You’ve created an excellent game, gone through the testing stages, and now you’re ready to launch. But when you’re competing with hundreds of thousands of games, it can be difficult to get your game seen if you don’t use App Store Optimization (ASO) in order for your game to rank highly on search results.
If you’ve never heard of ASO before, it is the process of optimizing apps so that they appear higher on a platform’s search results and is imperative to any mobile game developer’s success. It’s like how Google uses its own algorithms to determine how web pages are ranked when someone searches for a particular topic. The higher your game is on the search result listings, the more visible it will be, which in turn will translate to more traffic to your game page. With 63 percent of iOS apps and 58 percent of Android apps discovered through app store searches according to Tech Crunch’s Forrester App Discovery Report, you’ll be wanting to do all you can to ensure that your game is seen and ultimately downloaded.
Here are some of our tips for improving your ASO to get more visibility on the app stores and increase your chance of getting more downloads.
While many people will first look at the visual components of your app store listing, there are still a lot that will read your description to get an understanding of your game. Here, you are limited on space, and it’s important to grab someone’s attention in the first paragraph since this is usually all it takes for them to make a decision.
In your opening paragraph you want to inform new players on what your game is about, and hopefully turn this into a download. For many potential players, this is your only chance at a sales pitch, so tell users what kind of game it is, and then lead on to any narrative that you want to include. You should try to summarise your game as best as possible and include any unique features that make your game stand out. Don’t worry about using review scores or quotes in your valuable space, but if you want to include these you can append them to the end of your game’s app store description.
Since a high percentage of games are discovered in the app stores through a search, you want to make sure that you include relevant keywords in your game description – this is how your game is going to get found by the right players who will be interested in your game. Finding the right keywords to include will take a bit of research on your behalf, but you can use sites such as www.ahrefs.com or kwfinder.com/ to assist you in the process. While your game description text doesn’t directly affect your ASO ranking, having more traffic to your game and more downloads certainly will; how could you say no to that?
You might also want to think about using keywords in your title, even if this means changing the name of your game. Although you are limited with the amount of characters you can use, it doesn’t mean stuffing the title with keywords; just one or two will do as you still want your title to be catchy and memorable. In Neil Patel’s article on App Store Optimization, he states that apps using keywords in the title rank 10.3 percent higher than those without, so this is really something to think carefully about as it could give you a serious edge over your competitors.
Although you are limited with the amount of characters you can use, it doesn’t mean stuffing the title with keywords; just one or two will do...
If you’ve made an awesome mobile game trailer and uploaded it to your YouTube channel or other social media pages to promote your game, then you should definitely have this on your app store listing as well.
A video trailer doesn’t need to be long, just make sure it gives potential players an excellent sneak-peak into what your game is about and gives them a taste of playing your game, so they can decide if it’s something that they want to download. This is a great way to really seal the deal with new players.
Not only that, but even a single video goes a long way, providing you with high-impact content for all of your platforms, from the app store itself to your associated social media pages and beyond, so video should be considered a valuable investment.
As well as having an exciting video trailer on your listing, screenshots are another way to entice customers into downloading your game. While they may not have a direct effect on search rankings, they do drive downloads if they are strong and represent your game well. Potential customers can look at images after reading your compelling description, and have the game really come to life in their mind. Of course, the screenshots should give a true representation of why someone would want to download it so taking the time to really think about the right shots to use is imperative. To help you with this process, you can use focus groups to find out what others think.
While you can upload up to eight images for Android or five for iOS on your app store listing, only 2 or 3 photos will initially be presented (users need to swipe to get to the next pics), so make sure the images that are first seen are the best possible ones.
Even though Android has 76.99 percent of the mobile market share as of June 2018, you don’t want to miss out on the good chunk of users on iOS. If you promote your game through external channels, only for iOS users to discover that they can’t download your game, you've made a rookie mistake.
As Android and iOS have different interfaces and discoverability features, you will need to take the time to adapt your game to suit each platform to reach more potential customers.
Dealing with bad reviews can be tough, especially when you start to see a lot of negative feedback rolling in. Rather than letting it set you back, listen to what your customers are saying and work with your development team to make necessary adjustments and improvements.
Many mobile gamers like to see that games are consistently being improved due to the feedback provided from their customers, and app stores also value frequently updated apps higher.
Although the majority of your target audience can most likely speak English and regularly play games in English, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily use the English version of their app store. In fact, 72 percent of consumers outside the English-speaking world prefer to use their own language, but there still is a way to reach these communities.
...72 percent of consumers outside the English-speaking world prefer to use their own language...
Through localising your game on both the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store, you can adapt your brand communication and language for different countries in order to make your game discoverable.
While you don’t necessarily need to change the language of your game, localising your game by translating your title, keywords and app description can work for you in a big way.
When you’ve optimized your game listing to the best it can be, the next step is to drive traffic from outside. Some of the ways you can do this are:
If you already have a strong following on your social media channels, use them to promote your game! You can give teasers when you are in the final stages of production to gain interest, and then let your fans know when they can download. If your game has already been around for some time, conduct a relaunch and give your audience reasons why they need your game.
If you’ve read some of our other blog posts, you’ll know we are in full support of using Facebook ads to reach your target audience.
Creating well-written web content that people will want to share in their social channels can help you drive traffic to your game. If you have a blog, you can share more details about your game, and you can also look at writing guest posts for other blogs with large audiences that fit your target market.
Building a relationship with a gaming influencer can be highly beneficial – take a look at just how to do it in this article.
The more traffic you can drive to your game, the better, as consistent downloading will lead to higher app store rankings.
If you’ve made a good effort with your App Store Optimisation but are still not getting the visibility that you would like, it might be time for a professional to take a look at things for you.
Here at Game Marketing Genie, we’ve worked with many developers to review and optimise their app store listings, as well as put an excellent game marketing strategy in place for them. By contacting us, you’ll get a free consultation from one of our experts and discover just how we can help make your game more discoverable.
For more information on our App Store Optimization services: