How to Do App Store Optimization (ASO) for iOS?


Let me guess - you have successfully submitted your amazing iOS (iPhone, iPad or universal) app on the App Store, but number of downloads is less than you expected, right? If so - don’t worry, you are on the right page.

In this article we will try to answer these 3 questions for you:

  • How do I increase the number of downloads for my app?
  • What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?
  • How can I compete with brands and developers that have hundreds of thousands of dollars in their advertising budgets?

What is ASO and Why You Need to Use It.

A lot of people think that the most common way to launch an iOS app successfully is getting onto the Featured section on the App Store. But accordingly to studies, general app store browsing is the most common way that mobile apps are discovered (up to 53% actually).

App store optimization (ASO) for iOS is the best way to increase your organic installs by showcasing your app’s features quickly and succinctly. To explain briefly: ASO is the process of increasing the visibility of a mobile app in the app store through various techniques.

1.Increase the Number of App Views!

The first thing you need to improve is increasing your app views - your app should come up when a user searches for it.

1.1 Keyword optimization for App Store

Actually, this is the most important aspect of Apple App Store Optimization. Along with SEO, keyword research for the App Store should take a significant amount of time. This means you have to know the keywords your potential customers are likely to type in to find apps similar to yours. You need to find the highest search volume with the lowest competition.

You have only 100 characters to list your keywords, so use them wisely.

  • Don’t use spaces (you should have something like this: keyword1,keyword2,keyword3).
  • Don’t worry about using plurals.
  • Put the top keywords at the beginning of the list.
  • Use all 100 characters.

There are a lot of services that can help you with keywords research. Check out SensorTower or AppAnnie. These tools help with keyword suggestions, tracking and competitor analysis.

1.2 Title

The app title also needs to include your best keywords. This makes it easier for searchers and potential customers to discover your app. But don’t put a lot of keywords in this line - Apple reviewers can reject your app if they think it’s focused on keywords, not user experience.

Apps in the Top Social Networks list use the "Dating" keyword in the Title
Apps in the Top Grossing Social Networks list use the “Dating” keyword in the Title.

2.Increase Downloads

This is crucial, you want something that draws users in and stops them from scrolling past your app while browsing the app store.

2.1 App Icon

I believe that the app icon is the most important thing to get more app downloads, and it needs to be optimize it first. Your icon should stand out as well as represent what the app is. When a user discovers the app list, your icon is your first and sometimes only impression. So ask your designer to do their best work here.

2.2 Title & Description

As described above, the title should explain what your app does as well as include your top keywords. Unlike Google Play the description field in the Apple Store is not indexed in the search. Regardless, it is a good way to sell your app. Here are some tips:

  • Answer users basic questions: why should they download it?

  • Only the first 5 lines are displayed as a preview.

  • Don’t forget to use the ‘What’s New’ section.

Facebook app details. Good example of description field
Facebook app details. Good example of Description field.

2.3 Screenshots

Together with the icon, the first two screenshots are the most important, as they are displayed in the results list. Try adding appropriate screenshots and videos that will influence a user’s download decision. Describe the best features of the app and add words to describe what is happening in the images. Visuals should give a clear picture of what the app is like and how it works. The best screenshots clarify your app’s unique value and key selling points.
App Store search results. Only first two screenshots are displayed

App Store search results. Only first two screenshots are displayed.

3.Additional factors

Not many people actually know the real App Store ranking formula, but your app Downloads number and Reviews matter for sure. You cannot improve these factor by yourselves.

3.1 Number of Downloads

It has a large influence on the ranking - the more downloads your app gets, the higher it will be ranked. In order to achieve high results in the Apple App Store, your app will need to have a lot of downloads in the previous 72 hours.

3.2 Reviews

Your app ranking is also impacted by the number of positive reviews and the total amount of reviews in general. The more positive reviews you receive from users, the better chance you have of ranking higher in the app store. A high ranking is also important because users will not install an app with low rating, for fear of a poor user experience.

There a lot of way to ask a user to rate your app, but here are 2 easy rules:

  • Don’t ask when they are in the middle of something.
  • Only ask loyal users. Wait until the user has opened your app at least 5 times.
    To get more ideas check out this article.

Minecraft: Pocket Edition app details.
Minecraft: Pocket Edition app details. App Store Best Seller with high rating and reviews.

Keep Working to Succeed

Even after you have done everything that has been mentioned above, App Store App Store optimization for iOS still isn’t over. To be honest, it is a tiring process, but it’s worth it. I hope this article about how to increase app store optimization, user engagement and app growth. If you have any more questions about optimization, please feel free to contact me via this contact form. I will reply as soon as I can.
If you like this topic you can subscribe to our blog updates by filling out the blue form on the right side of this page.