The Evolution of the App Market: From 500 to 5 Million Apps
The mobile app market has undergone significant changes and evolution since its inception. App Store and Play Store were launched in 2008 and 2010 respectively, with Apple app store having just 500 apps at launch and play store approximately 450,000 apps and games. However, today, with more than 5 million apps in the major app stores, the competition has become intense. With such fierce competition, having a great app alone is not enough. Getting visibility and downloads for your app is a real challenge, isn’t it?
To get people to notice your app, you need to plan the right strategy. In order to stand out from the millions of other apps available, you need a comprehensive marketing and promotion strategy to ensure that your app reaches its target audience. It doesn’t really matter how good your app is if no one knows it exists. The playing field of the mobile app industry means it is vital to improve your app’s discoverability. Experienced app marketers know that the best way to do this is through Paid User Acquisition and App Store Optimization.
Paid User Acquisition vs App Store Optimization
Paid User Acquisition (UA) and App Store Optimization (ASO) are two strategies that help app publishers acquire users. UA involves paid advertisements such as Google ads, social media ads, and search ads to improve discoverability and get installs. This is effective in getting quick results but this strategy is expensive and may not be sustainable in the long run. On the other hand, ASO involves optimising the app’s store listing that includes app titles, descriptions, preview videos, and screenshots to improve the visibility and ranking of the app in search results. Organic ASO can be a cost-effective way to acquire users, as it relies on the app’s visibility and appeal to attract users naturally. Whether you are a small-scale developer or an established brand, you should focus on both.
It is important to have both strategies in place, as relying solely on paid advertising can be expensive and unsustainable in the long run. Even if you are a big brand spending huge sums of money on paid advertisements, if you eventually plan to reduce your spending or pause a campaign, it can have a drastic impact on your rankings. Thus, both ASO and paid UA have their benefits. To get the best of both worlds, it is recommended to combine them together.
Keep reading to discover how the powerful combination of ASO and paid UA can lead to a significant boost in your app’s visibility, installation rate, and revenue.
ASO and Paid UA: A Winning Combination for App Success
To effectively leverage your ASO and UA efforts, you need to understand their correlation. Organic installs are associated with lower acquisition costs and often higher retention rates, it is the be-all and end-all for any app publisher to focus on ASO in order to grow and itself on app stores. When you publish an app in an app store, the most common issue you face is how to gain visibility, traffic, and downloads for your app. The focus of paid UA is to spread brand awareness and attract users by showing ads while ASO focuses on improving your app visibility and rankings to derive organic installs.
When UA and ASO are both optimized and working together effectively, they can create a virtuous cycle. As more users download an app through UA campaigns, the app’s visibility and ranking in the app store search results can improve, leading to even more downloads through organic search. This increase in organic downloads can then further improve the app’s visibility and ranking, resulting in more downloads through UA and lower CPAs and creating a self-reinforcing cycle. Thus it makes it very crucial to make your app store page well optimised so as to convert all the traffic from the paid campaigns into installs.
Remember, install velocity is the first indicator of an app’s category ranking. Improving your install velocity can enhance your browse performance. Conversely, a low conversion rate can give a negative signal to the store algorithm, which may cause a drop in your keyword rankings.
The Impact of ASO on Paid UA
Getting traffic is great, but it’s not enough if your creatives fail to impress visitors and convert them into downloads. That’s where a well-planned ASO strategy can make all the difference:
- ASO can improve the effectiveness of paid UA.
- A well-optimised app store listing can improve the conversion rates of your paid UA campaigns.
- When your app’s metadata, such as the app title, description, and screenshots, accurately reflect your app’s features and benefits, users who click on your ads are more likely to download and install your app.
- This can lead to a lower cost per install (CPI) and a higher return on investment (ROI) for your paid UA campaigns.
The Impact of Paid UA on ASO
When the competition is so tough, you may need to put your shoulder on the wheels in order to get your app discovered. With paid user acquisition, you pay a platform to promote your app and increase traffic to your store page, which can ultimately help you grow your installs. When an app receives more downloads through UA, i.e. an increase in the velocity of installs, it can improve its visibility and ranking in app store search results, eventually leading to an improvement in category rankings. This is because app stores consider the number of downloads and the velocity of downloads as key metrics when ranking apps.
Paid UA campaigns can help identify the most effective ASO strategies quickly. By using paid UA, developers can gather data on app store experiments faster than relying solely on organic ASO. For instance, if you want to conduct an A/B experiment to choose which set of screenshots works best for a specific geography, but the traffic from that region is low, the experiment may go on indefinitely without helping you reach a conclusion. That’s where UA comes in handy! App developers can quickly launch a campaign and drive traffic to the app store listing, allowing them to test and analyse various elements of the app store listing, allowing them to test and analyse various elements of their app store listing and gather data on what resonates best with their target audience. They can then optimize their app store listing accordingly. Conducting such experiments using organic ASO may take longer to generate significant data.
There is a high risk of cannibalization involved when you run UA and ASO. For the keywords in which you are already ranking in top positions, there are chances that the user might download your app from the ad rather than organic listing since the ad appears at the #1 position. On the flip side, a competitor may run ads on your brand keyword, thus stealing your valuable users, even if their offerings may be different but they may still prove to be a distraction. So how to decide which keywords to go for? Generally, you can skip the keywords for which you may be ranking in the top 1-3 positions or your brand keyword if you are ranking at the #1 position. You can opt to go for those for which you are ranking low. Also, you can use negative keywords, i.e. the keywords for which you don’t want your ads to appear. By using negative keywords, you can ensure that your ads only appear for relevant searches, and avoid overlapping with other campaigns or organic keywords that may be targeting the same keywords. By adding the organic keyword as a negative keyword in your paid campaign, you can prevent your paid ads from competing with your organic listing, and ensure that your organic listing remains the primary source of traffic for that keyword.
To sum up, ASO and UA are complementary strategies that can work together for the growth of your mobile app. While ASO focuses on optimising your app’s visibility in the app stores, the paid UA can help drive more installs and increase your user base. By leveraging both strategies, you can increase your app’s discoverability and conversion rates, leading to long-term success in the competitive mobile app market. So, whether you are a small start-up or an established brand, consider integrating ASO and paid UA to maximize your app’s potential and achieve your business goals.