Can ASO Propel an App to the Top of the App Store ChartsCan ASO Propel an App to the Top of the App Store Charts

Can ASO Propel an App to the Top of the App Store Charts?

It’s the moment of truth. The burning question is this: does ASO really works? Can it really propel your app to the coveted number 1 spot in the app store charts? Is there even a direct correlation between ASO and app success?


We’ll analyze the impact of app store optimization to apps by answering questions that may bother the newbie and pro app marketer alike.


What’s really the goal of app store optimization?

App store optimization or ASO is generally considered as the app stores’ answer to SEO. From that comparison alone, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that ASO is used so that an app can rank high in app store searches. The main goal is to increase the app’s visibility within the app stores and discoverability both inside and outside the said stores. ASO increases traffic but the end goal is still the glimmering downloads.


But does ASO directly correlate with an app’s ranks in the app store charts?


Can ASO bring an app to the top of the app store charts?

On a post from about two years ago, common ASO mistakes are enumerated. The last in the list is ‘being unrealistic about the app’s ROI’. Several app marketers have had used (or considered) ASO as a marketing strategy with a solid return.


Just like with SEO, the “optimization” part isn’t a guarantee of topping any search results page or app store charts. But optimization is important. Without SEO, a web page won’t even have a chance on being in the first several pages of the SERPs. Without ASO, an app won’t even be visible in the app store search results. Therefore, ASO is that important in app discoverability. ASO is basically an extension of market research. It’s the part where you target your audience and adjust according to competition.


But to answer the question, yes, ASO can bring an app to the top of the app store charts. App metadata (title and description) is the top ranking factor for both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. According to an October 2016 survey, 48% of users discover apps by browsing the app stores. Another 21% discover apps through search engines. One of the top motivators for installing is the description (71%).  Though video previews only account for 20%, it’s still a significant number.


The effectiveness of the app’s ASO strategy doesn’t necessarily correlate with a top ranking the app store charts, though. This is the same with how downloads don’t necessarily translate to revenue. There are also secondary factors that can actually increase or mute an ASO strategy’s effectiveness – factors like downloads and ratings/reviews. The effect of the secondary factors sometimes blurs the cause/effect relationship between ASO and app store search rankings.


For example, ASO is necessary in order to rank higher in search results. Ranking higher means visibility and eventually downloads. But it’s also proven that in order to rank higher in the app store search results, an app should also have high downloads and high ratings. So, which comes first? This is actually a case of ASO continually giving. The app continues to gain more downloads after optimization. It also gains a lot of 5-star ratings and good reviews. The app stores saw these as positive ranking signals so the app bumped up in the search results. This then results to more downloads, so on and so forth.


Do the top apps even use ASO?

Is it effective? If ASO really works, then apps that implement it are surely in the top charts, right?


To see the direct impact of ASO to apps, let’s check the numbers. Top apps that use keywords on their titles experience a 10.3% increase in ranking in comparison to other apps within the app store chart’s top 25.


To learn more about how the top apps implement ASO strategies, read one of my articles, App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It



ASO is not a one-time thing or a quick fix. It takes time and constant tweaking. But when it works, it sticks. Ian Sefferman, the CEO of MobileDevHQ has this to say about ASO, “ASO is having dramatic effects on our client apps. For those who put the time in to understand, iterate, and test, we’ve seen many apps increase their downloads by a factor of 2x-10x, and an increase of revenue by a similar, or bigger, rate due to the increase in engagement of users earned by ASO. ASO is not a simple process, and you might not see the impact overnight, but if you’re willing to invest in it, the outcome can be incredibly worthwhile.”

Reviews Opinion Mining

Opinion Mining: Digging Deep Into App Store Reviews

A Treasure Trove of Data

Amidst the all-caps rants and troll infested app store reviews is a mine full of market research data. A lot of app publishers and marketers actually know about the potential of app reviews. It is not only important in the context of the app the reviews are for, but also for future app development endeavors. But in order to harness the potential of app store reviews, a process called opinion mining or sentiment analysis is necessary.


The terms opinion mining and sentiment analysis are often used in different contexts. But they both used to describe a process of systematically extracting subjective information from a body of text. Nowadays, there’s a niche for opinion mining in social media networks. Twitter, for example, uses opinion mining to determine people’s reactions on a trending topic. These reactions can be classified into three polarity aspect: positive, negative, and neutral.


In the context of an app store review, opinion mining seems the straightforward analysis of users’ satisfaction. If a majority of the reviews is positive, then great, right? If it’s negative, what else can we do about it? But most of the time, these users actually want to tell you what they want, not only with your app but also in apps with the same functionality in general.


Why Bother with Opinion Mining?

Aside from the aggregation of important feedback, opinion mining can also benefit marketers in different ways:

  1. Opinion mining is helpful in the early stages of app development, especially as you are building the app’s concept. It can give you insights on the market or niche of your app.
  2. Digging deeper, you can find information on specific features or functionality that don’t work for your target audience. That is even before you get into the beta-testing phase!
  3. You can evaluate the cause of both your success and failure. You can actually use app store reviews as some sort of benchmark that can give a picture of how a successful app should look like in the perspective of users. For example, app store reviews and ratings are important considerations in downloading an app. For every negative review, the app’s chances of download decrease. Also, a game app with a lot of downloads doesn’t necessarily have satisfied users. This can result in poor retention and therefore, low revenue in the long run.
  4. You can generate previously overlooked keywords using app store reviews. You can find targeted keywords well-hidden within positive reviews. There’s also the added bonus of these keywords having less competition.


Tools for Opinion Mining

One basic strategy in opinion mining is to group app store reviews according to sentiments. These sentiments are basically keywords that fall under the category “unambiguous affect words”. Words like “happy”, “sad”, and “bored” fall under this category. This approach to opinion mining or sentiment analysis is called a “knowledge-based technique”.


More advanced knowledge-based techniques are not easy to perform and evaluate, though. You can trawl for these keywords manually with the use of filters. This technique can take some time and effort so it’s not practical to use in analyzing real-time sentiment.


There is also a statistical technique that uses machine learning, specifically deep parsing of texts. Automated tools offer more accurate results and more versatile processes. You can create your own tool which can cost a lot of time and money. There’s also App Annie where you can export a spreadsheet of reviews from a specific date range, app version, and country. There are also opinion mining tools for a fee. Most of these tools are geared towards social marketing, though.


You can, of course, use a hybrid technique that combines both the knowledge-based and statistical techniques.

App Push Notifications Deep Linking

App Push Notifications Best Practices: Deep Linking

Optimize App Push Notifications with Deep Linking

In a previous article about the significance of mobile search in an app’s visibility. Indexed app content can appear as “app packs” or individual search results. This is made possible by enabling deep linking capabilities within an app. Aside from the benefit of added visibility, did you know that deep links can also optimize mobile app push notifications? And that effective app notifications increase user retention?


Since its nascent years, users expressed contradictory opinions about app push notifications. They love it, yet hate it at the same time. Disrupting and annoying are just two of the words that a lot of users use to describe notifications that suddenly pop-up on their mobile screens several times a day. Still, a lot of users are quick to tap on a notification about a new offer, sale or trending news. But then, the tap only rewards the users with disappointment. Instead of bringing them to that 110% off-on-everything screen, the link dumped them to the home screen, leaving them utterly baffled and lost.


This type of experience can compromise the effectiveness of any promotional app push notifications. No matter how great of an effort you make into crafting these app push notifications, it will be all for naught if you don’t give your users the content they want. This is where app deep linking steps in to save the day.


How to Use Deep Linking

Deep linking capabilities are not limited to app push notifications. Deep links are useful in reaching out to users with the use of different message types. This includes in-app messaging and mobile emails which are often the methods of choice in multichannel promotional outreach. You can also link from your app’s website for a web push notification that can personalize the onboarding process.


But focusing on app push notifications, you can direct users to both static and temporary content within your app. The types of content obviously vary according to your app’s functionality. Always make sure that all app push notifications are in context with the content you are linking. SoundCloud, for example, uses push notifications that tease users about trending songs. Each notification has a deep link to a specific song track within the app.


You can set up deep linking capability for app push notifications yourself. There are, of course, companies that offer deep linking and related services. The additional services they offer often centers around analytics, especially the tracking of traffic and conversion from deep links.


How to Write a Great App Store Description

Whether it is within app stores or in mobile SERPs, the competition is literally just a click away. Some may argue that the app store description is not as important as app reviews and ratings. But a great app store description is part of a holistic ASO approach. A bad app description can drag down even excellent app icons and high ratings.


An app store description serves more than one purpose. It captures the users’ attention and also educates them about your app. But how easy or how difficult is it to really make an app description great?


7 Tips for an Effective App Store Description

  1. Adjust your style of writing. Technical details are important but rattling off features can be off-putting for users. Just because it is called a “description” doesn’t limit it to a single pre-defined format and style. The first step is to change the point of view from developer to user. How would you describe an app that you really like using?


A second person narrative helps users easily picture using the app’s features. You are basically selling a story without making it sound so “salesy” and over-dramatic.

  1. Optimize the “above the fold” text. The intro or the first 255 characters matter the most. If you users tap on the “more” link, it either means that your intro was convincing, interesting or confusing (that they want clarification). Whatever the case may be, the users paid attention. The common formula is for the first sentence to have an emotional pull, the second sentence contains the value proposition and then the next sentences would be a teaser for the description’s main body.


Even if you are using narration, avoid starting the description with backstories. This would appear as a signal for a long-winded story or a filler that won’t really be informational.

  1. Present social proof. After presenting the app’s USP, you can add social proof before or as the teaser itself. Common social proofs are:
  • Number of downloads/active users
  • Previous successes (‘from the makers of…’)
  • Third-party endorsements (‘as seen on…’
  • Qualified reviews/testimonials snippet
  • Awards, citations
  1. Don’t forget the keywords. Keywords are the core of the app store optimization (ASO) strategy. Make sure that you rank for the most relevant keywords and avoid common optimization mistakes when it comes to keywords.
  2. Highlight key features in the long description. The long description or the main body of the description is where you can talk in detail what the app is really about. Keep the style as consistent as possible and use concise statements. To emphasize the app’s core features, use bullet points and bold verbs. Also, state the problem the app is solving for the users and how the app is tackling the solution.
  3. Don’t forget to localize. Localized content, especially descriptions are actually very important. Just a simple translation of the app’s description helps a lot in convincing non-English speakers of the app’s worth and reliability. This will also assure them that they can use and navigate the app with ease.
  4. You don’t need to fill the entire word count. Apple sets the limit to 4000 characters. But you can write the description within the limit or as short as you are comfortable with. You don’t need to place fillers just to make it longer. As long as everything that needs to be said is there, and the presentation is succinct but not curt, it is the perfect length.

Mobile App Key Performance Indicators

List of KPIs for Mobile Apps


Measuring the success of an app is at the top of almost all developers’ priority. But are you sure that you’re properly measuring and analyzing the right metrics? There had always been warnings about vanity metrics, metrics that are good to look at but doesn’t really contribute to the business side of things. Actionable metrics, on the other hand, are the best performance indicators. They measure metrics that ultimately lead to revenue and scaling success of a mobile app.


In this article, we would discuss key performance indicators for mobile app acquisition, engagement, and revenue.

Cost per Acquisition (CPA)

CPA is measured by dividing the cost of user acquisition by the number of acquired users. User acquisition models can vary but the most common metrics are install rate, cost per install (CPI), and cost per action (CPA).


Retention Rate

Retention rate is an important performance indicator, more so than downloads. It can determine the success of your app over a certain period of time and determine user lifetime (LT). LT  is one factor in determining the lifetime value (LTV) of an app user.


Retention is mainly based on the frequency of app sessions. The retention rate of an app is determined by dividing the number of daily users by the total number or users at a given time. Common time frames for the measurement of retention rate are 1 day, 7 days, and 30 days after download. The formula for retention rate is Day X users/Day 0 users.


Churn Rate

The churn rate metric is the opposite of retention rate. With the use of this performance indicator, you’ll find out the percentage of users that uninstall or abandon your app. The formula is 1 – retention rate. For example, if your retention rate is 20%, you’ll have 1 – .20 = 80% churn rate.


Daily Active Users (DAU)/Monthly Active Users (MAU)

The DAU and MAU metrics are very important for apps that use advertising as the main revenue model. The data these metrics provide will help you analyze user trends and also to calculate app stickiness.


Session Length

Session length is the measurement of the length of time users spend on the app from its opening to closing. Long session lengths are a positive sign of engaged users. This performance indicator also lets you assess the efficiency of your app flows.


Session Interval

Session interval, on the other hand, is the time period between a user’s first and second app session. This performance metric can signal if the user deems the app to have immediate value as to run the app the second time. Analyzing session intervals can help you optimize user experience and consider contextual app notifications and prompts.


Lifetime Value (LTV)

Lifetime value is the measurement of potential revenue throughout the length of a user’s usage of the app. LTV is commonly the main revenue metric, showing not only the lifetime value of each app users but also the financial value of the app. There are many ways to calculate LTV, mostly depending on how you define user value.


Average Revenue per User (ARPU)/Average Revenue per Paying User (ARPPU)

The ARPU performance metric determines the average revenue users generate. In order to determine the ARPU, divide the lifetime revenue of the app by the number of lifetime users of the app. Tracking this metric can determine if you are acquiring (or will acquire) users with the highest LTV at the lowest CPA.