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Home Blog App Marketing Challenges of ASO for Mobile Games in 2021

Challenges of ASO for Mobile Games in 2021

Feb 25 2021

mobile games

There are more than 2.2 million apps and games in the App Store, so it's clear that the number in Google Play should be even larger.

Last year, the number of App Store downloads reached 130 billion. In the face of such figures, no matter how hard developers try, they still can't change the situation of extremely fierce competition.

ASO is more than important and a discipline that can't be ignored if you are in the app business. It helps your app get more organic downloads and reduce user acquisition costs if you are actively investing in acquiring new users. So, in our opinion, ASO is a must for every marketer/developer and the base of any App Marketing strategy.

Nevertheless, the handheld game industry has been showing good development. Last year's GDC (Game Developers Conference) shows that the game development industry is exceptionally prosperous and the competition among game developers is also quite interesting.

Many developers worry about competition under categories, and the games category is a bit unique. Games is a large category in itself, broken down into subcategories such as action games, adventure games, arcade games, tabletop games, etc. Game developers simply publish your game in the most relevant subcategory under the games category.

To increase exposure and relevance, a good ASO strategy is important. First, maximize keyword optimization. Developers need to understand the theme of their game and the search terms that users are likely to use.

As a mobile marketer, you need to think from the perspective of your target users. Recognizing the user's search behavior is the starting link to building a keyword matrix.

ASO World app ranking service

How to promote your mobile games with ASO solution?

According to data, 65% of mobile app downloads come from users searching for downloads in the app market, so search is an indispensable part of the game being discovered by users. And how to be searched by players depends on the game having a good name and good keywords. Strengthening ASO can effectively increase the game's discovery and conversion rate.

App name/ Title

The name of the game will have a great impact on the ASO, how to test your ASO has no room for improvement? The first is the game name, a good game name is easy for players to remember and search, and the name is also one of the most straightforward ways to express the game content. In addition, it is recommended to add subtitle, currently in the Chinese and Japanese markets, more than half of the top 50 popular games have subtitle.


There are many types of icons you can try, such as different shades, borders, etc. You can use multiple icons in Google to test which one has the best effect of absorbing the volume. In addition, icons can be used with game advertising materials to make a coherent effect, for example, icons contain game characters, which can make users easily associate with the content of the game. The icon is a very important factor in getting visits, so you can find the one that brings the highest traffic and downloads by A/B testing.

Preview video

Video is an important factor in driving download conversions, and it becomes even more important in the field of handheld games, how to show the essence of the game in the first 10 seconds is something to think about. So making a video that showcases your game's features and functionality can help more users want to download your game. Make sure this video is not too long and be creative in general, after all, you need to grab the user's attention.

The usual practice is to omit the logo screen, or quickly cross over. In addition, on the App Store, if the network is slow, the video will become a freeze frame, then the freeze frame becomes the first promotional image, so the freeze frame also needs to be carefully selected.


If you see an ad and click on it, how much time will you spend on the download page? I believe it will not be more than 10 seconds, so the first two Screen-shots are the most important, and the player is browsing, not reading. Therefore, the first two Screen-shots should allow the player to quickly understand the core content of the game. The material is not just translated text either, you have to research what players like, easy to accept drawing style, etc. for the market you want to enter.


The game introduction is also important, 98% of the players will not click "read more", so in the case of players do not click open, how to optimize the content shown in front? The first one is to highlight the numbers, such as the game has millions of downloads, or there are a hundred characters, two hundred levels, etc. 

The other way of writing is to ask questions, such as: Are you ready? Do you have a way to eliminate? Although 98% of the players will not click to read more, the hidden content should be written carefully and put all the keywords related to the game in it, IAP is also important, the name of the game in the App Store is searchable and needs to be designed carefully.


Keywords must be present in the game name to increase its visibility in the App Store. The core keywords are reflected in the name and the keyword ranking will improve.

The first step to carry out is to do keyword research and find the right keywords, adapted to the market and relevant to your app. In order to do this, you will need to work with an ASO tool that will allow you to calculate keywords' traffic and difficulty, spy on your competitors, discover new mid-long tail keywords through app stores suggestions and much more.

Each version of iOS can mention a hundred words of keyword, we suggest you omit the blank part. Another small way is that if your keyword is the game's strategy, action or music or something like that. If you are making an e-book app today, just write "book" instead of "books", because the plural can be omitted.

It is true that working on low difficulty high traffic keywords is good for your app (which is not something very common). However, you should also try to work on low difficulty low-mid traffic keywords if your app is new, which would enable it to rank really easily for these keywords.
Also, try to add some mid and long-tail keywords by combining keywords together to increase visibility.

App Name/title is the field where you need to add the most important keywords. It's important to find a balance there between Search optimization and branding, as this field is limited to 30 characters on the App Store and to 50 characters on Google Play.

Take into account that ASO is different between the App Store and Google Play, so you shouldn't follow the same strategy on both stores:

For App Store, you need to be careful as you have quite limited fields to insert your keywords: App Name, Subtitle, and Keywords field. Keywords in IAP, developer name and subscriptions are also important but they are not fields where keyword optimization is required.

For Google Play, you have a bit more room in the different fields where you can insert keywords, which are: Title, Short Description, and Description. In this case, we recommend adding keywords at the top, middle and bottom of the long description.


It's important to determine the best time to get users to rate and review games, and it's important to do so because many top games have a large number of reviews and ratings, and users are more willing to download games they see with high ratings, and user ratings and reviews are an ASO factor in themselves, so more and higher user ratings equal higher download rankings. So reviews are important to Google Play, and the keywords in the reviews will be calculated into the ranking mechanism.

Google is currently showing the average star rating, and in the second half of the year they will open up a star rating for the recent ones for players to refer to. Also, if the customer service team keeps responding, those potential new players will feel that this developer is operating seriously and that the game can be trusted.

A/B testing

If you want to make your game downloads grow fast, you have to do A/B testing on various elements in your game list and find the one that brings the highest conversion rate.

We recommend that you test art materials first, such as icons, screen-shots, testimonials, scenes and videos, because they are the things that grab users' attention the most and only need to be tested once. If you do A/B testing on many elements at the same time, it's hard to know which one works best.

ASO Topic Mobile Growth, App Store Optimization,


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  • Wendell Mullins
    How do you select keywords for the App Store? Reply
    • Delia Chandler

      @Wendell Mullins Keywords are limited to 100 characters, so it's important to be concise when describing your app. While spaces should not be used before or after the commas that separate keywords and keyword phrases, you can use spaces to separate words within keyword phrases. Reply

  • Earl Maldonado
    How to score on screenshots? Reply
    • Jean Castro

      @Earl Maldonado Experts in the field of mobile app development agree that screenshots and icons (more on this in a moment) are two of the most important tools for the visual promotion of an app; the App Store allows developers to upload 5 screenshots and the Android App Store can put 5. Regardless of the platform, the two most important screenshots of the app need to be selected as the "main screenshots" (these will appear in the search results). Reply

    • Jerald Carlson

      @Earl Maldonado The other screenshots need to focus on letting the user know why they should spend time and money on the app (if it's a paid app), why they should download it and take up space on their smartphone, and also highlight the in-app navigation. Contrary to what many novice app developers believe, screenshots do not need to be arranged chronologically, but only to visually interpret the app. Reply

  • Tiffany Hall
    Why is among us so popular now? Reply
    • Annette Byrd

      @Tiffany Hall Among Us has seen a quick rise in popularity due to a combination of multiple factors. Reply

    • Annette Byrd

      @Tiffany Hall It's a unique game with an interesting asymmetrical multiplayer, it's easy to learn thanks to a simple premise, and it's available for (almost) free on a variety of popular platforms, including PC and mobile. Reply

  • Agnes Cook
    How to use keywords wisely? Reply
    • Viola Norris

      @Agnes Cook Just like with app titles, how you should handle app keywords differs from the Apple App Store to Google Play. Reply

    • Viola Norris

      @Agnes Cook With Apple, you get only 100 characters for all of your keywords, so obviously, you need to choose wisely; it should go without saying that you should get as close to this 100 character limit as you possibly can. Reply

    • Viola Norris

      @Agnes Cook With Google Play, though, there is no specific keyword field. However, the app description is searchable, and you have a comfortable 4000 characters to work with. Reply

    • Viola Norris

      @Agnes Cook For the best App Store Optimization, you’ll want to put your most important keywords in your description five times. However, be careful not to overdo it – keyword stuffing will get your app penalized (just like keyword stuffing on a website would get your site penalized by Google), leading to a drop in your ranking. Reply

    • Viola Norris

      @Agnes Cook There’s a fine line between optimizing your app description, and stuffing it with keywords – the key is to make sure it reads well and makes sense for a person reading it, not just for the App Store algorithm! Reply

  • Kathryn Kim
    How to choose the app name? Reply
    • Dan Sharp

      @Kathryn Kim The iOS app name can be up to 255 characters long, while the Android store has a minimum of 8 characters for the app name, and App Store only has one chance to change the app name, so it is important to choose a good app name. The most important thing is that nowadays smartphone users, the main downloaders, will only focus on the first 25 characters, so this part of the name title is very important. Reply

    • Dan Sharp

      @Kathryn Kim Do thorough research on your competitors' target keywords and try to include them in the app title as well. Avoid using any special characters in the app name and make sure that the app name you choose is not too similar to the name of an existing app, as that will only bring more competition. Reply

  • Wendy Schultz
    How do you make a game for Google Play? Reply
    • Kayla Webb

      @Wendy Schultz Publishing Your Game to the Google Play Store Register as an Android Developer. Click the '+ Add New Application' button in the top right. Enter the Title of your Game and choose 'Prepare Store Listing'. Fill you your Product Details under Store Listing. Upload your Graphic Assets. Reply

  • Rafael Nguyen
    how does the keyword research work? Reply
    • Jan Chavez

      @Rafael Nguyen Before you actually publish your app with the keywords you have selected, though, you will want to do some research to learn about the traffic, difficulty, and demand for those keywords, as well as how many apps are already using it. Reply

  • Wallace Johnston
    How to Choose the right keywords? Reply
    • Jesse Mack

      @Wallace Johnston Unlike the Android App Store where keywords only exist in the title and description of the app, the App Store has a dedicated area for developers to enter multiple keywords or tags (up to 100 characters). Reply

    • Jesse Mack

      @Wallace Johnston Don't waste space between keywords, as they are not visible to the average user. Use Arabic numerals when writing numbers (i.e. use "5" instead of "five"). App Store researchers also emphasize that shorter keywords increase the exposure of an app more than carefully crafted long-tail words. Reply

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