How To Do App Store Optimization For iOS 11 & 12
This content was updated on November 28, 2018. Additional content that was added: ASO tips for the new iOS 12 update.
We are living in an app world. A world that was created almost 10 years ago and which is still growing day by day. The shocking thing about this all; it does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon (!). In fact, knowing that there are 5.5 million apps available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store as of September 2017, the amount of apps is expected to be doubled by 2020. And as you know; the more apps, the more competition you have.
You are not alone in wanting to make your app stand out from the competition. But did you know that there is a way that has not been discovered by everyone yet. How? Through ASO. ASO stands for App Store Optimization and allows you to eventually rank your app higher in the search results. Yes, that is right! A higher ranking means more visibility, more visibility means reaching more potential customers. More potential customers means, well... you probably know what that means. At the end of the day, App Store Optimization helps you in driving more traffic to your app’s page and increases the likeliness of your app being downloaded.
What Is ASO And Why Should You Use It?
As mentioned, ASO refers to optimizing your app and its appearance in the App Store. Other terms often used to describe this phenomenon are App Store SEO and Mobile App SEO (though, Mobile App SEO focuses on ranking higher in the Google Search Results whereas ASO focuses on the App Store's results). Basically, ASO is SEO for apps. Plus, it is the best (and low-cost) way to market your app to the broad mass and reach the right users.
Interesting (quirky) fact; not everyone who lands on your app’s page downloads your app. Actually, it is one out of every three people. Ranking high shouldn’t therefore be your only goal. You should, for example, also think about showcasing your app attractively. The more illustrative you are about your app, the fewer irrelevant visitors and the higher conversion rates you get. As every one in four installed apps is only used once, you should have a particular focus on attracting high-quality users, converting them and creating long term values.
To sum up; you need to be sure that you rank well, attract the right users and outshine your competitors to get the downloads. So yes, you do need ASO!
Common misunderstandings about ASO is that, just like SEO, it is all about keywords, titles, character counts and images. It is true to some extent, however; to excel in optimizing your app, you also have to take the user reviews, title, description, screen shots, download numbers and many other topics into mind. Of course, you do need keywords in order for your app to be found. But besides keywords, the images, originality, persuasiveness and product satisfaction are crucial too.
To learn more about ASO, from keyword and competitor analysis to character limits and image sizes with our own best practices, detailed comments and useful tips, download our carefully-prepared App Store Optimization Guide; available at your convenience.
App Store SEO Tips For iOS 11 Features
Since our guide was published before Apple released its iOS11 operating system, we would like to equip you with the latest changes regarding ASO.
App Name and Subtitle
With iOS 11, you can use up to 30 characters for your app name and another 30 characters for a subtitle. The subtitle will be displayed under your app name and is meant to summarize your product and highlight the best features of your app. Keep in mind; subtitles do affect keyword rankings, so adding keywords to your subtitles will be a smart move. Note that both app name and subtitle can only be changed when submitting a new version of your app to the App Store.
TIP #1: Test various subtitles and see which one works best. Try to find out which subtitle is the most engaging and interesting for the users.
TIP #2: Don't know which keywords to use? Check what your users wrote in your app reviews – you might discover a great amount of keywords right there.
Description and Promotional Text
Identical to iOS 10, you can use 4.000 characters for the description, of which the first 2-3 sentences are the most important ones. When you want to update your description, you need to submit a new version of your app. This, however, is not the case for the promotional text.
Adding a promotional text is a new feature in which you are allowed to write up to 170 characters. As mentioned, the text can be updated at any time, but unfortunately it does not affect keyword rankings. Still, don’t skip it!; a well-written text might have a positive impact on the conversion rate.
TIP #1: Use your promotional text to highlight special offers, promotions, events and important updates.
TIP #2: Less than 1% clicks on the 'more' button below the description text. So, try to explain your app in a way that immediately grabs the readers' attention.
Reviews and Ratings
In iOS 10, the review score was reset once a new update was made. In iOS 11, the average star rating and total number of ratings are shown and you have the option whether you would like to reset the score after an update, or not.
TIP #1: Did your update solve bugs and issues with your app? Consider resetting the (bad) review score to highlight the current quality of the app.
TIP #2: Having an overall positive app review score, 4 to 5 star rating, can also increase your app ranking.
App Preview Video
You are allowed to add three videos to show potential users. These videos automatically play on mute by default. Videos are shown in as well the product- as the search page, making it a strong factor for conversion. Each video can be up to 30 seconds long.
TIP #1: Really make your video interesting and attractive by providing a clear visual explanation of your app’s content and features. Remember; you only have 30 seconds to convince users to install your app!
TIP #2: You can add 3 videos – use each video to show different aspects of your app.
TIP #3: As the preview video automatically plays on mute by default, the first few seconds are crucial. Try to catch the user's interest within the first 5 seconds, and convince them to download your app.
ASO Tips For iOS 12 Features
Although the iOS 12 update didn't bring in any extreme updates like it did that time with iOS 11, there are some things worth mentioning.
You are now able to add emojis in your app description text - hooray! 🙌🏻
Writing just 'bug fixes', and general or vague information about the improvements is no longer allowed. Here you are now required to be more detailed about the new updates.
Also, when a user has not installed your app yet, the what's new-section appears below the ratings & reviews-section - however, when someone did install your app (or had installed it in the past, but deleted it again), the what's new-section shows up at the top of your product page, above the fold of the app's page.
The app world is enormous. We are almost at the end of 2018. Predicted is that by the end of the year, 205.4 billion apps were downloaded. 205.4 billion (!). Unfortunately, many of those apps are only used once before ending up in the trash.
To become one of those frequently downloaded apps that is not deleted after one-time use, our tip to you is to optimize. With ASO, your app will be able to appear higher in the search results, attract the right users and beat your competition. ASO is not a one-time job and it does require continuous monitoring. But, if you follow our ASO guide and take the right decisions at the right moment, the number of your app downloads may boost like never before.
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