It’s no secret that mobile applications are rapidly moving to the front of the parade for application development. In fact, we often hear from product leadership at companies with a B2B or B2C SaaS offering who ask for help for improving the mobile experience for their users – especially finding new users. It starts with making sure users can to find the app.
There are thousands of new apps appearing in Apple App Store and Google Play Store every day. You don’t want your app being released and instantly forgotten. In this post we list a few key principles you need to follow to ensure the exposure and discoverability of your app.
While the media coverage and initial marketing push are very important, the discoverability of your app is also crucial. Increasing organic downloads by implementing data-driven app store optimization can’t be overlooked. Description, app name, keywords, icon and other major factors play inevitably important role for your app to be discovered through the search mechanics of App Stores. This doesn’t cost you much, just the time to do the research, write proper texts and design proper media.
Crucial steps to ensure your app is optimized for App Store
- Use a descriptive yet simplistic icon to captivate your potential users
- Choose a unique name that includes your brand and keywords
- Write a description that highlights the features and benefits of your app
- Make well designed high resolution screenshots and video with major features highlighted
- Submit your app to an accurate category with the lowest competition possible
- Ask your friends and acquittances for honest reviews and ratings
- Analyze results and improve app store optimization
How to design an icon for your app
Your app’s icon is the very first thing that your potential users will judge you by. Make sure the icon says a lot about your app. Simplicity is the best way for your icon to stand out and be descriptive in the same time.
Avoid using words – Words in your app icon are unnecessary because the app name is visible almost anytime right near the icon. Words also divert attention away from the visual aspects of an icon that supposed to be visual.
Choose one visual element – Don’t try to tell potential users everything about your app at once. Pick one important element and make it the center piece of your icon.
Use the correct format and size – Provide your user with as much quality as possible. Use a PNG file and make sure it looks good at 1024×1024 size needed for Apple App Store.
Be creative – Make something that will stand out. If it grabs users’ attention in a positive way, then it’s app store optimization.
Choosing the best name for your app in App Store
The name of your app is very important for its discoverability on Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Prioritize the first 25 characters – The name of your app has a maximum character length of 50 characters on the Apple App Store. The Google Play Store offers even smaller number of characters, just 30. Users will only see the first 25 characters of your app's name when searching on their devices.
Try to pick a unique name – Conduct a quick research to see if the name you picked up is already taken and what similar apps are out there. If your search returns a lot of apps that are similar to yours, you might also want to rethink that name.
Use keywords to improve app store SEO – It's ok to include some relevant keywords in your app's title. Don't forget about the first 25 characters! And use only the most search friendly features to show up in search results when people are trying to find an app like yours.
Use URL Friendly characters – Don’t include special symbols like trademark or copyright symbols in your app name, they will make discovering your app more difficult as they are going to clutter the URL of your app in App Store.
Writing the best description for your app in App Store
The app description itself is less meaningful for the actual SEO in App Store but it's very important for users. Improving the description of your app will most definitely yield a huge impact to your potential users.
Anything your audience looks at should be optimized!
Prioritize the first 3 sentences – While looking at your app description on their devices users will see only first three small sentences. Everything else will be hidden under "More" button. Be sure to include the essence of what's your app about in those three sentences!
Social Proof – Adding awards, media coverage, ranking milestones and user reviews will help show your audience that your app is popular and well reviewed. Sometimes users just need to hear that someone else found an app useful or enjoyable too.
Benefits and features – Tell people what they’ll gain from using your app. The reason to choose your app needs to be clear to them. You can also list all of the great features you’ve worked so hard on.
Using descriptive screenshots and trailer in App Store
Screenshots are an important indicator of functionality and experience for potential users. Highlight all major features of your app in the screenshots, design them to show how the app looks like on a mobile device.
Get high-resolution images – Make sure you’re using the highest resolution images possible. Mobile device displays are improving all the time, so there’s no excuse for using low-quality images when promoting your app. Use high-resolution images and grab people’s attention by showing them how good your app looks.
Place your best screenshot first – If one screenshot is really appealing and intriguing, then you’ll want potential users to see it first. One great screenshot can be a fantastic advert for your app or game. You can even overlay text or highlight the action of your app in screenshots nowadays. You should have no problem creating something that stands out.
You can use short videos in Apple App Store and Google Play Store now – Ask a professional motion designer or video editor to make a short trailer depicting all the major features and how to use them in your app.
Choosing the most suitable category in App Store
Choosing the correct category for your app is considered a best practice. Don't forget about two simple rules.
Find the least competition – After careful analysis of the top apps you should choose a respective category or a sub-category, whichever has the lowest level of competition.
Choose accurate categories – Don't put your app in a wrong category. You might want to enter your app into any category with low competition, but such action is punishable on both Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Obtaining honest reviews and ratings for your app
Positive reviews and ratings can be a big help in convincing undecided users if they’d like to download your app. It’s not the be-all and end-all of app store optimization, but it’s a good help.
Ask family and friends – Use word of mouth and get your family, friends and acquittances to review your app. Though you need to make sure they actually use the app for a while before doing so. Reviews and ratings are good, but an honest review that seems authentic is much more powerful for app store optimization.
Ask current users – Another way to get reviews is to reach out to users at appropriate times. You can use push notifications to do this, but you need to be very careful with this as sending too many notifications can be annoying and lead to bad reviews. If a user seems to be using an app a lot, ask them if they’re enjoying it rather than asking if they want to rate it. If they say yes, then you can message them to give a positive rating. If they say no, you can ask them for feedback and try to improve their experience.
Analyzing App Store optimization
Let's say you’ve done everything mentioned before. Now it’s time to start with the real app store optimization. Once you have everything in place, you need to analyze performance and test ways to further improve your app store page.
Test different elements – You’ll learn more about app store optimization from analysis and testing than from anything else. Maybe that screenshot that you liked isn’t converting into downloads. Or else there are some better keywords to use in your name. You can improve every element again and again to achieve better results.
Analyze results – Track your performance in the app store. If you’re not experiencing the results you’d like, change things up and analyze the new results. While many of the tips seem like one-time actions, the reality is that app store optimization is an on-going process. Check out App Annie for advanced insights into app store optimization.
CloudGeometry can help
How CloudGeometry can help
While it’s often overlooked, take the App Store data analysis and testing very seriously at CloudGeometry. We do all the hard work for our clients, including analyzing the currently used keywords and keyphrases by frequency and relative weight, researching the keywords used by competitors, developing the set of recommendations for changes in the keywords set, implementing iterative strategy for releasing, testing, analyzing, implementing and planning the next update. In fact, our extensive tests show that just a small change in description, app name, app icon or screenshots layout can lead to dramatic change in conversion rates, download numbers, demographic shift and app usage patterns. You can’t afford to neglect acquisition tactics including organic channels such as boosting app discoverability and exposure. At CloudGeometry, we’ve got years of experience Crafting and launching award-winning mobile apps, whether your targeted audience is mass market consumers or targeted business users. Our experts can help you with everything from user experience/design to choosing between native vs. cross platform, back end infrastructure, data analytics, and everything in between.