What Is ASO?

What Is ASO?

Although it’s a pretty loaded question, “what is ASO” is something that pops up from time to time. People don’t understand that technology has been incredibly innovative as of recent (well, most people do know it’s happening, but some have been left in the dust so to speak), and that also means that people have been misinformed regarding ASO (Application Store Optimization). It’s almost identical to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in every single way, but there are certain details that need to be looked at before you begin the process. We’re going to take the time out of your day to look at the different traits and attributes that make up ASO, as well as why you should be making use of the process. Not only that, but we’re going to look at how and where you can look for extra help, so all in all we’re going to give you the tools you need to succeed with ASO.

what is aso

Explaining it can be the toughest part, because ASO is a relatively new term to most people. A lot of use can comprehend what SEO is, and even why it would be relevant to online marketing and such these days (but ASO is somewhat of a different story altogether). Applications are a very large market to look at, and considering it’s 2014 it looks like they’re going to be increasing their financial boundaries sometime soon. The platform application stores have to offer is quite amazing, because it’s allowed the average person to develop and perfect their very own application to sell. Most people start out as hobbyists and developers that are just trying to see what else they can do with certain programs, but what they fail to realize is that there’s money to be made.

The Market

The market for applications is a lot larger than you would expect, and this is why ASO is so important. ASO is pretty much a determining factor when it comes to how much you’ll profit from an application, there can be a developer that has released a fantastic app that hits the mark on every significant level, but a lack of ASO has refrained it from succeeding. If you want people to see the skills and work that you’ve put in than you have to do ASO accordingly, or else you’ll just be another one of those applications being lost in the mix. The application economy was worth a whopping 53 billion dollars in 2012, so two years of grow could only mean great things for such an innovative way to create revenue.

Even the largest companies in the world like Google and Facebook have taken it upon themselves to create an application, because even they can see how important the application market is going to be for the future of our economy. There are applications for the weather and sports, and there are even applications to help you identify different types of birds or discover brand new recipes. The options are endless, and that’s why the market is going to be growing for years to come. The “Developer Economics Forecast for 2013-2016” has a lot of interesting information inside of it, but it costs money and we all know how well that’s going to sit with the seasoned internet marketers (we all believe in making money but not spending it, which is unless it’s for investing).

The market is large, and if you think that there isn’t enough money to go around than you’re just one of those people that doesn’t capitalize on opportunities. The industry is only going to get more and more saturated as time moves forward, so getting into the app store market (as well as ASO as a whole) is dire.

What Do I Do?

ASO has a few different things that makes up its core, and knowing these things will give you a head start ahead of every single developer that doesn’t know what application marketing is about. You can’t build a shelf without instructions unless you’re handy, and if you’re reading this article the chances of you being “hand” (as in already knowing what ASO is about) are pretty slim. Take in the information we’re giving you here and apply it to the next application you plan on developing, we can almost guarantee that you’re going to see a major difference.

You could break down the layers of ASO into 3 significant portions, and we’re going to start off with the very first one (and arguably the most important); keywords.

Keywords

This is where your knowledge pertaining to SEO would come in handy, because selecting the right keywords to try and rank for your application is the most important part of ASO. There are many different ways to go about finding keywords, some people like to look at the competition and see what words they’re using consistently throughout their descriptions and titles (which is something we’ll get into later), but most others will make use of keyword planning tools on the internet. Google Keyword Planner is an AdWords tool that is used to find significant keywords in specific categories, so if you’re dedicating an application to identifying fish you’ll look for fish-related keywords with the tool. Finding a keyword isn’t that easy though, because there are other things you need to look at keyword wise before you can choose the right one.

The average monthly search volume is a term that is synonymous amongst SEO gurus, and even if you don’t know much about online marketing you’ve probably heard the term somewhere else before. What this basically means is how many times a specific keyword is being searched for on a monthly basis, and the higher the amount of searches the higher the amount of potential customers you’ll have. You don’t want to try and rank for a keyword that has the minimal amount of searches, there’s really no point when there are plenty of other fitting keywords that would do you more justice. Aim high when it comes to the average monthly search volume, because it’s an efficient way to increase your applications exposure.

Now the density of your keywords is important too, because this is going to decide how efficient the implementation of these keywords is actually going to be. How you put the keywords within the application is useful to know, and that’s what we’re going to cover next. You don’t want to optimize an application too much, and the way you optimize it in the first place is to put the keyword in as many places as possible (within a reasonable number of times). The title of your application should automatically include one of the keywords, because this is the easiest way to go about ranking an application (and it’s the same way when you’re talking about SEO).

Not only do you want to put the keywords in the title of your application, but the tags and the description of your application should make use of them as well. It’s always nice to try and handle more than one keyword at once, because this will expand your campaign over multiple levels and help you out a lot more. Remember not to use the words too much in your description and title, other than that you should be good to go regarding keywords.

Development

Nobody is going to download a piece of junk, so how well your application actually works is going to determine how much you’ll succeed. Think of the situation from the consumers perspective, we’ve all been in the situation where we’ve deleted an application after using it one time, and that’s something you don’t want to happen. One thing that benefits an application is how many times it’s downloaded, but also how often it stays on somebodies device (and believe it or not there are ways to check these statistics). When the application is staying on peoples devices you’ll be able to implement ads to monetize it, and the more devices seeing your ads the better.

Have a thorough quality checking process when you’re developing the initial application, and make sure that you’re checking for any glitches or bugs along the entire way. The worst thing you can allow as an application developer is to put out a product that’s buggy, nobody is going to want to use it and all of your efforts will have gone in vain. ASO relies on the public opinion most of the time, and when a high quality application brings in tons of downloads and ratings it’s going to resonate in the rankings. If you can hire somebody who’s a professional debugger than you’ll be in the best position you can potentially be in, but if you can’t there is still an opportunity to succeed for you.

An intuitive interface and great interactive features will get you a long way, and the implementation of social media sharing will allow it to reach a broader audience at a higher rate. Think big and you’ll receive big rewards, so always try to keep that in mind.

Marketing

Like most other endeavours you’ll be tackling online marketing is an important part of ASO, and that’s mostly because it draws in the traffic needed to give your application that boost. Once again I’ll use Clash of Clans as an example, because it’s one of the most popular applications we’ve seen in quite some time. Not only do they do marketing on various websites and online platforms, but they actually took it upon themselves to develop a TV commercial to air. I’ve seen it personally a few times, and I’ve even gone out and downloaded/rated the game (it’s a well-made application if I do say so myself).

Learn what works and what doesn’t and you should be able to bring in heads like nobody’s business, and the key component you want to be aiming for is downloads and rates. The more downloads an application has the more praise and approval it will receive from the public, that’s just how it works and that’s how it will always work (this is the same rule of thumb when it comes to video games and music, pretty much everything now that I think about it). Market with flyers and other subtle things like pop-up ads on websites at first, and if it’s successful you can scale up your campaign from there.

Downloads may not seem like they mean much to the ASO process, but all of the high ranking applications I’ve seen have had well over one hundred thousand downloads, and some would say that’s simply because they’re ranked high (but even then there’s a reason they were highly ranked in the first place!). Apply your marketing skills as you feel fit, but make sure that you aren’t doing anything wrong; if there’s one thing you should never do with marketing its bash other applications, it just makes you seem like you’re over compensating for something wrong with your application.

Conclusion

Those are the three main categories that would apply to ASO, and together they should answer the question “what is ASO?” quite efficiently. SEO and ASO have a lot in common, but the intricacies like downloads and ratings (as well as the different ways to use keywords with the application store) make it a different process altogether. It isn’t the hardest thing to do, but it’s definitely challenging, and hopefully this article made it much easier to understand what ASO actually is. Use all of these tips to your advantage and start monetizing on your hard work today, but just make sure you aren’t cutting any corners throughout the ASO process.

There’s a person on the other side of the world trying to accomplish exactly the same thing you’re trying to do, and the only way you’re going to beat them is by out-working them. If you aren’t willing to put the work in than you’re probably in the wrong industry, because ASO is ever-changing and always ready to make you some money (if you’re willing to work for it).

2014 is truly an amazing year to be living in, and ASO is just another reason why this is a validated statement. The technology we’re exposed to on a daily basis is truly unique, now if only there were a way to tackle ASO without having to do any research at all (at his rate this is probably something we’ll see in the relatively near future, just you watch!).

Author: Paul Andre de Vera

Paul Andre de Vera's diverse technical and creative background and entrepreneurship has led him to build successful online properties. In addition to Paul Andre's business ventures, he's formerly the SEO/SEM Manager at SuccessFactors- an SAP company and now the Director of SEO at SmartRecruiters. On his free time he is learning to become an ASO ninja.

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