11.10.2021 12:30

How to Duplicate ASO Organic Downloads of a Mobile Game in a Few (Real) Steps – Case Study

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What is ASO?

App Store Optimization, which is also known as ASO or App Store SEO, is the process of optimizing a game or application with the aim to maximize its visibility in the stores (Apple Appe Store & Google Play Store) in Search (when users search) and Explore (when users browse the store), increase traffic to its store listing and improve conversion rate to generate the maximum volume of organic downloads.

What is ASO App Store OptimizationIf SEO is similar to ASO, it is still quite different from it and has its own way of functioning, which is not exactly the same as ASO.

App Store Optimization brings free and high-quality users to Android and iOS apps, it helps reducing User Acquisition (UA) costs… In short, it is the base of any mobile growth strategy.

Here is how we summarize it: ASO = Traffic + Conversion.

It is a whole process that requires a critical understanding of how the stores work keeping in mind the target user base and finding the most relevant keywords possible that potential users could type or mention when looking for an app or discover a new one.

However, ASO is not only about Search, and it has never been! For instance, user experience can be an essential component of your mobile marketing strategy. As stores are continuously evolving, and nowadays, it is crucial for an app to be visible in Explore / Browse. This includes the following sections: Similar Apps (related), Featured, Top Charts… ASO is always evolving so you should always stay up to date.

ASO is influenced by two types of factors that are called the on-metadata factors (the elements of the listing that can be modified within Google Play Console in the case of Google Play Store) and the off-metadata factors (the external factors that are not under the control of the developer).

This means that we can also summarize ASO this way: ASO = On-metadata factors + Off-metadata factors.

Finally, before starting with the case study, you should always keep in mind that ASO alone does not work if you do not provide your users with a quality service and experience - a quality app is the base of a good ASO strategy!

ASO Case Study

Today, we’re going to see how choosing the right keywords has a huge impact on organic downloads. To do so, we’ll study the evolution of a game that is available on the Google Play Store. Before working on ASO, the game was not getting much downloads. Let’s see how things got better (much better!) after PickASO took things into their hands. Ready?

The mobile game that we will study was released 10 months ago, on December 2018, and is available worldwide (in 148 countries) and in 6 languages. The owner of the app is quite renowned in the gaming industry and its objective was to improve its organic downloads both in Spain and in the US, without needing to invest in User Acquisition.

From that point, here is how we decided to proceed and what we had to take into consideration to carry out a successful ASO strategy:

1. Game ≠ App

Man Playing Mobile App GameFirst things first, apps and games are two different types of application. They are, indeed, separated into two categories by the Google Play Store. Therefore, it’s important to take it into consideration as ASO works differently for a game than how it works for an app, and you will need to adapt your ASO strategy to this criteria.

And that’s more: there are also a lot of different kinds of games themselves within the game section of the stores. On the Google Play Store, there are 17 game categories: Action, Adventure, Arcade, Board, Card, Casino, Casual, Educational, Music, Puzzle, Racing, Role Playing, Simulation, Sports, Strategy, Trivia, Word. It is important to select the right category so that it fits the one where users would look for an app of your kind in the store.

2. Keyword research

The client himself had no idea about what to do to get more downloads or about how to make its game stand out from the competition. It came to PickASO without a clue of what it was needing to do.

What was missing was a starting point, and this starting point was a keyword research in order to find the top ASO keywords. Carrying out a keywords research enables you to know which keywords you should include in the listing, to improve keyword rankings but also to make the store listing much more visible and attractive to the users browsing the store.

By using the data you can find on the Google Play Console and the data you can find on TheTool, you will then be able to start optimizing your listing.

Indeed, on Google Play Console, you have access to a lot of different metrics, and one of them is the Installs per Keyword. As you may know, on the Google Play Store, keywords within the description field do have an impact on ASO, which means that you have quite a lot of space to work with them (much more than what you have on the Apple App Store).

As for TheTool, you can find a lot of useful information there, such as the traffic per keyword, keywords difficulty, the number of apps ranking for each keyword… Combined with what you can get from Google Play Console, it gives you the opportunity to know which keywords to focus on and to work with within the store listing.

3. Listing optimization

Proceeding to the keyword research made it easy to identify which keywords were bringing the more downloads and on which one it would be the most interesting to focus on.

Indeed, in this case study, one concept was identified as potentially differentiative for both targeted markets (Spain & the US) and that was a great opportunity to work with it.

On a given day, this keyword and its combinations were added to different fields of the store listing:

  • the Title field, using 50 of the 50 characters available
  • the Short Description field, filling 75 of the 80 characters available
  • the Long Description field, using almost all of the 4.000 characters available and using it in headings (h2), in bold, giving structure to the field with bullet points, paragraphs and adding emojis

Shortly after doing so, some better results within keyword rankings were already visible on both markets. This strategy was effective because we worked with different combinations of the same keyword within all the listing of the app.

In no more than 40 days, the improvement was obvious: the app went from 16 to 56 ranking keywords in Spain, from 12 to 32 in the US and from 28 to 68 globally.

Below you will find detailed information about the evolution of the number of keywords ranking in each top:

Evolution Keyword Ranking Mobile App ASO

To accompany these changes, screenshots were also redesigned. A clear call-to-action (CTA) was added to them and the easy steps to follow to be able to play the game were explained, to make it easier to understand for the user.

This way, there is no possible misunderstanding and the user knows what the game is about when downloading it, which prevents it from some bad reviews.

Indeed, users tend to write bad reviews when they don’t find what they were expecting in an app / game, so it’s much safer for it to have everything explained crystal clear in the store listing.

Also, explaining the gameplay enables to highlight the features of the game, to make it stand out from the competition and to underline its assets. We can add that this will have direct positive effects to increase revenue from your mobile app.

Final Thoughts About Duplicating ASO Organic Downloads for a Mobile App Game.

To conclude, keyword research helps targeting which keywords to focus and to work on. It makes it much easier for users to find your app when looking for a product if you use direct keywords. As for the screenshots, showing the gameplay and adding clear CTAs make the mobile game much more attractive to the users, which has a great impact on Conversion Rate.

Now, let’s evaluate how things changed for our studied game:Organic Mobile App Downloads Growth

As you can see, in 40 days, working on ASO enabled the game to grow by 2 its global organic downloads and to grow by 3 its organic downloads in the US, a huge increase for the mobile game in such a short period. This increase was possible because of the keywords optimization implemented into the store listing as well as the visual assets makeover, adapted to the game and to its features.

This was an App Store Optimization (ASO) case study of a mobile game PickASO agency optimized with the help of TheTool. Feel free to share this article if you liked this case study.

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