App Store Optimization - Your Way to Improve User Acquisition

So, we’re back to User Acquisition. You’ve done a great job segmenting your users and creating user portrait. What now? 

Time for App Store Optimization (a.k.a. ASO)

First thing first – what it ASO?

ASO is a set of activities directed at improving app’s visibility in the store, its’ discoverability in search results and ranking. In simple words – it’s what we do to make our apps easier to find and compelling to download. 

Now, imagine an awesome app that doesn’t have decent (read – excellent) store optimization. What are its’ chances of being discovered and installed? Hmm.. Low. Like SUPER LOW (unless it’s a new Flappy Bird or another phenomenon on the app market).

Apple App Store alone has swelled up to over 2,2 million apps. A crowded place, isn’t it?

So, what do we do to stand out?

Key Word Optimization

Finding the right keywords is a major part of your ASO efforts. Don’t procrastinate – just suck it up and do the job.

Start with writing down a good long list of app store keywords applicable to your app. Don’t ignore the numerous tools for app store keyword generation like AppRadar, AppTweak or SensorTower. They will give you not just ideas, but also useful keyword stats and insights.

Done? Great, time to shortlist and analyze keyword search frequency and competition. For instance, ‘Dating App’ may be super popular, but the competition is very high too. That means that you’ll have to compete against too many too high-ranking apps in that domain.

Do some competition research. Which keywords do your competitors use? Which of them work best? Of course, it doesn’t mean that you should copy your competitors’ ASO strategy down to the last line. But you know how they say – forewarned means forearmed. And let the strongest (that means your app) survive.

Now, this will be as old as the world but do think where you put those keywords. App title, subtitle, description – these are just a few examples. Even app store reviews do matter in terms of keywords!

‍Image source:
But remember. Or better write it down: use only relevant keywords. Even if you see that a specific keyword is super-effective, but it doesn’t relate to your app – just skip it. Better find something that will be less hot, but will be down-to-the-point.

Visual Representation and Graphics

Great, you’ve selected the right keywords and put them in the right places. Time to think about how your app page looks.

App Icon 

Your icon is the first thing your potential users see. Make it good – you’ll get installs. Make it bad – well, too bad for you, my friend.

Of course, there is no universal HOW-TO, but still, there are general recommendations applicable to all app icons:

       ·  Simplicity – don’t overlay it with heavy graphics or text. Make it minimalistic, easy to read.

       ·  Usability – make sure it looks good on all app store pages and in all dimensions.

       ·  Novelty – make it new, make it easy to remember. Look at your competitors, search for ideas surfing the net. Call up your muse – do anything, but make your icon stand out and be in trend.

Image source:
Remember: Your icon should show what the app is about. Are you a notorious brand? Include your logo. Are you conveying a particular idea – make sure that the icon reflects it.


If the icon is your face, the screenshots are your body. Show it off a bit. Make it compelling.


According to Storemaven, 60% of all users don’t swipe past the first two screenshots. 50% will decide to install based on what they get on the first impression.

Well, make those two screenshots the best thing they’ve ever seen!

What’s no less important is to use high quality graphics and the most representative parts of your apps. Users don’t want to see your log-in screen. What they do want to see if how spectacular your app and which stunts it can pull. 

App Size

The size does matter. Make the app larger than 100Mb and watch users go by it.

According to AppFigures, 81% of the Top 100 iOS games are less than 100Mb. Impressive, huh?

The reason behind it is quite simple. Both Apple App Store and Google Play Market have introduced limits of 100Mb. For instance, you can’t download an iOS app of more than 100Mb using your cellular network.

Why does it matter? Anyone surfing the App Store in a traffic jam or while commuting with no Wi-Fi at hand will skip your app. Will they return later? Not likely.


Remember the user portrait you’ve designed?

Time to pull it out and see who your target audience is. Are you targeting US users? Great, use your app in English (but do consider to add Spanish, for instance).

But if you’re aiming at Europe or Asia, do invest your time and efforts translate your app and all store texts into the languages you see the most potential in within your target region.

App Store Category

This may look obvious, but putting your app in the right category is another way to success.

Does your app track daily activities and posts it all to the community, making it social?

Do sit down and make a deeper research of the relative app store and its categories. Look around for your competitors. Have a look at your user segmentation – where are your users most likely to look for your app? 

App Reviews

“I can't influence my users, so how can I optimize the reviews?”. That’s what you were thinking, right?

Well, you’re right; you can’t influence your users. But you can engage them. And you must do that.

Answer user questions, thank the praising reviews, interact with the unhappy users. These things do matter.

And don’t forget about keyword search either! Make your reviews and additional instrument for improved app search.

 App Updates

The most important thing about app updates frequency is to find the golden mean. Do update your app regularly to comply with app store guidelines. But don’t exaggerate.

‍Image source -

The general advice here is simple – don’t roll out updates for every minor change or improvement. Wait for them to accumulate and deliver your update to the users with ‘value’ highlighted in its’ message.


App Store Optimization is a constant, never-ending process of adapting your app to store guidelines and user demand. Always remember – even a small thing, like app size, can have a huge impact on your ratings and installs.

ASO is about making your app easy to find and compelling to engage in. Make it look good, make it desirable and easy to understand. And don’t forget to stay posted on market trends and your competitors – with mobile devices users have access to information 24/7. Be in line with your users. Think like them and find things they are bound to like.