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Feb 16 2023
Launching your app in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store can help you reach a wider audience and generate more downloads. However, you cannot simply copy and paste your app listing from one platform to another.
These listings contain various fields, and the algorithms use the information in various ways to determine search result ranking. To maximize CTR and conversions, you must first understand the key differences between the two platforms.
So, without further ado, let's get started.
Because the App Store and Google Play Store rank apps and display search results differently, you must adjust your app store optimization (ASO) strategy for each to gain visibility and increase downloads.
Consider ASO to be similar to search engine optimization (SEO) for app stores. It's about optimizing an app listing in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store so that it appears near the top of relevant search results, increasing visibility and driving conversations.
Understanding how app store algorithms work is the first step in developing an effective ASO strategy.
The algorithms of an app store use ranking signals to determine how relevant an app is to each search inquiry. App store rankings are influenced by two factors: on-metadata ASO and off-metadata ASO.
Textual fields (such as app title, subtitle, or description) and visual assets (such as app store screenshots and videos) are examples of on-metadata factors that you can edit in App Store Connect or Google Play Console.
Meanwhile, you have no control over off-metadata factors because they are determined by how the market and users react to your app. Install volume and speed, average ratings, reviews, backlinks, and user engagement are among these factors.
Understanding how these factors work in each app store allows you to fine-tune your ASO strategy to improve your ranking and visibility. Let us investigate further.
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Both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store have a 30-character limit for app names and regard the keywords used in the field as a strong ranking signal. To get more clicks, consider how the app title appears in search results in addition to incorporating the most relevant search terms.
Because Google Play Store search results only show a listing's title and icon, your app title should be descriptive in order to attract the right people.
Meanwhile, search results on the Apple App Store include the app name, icon, subtitle, and screenshots to provide more content and context about an app. As a result, you can be more creative with the app title in order to attract attention and use the subtitle to explain what your app does.
The subtitle in the App Store and the short description in the Google Play Store both serve the same purpose: to inform users about your app. The content in this field is used by the algorithms to index your app against various search terms, so the keywords you use will have an impact on your app's ranking.
The similarity, however, ends here. In the App Store, the subtitle field is limited to 30 characters, and the copy appears alongside the app name and screenshots in search results. Meanwhile, in Google Play, you can use up to 80 characters, but the short description does not appear in search results. Users will only see it if they navigate to the app listing.
So, how do you deal with these variations in character count and content placement?
Your App Store subtitle should distinguish your brand from competitors and entice users to click through to the app product page. Your short description for Android apps should include a call to action and encourage users to download your app. Because Google ranks apps based on keyword density, repeating the top keywords in the app title and short description can help you rank higher.
Apps have a 100-character keywords field in the Apple App Store where you can include the most relevant search terms to help the algorithm index your listing and determine how to rank your app. These keywords are not visible to users, but they are an important ranking factor in Apple's ASO.
Google Play, on the other hand, does not have a keywords field. To determine the app's ranking, the algorithm considers keywords and keyword density in the app title, short description, and long description. After all, Google has the world's largest search engine to work with!
While the long description in both the App Store and Google Play aims to explain your app's features and benefits, they work very differently for ASO.
Because Apple does not use the long description as a ranking factor, you do not need to include as many keywords as possible in the copy. Instead, use it as a marketing tool to build connections, increase engagement, and drive downloads by writing creative copy that resonates with your core customers.
Keywords in the long description, on the other hand, are a ranking factor in Android apps. As a result, you should adhere to SEO best practices and aim for a keyword density of 2-3% in the 4,000-character field for your top keywords. But keep in mind that keyword stuffing can lead to your listing being rejected or suspended by Google Play, so don't overdo it.
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Screenshots are critical in attracting users to your app listing and convincing them to install the app. They can increase downloads, which leads to more opportunities to collect ratings and reviews, allowing you to improve your ASO. On Google Play, you can upload up to eight screenshots and ten on the App Store.
Because the first three screenshots will appear in the App Store search results, it is critical to use eye-catching and representative images to increase your CTR.
Screenshots do not appear in Google Play search results for generic search terms. While the images may appear in search results for branded search terms, they are smaller than those on the App Store — something to consider when adding text to your screenshots.
While both Apple and Google permit videos in their listings, you must adhere to their respective guidelines and formats.
The first preview video you add to your App Store app page will appear in search results and autoplay on mute, attracting users to click through to your listing. These videos must be optimized for 30-second autoplay and show the user flow of the app. Furthermore, Apple does not permit promotional content.
Promo videos in the Google Play Store are YouTube videos that have been added to an app listing and that automatically play in search results for branded searches. There can only be one video per listing, and it must be in landscape mode. Google gives video content more leeway. It can be descriptive or promotional, but monetization must be disabled.
The number of backlinks to your app page is used as a ranking signal by Google Play Store to determine the app's authority. More backlinks from reputable sources can help you rank higher, similar to how SEO works.
Backlinks, on the other hand, are not used as a ranking signal in the Apple App Store. However, promoting your app through multiple channels to drive high-quality traffic is still a good strategy for increasing downloads and getting positive feedback, which will help improve your ASO.
We understand - there's a lot to take in! To summarize, look at this table that highlights the key similarities and differences between the two stores.
With all of this knowledge at your disposal, you're ready to dive into ASO for both major app stores, get your app noticed, and watch it rise to the top of the rankings. To stay competitive, keep testing and reviewing your listing's performance - A/B testing is a great way to trial and compare different strategies.
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