How App Store Optimization works for Startups vs. Brands

Posted in August 2017

App Store Optimization

This article is based on our guest post for

ASO is something, every app publisher has to do. There are various blog posts giving advices for App Store Optimization but an efficient ASO-strategy can look differently, for small app-startups or well established brands. This post covers what ASO means for a brand vs. what startups should focus on when it comes to App Store Optimization.

ASO for brands

Getting traffic to your app page might seem easier for you owning a well-established brand. However, also some big companies struggle with their App Store Optimization. Just because people know your company, doesn’t necessarily mean, that your app is easily found by users for general search terms.

Big players focus on brand names

When you browse through top apps in the app store, you might recognize, only a few of them have app titles longer than 25 characters. This is because of two reasons.

  • First, app names commonly get truncated on mobile phones after the first 25 characters.
  • Second, and even more relevant: most users tend to search for brand names rather than generic search terms.

ASO News: Google Play Store and Apple App Store each changed the character limits for app names. Find out more here.

Considering currently trending keywords, you can see the trends in commonly used search entries moving towards specific app names and brands.

Users tend to search for specific app names or brands

Consider different spelling of your brand name

Unfortunately, this search trend is a blessing and a curse at the same time. Let’s image there is a certain number of people searching for “giphy” – most of them spell it right but the percent of people spelling it like “gify” or “giphi” is not to be underestimated.

Fortunately, the app store considers common misspellings of your brand name and some other keywords like the words “app”, “free” or the name of the app category. To really get sure, your app is found for various variants of your brand name, you should include them in your keyword set for continuous search rank tracking.

App Radar App Store Optimization Tool

Do not ignore other keywords

Although, specific brand and app names are frequently used in app store searches, users also use some generic search terms and decide which app to download based on the search results. This is your chance to get downloads as a startup.

Amazon is a good example of a big brand that recognized that general keywords also make sense for a brand’s app name. Before Amazon changed their app name to Amazon shopping, they were receiving around 2.18% of the traffic from the keyword, “shopping”. Then they added “Shopping” in their title and changed it to Amazon Shopping.

This small tweak allowed them to increase their traffic from 2.18% to 9.88% and fetched them 1st rank in the USA on “shopping” keyword in the Google Play Store.

ASO for Start-ups

If your app is relatively young and you do not want to spend enormous amounts for marketing your app name as a brand, you should first of all focus on establishing your ASO keyword strategy. App Store Optimization plays a great role in terms of users acquisition and keyword research probably is the most crucial part of it.

It’s challenging to compete with big brands

As an app-start-up it can get very difficult competing with big brand names and maybe a variety of similar competitor apps. This means, ranking for very generic keywords like for example “messenger”, “shopping” or “music” might get difficult for you. So you should better focus on some alternatives.

This is where the tactic of using some long-term keywords gets important.

Keyword Research is crucial for start-ups

The perfect keyword strategy basically is about finding the right keywords. Sounds easy – but usually isn’t. Especially as a startup, keyword research is essential to building a set of relevant, popular, yet competitive keywords.

The first step of developing a keyword strategy is all about researching possible search terms and keywords relevant to your app. To do so, you could simply start with brainstorming keywords all around your app’s features and possible use cases. Take into mind, who your users are and what language they use.

A common way to deal with strong competition is to enhance your brand name with matching keywords. Add one or two descriptive keywords to your app name so visitors know immediately what your app is about. However, try to stay authentic and maintain readability. This will not only increase the relevance of your traffic but also improves your retention rate and engagement.

Here are some examples:

Start-ups need to react fast to changes

Especially as a start-up, it can have a noticeable effect when your rankings in app store collapse.

Therefore, continuous monitoring of keyword rankings is essential. As not only app store algorithms and guidelines but also user preference change, you have to be able to notice changes very fast.

Tools like App Radar can help you keeping an overview of your ranking statistics

App Radar can help you keeping an overview of your keyword ranking statistics. It automatically sends you daily or weekly ranking reports via Slack or e-mail. This enables you to quickly take some steps if you recognize your visibility in app stores breaks in.

ASO Keyword Rankings delivered in Slack or e-mail

For further insights, App Radar can help you keeping an overview of your rankings over time, when you visit the online dashboard. If you decide to optimize your app store metadata, you can do this via App Radar too! Check it out and get your free trial here.

Do not underestimate the power of screenshots

As your app is something new for most of the users coming to your app landing page, you have to introduce your features to them.

Users do not know your app so you have to convince them. App Preview Videos and Screenshots are the most striking and powerful tool to do that.

Good example for striking app screenshots: RecordBird

It only takes about 5 seconds for users to decide whether to download or not to download your app. Therefore, visual elements are perfect to give visitors a quick understanding of your app. So a convincing set of graphics on your app page brings huge potential to differentiate from your competitors.

Thomas Kriebernegg
Thomas Kriebernegg is the CEO and Co-Founder of App Radar. Besides being one of the most followed persons on Quora and helping app businesses around the world grow, he can be found on windy places doing kitesurfing or enjoying the one or other trail with his mountainbike.

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