Master the App Store: A Simple Guide for Mobile App Success

App Store Management with Appsfactory
Ignoring the importance of app store management will prevent your app from outshining the competition and cost you users. So get ready to step into the spotlight with these game-changing strategies curated by Appsfactory.

Authors: Dr. Alexander Trommen, Caine Eschberger

The What, The Why and The How

Where is the first place to go for apps? — Right: the app store of your choice. To attract new users and boost downloads, your app store presence must be top-notch. If you look at the marketing strategy for apps, you will see that it is made up of several components: digital marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, etc. While some may not be appropriate for your cause, such as guerrilla marketing, others are necessary to catapult your app to the top. One of the most important aspects of this mix is Mobile App Marketing, which is generally divided into App Store Optimization (ASO) and paid marketing.

No-one can beat ASO

Advertisements are ubiquitous, even in app stores. While investing in promoting your app within these platforms may seem advantageous initially, it incurs ongoing expenses and lacks the authenticity of organic growth. In contrast, App Store Optimization emphasizes presenting your app effectively through design, keywords, descriptions, and reviews, fostering organic visibility. Although paid marketing can yield short-term benefits, neglecting ASO may lead to a decline in user engagement over time. ASO is the cornerstone of sustainable app success.

First impressions matter

ASO is in general an interplay of these four main pillars: keyword research, text optimization, screenshot optimization and review management.

Keyword research

First, you need to categorize your app and think of appropriate keywords; for example, if you publish a cooking app, keywords like “cooking,” “recipes,” and “vegetables” are popular. It is also helpful to check the keywords used by your competitors. Another effective method for discovering new keywords is to enter a relevant industry term into the search field within the app store and take note of the suggested search queries that appear as auto-completions or search suggestions. Then use analytics tools that rank your keywords based on difficulty and search volume. To establish a valid comparison it is typical to identify at least 100–200 keywords. At the same time, think about the strategy you want to implement. A good strategy would be to use 70% of high volume, high difficulty keywords and 30% of moderate search volume, low difficulty keywords. Find your niche keywords, but do not stray too far from common ones.

Text Optimization

The steps for text optimization vary depending on the app store. Let us focus on the two largest — Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Apple allows you to set a title of up to 30 characters and keywords of up to 100 characters. It is important to understand that the title can be different from the one that will be visible once the user has downloaded the app, which means that you can already embed keywords to help your ranking in search results. Your main focus will be on the keywords: by separating them with commas, you save space and can include more keywords.

In addition, it’s important to prioritize the use of keywords with high difficulty and search volume in the title. These keywords carry more weight in the search algorithms and can significantly improve your app’s visibility in the Apple App Store.

Like Apple, Google lets you set a title of up to 30 characters, which can be filled with keywords that are not visible once the app is downloaded. But Google puts the emphasis on the description. You have the option to display a short description with a maximum of 80 characters and the option to present your app in the best possible way with a long description with up to 3385 characters. Use your keywords within the description and aesthetically please the eyes of the users with emoticons.

Screenshot Optimization

Now you have your keywords and texts ready to go, but we are still missing one of the key pieces to success: Screenshot Optimization.

Optimizing your screenshots, images and videos used in the app store is crucial, especially for the Apple App Store, because they are already visible in the search results and not only on the app’s own page. Research has shown that optimizing your screenshots will increase your downloads by 98% (source: appmasters, 2023), so treat this space like an advertising space. These screenshots should showcase the most important features of the app, but more importantly, grab the attention of potential users. Also, this is the perfect space to include slogans and relevant branding assets without keywords. Furthermore, short videos can also be utilized for optimization purposes. While they may require more effort in production, incorporating moving images can significantly enhance visibility and engagement, thereby complementing the overall optimization strategy.

Review Management

Last but not least, we need to have a look at reviews. They are a crucial part of growing your user base organically and will make or break your app. The majority of people rely on reviews when deciding for or against something, but only a small percentage actually leave reviews. Embedding prompts while using the app will increase that percentage, and if you reward the user afterwards, it will increase it even more. Get a coupon or feature that is usually behind a paywall for writing a review? Consider it done! If you have people reviewing your app, you will inevitably get bad reviews. This is where in-app-prompts come in handy. Instead of immediately sending the user to the app store, divide the responses into two categories. The easiest way to do this is to create a page with thumbs up and thumbs down emoticons. If the user clicks or taps the thumbs up emoji, they will be redirected to the app store to leave their (possibly good) review. If they click or tap the thumbs down, however, they are prompted to send their feedback directly to a managed email address or form so that the issue can be addressed at its source. This way, users are heard and are more likely to leave a good review. Encouraging users to leave reviews is just one side of the coin, the other is managing their reviews in the app store. As mentioned above, their voices are heard and it is easier for the development team to respond by implementing new features or fixing bugs. It also shows potential users that feedback is valued and cared about.

And in the realm of app optimization, there’s no guarantee for a top spot, but the organic approach and the outlined steps bring you closer to your goal: outshining your competitors. Generating downloads organically is cost-effective and efficient, especially since 70% of Apple App Store users utilize search to find apps (source: Apple, 2024). However, the optimal strategy is a blend of paid marketing and App Store Optimization (ASO) to achieve long-term success in app downloads.

About Appsfactory

Appsfactory is Germany’s leading agency for digital products and applications, with over 700 realized projects. Our diverse range of clients includes companies such as Axel Springer, AOK, Bertelsmann, BMW, Condé Nast, DKV, DER STANDARD, F.A.Z., Mercedes-Benz, Police Saxony, RTL, SMA Solar Technology, SwissRe, Vattenfall and Vonovia, who benefit from our full-service expertise throughout the entire lifecycle of technological offerings. We place particular emphasis on integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. With the acquisition of Peak Performance Apps GmbH, we have expanded our portfolio to include highly scalable digital real-time interactions.

As one of Europe’s fastest-growing multimedia agencies, we employ over 380 staff at five central locations in Germany. Our Quality Management System (QMS) is certified according to ISO 9001, ISO 27001, TISAX for the automotive industry and for the development of medical products according to ISO 13485. Awards such as the Red Dot, the German Digital Prize, iF Design Award and the Grand Stevie Award demonstrate our successful and innovation-driven work. Our company has recently been awarded the honor of Top Company 2023 by kununu and certified a Great Place to Work 2023. In addition, we have partnerships with Microsoft (Certified Gold Partner), Brightcove, Livingdocs, and certifications in the Google Agency Program and as an Alexa Featured Agency.

Press contact

Dr. Rolf Kluge

Dr. Rolf Kluge

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