January 22, 2014
Enola Labs

Enola Labs creates custom strategy and products for mobile and web.

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As any app development firm will tell you, your product’s app store optimization is a great place to start your marketing efforts. Why? The simple answer is that it gives you the core information necessary that will drive the content you create in every other marketing effort. Also its important for search and discovery. How important? Really important! Studies show that up to 60% of App Store downloads occur via search and discovery within the App Store.

If you are wondering what app store optimization is, let’s start with the end in mind; The goal of app store optimization is to drive traffic to your app’s custom page within the app store so searchers can take a specific action, which best case scenario for you will be downloading your app. The first question is, what do you need to include:

  • An attractive title
  • Keywords
  • App store description
  • App visuals

The App Store Title

People sometimes forget just how important choosing the right title really is. For one, your app title will give you the heaviest search traffic. Second, you don’t want to have to change your title; It’s extra work, updates take time for Apple to process and most importantly it hurts any progress you’ve made in any initial marketing efforts.

Now that I have you worried about the repercussions for choosing a bad title, let me show you how to avoid it.

Use Common Sense

This is easy. What is it that your app does? Does your app help users find bike trails? Then you should probably think about having the words bike and trail in your title. That being said, do some competition research because chances are, you’re probably a little late with the title “Bike Trails”. So now you have an unfortunate situation, you have to figure out a relevant name for your app that will more than likely play second fiddle to the first to market.

The trick is to get creative. Add the word “Local” before Bike Trails. Not only does it seemingly narrow the app’s core functionality to what possible users are probably looking for but it also reduces the need to include the word “local” in the character limited app store keywords - we will get to that later.

Be Clear

When possible, potential downloaders should know exactly what your app does from your title. I say when possible because sometimes you can get away with a slightly more unclear title while further explaining functionality via your app icon - a professional designer can help you with that. Either way, make sure you don’t force potential downloaders to go further than title and icon to figure out what it is your app accomplishes.

Use Relevant Keywords

Using relevant keywords is another no-brainer. The one point to be made is that you should not rely solely on common sense. Yes, think about the possible keywords users might type into their search bar related to your app’s functionality, but also take advantage of common free keyword tools. Google’s Keyword Planner is great for ideas of where current search traffic estimates lie based on specific keywords and Sensor Tower can give you great insights on any competitor’s keyword info that is currently in the marketplace.

App Store Description

Your app store description is where you introduce the world to your product. An important question to ask is what’s special about my app vs. others like it. The assumption is that you’ve done your research on competition and should be able to answer this question early in the discovery process of your app’s strategy.

Keyword Rich Description

Make your app store description keyword rich. Whether or not this aids in search and discovery within the app store shouldn’t matter. Websites across the internet often pick up app store pages, posting them on their sites and having a keyword rich description across the web for your product will never hurt.

Bullet Point Features

Keeping visitors attention isn’t easy. The unfortunate truth is that your app description probably isn’t going to be read. What will get skimmed are your bullet pointed features. That’s why it is critical to focus as much attention as possible on pitching your product within the limits that the bullet pointed medium provides. I would stick to around 5 key points and features that sets your app apart. Keep them succinct and remember that most individuals will be accessing this information via their mobile devices. So, always keep the formatting of the device your users will be using to view your page in mind.

App Store Visuals

Most think that creating a logo and taking a few screenshots to upload into your app store profile is a last minute task before launching the app. I suggest rethinking this strategy. Lets start with a few things to keep in mind when choosing your two key visuals - the icon and screenshots.

App Store Icon

Choosing the right icon is critical. Often it is the first profile piece that a user sees - naturally eyes are drawn to photos and this one is right at the top. The most important takeaway here is to spend the cash and hire a designer to make a high quality and appealing icon for you. If you don’t have design experience and try to do it yourself you’re going to waste a lot of time and, more often than not, you’ll end up with a graphic that turns users away after initial discovery.

App Store Screenshots

Simply taking a few screenshots and uploading isn’t going to be enough here. Think of your four screenshots as a chance to tell a story or taking a potential user through a journey of your product. Sure, you want to show the most visually appealing aspects of your app, but also consider engaging users by showing them a series of steps they can take within your app that can increase productivity, entertain, develop a certain skill or one of the thousands of utilities an app can be used for enhancing an individual’s mobile experience or daily life.