app performance is crucial for better Play Store placement.
  • Backlinks (Google Play): The Play Store evaluates the number and quality of backlinks from websites to your app. It assesses the authority and relevance of these sites, including page views and bounce rates, and the alignment of URL keywords with your app’s content. High-quality backlinks can boost your Google Play rankings, making it important to improve and monitor your backlinks.

ASO on the App Store vs Google Play

The App Store and Google Play have the same objective – to help users discover and download new apps. But both stores have a very different look and feel when it comes to their app page and search results. Some of these differences have a major impact on how you should optimize your app.

App Store search results:

  • Shows app icon, title, subtitle, ratings, and screenshots. Portrait screenshots show 3 images, landscape shows 1. Portrait preview videos autoplay in search results. For iOS 15 and later, previously downloaded apps don’t show screenshots in search results.
  • App titles up to 30 characters, usually cut to 26. With creatives occupying space, only two apps fit on a screen, making visibility beyond the 10th position low.

Google Play search results:

  • For generic keywords, up to 8 apps can appear, showing the app icon, title, developer name, ratings, and daily downloads average. Screenshots and videos are not displayed for these searches.
  • App titles also have a 30-character limit, with potential cutoffs depending on the device.
  • Branded keyword searches display differently, showcasing the app more prominently with additional details like screenshots and a short description, followed by “You Might Also Like” and “Similar Apps” carousels, with organically ranked apps listed below.
Example of Google Play’s branded keyword search results for Starz vs non-branded keyword search results for watch movies
Example of Google Play’s branded keyword search results for Starz vs non-branded keyword search results for “watch movies”. Source: AppTweak

App Store vs Google Play: Impact on ASO

The search results, app pages, and the algorithms of the App Store and Google Play clearly look very different. These impact how developers and mobile marketers should optimize their app store listings on each store:

Example of App Store search results vs Google Play search results
Example of App Store search results vs Google Play search results. Source: AppTweak

App title

  • Crucial element for ranking. Include relevant keywords to improve visibility and rankings.
  • Both the stores allow up to 30 characters. Choose a clear, unique title that reflects your app’s function. Avoid vague names.
  • Google Play prohibits promotional phrases like “best” or “#1.” Your title is especially crucial here, since short descriptions and screenshots aren’t shown for general searches.

Check out these tips to choose an app title that sets you apart from your competitors

Subtitle/short description

  • Length and purpose vary: 30 characters on the App Store and 80 on Google Play.
  • On the App Store, subtitles explain your app’s function. On Google Play, the short description, positioned under screenshots on the app page, should engage users and prompt downloads.

Keyword field (iOS)

  • Invisible to users, this 100-character field helps determine your app’s search relevance. Use it wisely to enhance visibility. Google Play does not have this field, relying instead on keywords in your title, short, and long descriptions.

Long description

  • On the App Store, the long description doesn’t affect rankings, so it does not need to be written with keyword optimization in mind.
  • Google Play considers the long description as an important ranking factor, so optimize your long description following best SEO practices and increase the density of top-priority keywords.

Keep these best practices in mind for an optimized long description on Google Play

Repeating keywords

  • The App Store discourages keyword repetition across the title, subtitle, and keyword field. Use single keywords for combinations.
  • On Google Play, focus on density of top single and long-tail keywords in your app page metadata, but avoid keyword stuffing.


  • The first 3 screenshots are key on the App Store. However, a significant change introduced with iOS 15 is that screenshots no longer display in the App Store search results for apps already downloaded by the user. However, any in-app event card you’re currently running will show, even if the app has already been downloaded. Thanks to this, in-app events present a great opportunity to grab the attention of your users and encourage them to revisit your app.
  • Further, adding captions to iOS screenshots that showcase your app’s key features or benefits is beneficial, making your app more noticeable in search results.
  • On Google Play, screenshots are less visible in the search results for general keywords, only showing up on the app’s detailed page. They become visible in searches for your app’s brand name, displayed with the app’s icon, title, and a brief description. Given their smaller size on Google Play, ensure any text in screenshots is legible to highlight your app’s features and value clearly.

Design the best app screenshots with these proven tips & best practices

Lululemon's strategic adaptation of screenshots for the App Store & Google Play stand out, while GOAT's identical screenshots for both the stores miss the mark on Google Play visibility
Lululemon adapts by using captions on the App Store’s larger screenshots to promote offers. On Google Play, they focus on visually striking product images due to the smaller screenshot size. In contrast, GOAT uses the same screenshots for both the app store product pages. This results in hard-to-read content on Google Play, which diminishes visibility and effectiveness. Source: AppTweak

In-app events & promotional content and their impact on ASO

What are iOS in-app events?

iOS 15 introduced in-app events, allowing apps and games to feature special events like challenges, competitions, live events, major updates, new season, special events, and premieres. These events aim to attract new users, engage current ones, and re-engage inactive users.

Check out this exclusive read on how to best leverage in-app events to help your app/game stand out

How do you craft an effective in-app event?

Once you’ve laid the groundwork for your in-app event and selected an appropriate badge to represent it, it’s time to craft the event’s metadata. This includes:

  • Event name: Keep under 30 characters, using searchable keywords.
  • Short description: A 50-character overview, also indexed for searches.
  • Long description: Up to 120 characters, visible upon user interest. Not indexed.
  • Visuals: Include engaging images or videos (up to 30 seconds) with a clear poster frame. Consider a second visual for expanded views.

Examples of effective in-app events

Spotify capitalizes on International Women’s Day by hosting an in-app event, aimed at boosting its visibility through keywords such as “women” in both the event’s title and short description. It also ensures that the text on its event visuals is clearly legible by selecting backgrounds that provide sharp contrast.

Spotify strategically leverages International Women's Day by hosting an in-app event to boost its presence on keywords like women
Spotify leverages International Women’s Day by hosting an in-app event to boost its presence on keywords like “women.” Source: AppTweak

In another example, Trivia Crack capitalizes on Valentine’s Day in February to engage users interested in or celebrating the occasion. Moreover, Trivia Crack often organizes in-app events termed as “challenges” over various periods, boosting its App Store visibility. This helps maintain the game’s appeal for existing players while attracting new ones.

Trivia Crack makes use of different event durations and types to increase its visibility on the App Store
Trivia Crack makes use of different event durations and types to increase its visibility on the App Store. Source: AppTweak

What is Google Play promotional content?

Promotional content on Google Play, including in-app content, major updates, or limited-time events, boosts user engagement, increases sales, and minimizes the likelihood of users leaving your app. These promotional events serve as an effective method to connect with users outside your app, encouraging them to either start using your app again, install it, or take advantage of special offers like discounts or exclusive deals for new customers. Regularly offering high-quality promotional content signals to Google Play your commitment to improving your app, potentially leading to more visibility on the platform.

Like iOS, Google Play promotional content highlights your in-app events across various places such as the Games tab, Events tab, store listing, or in search results. This allows developers to showcase different events, link directly to them, and boost exposure on the Play Store, attracting new and returning users.

How to implement promotional content for your app/game?

Promotional content plays an important role in the success of mobile games, driving retention and in-app purchases. Engaging a large and active audience through creative promotional content keeps your game appealing and fresh. Here are a few ways for implementing promotional content into your mobile app/game:

  • Holiday promotions: Leverage holidays for special sales or events, utilizing these periods for creative engagement and testing user interest.
  • Competitive tournaments: Boost engagement by hosting tournaments, especially in genres like fighting games or RPGs. Ensure a fair competition to prevent a “pay-to-win” scenario.
  • Challenges: Offer time-limited challenges as an engaging alternative to tournaments, prompting players to complete tasks or collaborate on objectives.
  • Loyalty rewards: Reward long-term users with exclusive offers, new content, or a loyalty system that encourages regular engagement and rewards dedication.

Examples of promotional content

Let’s look at how some apps and games use promotional content to captivate their audience.

Booking.com offers a promotion called “Get 15% off stays worldwide,” with a clear tagline and straightforward details. It uses consistent visuals tailored to the event, ensuring the message is clear and cohesive.

Booking.com's exclusive offer is not just in the promotional content card’s tagline but also mentioned clearly in the event card, accompanied by a relevant visual
Booking.com’s exclusive offer is not just in the promotional content card’s tagline but also mentioned clearly in the event card, accompanied by a relevant visual. Source: AppTweak

Wordscapes showcases its “Safari Portrait Event” with theme-aligned taglines, descriptions, and jungle-themed imagery. Strategic keywords like “wild” and “savanna” enhance the safari feel, drawing in users.

Wordscapes skillfully matches its promotional event's theme with relevant keywords and imagery to appeal to users
Wordscapes skillfully matches its promotional event’s theme with relevant keywords and imagery to appeal to users. Source: AppTweak

Tips for a winning ASO strategy

Understanding ASO is crucial for boosting organic downloads. Here are some focused tips to help you begin:

1. Identify your competitors & analyze their ASO strategies

As a first step in your App Store Optimization strategy, identify which apps you are competing with and what their strategy is. Consider not only direct rivals but also any app or game vying for identical keywords in the app stores.

Before you start digging into keyword research, take a step back and look at what your competitors are doing in terms of ASO. Not only can you learn a lot from this exercise, it will also help you define realistic benchmarks or KPIs for your own strategy.

Using an ASO tool like AppTweak simplifies this process significantly. For instance, the ASO Timeline feature indicates when a competitor has made metadata updates, offering a comparative view of changes. Additionally, it provides insights into product page optimization (PPO) tests for both your app and competitors, drawing data directly from Apple. This feature allows you to see the elements tested (such as icons, screenshots, or preview videos) and how traffic is distributed among different versions.

Track your competitors’ PPO, A/B tests, in-app events, metadata updates, and more in AppTweak's ASO Timeline
Track your competitors’ PPO, A/B tests, in-app events, metadata updates, and more in the ASO Timeline feature. Source: AppTweak

2. Audit your current metadata performance

Evaluate how well your current metadata performs. Are you ranking for your targeted keywords? Are these keywords driving downloads? It’s essential not to remove high-performing keywords while replacing less effective ones. AppTweak provides a comprehensive view of keyword performance, including search volume and estimated downloads.

Expert Tip

With AppTweak’s All Ranked Keyword Performance, you can see all the keywords for which your app ranks. Powerful metrics such as “volume” help you understand how often this keyword is searched for. The “installs” metric shows an estimation of how many downloads each of these keywords brings to your app.

For instance, an analysis of Among Us! on February 27, 2024, revealed 13,887 organic installs from 9,342 keywords, a decrease in installs but an increase in ranked keywords since December 8, 2023. The data showed most installs came from top-ranked keywords and those with medium search volumes, primarily from the game’s own brand.

All Ranked Keywords Performance report for Among Us on AppTweak
All Ranked Keywords Performance report for Among Us! on AppTweak.

3. Find relevant keywords for your app

Begin with identifying keywords to increase your app’s visibility. Compile a brainstorm list of 150–200 relevant keywords, considering a wide range of terms related to your app, including long-tail keywords. Reflect on your app’s main features or benefits, and observe competitor titles and subtitles for potential keywords.

To truly uncover unique, high-volume keywords that competitors might not be targeting, we recommend using an ASO tool.

Expert Tip

Use AppTweak’s AI-Generated Keyword List to kick off your keyword research efficiently. This tool not only boosts visibility but also offers insights into the competition’s keyword strategy.
AI-generated keyword list on AppTweak
AI-generated keyword list on AppTweak.

4. Decide which keywords to focus on

After compiling a list of keywords relevant to your app, determine which ones to include in your app metadata.

  • Focus on keywords most relevant to your app that answer user queries.
  • Prioritize keywords with medium to high search volume.
  • Choose low-competition keywords where your app has a good chance of ranking.
  • Incorporate the most important keywords into your app title, as it carries significant weight in the App Store and Google Play.

Expert Tip

AppTweak’s Relevancy Score, which ranges from 0 to 100, indicates how well a keyword matches your app. Consider the keywords “run” and “running.” Initially, both appear highly relevant to a fitness app such as Nike Run Club. Yet, when we analyze these terms using our AI-driven Relevancy Score with a Live Search, it’s clear that app stores typically associate “run” with gaming apps like Subway Surfers or Temple Run. On the other hand, “running” is more closely linked to fitness applications, including Nike Run Club.
Semantic keywords related to run and running
Semantic keywords related to “run” and “running”. Source: AppTweak

5. Optimize your app’s visual elements

Visual elements are crucial for App Store Optimization on both the App Store and Google Play, with users spending an average of just 7 seconds per app listing. This brief window is your golden opportunity to capture the attention of your intended audience. So take the time to design well-thought screenshots, icons, and videos

Tips to optimize app screenshots:

  • Ensure that screenshots convey your app’s essence and highlight its key features
  • Maintain simplicity to avoid suggesting complexity, which can put off potential users

Tips to design a compelling app icon:

  • Your icon should be simple, focusing on one element to easily communicate your app’s purpose
  • Incorporate familiar brand elements if they resonate with your audience
  • Consider A/B testing to understand user preferences

Best practices for your app preview/promo videos

  • Accurately reflects actual usage of your app or game
  • Avoids time-sensitive content to remain relevant
  • Is tailored to the language and cultural nuances of your target market

A/B testing app creatives:

  • Use Google Play’s store listing experiments and Apple’s product page optimization to test and identify the most effective visuals.
  • Establish separate timelines for keyword and creative updates to accurately measure their impact.

Expert Tip

Clear, relevant visuals not only make your app stand out but also build a loyal user base by enhancing user satisfaction.

6. Localize your app

Localizing your app is crucial for increasing your app’s visibility around the world. This involves adapting your app’s metadata, keywords, and visuals to cater to different languages and cultures, significantly boosting your app’s presence in non-English speaking markets like Japan or China.

Localization isn’t just translation; it requires understanding and integrating local search behaviors and preferences into your app’s metadata & visuals. In Japan, for instance, app screenshots often feature dense text and intricate details, reflecting local tastes. Games might incorporate anime or manga characters to appeal to the local audience.

For example, Hago has tailored its app screenshots differently for the US and Indonesian markets. For Indonesia, the app features models of various ages, religions, and ethnic backgrounds in its screenshots. This highlights cultural diversity, making the app more attractive to a broader audience in Indonesia. Further in its localization efforts, Hago has translated the screenshot captions into Indonesian.

Highlight cultural ethnic backgrounds in your app screenshots when localizing your app for the target market to engage with a wider range of users
Highlight cultural ethnic backgrounds in your app screenshots when localizing your app for the target market to engage with a wider range of users. Source: AppTweak

7. Get more user reviews

Ratings and reviews are a major App Store Optimization ranking signal and should be a key part of your ASO strategy.

  • To illustrate a case study, The North Face saw a substantial increase in app ratings by integrating a review prompt post-purchase, capitalizing on user satisfaction. This strategy lifted their App Store rating from 3.68 to 4.23 and increased conversion rates by 59.06%. On Google Play, their ratings rose by 75%, with scores improving from 3.71 to 4.54.
The North Face significantly increased its app ratings by strategically implementing a review prompt within its app
The North Face significantly increased its app ratings by strategically implementing a review prompt within its app. Source: AppTweak

Get your hands on the complete case study

  • User feedback is invaluable for understanding what works and what doesn’t in your app. For example, when Netflix removed the show “The Vampire Diaries,” user dissatisfaction was evident in reviews. This indicates the importance of monitoring and responding to user sentiments for developers and marketers.

8. Monitor app rankings & visibility

It is vital to monitor your app rankings and visibility on a regular basis. Not only do the app stores update their algorithm regularly, the app stores see constant competition and user search behavior changes over time.

Make sure to spot trends early and adjust your keyword strategy when necessary.

Expert Tip

Regularly updating your app’s metadata in the App Store and Google Play is one of the most efficient ways to ensure your app’s visibility. In general, we recommend reviewing and updating iOS metadata every 4 weeks and Google Play metadata every 4–6 weeks

Monitor & adapt your ASO work

Achieving success with App Store Optimization is a gradual process. Once you’ve implemented updates (metadata or creatives), it’s essential to monitor your app’s performance carefully and make iterative adjustments. The dynamics of app stores, including the entry of new apps and periodic algorithm updates, can impact your rankings. To sustain visibility, it’s crucial to stay proactive by monitoring your rankings and making necessary adaptations.

Also, stay informed about the latest trends in ASO. Regularly keeping an eye on emerging practices and changes in the app store landscape will help you stay ahead and optimize your app effectively for continued success.

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Sukanya Sur
by , Content Marketing Manager
Sukanya is Content Marketing Manager at AppTweak, creating intriguing content for app marketers. She possesses strong editing skills, delights in storytelling, and holds a deep appreciation for classic literature.