When you find the idea of great mobile app, which is really unique and can conquer the peaks of AppStore and Google Play, if you a wise person - you just give a slap to yourself and get back to stuff. If you're not the wise one - you can start investigation of the market and find out, that it's a boiler plate and your idea is implemented, and even better, then you planned. But if you quite an idiot like me - you can start coding (because you love it). And if you are also an obstinate one, once i'll get a final build of your app, which is ready to be submitted to appstore. And here the tale begins!

If you are good engineer, then there is a rather big chance, that you are not very good in PR. And at the moment of app submission you jumps into a huge ocean of app promotion, which can bring you a lot of new inspiring experience. This gives you real understanding of how this market works and this is remarkable experience. The good understanding of it can completely change the way you write your code: you starts thinking about the sales funnel and choose different instruments to support as much customer devices as possible. You think about targeting, and start focusing on required features to have a clear message to your customers. And so on...

But all this comes with the experience. And we've just wrote our first app, and ready to submit it. There are two big things, you should do: plan your promotion company and make optimised app description for appstore. The promotion is a huge thing, and it can't be covered by one post, so we are going to be focused on the ASO (Appstore optimisation).

1. Know a base-ground.

The appstore optimisation is not something new, and you will find a lot of information about it. Mostly you will see, that they tells you the same quite obvious things, but you must know them to start moving. Here are some nice posts about appstore optimisations to start (if you've already read anything about ASO, you can freely skip these links now, but it still nice to read them later):


Here i'm going to highlight the main points:
- Number of downloads - is the most influencing factor.
- Separate your keywords by commas without spaces, avoid stop words (the on, e.t.c.), don't think about pluralizing, don't repeat keywords
- Don't repeat app category in keywords (like game,sport,arcade, and so on...)
- Only first 25 results of search are downloaded, others are rarely watched.
- Description is not indexed in search, so must be human-adorable
- Great visuals are important (my own experience - better visuals increased my downloads/watches ratio from 0.2 to 0.35).
- Place the strongest and the most relevant keywords into the app title.
- Localisation is very important
- Use 2,3,4 instead of two,three,four.
- Use all allowed 100 symbols

Quite obvious, doesn't it? So now we go deeper.

2. Metrics

If you do something without monitoring the performance - you just waste your time. It can be easily applied to the appstore optimisation. To measure the effectiveness of our actions we heed an appropriate tool. In our case the most interesting tool is an App Annie. It's a freemium web app with a powerful functionality. For free it shows you:

- How many times app has reached the 1000th, 100th or 10th place in rating (Daily rank).
- Rank of any submitted app in global rating (Rank History)
- Keywords effectivity (Keywords/ASO)
- How many times the app has been featured in iTunes on home page, or in categories (Featured)
- App rating history (Rating)
- Reviews (Reviews)

In the scope of our investigation we will pay attention to the Keywords pane, but a bit later.

3. App name

When we talk about ASO we consider app name from two different points of views:
- Name is treated by AppStore as super-important keyword.
- Name is what represented on a small iPhone's screen.

So we can insert a lot of relevant words in the title, but from the other hand it will not look human-friendly.
Looks like the first's app's name is written by sales manager, doesn't it?

So you should catch a balance between the shortness and description fullness. If we don't have downloads at all - we can sacrifice the human readability to get higher in rank (Who cares that you have beautiful app name, if no one will see it). But if we are more or less on top we can became more elegant and get rid of these buzzwords from the title.

Also don't forget - the title is also a list of keywords - don't repeat them in keywords pane.

4. Keywords

We came to the extremely important point. Appropriate keywords can significantly increase your organic installs number. So you should be very accurate with choosing the good ones. When we talk about keywords, there is a fundamental tradeoff between popularity of keyword and competitiveness of your app with this keyword. If you choose the very generic one like 'chat' you will have a millions of competitors. But from the other hand not a lot of people open Appstore to look for 'chat-with-john' app. So any other interesting task, this one requires to find a balance between two tradeoffs.

Go deeper. To get a good keywords choosing strategy we should take in account two other facts:
- People rarely scrolls deeper than 25 first results of search.
- Number of downloads is the most influential factor.

The first fact gives us a very effective binary metric for keyword efficiency. If keyword move us to the first 25 items in search result, containing this keyword - it is efficient. If the app is much more deeper - you can assume it's efficiency at this particular moment as zero. If you have two keywords with more or less same effectivity (24 place in results vs 19 place in results), than the more generic is more efficient.

The second fact leads us to an adaptive approach: on different number of downloads we should use different strategies for keywords choosing:

When you start, and don't have a lot of downloads

In that case it's a choosing generic highly competitive keywords is a waste of symbols - you'll be the 1000'th app in this search, and no one ever see your app by this search. So the equilibrium is closer to the non-generic keywords or phrases with two or more words.

When you have a lot of downloads.

In that case you can start fighting for the generic keywords

So here we can see the efficiency of the keywords, which i have chosen for my SkiFree game.

So here we can clearly say, that canyon, yetisports, yeri, touch, ski, eti, yati are quite good keywords. But yeti, yeet are first ones to be replaced by something more promising. Also note, that ski by itself gave me only 1453'th place, by as a part of phrase touch ski - 19. You should be very accurate with phrases.

But what about measuring how generic keyword is (or search volume in terms of other services)? To do it we can use a service like Straply or Google trends. So let's compare the effectiveness of keywords canyon run and yetisports using Straply tool.

As we can see in this pair the yetisports looks much more promising. So now we see, which keyword could be replaced on the next iteration of optimisation.

Well, to start working with keywords we miss just a little thing: where should we take first keywords set. I see three ways, which can be combined:
- Think, how can you try to find this app in appstore.
- Find a trending keywords and search results (Store stats -> Keywords rank).
- Look which keywords your competitors have chosen (select app -> press Keywords/ASO).

Now we have a complete cycle of keywords optimisation:
- You choose a candidates to be your keywords, adds them to your keywords list
- Submit app with them, measure effectiveness
- Remove the inefficient keywords, repeat cycle

Bonus tips:
- When you measure effectiveness don't forget that you have almost 120 countries, and you should take in account, that inefficient keyword in UK can be efficient in Canada for example.
- UK/US localisations. The are both english (yep, but don't forget elevator -> lift). Having both allows you almost for free double you keywords count. Use this feature wisely. But don't rely on it too much - the appstore rules changes, and after some time it can stop working - always measure, what you do.
- If you have 2-3 symbols left in pane, you can fill it by numbers (1 up to 5 - the bigger are not looks promising). Sometimes it can give a surprising effect.

5. Releases/updates

Releases and updates is a very interesting topic. On every release you lose current ratings and reviews (they moves to all version's reviews) - so it's not very good, but from the other hand after update app store gives you a nice boost in rank. At every update my game comes up in the Games->Sports->Free to the 10-90 places in 120 countries. After 2-3 days it goes to nowhere again. So here we can do it in very simple manner: if we don't have a lots of good reviews - we should submit hotfixes and new features in a frequent manner.

After update the app get featured in 122 countries (but in marginal category, yes).

6. In conclusion

This article gives an overview of ASO. Using this techniques you can increase your organic traffic and reach the highest possible effectiveness. But ASO by itself can't promote your app, so you should also spend your time and money on PR to achieve remarkable results. So putting these two factors together you can promote your app to the top of appstore. Good luck!