Tips to develop a winning ASO strategy

Written by Sukanya Sur - Content Marketing Manager at AppTweak
Created May 31, 2023 - Updated Aug 01, 2023 | 5 min read
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User acquisition for your app is no small feat. Fortunately, there are a number of effective ways to encourage users to download your app. Along with an effective app advertising strategy and monetization solutions, mobile publishers should also consider App Store Optimization in their marketing efforts to capture a large number of users. 

App Store Optimization (ASO) refers to the process of improving an app’s visibility on the app stores and maximizing its appeal to new, existing, and lapsed users. ASO focuses on increasing app downloads through optimizing your app’s text and visual metadata, using tactics to encourage users to leave positive reviews and ratings for your app, as well as other efforts to boost app visibility through store featurings and in-app events.

In this article, we’ll share useful tips and techniques to help you improve your ASO strategy and drive downloads to your app.

Why is App Store Optimization important?

With more than 3 million apps in both the App Store and Google Play, it can be challenging for your app or game to be found in the app stores. According to Apple, 65% of all downloads on the App Store come from app store search.  This implies that you need to work on your ASO strategy to get your app in front of potential users. 

Secondly, all users come through app stores to download your app, whether from social media, other ad placements, a specific URL, etc. With a well-optimized app page, you can convince these users to download your app and, in turn, boost your app’s conversion rate. 

Another reason to prioritize ASO in your app growth goals is to get featured by Apple or Google, which is a very rare opportunity in the increasingly crowded app marketplace. Following the best practices and guidelines laid out by the app stores, along with an effective ASO strategy, can help increase your chances of being featured on the stores.

Finally, you will want to invest in ASO because your competitors are doing it! AppTweak research shows that the top apps and games in each category update their metadata (screenshots, icon, description, etc.) regularly to optimize their ASO efforts. So if you’re not investing in the necessary resources to grow your app, you will fall behind your competitors. 



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What are the best ASO tactics to drive app downloads?

An effective ASO strategy can help you stand out amongst your competitors in the App Store and Google Play, and get your app to rank high in the search results. Here are 6 valuable tips to help you create a winning ASO strategy for your app and gain more downloads in the app stores:

1. Identify your competitors & analyze their ASO strategies

The first step is to identify your competitors and understand their strategy. You can find interesting insights not only by looking at your direct competitors but also apps or games that compete for the same keywords in the app stores. Tracking your competitors’ actions can help you decide whether you should follow similar procedures or not. 

For example, you can spy on the keywords your competitors are ranking on and identify opportunities for your app. Similarly, you can look at your competitor’s download or revenue estimates, which can help you set realistic KPIs for your own app. With an ASO tool like AppTweak, this competitor research becomes a lot easier. For instance, the ASO Timeline feature helps you find out how often competitors have updated their metadata and see which creatives they are A/B testing and taking in learnings.

AppTweak lets you compare the before and after versions of the metadata element updated to facilitate comparison. Source: AppTweak.

2. Discover relevant keywords to optimize your app metadata

To maximize your app’s visibility in the app stores, you need to understand which keywords people are using to search for apps similar to yours in the app stores. After creating an initial brainstorm list that contains keywords that are potentially related to your app, terms that describe the main features or benefits of your app, or keyword ideas taken from your competitors’ metadata, you’ll need to choose the keywords that you should target in your metadata. Ideally, these should be keywords that are the most relevant to your app and have a medium or high search volume but with low competition rate for which you have a high chance to rank. Also, make sure to add the most important keywords to your app title as both the app stores give it the most weightage. Once again, an ASO tool can greatly help you to find unique keyword opportunities (high-volume keywords for which your competitors lack visibility) for your app.

3. Optimize your app’s creative assets

Your app creatives play a crucial role for store visitors to determine whether to download an app or not. So take the time to craft well-designed app screenshots, icons, videos, etc. Both the App Store and Google Play have native A/B testing tools to allow you to test different versions of your creatives, so that you can find out which one resonates best with your audience (and will therefore drive up your app’s conversion rate). Before optimizing your visuals, we recommend conducting a creative research to investigate what format and content to focus on, what design tricks are used by your competitors, or which creatives are most likely to increase your conversion. You should also consider industry best practices, as some categories are more active in optimizing their creative assets than others.

4. Analyze app ratings and reviews

Ratings and reviews are a major ASO ranking signal and should be a key part of your ASO strategy. Users are never keen to install an app with a low rating. Apple and Google are also more likely to feature and promote a highly rated app. Therefore, encourage more positive reviews by your users, as these are the first reviews your potential customers see. Also make sure to reply to negative customer reviews, as it shows users you care for them and can even encourage them to change their star rating. A great strategy to combat negative reviews is to prompt existing customers to leave a review when they are most satisfied with your app or game. We also recommend mining your app reviews to determine your users’ favorite, and least favorite, features. For example, with AppTweak’s Review Sentiment Analysis tool, you can identify the most positive and negative keywords in your reviews section. This can help you target potential keywords in your metadata that can further drive traffic to your app if optimized well.

5. Localize your app store listing

With a localized app product page, there is a greater chance for you to take your app global, reach a wider audience, and compete in today’s market. Adapt your app (including the metadata, keyword field, and screenshots) to all the different languages and cultures you want to target. However, remember that localization is not just about translating your app’s metadata and graphic assets. It also involves an in-depth understanding of the target market’s cultural norms, societal attitudes, and unique views on the content of the app or game. The key to a successful localization is to understand the market you want to enter and culturalize your app or game accordingly. 

6. Monitor & measure your ASO strategy

ASO optimization is an iterative process. Given the constant competition on the app stores, algorithm updates by the stores, as well as changes in user search behavior over time, it is vital to measure and monitor your app rankings and visibility on a regular basis. Identify your key performance indicators (KPIs), apply necessary changes to your metadata, and do not forget to monitor and adapt your methods.

Final thoughts

Millions of apps and games are trying to make it to the top charts in the app stores with the objective of increasing their downloads and driving user engagement. Amidst this fierce competition, app developers that work on their ASO strategy, optimize their monetization performance, and focus on user acquisition through promotional campaigns stand a greater chance of success in the app stores. Finally, make sure that your app is great to begin with – keep your UI simple and fast, updated, and well-designed.

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