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ASO Made Simple- A Step-By-Step Guide

Dec 9 2020

Over 2.7 million applications are crowed into the Google Play market until 2020, nearly 2 million in Apple App store, and about 1,000 new applications is rushing into the app store every day. These are enormous and staggering numbers, especially if you’re a developer trying to get your app be noticed. How to stand out from fierce competitors has become a topic that many developers must face.

How to make your application rank top in the APP Store? How to ensure your app meets the real needs of search users in the APP Store? We talk about the practical App Store optimization strategy which may help you ranking your mobile applications top in the App Store and attract more potential users as below.

A Step-By-Step ASO Guide 

What is App Store Optimization(ASO)?


Application Store Optimization (ASO) mainly focuses on improving the popularity of applications in the application store, and thus brings qualified organic traffic, reducing user acquisition (UA) costs. Therefore, ASO has become an important promotion method in mobile application marketing strategies.


How do you use ASO?


We talk about the main factors which may affect your ASO results. It worth your time to optimize them. 

The actual algorithm for ranking Android apps in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store is actually not clear and is always changeable. 

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Here are 9 important steps you need to take to improve ASO in the Apple App Store and Google Play.


1. Optimize your application title;

2. Make keywords meeting users needs;
3. Description attracts users;
4. High Quality Screenshots;
5. Identified Icon;
6. A Easy-to-understand application explanation video;
7. Total number of Downloads;
8. Ratings and Reviews;
9. Retention rates.

Application Title

The keyword placed in the title should be the one with the heaviest search traffic. Spend time researching which keyword that is, because changing your title too often can be detrimental. As your app begins to rank higher and gain more reviews, your app’s news will begin to spread by word of mouth. Changing the title can make it difficult for word to spread about your app.


To improve your search rankings, you need to know which keywords are relevant and used most often by your target audience. It is helpful to monitor competitors to realize how you compare week to week.


Rather than optimizing for SEO, make your description focus on explaining the features and benefits of your product. Keep your description concise, because you don’t have enough space to display more content actually. 

Truncated snippets are shown on your product page, and a few readers will ever click “more” to read beyond what you see here. You have 252 characters to make your pitch and convince someone that your app is worth downloading.


On the App Store, the Gallery occupies the most significant amount of real estate on the page, making it one of the most impactful creatives you can optimize. In fact, we’ve found that a properly optimized Screenshot can increase CVR by up to 28%. 

With Google’s recent Play Store redesign, the Gallery is now above the fold and much more prominent since the Feature Graphic was removed from the top of the Store Listing.

Vertical screenshots are better suited to simulate the application in a phone or to add texts explaining the main features.

Explanation Video

To make your application with an explanation videos in store is now highlighted in the results list. Indeed, on iOS it is possible to display a video in auto-play (without sound) within the search results – unlike Android. These elements play an important role in attracting the user to your page.

The landscape feature offers you a bigger surface to express yourself which is interesting given the different sizes of phone screens in the market. However, it is only relevant if your application is suitable for a video demonstration.

Generally speaking, it is undoubtedly that these elements will be seen the most on your page. Not only because of their location, but also because users are naturally more inclined to look at visuals rather than read texts.


Do not neglect your icon. It allows your application to be immediately identified. If your application is still unknown, be as explicit as possible. An icon that is too conceptual may not be sufficiently evocative.

Your icon must be eye-catching and at the same time locate the application in its environment. If so, mobile users will be willing to take a closer look at it and click on it to finally land on your page.

Total number of Downloads

Your number of downloads are significant to ASO, but you don’t have complete control over them. The majority of top apps in the App Store use app previews to increase customer conversions. It’s harder than it sounds, and Apple is paying attention. Therefore, what can you do to get more downloads for your app? Improving your ASO is a great place to start. 

Beyond that, work on marketing your brand and app to improve recognition, awareness, and appeal, from app store description to images, ratings/reviews, and social media presence.

Ratings and Reviews

Also important and difficult to control. Customer reviews and ratings are an important consideration for users, especially those who are unfamiliar with an app brand. However, there are ways to incentivize happy users to rate and review. 

Apps with higher ratings also ranked higher. This raises a tricky dilemma: you want more ratings and reviews, but not if they are negative. So, you need a way to connect with your customers inside your app, giving them a place to vent and talk directly to the developer.

An app preview video and screenshots help convert indecisive users. Both the Apple and Google Play stores use the number of times an app has been downloaded to determine ranking. More specifically, it’s the current download rate.

Retention Impacts ASO 

Retention rates are important for mobile device rankings, but the bar isn’t set very high. The average app has only a 36% retention rate in the first month. Media/Entertainment, Lifestyle/Travel, and eCommerce/Retail apps have the best three-month retention rates.

There are so many apps available in the App Store that users download plenty but never use them. A study found Americans use an average of 30 apps each month out of the roughly 90 they have installed. This means even if your app is downloaded, it’s unlikely that it’ll ever be used beyond the first 72 hours.

How long your app stays installed and how many times it’s used while installed can help App Store search rankings. Now that you understand how the search rankings work, it’s time to explore best practices for publishing an app to ensure it’s seen and downloaded.


How important is ASO?


According to Forrester, 65% of apps are discovered through app store searches. This makes search in the app store the most used method for discovering and downloading new apps.

Recently, at Google I/O, Ankit Jain reported that “For the average app, search actually makes up the vast majority of installs.” Simply put, this means that:

If you’re not using ASO to increase your app’s search ranking, you’re missing out on the largest discovery channel available to your app.

With hundreds of thousands of apps in each app store vying to rank above one another, the amazing reality is that most publishers are not investing in app store optimization.

So here’s my gift to you: ASO is your secret weapon. Spend time every week improving your ASO, and you will meaningfully impact your app’s ranking and overall success.

How can you improve your app store search?


The key target of ASO is to attract more organic traffic to your app's page in the app store, and drive searchers downloading your app. Also, the ASO process requires a crucial understanding of your target customer base, including the keywords your potential customers are using to find apps similar to yours.

Let’s take a look at what app store optimization means now in this ASO marketing guide and App best practices tips. Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye:

1. App Name / title
2. Keywords
3. Icon
4. A/B test
5. Localization
6. Package size
7. Bugs
8. Keep optimizing

1. Pick a great App Name / Title


The title is one of the most important things that users get to know you when they discover your app or game. Choose a right name that identifies your application and expresses its service. Trying to make your brand name be simple and memorable is a wise choose.


A perfect title is: Brand name + 2 or 3 of your most important keywords. These serve a double function – to make it easy for users to understand what your app does and to improve your rankings. Target keywords included in the title can make your app get a good weight score by the store algorithm. So make the most out of it.


2. Focus on Search intent and users’ needs satisfaction


Keywords are the most important aspect of your app store listing optimization. Do a keyword research is necessary before you launch your app to store. To find out as many keywords which related to your business to imply the diverse download intent of users. Also, do a market research to study competition in app store search.


To add keywords to the page URL and app description (Google Play) may also improve the results. 


Note: Play Store indexes your full description, but App Store doesn’t.


3. Make your icon be creative


ASO Marketing is about creativity and innovation. Having a high position in store is worth your time to make the application icon descriptive and clear for the users to understand what your app or game is about. Put into effort to work on your style and stick to it. Keep it through updates and create a distinctive image. 


4. A/B test everything


Prior to implementing a change in the store listing elements, test them using an A/B testing tool. Not to carry out several changes at once but test them one by one, so you can certainly understand which factor benefits from the change.


5. Localize your product page


It is crucial that localize your product information for your app optimization work. Users in different country means with different culture, different search and behavioral habits. 


Take this into your consideration, you should pay attention to adapt your description when opening a new country, provide screenshots in a different language, think of culture-specific engagement options. 


6. Keep  your app weight less than 100MB


Think about that your user is browsing the store without WiFi connection, and you will understand that they will not download your app or mobile game with a large package instantly. And it might become hard to remind them to come back and install it.


7. Avoid bugs


Bugs means a bad user experience and may cause a lot of negative reviews. Monitor and update your product frequently, and get your users to report bugs conveniently is the important things.


8. Monitor competition and keep optimizing


In view of the fact that the app store has been keeping updated algorithms to meet the search needs of users better. ASO is also a long-lasting thing. Never stop monitoring and react timely on these changes. In any case, track the situation in your niche daily with a tool and update your strategies frequently and try to get the best app store rankings.


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