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ASO - the basics of promoting mobile applications in the TOP App Store and Google Play

ASO - the basics of promoting mobile applications in the TOP App Store and Google Play


Why we need ASO for promotion of our mobile application. Lets see what is happening on the market and why we need to compete with other app for attractions of clients. 

Every day more and more new applications appear in mobile stores - their number in the AppStore exceeds 2.1 million units, in Google Play - almost 2.6 million units.

According to a study by the Counterpoint rating agency, about 50% of Internet users spend more than 5 hours on smartphones, 26% spend more than 7 hours a day, and the average user in 2017 opened about 40 applications every month on the gadget.


According to information from a survey conducted in 2016 by Google and Ipsos, word of mouth remains the main source of information (mainly recommendations from relatives, friends and relatives).

The most popular sources are sources such as research on offers in the stores themselves (including through search) and viewing Google Play and AppStore recommendations.

51% found out about apps from friends and family

This means that among marketers and optimizers, specialists in the field of ASO are still in great demand.

What is it and what does this mysterious term means, we will understand from this article.

What is an ASO?

The abbreviation ASO stands for App Store Optimization. ASO is a set of actions to optimize a mobile application in Google Play and the AppStore.

The main task facing the corresponding specialist is to bring the mobile application to the top “Apple” or “Google” store.

And this is not such a simple matter, a superficial knowledge about the optimization and the mechanisms of the stores themselves can not do.

Before diving into the nuances of ASO promotion, let's briefly touch on ranking topics in the AppStore and Google Play stores.


Ranking Factors on Google Play and AppStore

In both cases, ranking, which should not be confused with indexing (the process of adding an application to search results), is influenced by quite a few factors. Therefore, we will dwell briefly on a few basic ones.

The ranking in Appstore and Google play is affected by:

  • The total number of downloads.

  • Results for matching keywords.

  • The intensity and number of downloads for a specific search query.

  • Qualitative indicators of the applications themselves (they are different for the two stores).

To understand the work of these factors directly related to ASO optimization, we briefly touch on the technical specifics of the Google play and Appstore algorithms.


Features of Google and Apple Algorithms


First, you need to understand that the ranking of applications in both sides is strongly affected by the weighted weight of the keywords included in the request.

So, on Google Play, the importance of the keyword in Short Description is greater than its weight in Description, and less than the same indicator in AppName.

In the AppStore, the weight in the title is more significant in the keywords, and it is almost comparable to the weight in the sub title.

Secondly, it should be borne in mind that it does not make sense to repeat the keywords in the title and sub-title / keywords in the AppStore, since the object with the maximum weight is taken into account in the apple store when duplicating - the rest are ignored.

Thirdly, you need to know that the quality scores of the algorithms of both parties include the average score for evaluating the application, the number of launches and deletions, and the number of reviews.

Exclusively in the AppStore, the time since the last update of the application has a great influence, and the Google Play algorithm takes into account the number of external links and mentions / reviews on the Internet, the frequency of keys in reviews.

The following feature of the AppStore algorithm is also important: for “X Y” to appear in the search results for the query, it is necessary that “X” and “Y” are written in any of the blocks (possibly different) of the main localization involved in indexing - AppName / Subtitle / Keywords / Developer.

Or - so that "X Y" was present in unchanged form in any of the additional locales, or that "X" and "Y" were spelled out in the names of the additional locales.

It is advisable to consider all these factors in advance during ASO optimization before promoting applications.


How to choose keywords and what tools


ASO is based on the development of a semantic core. It is necessary for compiling a name and description, selecting keywords and defining phrases for mobile screenshots - all that will allow you to attract the highest quality traffic from the search.

So what does this mean? The Popularity Score shows how often users actually search for this phrase, and within a locale, it's quite comparable: If two search terms have the same popularity in the same language, they have roughly the same volume. However, across different languages (or rather: locales, as US, UK, AU, CA are vastly different), the volume will differ tremendously despite having the same score.

The amount of apps gives you a quick glance what your competition level might look like. As a voice from practice, on iOS everything below 750 is really worth looking at because you might be able to climb into top 10 easily provided the app is actually decent and you convert well from store page to an installation.


The following tools are usually used to form the semantic core:

Appfollow, Asodesk, Apptweak, Searchman, and Sensotower.

Wordstat and Google Keywords.

Also, as an add-on, you can study the tooltips in the search queries of AppStore and Google Play, this helps to determine the most popular keywords that are directly demanded by users.


Keywords in title


After compiling the semantic core, you need to select the words for the name of the application (title). In the AppStore, the name is limited to 50 characters, on Google Play - 30 characters, but keep in mind that the Apple Store also has a field for putting down keywords, which holds up to 100 characters.


When distributing keywords in ASO, you need to consider several important features of each store.

Features of the AppStore:

  • The name may be truncated depending on the display location of the application.

  • In the name, the word order matters, in the keywords themselves it does not.

  • Russian grammar is not taken into account: cases, plurals do not matter.

  • In English localization, some words are ignored or have a reduced weight (for example, the articles “the”, “a”).

  • Words such as “app”, “game”, “free” have uniquely reduced weight.

  • Punctuation marks in the name are considered as a space.


Features of Google Play:

  • Russian grammar and cases are taken into account in keywords, as well as prepositions, conjunctions and numbers.

  • There is no additional hidden field for keywords.

  • The name and description of the application when ranking have considerable weight.


Description Optimization


Experienced SEOs know that you can’t put a strong emphasis on ASO to describe applications in the AppStore - to increase the number of installations, it’s enough to focus on good, selling and intriguing text.

In the first two lines of such text it is better to immediately reveal the essence of the application itself, while in general it is advisable to avoid long, boring descriptions of three or four blocks.

The optimization of the name and description on Google Play is more dependent on the technical parameters of ASO.

The search algorithm of the store focuses on a short description (decription) of the application in a field limited to 80 characters. In the full description, the first 167 characters out of 4000 are most significant.


Take screenshots


Particular attention should be paid to the first two screenshots - they are reflected in the search for stores, serve as a kind of showcase for the application.

In the screenshots themselves, it is desirable to visually display the functionality of the application, show the most used tools and demonstrate great features.

At the same time, typical mistakes must be avoided - excess text and too small a font. It is also important to choose the right color for it, the text should not merge with the background, cut eyes on a white background or merge with poor-quality textures of the substrate.


Icon Creation


When creating an icon, what is important above all is its uniqueness and originality - these are defining characteristics that help store users in iOS and Android remember a specific application.

Can you find out many applications without signatures? :)

There are several things to keep in mind:

  • Simplicity rules - there is no need to overload the icon with unnecessary details, this can spoil the visual.

  • The basis of the icon is graphics, therefore it is undesirable to include words in it.

  • The color scheme of the icons is best maintained in soft pastel colors, sharp and too bright colors repel.


It is better to draw an icon on your own, thinking through and combining its visual with the general idea, the concept of the application. However, for inspiration, you can use Apply Pixels - a portal that contains a large collection of templates for icons. It also explains in sufficient detail what is needed to create the icon, gives detailed instructions.


A / B testing at ASO


All visual elements can be tested for effectiveness with the help of an excellent tool built into Google Play - Developer Console.

For successful A / B testing, you will need traffic, and if organic was involved during the advertising campaign, you can check several types of graphics at once.

Unfortunately, the AppStore does not have built-in functionality for A / B testing, so at the final stage of ASO optimization, you can use some third-party tools, for example, services such as Apptimize, Optimizely or Mixpanel.




ASO is a rather complicated and time-consuming process of optimizing mobile applications. And it is better to entrust it to, of course, experienced specialists who will develop a strategic complex for general promotion.

If you decide to experiment with ASO yourself, then here are a few tips that concern what to do under no circumstances. So, it is extremely undesirable:

  • To buy reviews for the application, this is fraught with a ban in the market.

  • Buying paid installations, this can also lead to a ban.

  • Use the names of other brands in the optimization.

Much more effective in-long term period will be reputation management , which will help you to boost growth of your app. 

Otherwise, complete freedom and creativity are welcomed as part of the instructions provided.


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