After countless hours of work and calendars filled with meetings, your app is ready to submit to the app stores. How will you get users to discover the product of your hard work and download it? App Store Optimization (ASO) and paid marketing are the keys to a successful launch.

ASO can be broken down into two main sections: keyword optimization and creative optimization. Paid marketing efforts include running ads from platforms that can not only help your new user downloads, but also offer organic coefficients. Using both of these strategies to their fullest potential will yield the highest results for your app launch and over time as your app matures.

Keyword optimization 

Keyword optimization drives ASO visibility. You want users to be able to find your app organically by searching for a keyword, and seeing your app in the search results.

Keyword optimization is a crucial part of increasing organic discoverability. Selecting relevant keywords with high search volume before launch will help set your app up for success. If your app is ranked for these keywords, then your visibility will increase because more users will see your app in the search results.

When you deploy a new build, the store algorithms will begin to merchandise your app for roughly 3-4 weeks. During this process, the algorithms will scan the metadata for targeted keywords and possibly merchandise your app for additional rankings. Starting with strong optimized metadata helps Apple and Google easily understand your app from day one. Take note of which keywords or phrases perform the best using ASO software, and test them in your next build.

Optimizing your metadata can help your app rank for hundreds or even thousands of keywords and phrases, effectively expanding your overall organic presence. As you gain impressions and installs from these rankings, your app will build relevance in the eyes of the stores. This can, in turn, increase rankings -- which further expands visibility.

Creative optimization

Keyword discoverability will allow users looking to find an app like yours to discover it. But after a user sees your app, will they download it? Creative and conversion optimization drive the download part of your ASO strategy. All traffic eventually leads to your app store listing. Your on-page search and product page elements need to convince users to tap to get your app, and not a competitor’s.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but effective app store creative can be worth thousands of installs.

Optimizing your creative assets will improve your conversion rate, maximizing the impact of your increased keyword visibility. Increasing your conversion rate can help your app climb up the ladder of keyword rankings, because app stores take conversion into account.

When working on creative, start by implementing best practices to improve relevance with your target audience and increase conversion. For example: highlight key features in the screenshot copy or in-app UI. Users are more inclined to install an app if they immediately recognize their search queries, whether it's through keywords or in-app imagery.

A/B testing tools are also important for optimizing your metadata and creative. Testing gives you quantifiable data to understand which aspects perform the best. You can test various aspects, like which colors convert the best, or which keywords to highlight. From there you can build upon the success of previous builds to continually improve performance.

Paid marketing

New apps will get little organic traffic because they don't have high rankings for high volume keywords -- it takes time to build relevance for the algorithm. This makes it hard for users to find a new app, without a little help. 

This is where paid marketing comes in. 

Paid marketing from healthy channels, like Apple Search Ads, Google Ads, or Facebook Ads, will increase the volume of traffic to your app store listing, and help stimulate the store’s algorithm to index your listing at a faster rate. This has three benefits:

  1. Improve organic keyword ranking visibility
  2. Increase your user base at a quicker pace
  3. Test asset performance

Paid traffic is different from organic, because you're directly bidding for placements that can appear either above, or entirely outside of, organic search results. These paid placements can be at the top of the search results for Apple Search Ads, or a banner on a YouTube video for Google Ads. As your listing gains installs, you become more relevant in the eyes of the store, potentially increasing overall organic rankings. 

Each paid channel has unique pros, cons, and a different level of influence on organic. For example, Apple Search Ads can have a direct impact on how your app ranks for keywords, and will display the screenshots already used in the App Store. Facebook Ads, on the other hand, will help with the overall volume of installs with an indirect impact on rankings. Facebook Ads also require creative assets made specifically for Facebook.

Start with the channel that best aligns with your marketing goals, budget, and team resources to help scale your user base. As your app usage and business grow, you can look into adding more channels to capture additional demographics.

ASO keyword and creative optimization together form an iterative process of research, testing/deployment, measurement, and improvement repeating. This cycle of continual improvement, paired with paid marketing to boost traffic, will set your app us for success.

Even if you've developed the best app ever, no one will know about it if they can't find it. ASO helps your organic visibility, by targeting relevant keywords and improving conversion performance with creative assets. Paid marketing supports your organic visibility, by driving additional traffic volume. Avoid a slow start after launch by using a combination of ASO and paid marketing strategies to get your app in front of the right users.

About the author

Gummicube Co-Founder & CEO, Dave Bell

Gummicube is a global leader in App Store Optimization with more than 11 years of experience optimizing and marketing apps. We offer the leading enterprise ASO technology and agency services, providing support to clients around the world. Our company is trusted by thousands of enterprise brands and leading startups including Microsoft, LinkedIn, Bethesda, SWEAT, GrubHub, McAfee and many others.