ASO (App Store Optimization) is often perceived of as an art, rather than a science. Especially given the need to constantly fickle and A/B test your app’s marketing assets. But is it really worth spending the time? Well, one app owner claimed they got 6 million downloads from only focusing on ASO.

The article entitled “How I got 6 million App downloads without investing in marketing” definitely has a misleading title as ASO is definitely marketing, although it’s something you can invest time in rather than pay someone else.  The article summarizes some key lessons:

  • ASO is an ongoing journey. You have to keep experimenting with screenshots, descriptions, keywords – and probably in different languages across markets until you get it right.
  • The first 3 lines in your description are the absolute key
  • The Feature Graphic is the most important graphic, more so than the app icon
  • Set a time period for experiments (the author used 5 days) upon which you analyze the results, and go through your next iteration.
  • Never generalize the app. Understand your users and tailor your language accordingly

Click the image for THE site on ASO

So what are things to avoid?  Well stuffing your keyword in the content can end up hurting you instead of helping you, as the language in your description gets muddled.  Changing the title of the app is also not advised, as even though you may hit different targets of users, if those users like you and recommend you, and the title now has changed, you may not be able to take advantage of your app’s popularity.

But one thing cannot be emphasized enough: ASO is an ongoing activity, and not something you need to do “when you need it”. And you should certainly look into a multi-lingual approach. What works in English may not work as well in Spanish or Portuguese for instance. Doing ASO on a global basis is hard – but perhaps a better investment than paying for installs.

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