Mobile App Marketing Essentials Lesson 2: App Store Optimization (ASO)


As I have already mentioned in my previous post, you have 3 touch points with your app user: the community, your app store page and the icon on their phone.

In this article you will find some tips to increase your visibility in the App Store. You got it right, I will talk about App Store Optimization.

There are 6 components on your app store page: app icon, your app title, description, screenshots and keywords.

Icon – The app icon is the first thing person will see in the app store. You icon should shout out “Download me now!”. It should be unique (otherwise, how will people know which one is YOUR app?). When users see your app icon in the App store they start to build assumptions about the user experience, how enjoyable it’s going to be to use, how intuitive it will be and how well will it serve your needs. If an icon looks great and is carefully crafted, it is reasonable to assume that the rest of the app is equally well crafted. However, having a great app icon doesn’t necessarily mean it will be downloaded by everyone, but it will certainly help get the users interested in your app, make them read the description and finally to download it. So what is important when designing an app icon?

  1. Avoid including words in the icon. You have app name for that. An icon is a graphical representation of a word, concept, object or operation. Words are in themselves an abstraction of a concept, object or operation – don’t mix these two representational tools as it will ultimately make your message more cluttered and harder to decode. Come up with a unique shape that will be associated only with your brand and use it in all communications.


Remember that your icon will appear in different sizes. They are large in the App store, get small on the home screen and even smaller in the notification center and in groups. Make sure that the image that you choose for your icons can reduce really well and is clear at any size.

  1. Carefully select colors. Choose a limited pallet. Two or three colors are the best. There are many icons with more colors, but it’s hard to pull off.
  2. Avoid using a photo as an icon. Sipp is a great example of how to design an app icon with the same elements as a photo.


Finally, always have a couple of version prepared and A/B test them, to see with one is more appealing for your potential users.

App title – The title is the 2nd thing the user will see. It is important to make it punchy and make them interested in your app. Here is what you should pay attention to when thinking of an app title.

1. App title length should be maximum 255 characters,however try to keep it much shorter. 255 characters will make your title look spammy. On the other hand, make sure to include keywords in your title to increase your visibility. Also make sure your app title is unique. It’s harder to find an app with 10 similar names.

2. Make it interesting. Since only a limited number of characters are displayed in App Store search results, you should put your most interesting or beneficial keywords at the beginning. The All-In Fitness app is a good example. It instantly communicates that the app contains 1,200 exercises. Most exercise apps probably don’t include this many exercises, so this is one way that they differentiate themselves.


3. Do not use overused and confusing names. Even if you have the best app in the world, people might not know     which one to choose, since there are so many available with very similar names. They may just pick one at random, only look at the rating, or download one of them because they like the icon. Having a distinctive name will allow you to rise above the crowd. Be sure to check trademarks before going forward with naming your new app. Conduct a research not to get sued afterwards.

Description – The description of your app is the main seller of your app. In App Store the description is not scanned for keywords, so just explain your app the best possible way without thinking about keywords. In contrast, the Play Store does scan your description for keywords, so make sure to include a couple of them.

  1. One thing you should know is that for people visiting your app page on a desktop computer or iPhone/iPad, only the first 3 lines of your app store description are directly visible. So try to put the most important information there, like a sentence that explains clearly what your app does and why it’s better than other ones. If you have received a specific award, you might put it there too. Most of the users don’t read full app description before making their choice, so put the most important stuff on top
  2. If you have good reviews from users or many well-known websites, what you want to do is, put these reviews right after the short pitch, as a social proof for your app.
  3. Now that the user knows what the app is for, make sure to list the key benefits of using your app and explain in more details how it works.
  4. Finally, make a final call to action, telling the user to download your app (e.g. Download YOUR APP for a better SOMETHING).

Screenshots are not the most important app store element, but they can surely affect the final decision of the user to download the app. Here is some advice to improve your app screenshots.

  1. First of all, the optimal number of screenshots according to AppAnnie are 4 or 5. But what I think is, you should include as many screenshots as are needed to tell your story and explain the app. However, this doesn’t mean you should have a page filled with screenshots.
  2. The screenshots should highlight the benefits, not the features of your app. Look at your app from the perspective of the end user. Why should someone use your app? What is unique about it?
  3. Short description on top or at the bottom of each screenshot are a great way to communicate your message. Look at these short texts as a marketing platform. Highlight the key benefits and make the user press the download button.
  4. Do not make the screenshots too busy and complicated. Sometimes, less is more. The screenshot below is too messy, don’t you think? One can easily get confused because of the huge amount of information.


For more examples of good app screenshots, visit the SensorTower blog.

Keywords – probably one of the most important elements of the app store optimization. 63% of apps are discovered by the general browsing in the app store, which means you should spend quite some time on analysing and picking the correct keywords. You will only have 100 characters for the keywords, so think twice before using a word as a keyword. There are a number of good articles about how to pick the best keywords for ASO and I don’t want to just repeat those.

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What you should know is that you cannot change the app keywords at any given time. It can only done when updating your app, so do not miss the chance to get the keywords right. Also, filter several competitors and look at the keywords they are using. There are tools to spy on your competitors’ keywords for free.

To sum up, ASO is not an easy and fast job as many developers presume it to be. You need to dedicate some time to it to get the most out of the app stores.

Need help developing and marketing your app? We can help!


  • Sarang Tayde
    Jul 14, 2015 am31 10:04

    A cool ASO synopsis
    App Store Optimization Case Study

    1. Inomma
      Jul 14, 2015 pm31 12:08

      Thanks Sarang. Hope it was helpful.

  • Chris
    Jul 15, 2015 am31 11:29

    When you are searching for ASO keywords you can also analyse your competition reviews. It could be a good source of keywords and ideas to improve your app. If you want to find more information go to:

  • Dyson
    Aug 09, 2015 am31 06:33

    From the perspective of a mobile marketer or app developer, it might be helpful to think of breaking the fourth wall in a broader sense of opening a dialogue between you and your users. Breaking the fourth wall is essential to discovering what your users love and hate about your apps.

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