App Store Optimization (ASO): 10 Tips Every Publisher Must Consider

Timo Lamour

More and more publishers around the world have recognized the power of magazine and news apps. These apps offer the opportunity to reach more online customers while enhancing the user's reading experience.

More and more publishers around the world have recognized the power of magazine and news apps. These apps offer the opportunity to reach more online customers while enhancing the user's reading experience.

However, simply creating and publishing a mobile app is not enough. There are about two million apps in Apple's App Store and 2.9 million apps in the Google Play store. There are already more than 3.5 billion smartphone users (and growing), but the near saturation of app stores makes it difficult to reach a large number of users.

Therefore, it is critical to have a plan to stand out in such a competitive environment. In this article, I would like to explore app store optimization (ASO) with you. In particular, I'll cover what ASO is, why it's important, and give you 10 specific tips for optimizing your apps.

What is App Store Optimization?

App store optimization is similar to search engine optimization (SEO) in that both seek to maximize visibility. The goal is to become more visible both in search and when users browse certain categories. If your app is easier to find, you can expect more traffic and more downloads overall.

One of the benefits of app store optimization is that it's free. Compared to expensive social media advertising or other marketing campaigns, ASO is extremely cost-effective. However, ASO does require a deep understanding of how app stores work. As a publisher, you obviously need to have a thorough understanding of your target audience. You also need to know the potential keywords your readers use when searching for magazine and news apps.

The bottom line is that all of this takes time. You can't just ignore it or merely hope that everything will work out.

Why is app store optimization important?

You may still be wondering why App Store Optimization is so important. Essentially, it boils down to the fact that ASO is an efficient way to leverage your readers' buying behavior.

For that, we just need to look at Google's statistics. According to a study by Google, 48% of users discover apps by browsing the App Store. They open the Google Play Store and browse for an app that offers them value. ASO can help your magazineor news app stand out from competing apps and make it more likely that new users will discover your app through browsing.

Here are the other more or less successful ways potential users find new apps:

App discovery statistics by Google

Our App Store Optimization Checklist

Now that you understand why app store optimization is so important, I'd like to share with you a checklist that can help you with your ASO efforts. In this list, we've compiled our ten most popular ASO tips.

I encourage you to follow this advice when you're dealing with ASO.

#1: Put emphasis on the title

The title of your app is especially important. It should include the most important keywords used to describe your app (more on this below). It should also reflect the value you provide to your users.

While both goals must be achieved, there is a problem with this. An app's name can be no more than 30 characters long. In the past, app developers had up to 255 characters for a title. Because of this, many developers hired SEO specialists to squeeze keywords into the title. While this is no longer possible, the subtitle is one area where you can still include relevant keywords.

The rule of thumb here? Use a unique title that is descriptive and perhaps includes a keyword. You can add additional details and keywords in the subtitle if needed.

#2: Use relevant keywords

Incorporate keywords for app store optimisation image

As with SEO, keywords are an extremely important part of ASO. To improve your search rankings in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, you need to know your audience and the keywords they use well. There's no way around that.

Fortunately, there are several tools that can help. For example, there are TheTool and App Annie, which can help you with targeted keyword ideas. You can also use proven tools for general keyword research like the Google Keyword Planner

As you gather potential keywords, you'll also want to use them strategically. Just one example: As mentioned earlier, there are differences in the number of characters available in the two App Stores. The Apple App Store allows 30 characters in the app name, 30 characters in the subtitle, and 100 characters in the keywords field. The Google Play store allows 30 characters in the app title, 80 characters in the short description, and 4,000 characters in the app description. Also keep in mind that Google indexes almost all the text in an app store's directory, while Apple's app store works less like traditional SEO.

#3: Develop a standout icon

Your visual icon is extremely important for your app. This is because a potential user will quickly browse through many different apps at once. Essentially, your app's icon should be eye-catching, unique, and appealing.

Keep several things in mind when designing your icon. First, try to avoid text in your icon. Stick to shapes and images. Second, make sure you use vibrant colors and clear shapes. Harmonizing colors are especially good. Finally, be sure to run tests. An A/B test can show you which icon resonates best with your audience.

#4: Create a meaningful description

The description of your app is like a so-called landing page. And as with designing any landing page, you want to be as simple and concise as possible. Explain the unique features of your app and try to accurately answer questions a new user would have. For example, make sure the user knows what your app does, what problem it solves, and why it's worth the price.

There are some other pro tips you should use. Don't be afraid to emphasize the benefits of your magazine or news app. Be clear about the value it brings to your users. Also, make sure you don't overload your text and get lost in details. Finally, you should write a clear call-to-action (CTA).

#5: Add high-quality screenshots and videos

Even if they don't have a direct impact on downloads, high-quality screenshots and videos can show potential users the value of your application. The first two to three screenshots appear in the gallery when the page loads. You can also upload additional screenshots (five for an iOS app and eight for an Android app).

Videos are also a great way to showcase your app. In the Apple App Store, you can upload 30-second videos that serve as app previews. They should show the benefits and features of your app. If you want, feel free to let your creativity run wild here. Slip into the role of the potential user and show them why your app is worth their while.

#6: Choose the right category

While categories may not be top of mind, they are an important way for readers to find you. Placing your magazine or news app in the right category for both app stores will be helpful to your users.

Of course, you'll want to choose the category that best represents your app. However, you can also be strategic here. Find out how many apps are in each category and choose the most appropriate category that is least competitive. It may take some time to search through the categories and survey your competition. However, it is an easy way to move up in the rankings.

#7: Take care of ratings

In simple words, reviews can go a long way. Positive ratings and detailed reviews can move your app up in the rankings. You want to focus on both quality and quantity here.

How do you accomplish this? You can ask users for reviews via push notifications. In-app pop-up notifications are another option. However, there is a fine line here. After all, they certainly don't want to come across as too intrusive or annoying. It's often recommended to have a notification appear only after the user has opened your app several times. This is a signal that he may be more likely to leave a positive review.

#8: Think about advertising outside the App Store

Bikes unlimited banner advertising screenshot

On-page optimization is just one tool in your toolkit. You may also want to invest in external advertising to boost download numbers.

Before you do that, however, there are a few things you should consider. Make sure it's easy and rewarding for app users to share app content on social media. Word of mouth is something that is often overlooked, yet it can be an extremely effective way to make your app successful. Also, a promotional campaign for your app before the scheduled release date can generate a lot of interest.

#9: Use Analytics

I recommend you to use a tool like Google Firebase to track your app's performance in both app stores. Google Firebase is a great platform that provides a wealth of important data. For example, you can see where your app stands in comparison to the competition. With this information in hand, you can continue to improve your app store's ranking.

In addition, Google Firebase can uncover mistakes you make when marketing your magazine or news app. I encourage you to rely on numbers-based facts as you continue to market your mobile app.

#10: Update your app regularly

Last but not least, I would like to recommend you to update your app frequently. The fact is that mobile customers are looking for apps that are constantly improved. The assumption is that apps that are updated frequently offer more value. Moreover, regular updates also lead to more reviews.

Add new features as needed. It remains to be seen whether you should push your customers to download the new update or not. However, it is certain that Apple and Google like regular update and reward it with better ranking.


App store optimization is too important for you to afford to do without it. There are simply far too many apps for that. Ultimately, though, it's also an ongoing process. Not only are new apps constantly being added to the two major app stores, but app store algorithms change as well.

However, if you follow this checklist, you'll be in a great position to improve your app's App Store placement. Implement these tips and constantly work on your ranking. That way, you'll be surprised by the results.

Want to publish your own magazine, newspaper or news app? Then make an appointment with one of our experts today.

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