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Comprehensive Definition: What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?

Comprehensive Definition: What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?

Since you have found this blog post, I’m assuming that you have spent a ton of time on developing an amazing app and need to market it… or you have a great idea for an app and you want to learn how to market it after it’s built. This post will show you how to get started with App Store Optimization, why it is important, and where to get more information on how to tune each element. Let’s start by answering some frequently asked questions about ASO.


Why Does My App Need ASO?

There are many things that you can do to market an app.

However, one of the first things that you should do is optimize your app store page because approximately 65% of all apps are downloaded through app store search. That number comes from Apple, but Google’s numbers are similar.

If your app isn’t optimized for the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, then you are losing out on a lot of free organic downloads.

These downloads happen even if you don’t spend money on ads, actively promote the app on social media or get PR.

ASO can also be used in conjunction with other mobile app marketing strategies. But ASO is where most app publishers should start because it is low cost and easy to learn.

The bottom line is that ASO will help you leverage app store search to promote your app and get more free downloads.

How Many Downloads Can I Get With ASO?

That number will depend on several factors.

Things like the size of your niche, the quality of your optimizations, and how many downloads you are already getting, all factor into your ASO results.

However, we do have a few case studies that illustrate the power of ASO. Take a look at them and study how you can achieve similar results.

We have seen download results from 30% gains to 300% gains… to improvements of over 700%.

ASO can have a big impact.

Can I Do ASO For Myself?

Yes and no. You can definitely do your own ASO before you expand your team enough to hire an ASO person. However, you cannot just throw random keywords into your metadata and hope for the best. You definitely need an ASO tool before jumping into the fray.

Once you have your ASO tool, it depends on how much time you have. If you want to do ASO correctly, you need to set out a good chunk of time to work on it. It can be a time-consuming process and many companies have dedicated ASO teams.

However, the basics of ASO are simple and anyone can learn how to do it.

We have talked to many independent app developers over the years and all of them have been able to do their optimizations. So if your budget is tight, don’t worry.

You can do it yourself until you can afford to hire someone to do it for you. We also have a comprehensive ASO guide you can use as a go-to source any time you want.

Even if you don’t have time to go through the process yourself, understanding the basics will help you better manage the expectations and timelines of an ASO project.

You might even want to do a couple of rounds of testing before you pass it off to someone else.

Are There Differences Between iOS ASO and Android ASO?


While many of the basics of ASO in both stores are similar, there are a few very specific differences between the two biggest app stores.

They have to do with how the search algorithms find the keywords related to the app.

Check out this blog post if you want to learn deeply about Apple App Store vs Google Play Store or you can see the differences between iOS ASO and Google Play ASO here.

How Important is the Number of Downloads My App Gets for my ranking?

Does ranking depend on the number of downloads? How big of a factor is the number of downloads in my app store ranking? Though the number of downloads you get on your app is an important factor, it is not the only one.

Neither the Google Play Store nor the Apple App Store reveal exactly how the inner workings of their algorithm function. We do however know what some of the factors are that influence your rankings. These factors all influence your app’s ranking in the App Store and in the Play Store.

  1. Your App’s Title
  2. Your Targeted Keywords
  3. Number of Downloads
  4. Positive Ratings

You should focus on these four factors in order to build up your ranking. Of course, they can all affect each other. You should also remember not to neglect your icon or screenshots.

How Does the App Store Ranking Algorithm Work?

Your best bet is to focus on the elements that have been proven to have a positive impact on your ranking and downloads. You can also apply A/B testing to aspects of your metadata to see what brings you more results.

We do know that Apple favors keyword relevancy, so how relevant your keyword is to your app. You should update your app often.

The Four Basic Elements of ASO

There are four basic elements of ASO that you need to understand.

If you want to get more details on how to optimize each element, follow the links below.

  • App store keyword selection and placement
  • Graphic elements
  • Ratings and reviews
  • Localization

App Store Keyword Selection and Placement

Keywords are where App Store Optimization starts.

Choosing the right keywords will allow your app to show up in search. But what makes a good keyword?

These resources will help you choose the right keywords:

  • Why you need long-tail keywords
  • How to Pick the Best App Store Keywords for ASO
  • Mobile Action Academy

Keywords in the app name are more heavily weighted than keywords in the description (Google Play) or keyword field (App Store). So whenever possible, put your most important keywords in your app name.

Graphic Elements

Once people find your app in search results, the graphic elements of your page are the primary factors that help convince people to download your app. So they need to be attractive and help convey the benefits of your app.

Let’s take a look at each one individually…


Your app icon is the most important graphic elements on your app’s page.

This is because it is usually the first thing that people see when browsing the app stores.

Keep your designs simple and highlight one idea.


Once people get interested in your app by seeing your app icon, it’s time to show people why your app is awesome.

That is where the app screenshots come in.

These articles will help you create amazing screenshots:

  • How to create Google Play screenshots


Finally, a preview video can give people a better feel for how your app works and why they should download it.

Videos are usually most effective for complex apps or exciting games but can work for any app. Apple and Google have different requirements for app preview videos, so be sure that you read their guidelines before creating your video.

Ratings and Reviews

The app stores care about what people think of your app and they take ratings and reviews into account when ranking your app.

Positive reviews start with having a high-quality app.

Avoid “ASO hacking” strategies and start by improving your app, so people love using it.

Even if you have a great app, most people only review an app when they don’t like it. So also implement strategies for getting more positive ratings and reviews.

Responding to app reviews can also change a negative rating to a positive one. Be sure to do it, whenever possible.


This can be a great way to increase your downloads.

When you customize your app for other countries, it is called app localization. This can literally multiply your downloads.

Mobile Action Complete ASO Guides

If you want to get more detailed information on how to do App Store Optimization for the specific app stores, read our comprehensive guides:


So that is what ASO is all about and how you can get started with optimizing your app.

It takes time and patience to get it right, but when you figure it out, it can pay off big. Sign up for a demo to get started on your ASO today.


aso google play short description

aso google play short description

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