As the app ecosystem continues its breakneck pace of growth – something to expected to accelerate as Google Play will start begins to offer textbooks in the fall – businesses would be crazy not to consider the app store part of their marketing strategy.
However, as App Store Optimization (ASO) is still in its nascent stages, it’s important that marketers understand what they can and can’t control before devising a strategy to market their app. Additionally, those looking to break into the marketing field may want to consider this a skill worth picking up.
Factors That Influence App Purchases
Before launching an app and beginning to market it, it would behoove the developer to understand the market – and how people make their decisions. These factors, according to Nielsen’s, demonstrate the importance of ASO pretty clearly:
1. App Store Search: 63% of consumers use this channel to find apps.
2. Friends and family recommendations: 50% of consumers use this channel to find apps.
3. Editor’s Picks and Top Lists: 34% of consumers use this channel to find apps.
However, many analysts predict that top lists will soon become a tool of marketers as more apps are developed which will diminish their value over time.
The Basics of App Store Optimization
ASO is still very new, as are the algorithms that control the rankings, so there will be many changes still to come and this will influence the ways companies can market their apps. In the appstore, marketers can really only control the appearance of the app’s page. These factors include:
1. App Title
A good name is important regardless of what you’re marketing, so it’s important to pick an app title that is short and punchy – something that people will remember. Additionally, it’s best to include a few keywords that describe what the app does. For example: Zeebox – TV’s sidekick.
Be sure to avoid keyword stuffing as it is also important that the app title read in a natural manner.
As Patrick Haig, Vice President of MobileDevHQ, an ASO company, says, app descriptions consist of two blurbs – one above the fold and posted one below the fold. What goes above the fold should be concise and to the point – 1-2 sentences that outline the primary use of the app.
Below the fold can be a lengthier discussion of how the app works and should include screenshots. Though it sounds petty, screenshots will be one of the most important part of your app page. They make the app tangible and easy to explain to the consumer.
Once again, always include screenshots of the app, this is extremely important.
This is something that is only available to those on the Apple iOS ecosystem, Google Play only uses descriptions. This field is only 100 characters – so be sure to be very specific and choose your keywords wisely.
Customers are going to be drawn to what they think is most beautiful, so the more appealing your logo is, the most likely you are to succeed. Pick a bright color as it will catch a shopper’s eye and keep the size of the logo in mind. It will be a very small thumbnail most of the time, so too much detail will make it blurry and hard to see.
ASO will likely go through many change before there is a real system in place. In the meantime, a great way to market your app  is to get it traditional SEO (search engine optimization) exposure and do things like press releases, reviews and build links to the page.
Additionally, be sure to listen to your customers. App ecosystems tend to be rife with reviews which are important influences for consumers. Be sure to respond to these concerns as a means to prevent bad reviews.
Launching an app can be a scary. However, as the mobile market continues to explode and app ecosystems continue to grow and improve, a well down launch is likely to be a profitable experience.
App Store Photo via Shutterstock