Acquisition & Engagement

Top 5 App Store Optimization Mistakes

Becky Doles

Chances are pretty high that you’re relatively new to the app store optimization space. ASO is only a few years old, so even early adopters who have been doing it from the beginning still haven’t been doing it that long. That being said, awareness and resource allocation for ASO is growing like crazy. In 2013, app store optimization jobs grew 400%, making it one of the fastest growing mobile marketing segments.

We love that ASO is becoming a focus of many mobile marketers. However, because it’s still a new space, there are a lot of common mistakes and misconceptions. Fortunately, we’ve been doing this a while and have seen them all. Here are the five biggest ones we identified that you seriously want to avoid.

Focusing too much on title

Newbies to ASO often hope and think that, to be successful, all they have to do is throw a few important keywords into their app’s title. ASO is much more than that; it consists of a careful mix of science and art. An ASO must understand his or her users to know what they will search for and what will convince them to download the app, but they also need to have the hard data which will help guide their decision making.

Don’t get us wrong, your title is very important. But if that’s all you’re worried about, your ASO efforts probably won’t be very successful.

ASO is not a silver bullet

ASO is a marathon, not a sprint. Although every once in a while we see people make huge ranking jumps immediately after optimizing their app, the majority of apps don’t achieve overnight success. We have an entire blog post dedicated to this topic which you can read here.

Focusing only on high volume keywords

All you need to do is find the most search keywords and use them, right? Wrong. Although it’d be nice if ASO were that simple. This is another mistake we often seen marketers make. High volume isn’t necessarily synonymous with being a good keyword.

It’s important to note that using volume to evaluate a keyword isn’t the problem here – the mistake arises when that’s all you look at or care about. Many people do a good job of compiling a comprehensive list of relevant keywords, which is the first (and often most difficult) step of keyword research. But then they ruin all that hard work by simply filtering their list by search volume and picking the highest ones.

This goes back to the ‘ASO is not a silver bullet’ mistake. To start thinking about more than just volume, try asking yourself these questions:

  • Will I realistically be able to rank for this search query?
  • Who are the top 10 apps that rank for this query and how do they compare to my app? (try using our Popularity Score as a comparison metric)
  • Are a lot of the top apps using this term in their title? (Using a term in your title can give you a boost for a certain keyword, which can possibly lead to you ranking higher than apps that would otherwise outrank you)
  • Is the keyword relevant to my app? (Make sure that the apps which show up for this keyword aren’t dominated by apps from a completely different category)
  • Would my target market actually use this search term?

And yes, you should also ask yourself if the term has high volume.

Ignoring screenshots and descriptions

ASO is oftentimes thought of as just the process of improving your visibility and downloads by increasing your rank for keywords. Although that’s a big part of it, the art of converting customers is often overlooked.

Even if you rank first for all the keywords you’re targeting, you still have to convince people to download your app. This is where your screenshots and description come into play. You’ve hooked the fish, but now you need to reel it in. If you’ve ever been fishing, you know this can be quite the battle, but it can also make the difference between acquiring an additional user or losing them to your competition.

Settling with a mediocre product

The last big mistake is not focusing enough on the product. Again, a common ASO (and general app) misconception is that you’ve won once you acquired the download. This is far from true in both cases. Now of course getting a download is a huge victory, but it’s not the end of the war.

You want a great product so that your users are happy. This will increase the chances that they share it with friends and help improve metrics that impact your ranking like uninstalls and DAUs. Both of these help further increase downloads, taking you another step towards long-term success.

Hopefully these gave you something to think about as you begin or continue the ASO process. If you have any questions feel free to reach out via Twitter or email at [email protected].

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

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