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As the landscape of Ecommerce evolves, so do digital marketers’ specializations in order to stay relevant, visible, and engaging to consumers. One of the most repeated predictions digital marketers have heard in recent years is the rise of mobile. Put differently, it’s the rise of opportunity to reach consumers via their smartphone.

What Research Studies Say:

Numerous research studies support this mobile forecast. People across all age demographics are increasing the time and money they spend on smartphones year after year, and as of 2016, mobile accounts for 67% of total time spent with digital media. Perhaps most interesting is the breakdown of said mobile traffic. While a majority of websites are found through mobile web searches, mobile users are most engaged through apps – with 20 times more monthly minutes per visitor.

Other bodies of research have zeroed in on mobile app usage and discovery behaviors. Results conclude that 75% of mobile shoppers have their favorite retailer’s app on their phones, and 60% of those shoppers use the app weekly or more. Mobile shoppers are most likely to discover an app through general browsing in an app store, on both iOS and Android devices.

Digital marketers have responded to these types of shifts in consumer behavior by developing a new specialization referred to as App Search Optimization, or ASO. It refers to the manipulation of app store algorithms to improve apps’ organic visibility in search.

How To Optimize For App Stores:

Though ASO may sound similar to SEO, the platforms and tactics used to do the optimizing look quite different. Check out five elements of mobile apps to be sure to optimize for, plus examples of each.

App Icon

Your app’s visual icon doesn’t have a direct influence on rankings; however, it is the first impression searchers will have of your brand. For this reason, it is a vital element of your optimization efforts.

Best practice for icon size differs depending on the type of device. For iOS devices, Apple requires 1024×1024 px. For Android devices, Google Play requires 512×512 px. Bright colors, unique shapes, and simple imagery have been proven to help an icon stand out from the crowd on both types of devices.

Instagram’s app icon features bright colors, unique shapes, and simple imagery to stand out in app stores.

Get more in-depth tips on designing an app icon here.

App Titles

App titles have a direct influence on app store rankings, and are in fact the most important ranking factor for both Apple and Google Play’s indexes. If users cannot tell what your app is and does, they are going to move on.

Best practice calls for placing the brand name first, followed by keyword rich tagline of two to three features that it offers. The average length of the top 200 free apps are 26 characters and 4.5 words. However, Apple places a hard cap of 100 characters on titles in an effort to avoid spammy titles from performing well.

Waze’s app title begins with its brand name, separated by three features it provides – all of which have nice monthly search volume. At 6 words, it does slightly exceed top-performing app title averages.

App Description

App descriptions don’t have a direct impact on rankings. However, they help drive downloads by providing searchers with valuable context as to what your app does and how it would benefit the user to download it (and downloads are a direct ranking factor).

App descriptions offer five lines of text before becoming cut off with the accordion script, equating to roughly 3 sentences. It is these five lines where you need to capture your audience’s attention (though longer descriptions are beneficial for seriously interested searchers). To do this, keep language simple and concise, include keyword rich sentences, and incorporate a strong call to action.

Photoshop Fix describes the purpose of the app in language that’s easy to understand, using strategic keywords, and makes powerful calls to action that persuades users to download.

App Reviews

App reviews are a direct ranking factor in app stores, and also a significant driving force in app downloads. Though you must rely on users to create positive reviews, there are tactics available to help generate them. Such as:

  • App Plugins – There are numerous app plugins for both iOS and Android devices that prompt users to rate their experience while they’re in your app. Find one that’s right for you here.
  • Incentivize – Award your customers with a free gift for leaving a review.
  • Customer Service – The most reliable path to a positive and well-deserved app review is by providing great customer service. Provide an outlet for customers to provide feedback and get in touch with you when needed.

Uber has a comprehensive help section within the app that allows users to get in touch them regarding a variety of common questions, comments, and concerns.

Screenshots & Video Trailers

Screenshots and videos don’t have a direct influence on rankings. However, they do help drive downloads. They are displayed more prominently in listings than the app descriptions itself, and is therefore an important asset to get right.

Best practice calls for putting your two most important screenshots first. For video trailers, it’s recommended to keep them short and sweet (between 15-20 seconds) and showcase app interactions. To help you decide what screenshots and vide to feature, experts recommend asking yourself the following questions:

  • What’s the goal of your app?
  • What are the fundamental interactions users will do inside your app?
  • What unique functionalities does your app offer?
  • What is your brand story?
  • Who does your ideal user look like?

What elements have helped your app gain traction? Share with us in the comments section below. Want to learn more about mobile marketing? Check out our other related posts here.


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