Get more store visibility, more downloads and more customers
Want to get more visibility and downloads for your apps? Looking for simple and actionable advice with immediate effect — and not in days or weeks to come?
In this article, you’ll get 5 instantly implementable tweaks to gain more visibility for your apps.
1) Have a great app name (+ subtitle)
Everything starts with a great app name. But what do I mean by “great”? Regarding the “App Store”, it means easy to understand (what does the app do?), but also recognizable in terms of your “brand”. There are probably dozens of similar apps and it’s important to stand out of the crowd and be on point.
Make sure that the first 20 characters convey the core functionality of your app, as more characters might get truncated in search or on smaller devices. Currently, there’s a 50 character limit for app names on iOS, which will get further limited to 30 characters with the “new” App Store coming this fall when iOS 11 is rolled out.
By the way: With iOS 11, we’ll get the new “subtitle” field, which allows to add a small 30 characters-long summary of the app below the actual app name. I think this is a great way to craft a story and support the app name. Instead of just using “Clashy Clans”, you could now add “Build empires & rule the world” and tell your future users what to expect from your app — and use some fancy keywords, too, which is my next advice.
2) Choose the right keywords and localize them
Keywords still have a huge impact on the (search) visibility of your app and are usually a great opportunity to get more store page views and app downloads. When brainstorming keywords for your apps you have to consider two sides: popularity of a keyword vs. competition on the keyword.
Generic keywords like “weather”, “game”, or “document” usually have high search volumes, i.e. they are very popular keywords. On the other hand, they are highly competitive and usually it’s highly unlikely that you will show up in the search results for any of these keywords if you’re launching a brand new app.
Tools like sensortower.com and AppAnnie can help you to get rough estimates on both search volume and competition of keywords. You can even look for competing apps and get ideas what they might be using (and what not!).
In general you should be using all 100 characters of the keyword field and avoid any blank spaces between keywords, a simple comma is enough. If you’re just getting started and haven’t experimented a lot with keywords yet, you can also use tools like keywordtool.io to get generate keyword ideas. Again try to make sure that the keywords are relevant to your users and still convey what your app is actually doing, because in the end you’re not only after a higher visibility for your app. You’re also trying to achieve a good conversation rate!
3) Add more languages/translations
A great booster to more (international) visibility is adding more languages and translations to your app on App Store Connect (formerly iTunes Connect). This doesn’t mean that you have to localize your app, i.e. translating the whole interface and content. Basically, it means that you translate the store page of the app into other languages. This usually has a huge impact on visibility for languages with non-Roman characters (think Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian).
We could (and will) spend a whole post on localizations only, but the basic rule of thumb here is to start with the most “valuable” store customers worldwide besides English, which are usually Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.
Translating the description will help them to better understand what your app actually does, while localizing the keywords for each of the new languages will help them to actually find your app.
I’ve seen dramatic increases in search visibility by adding keywords in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Getting a professional translator for the keywords is absolutely worth the investment as they will use the right words (with the right meaning) in comparison to just using Google Translate — which is still better than nothing.
4) Test different store categories
Store categories have another huge impact on the visibility of your apps. A lot of people still browse the App Store to get inspiration for new apps and all the lists and rankings for the different categories provide great opportunitIes to get new users.
Again, focus on the main areas of your app and don’t put it into any category, just because you think there ought to be a lot of traffic there. Especially for existing apps try to test different categories and monitor your rankings with tools like AppFigures or AppAnnie.
If you’re analyzing your competitors (e.g. because you’re looking for good keywords, as mentioned above), try to identify the categories they’re ranking high in. Like that, you’ll get a good impression what’s working for them and what categories they’re leaving out. This will also help you setting yourself realistic benchmarks for your app’s ranking performance.
5) Analyse your existing traffic sources
Last but not least have a look over at Apple’s App Analytics ( → check our updated guide here) and analyse the existing traffic sources of your app and double down on what’s working (and understand why other things are NOT working). It’s still a quite “unknown” tool to the developer and marketing community, but provides great insights you won’t get anywhere else.
Does the main traffic for your app come from search? Or from other apps? Or from a website? Make sure you understand and monitor these metrics, especially when you are applying any of the advice above.
As you can drill down by language, it’s a great tool to monitor your localization and internationalization efforts. Compare the different conversation rates (store impression → download) for the different languages/territories. Are there any big differences? This will show you what translations you need to improve or add!
Getting more visibility for your app is an ongoing endeavour. Try to iterate on our different tweaks and closely measure any changes. Work with analytics and attribution services like AppAnnie, AppFigures, and keywordtool.io to better understand your results. If you want to sustainably increase your user base, make sure you keep all information fresh and relevant to your users. What experiences have you made that helped you increase your app’s performance? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.