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What is ASO? 

App Store Optimization a.k.a ASO or App Store SEO is the process of optimizing an application to maximize its visibility in the stores in Search (when users search) and Explore (when users browse), increase traffic to the listing, and improve conversion rate to generate the maximum volume of organic downloads.

Download the ASO App Store Optimization Beginners Guide (PDF)

How does it help a business?

It brings free high-quality users for Android apps and helps to reduce UA (User Acquisition) costs and is the base of any Mobile Growth strategy.

A simple way to understand ASO is through this formula :

ASO = Traffic + Conversion

The goal of ASO is app downloads, but its other goals can include:

  • Increased brand exposure.
  • Positive app reviews and ratings.
  • Audience engagement.
  • Additional marketing channel diversification.

How to do ASO?

  • Keyword Research / Market Research 
    • Target high relevance, high traffic, and medium-to-low competition keywords.
    • For new apps, focus on medium or long-tail keywords and gradually change them to highly competitive keywords.
    • For maximum visibility, make sure that your app is available globally and in multiple languages.
  • For doing keyword research use tools that show you the volume and what people are searching for. You can use the tool here:- Google Play Store Keywords (FREE) ᐈ ASO Keyword Research
  • Optimize for Visibility and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) for Play Store
  • Make sure to add keywords in the Title (50 Chars), Short description (80 Chars) and long description (4000 chars)
  • Having the right keyword optimized in the title and descriptions for better visibility. 
  • For CRO on the app, use elements like Icon, Screenshots, featured images to boost the conversion rate and to get more installs within the same visit.
  • Track and monitor the main KPIs
  • Track all the main KPIs like Competition, Keywords, Organic installs (country-wise), etc to increase the installs of your application.

Important factors/KPIs determining ASO

  • Focus on Search
  • Keywords are the most important aspect of app store optimization, and you should start working on them before the app goes live. 
  •  Do keyword research, and get as many keywords that are related to your app and serve the user intent. 
  • Additionally, do market research to study the competition in the Play Store.

What To Avoid?

  • For new apps, don’t use high competition, short-tail keywords. 
  • Targeting apps that are new. Instead, focus on popular apps because that’s where you’ll find the right keywords. 

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  • Create an exceptional icon
  • Make your icons descriptive and clear for the users to understand what the app is about. Icons are direct factors for an increase in click-through rate. 
  • Focus on what the competition is doing and create an original icon. 
  • Create a distinctive icon, stand out with colours.
  • Dimensions for an icon:
  • 32-bit PNG 
  • 512px by 512px
  • Max size 1024K

What To Avoid?

  • Do not create generic/replicated icons from the competition. 
  • Avoid adding text to the icon
  • Avoid Bugs
  • Bugs can lead to negative reviews, which is not good for the app.
  • Monitor and release frequent updates to keep your app up to date to avoid negative reviews.   
  • Reviews and Ratings
  • The reviews/ratings are crucial ranking factors of an app that are not under your control.
  • Positive reviews help to improve ranking.
  • Make sure to release frequent updates to avoid app crashes which can result in negative reviews.
  • Monitor the competition and optimize accordingly
  • As mentioned above, regular updates in the app can make a huge difference in the rankings. 
  • Track the changes that your competitors are making on their app and optimize regularly to keep up to date with the trend. 

Organic Optimization on Google Play Console (ANDROID)

Google Play Console lets you publish your apps and grow your business on Google Play. You can benefit from features that help you improve your app’s quality, engage your audience, earn revenue, and more. 

Success on Google Play starts with quality. The best apps have higher ratings, more installs, and more engagement. Play Console lets you test and understands how your app is performing at every stage.

How to use the Play Console?

In order to use the Play console, you must create a developer’s account. You have to follow a few steps to create one which is as follows:

  1. Sign Up for the account here
  2. Accept the developer distribution agreement. 
  3. Pay the registration fee- The fee is $25 for one-time registration and you can use a Debit or Credit Card. 
  4. Complete your account details. Put your Developer Name and other contact details, website, etc for the users. 
  5. Once you have access to the Developers Account, you can publish and manage your apps. 

How to Create an App On Play Console

  1. Go to your Play Console.
  2. Select All applications > Create application.
  3. Select a default language and add a title for your app. Type the name of your app as you want it to appear on Google Play.
  4. Create your app’s store listing, take the content rating questionnaire, and set up pricing and distribution.


Play Console Dashboard

Once you have published the app, you will be able to access the dashboard. Some of the important components(for organic optimization) of the dashboard are as follows:

  • Android vitals: Overview, ANRs & crashes, Deobfuscation files
  • Store presence: Store listing, Store listing experiments, Pricing & distribution, Content rating, In-app products.
  • User feedback: Ratings, Reviews, Beta feedback.

Android Vitals is all about your app’s quality, as measured by its performance and stability. It shows you the overview of the app, to check whether it is crashing or not responding and also provides suggestions on how to improve the user experience which will keep the users active and result in more app installs and positive reviews. 

Store Presence is a section where you manage your app’s presentation on Google Play. You can create an appropriate store listing, get the content rating, and also set up pricing and distribution. 

  • The store listing is a place where you maintain your app’s metadata such as :
  • Title –  Create a catchy title, within the character limit of 50. Use the Brand name followed by relevant keywords. For eg: Slika- Banner-making & Poster Designing App.
  • Descriptions – The description is of two types, Short and Long Description, having the character limit of 80 and 4000 respectively. Use this to tell the users in detail what your app is about. Google Play shows the first 252 characters of the long description by default so make sure to add a good, keyword-rich description along with the call to action. 
  • Icon – Create a distinctive icon and make good use of colors. Play console accepts 512×512, 32 bit PNG icons.
  • Screenshots – Screenshots are important for increased app conversions. It should show the users how your app looks and what they can expect after installing it. You can use either created or curated screenshots and include text in them to get the users to click on the install button. A minimum of two screenshots is required to be uploaded. The maximum is eight. Google accepts 24-bit PNG screenshots with min and max length of 320 px and 3840 px respectively.
  • Pricing & distribution is where you set the price for your app and can restrict the countries to which it is distributed. This is an important feature to track revenue or sales that take place within the app. 
  • The content rating is obtained by responding to a content rating questionnaire and, once complete, your app receives the appropriate rating badges from recognized authorities around the world. Apps without a content rating will be removed from the Play Store.
  • The in-app products section is where you maintain a catalog of the products and subscriptions sold from your app. This is important to track the in-app purchases. 

User Feedback is a section where you receive the rating and reviews for your app and also feedback if you release the Beta versions. Play Store visitors consider your app’s ratings and reviews when they’re deciding whether to install it. Reviews also provide a way to engage with your audience and gather useful feedback about your app.

You can track your ratings/reviews based on the country, language, for which app version, android version, and device, etc. 

Pirate Metrics (AARRR Framework)

Pirate metrics is essentially a way of categorizing different metrics and KPIs and is made up of the metricsAcquisition, Activation, Revenue, Retention, Referral — or AARRR for short (like a pirate)

To understand this framework in detail, you must understand two things: 

  • What are the Growth Drivers of each metric?
  • How to measure it?
  • Acquisition: This metric talks about how are the users able to find your app and what you can do to get them to install the app. 
  • Growth Drivers: Organic Optimization on App Stores, Promotion on Social Media, etc
  • Measure: The total number of installations.
  • Activation: Once you achieve a good number of installs for your app, you must also make sure that the users can use it freely. This is to make sure that the users are able to explore the app exactly the way you want them to. 
  • Growth Drivers: One-Tap registration, Welcome offer, etc
  • Measure: How many users register through Google or Facebook; How many of them take action for the welcome offer.  
  • Retention: After the users get active on the app, you have to make sure to retain them so that they use your app regularly. 
  • Growth Drivers: Automated emails, Sending push notifications, Retargeting on social media. 
  • Measure: How many users take action on these emails/notifications and how many users you lost. 
  • Referral: One of the best ways to drive growth to your app is through referrals. Turn your users into influencers in order to get new users to install and give these influencers a variable reward. 
  • Growth Drivers: Sending Command Prompt while in-app, Creating Social Media Buzz by sending referral code. 
  • Measure: How many new users acquired (installs) through referrals. 
  • Revenue: Once you perfectly optimize the other four metrics, the revenue should flow automatically. One important thing to understand here is how to increase your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and reduce the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). 
  • Growth Drivers: In-app purchases, Social Media Campaigns, Paid Advertising
  • Measure: How many users purchase within the app. How many users click on the Ads and install your app. 

The AARRR framework is the simplest and most effective way to look at optimizing your business and measuring growth. Keep optimizing the five frameworks and enhance your app performance on the app store. 

Hook Model

The Hook Model is a 4-step framework built to make sure that the users keep coming back to your apps. It is designed by Nir Eyal and has been proven effective for many popular apps

As mentioned above, this model is broken into 4 main steps which are as follows: 

  1. Trigger: This can either be External, for example, What gets the user to click on the Play Video or Install button once they discover your app, or it can be Internal for example, what urges the user to take action within the app, say, upgrade to Pro version or refer your app to their friends, etc. 
  2. Action: This is something that happens when the user is expecting a reward. For example, exploring the new features on the app and dropping a positive review or answering questions for potential users. 
  3. Variable reward: According to the Hook model, the reward should be fulfilling, yet leave the user wanting more. For example for any news-related apps, staying up to date with the trend is a reward, and giving the users additional information based on their interest is to keep them hooked.  
  4. Investment: By using the other three steps perfectly, you can ensure that the user has shown interest in your app and you keep giving them triggers to take more action on the app. This action can be an investment of money, time or even giving feedback. 

In simple words, the Hook Model helps you understand how habitual the users are towards your app and how you can ensure that they use your app daily. 

Case Studies and Resources

  1. App Store Optimization Tips – 15 ASO Case Studies
  2. Case Study: How We Increased App Downloads By 1478% In A Month Using App Store Keyword Optimization | App Store Keyword Optimization 
  3. https://thetool.io/2018/grow-app-revenue-aso-case-study