The last 20% of developing an Android mobile app is 80% of the work. That is what the Pareto principle tells us. This last 20% is making the app store page so beautiful that users who find it install your app. That’s where app store optimisation comes in. Using research on how users navigate through app stores, you can improve download rate of your app drastically. This process is called App Store Optimisation, or ASO for short.
Let's start with with explaining what every app page looks like in the listing. It contains elements such as an icon, a title, a video, images, and description. Each element should be optimised in a way that makes it easy for users to find the app and learn about all of its benefits.
It is the first thing that user sees either on your mobile app page or on search result page. Make sure that it catches the eye. This is also the graphic that stays in the user’s application drawer / home screen, so it is important to make it fit perfectly on every screen. Use a 512/512 pixels png graphic with alpha channel.
2. Specify the title
Just like the Icon, your title is also seen on the search page. It is important not only to specify your app’s name, but also tell the user what the app does here. You can use keyword combinations for better matching on search pages. For inspiration look at the biggest apps in the store, like Endomondo, whose title on the Google Play store is “Endomondo - Running & Cycling”, or Trivago, whose name is “Trivago - Hotel search”.
3. Upload a video
A Good video of the app might really increase your installs. Unfortunately, with rich opportunities comes a high price. Creating a nice looking video might cost a lot. If you are low on budget, even a slideshow of your screenshots might do the job. Another alternative is buying a video mockup and inserting a screen recording from your app into it. Tools like Place It are perfect for that. Another important thing here is choosing the poster frame, which will be shown when the video is not playing. Make sure that it catches the eye and shows your app in a positive way.
4. Pick the right images
After video, screenshots and images are the second most significant part of your page. According to StoreMaven, 60% of users won’t swipe past your first two screenshot images. Use the best two images first! The Google Play store accepts images from 320/320px resolution, but this is a lot too small. Use at least 1920/1440 px images. Use apps like Clean Status Bar to clean up your screenshots from unnecessary bloat on the status bar. Using mockups of a phone frame, or photos of your app being used in the wild, will also improve your page’s appearance. If you don’t have a wide array of phones and graphic skills, you can use tools like Place It to do it.
5. Add a catchy description
Here, you can describe what your app does and why the user should choose your app over the competition. You should use keywords for better matching here, but incorporate them in natural language rather than just listing them. You have two boxes to fill here. The short description is an 80 characters long text. You should put an advertisement-like text here that will encourage the user to read more in the second 4000-character-long description. Make sure you list and explain all the features of your app here. It is a good idea to put endorsements from users and review sites here.
You have might have already noticed that I’ve used keywords in a couple of places, and that they are important. When a user searches for an app, they come in place and promote yours to higher places on the list. To figure out which keywords to use it is best to utilise analytics tools that help find them. The two of them I find the best are described in the next paragraph.
7. Use analytics tools
There are a lot of tools that help manage and optimize your app store page, but two of them caught my eye especially:
Sensor Tower is a full-fledged analytics and ASO tool. I has all the features that profesional analyst looks for, including keyword suggestion and tracking, comparing to other apps, app store integrations - so you don’t need to check the app store console for your data. Pricing starts from 79$/month.
Mobile Action has a smaller range of tools but is still very impressive with ASO tools like keyword tracking, research and suggestions. I liked the UI a lot more in Mobile Action than in Sensor Tower. Pricing starts at 69$/month, so it is a little bit cheaper.
Those tools might be a little bit overwhelming at the beginning, but take your time and explore their features and it will surely pay off.
8. Take advantage of SEO
Google tracks all the pages on its Play Store by default, so all SEO techniques apply here. Linking from pages with good reputation helps your searchability. So if you have a blog with a lot of users, use it for your promotion. A review on some recognisable site might also help.
9. Improve the app
There are some things in your app itself that can help your ASO rating. The first thing is asking users for ratings. But be careful with that, since it might annoy some users. Delay asking for a rating until there is a likely moment for constructive feedback (f.e. finishing project, or paying for something). Look out for the Apple constraint. It only allows to ask users for rating three times a year.
Another thing might be implementing some features of the operating system that improve your discoverability f.e. new app slices on Android, home assistant integration, and so on.
Don’t forget to add your app to search engines. Firebase App Indexing does this for both Android and iOS.
The last thing I can recommend here is to look at your audience. Maybe people from a faraway country are using your app, but it is not translated into their language? Or maybe the app itself is translated, but not app store page? Use an app analytics tool to figure out your audience.
10. Repeat the whole process in cycles
Ok, so you have prepared you app store page perfectly and the installs are going, but it is not the end of the work. There are several things you need to do in cycles to ensure your app stays high.
First, reply to comments. Say thanks to positive ones, and try to figure out problems with negatives. People often change ratings based on successful updates. Update your keywords, screenshots and description after releasing a new version. Monitor your keywords and your competition. You can use this data to start some marketing at the right moment.
Lastly, listen to your users and develop your app with them in mind.
As you can see, there is a lot of stuff you can do to improve your app store page. Doing it will for sure increase your installs, so the effort is worth the benefit. If your app is good, it will defend itself, but help it get noticed, downloaded and used!