Game Changers in Global App Store Optimization

welocalize June 5, 2019

Berlin ASO Conference Highlights

Consumers are expected to download 258.2 billion mobile apps in 2022 (in 2017, we downloaded 178.1 billion apps worldwide). In such a crowded, and high demand market, App Store Optimization (ASO) is an important part of any app launch and digital campaign.

The 2019 ASO Conference in Berlin was a place to gather in-depth insights, focusing on expert-level ASO discussions to advance performance marketing activities and accelerate app search and visibility in target app stores. Here are some of the key discussions:

Evolution of ASO: More than Keyword Optimization

The extent to which ASO has evolved over the past couple of years was strikingly visible in the presentation by Thomas Petit, an ASO pioneer, who was also the speaker at Adapt Worldwide’s ASO Barcamp back in 2015. In his Berlin presentation entitled ‘ASO: the game has changed,’ Thomas demonstrated how ASO has shifted from simple keyword optimization to much more complex marketing efforts in which the app marketer needs to juggle reviews and rating optimization, A/B testing, data analysis, localization, designing creative sets, paid search, engagement and much more.

The idea that App Store Optimization is becoming a more complex discipline was a common theme throughout the discussions in Berlin. Co-Founder and CEO of Incipia Gabe Kwakyi presented, ‘Decrypting Google Play Discovery Algorithms’ and touched on how the role of ASO marketing now involves more disciplines and a wider team of talent, from designer and project manager through to data scientist and engagement marketer:

Localization in ASO 

Nika Grigoreva from ASOdesk highlighted the importance of localization both in terms of keyword optimization and cultural environment in specific countries, especially for social apps. Adapting cultural nuances as well as addressing linguistic elements of content is key to successful multilingual ASO.


More Focus on Explore than Search

In her presentation, Aude Boscher, ASO Lead at Phiture, indicated that keyword optimization is no longer sufficient to keep an app high on the ranking charts. This is mainly due to Apple and Google algorithms which are constantly changing and becoming more sophisticated in order to provide users with a more personalized experience on the App Stores. A key takeaway from this presentation was the fact that there has been a shift in Google Play Store organic installs from Search to Explore, with approximately 64% of visitors coming from the latter.

The Importance of Conversion Rate Optimization

Focusing on conversion rate optimization can help turn Explore visitors into installers. Wolfgang Peters from Flaregames explored some of the ways that this could be done, focusing on the Conversion Optimization Loop. He spoke about the 4-pillars of conversion best practice: Relevance, Trust, Orientation, and Stimulation. According to these guidelines, ASO experts should identify what a user wants, build trust through credibility, simplify their message, and make the user’s decision to download the app appear reasonable. Constant testing is a key means of achieving the best results for converting new users.


Ratings vs. Reviews

Tim Jones from explored the importance of ratings in his presentation: “Ratings & Reviews: Unlocking the iOS Native Prompt”. Ratings have a huge contribution to conversion rate as they are one of the key elements of social proofing. He shared his findings, showing that native prompts can have a highly positive effect on acquiring five-star ratings. At the same time, users who rate the app negatively are more prone to leave bad reviews as well. Fortunately, ratings are much more visible to users, appearing in places like Apple Search, Apple Search Ads or on the landing page above the fold, while reviews are only visible on the landing page below the fold. The recommendation was that ASO experts should value ratings over reviews. This approach has several benefits, including better App Store visibility, stronger influence on conversion, direct impact on ASA, and ease of acquisition.

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