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App store optimization, or ASO, is a marvelous world of opportunities for mobile apps and games. With the help of ASO, mobile publishers increase the discoverability of their apps in the app stores and, what’s even more important, improve the conversion rates. The biggest dream and at the same time goal of every mobile publisher is to put an app in the limelight and occupy the highest position in the app store ranking. In pursuing this goal, you may be guided by a number of landmarks, optimizing creatives and researching for new keywords with a fine-tooth comb. However, no one is immune to errors, so in this post, I’d like to share with you 9 ASO mistakes that you probably didn’t even know existed. Follow these dos and don’ts of ASO to ratchet up the efforts to optimize your app in the app stores.

1. Not localizing your app for specific storefronts

It makes sense to localize your app for some storefronts. Keep in mind that users from different regions have a different mentality and cultural specificities, and you need to localize your app not only in terms of language – translate text on screenshots, subtitle, description – but also in the context of culture. 

For example, MSQRD adapted their app to cultural specificities of various regions by localizing app screenshot design for each country individually, and it paid off. 

Being culturally sensitive is extremely important if you’re going to enter different markets, so don’t neglect app localization in order not to miss out on opportunities. If in doubt, resort to mobile A/B testing: run experiments, compare how users from specific storefronts react to the original version of your app product page vs. the localized one and make a decision. In any case, completely ignoring localization would be an unforgivable mistake.

app A/B testing example

2. Not running A/B tests 

I’ve just mentioned the good old mobile A/B testing, and here is another ASO mistake. Even though ASO best practices involve testing of all app store product page elements to figure out what works for conversion rate optimization and what does not, some publishers still overlook this crucial aspect.

It’s good if you go by your gut feeling but for the best possible results in app store optimization you should rely on data in the first place. And app store A/B testing helps to check hypotheses and make every choice regarding your mobile game or app page elements building on data.

With mobile A/B testing you gain a better understanding of user behavior, decide what changes to make to your app store product page and whether they are needed at all. Without mobile A/B testing you go in blind, which is a big ASO mistake. 

3. Not testing app previews

App previews directly affect the result of your ASO efforts whether you have them (videos) or not. Maybe adding a video to your app store product page will help you increase the conversion rate. And maybe, if you already have one or more app previews, removing them will bring you much better results. You won’t know until you test. 

For example, SplitMetrics client, Vezet ride sharing app, discovered that app previews have a negative impact on the click-to-install conversion rate. See for yourself:

App Store test results after adding an app preview
App Store test results after adding an app preview
App Store test results: before and after removing an app preview
App Store test results: before and after removing an app preview

So, if you don’t run app store A/B testing experiments comparing your app page variations with and without app previews, this limits the possibilities for your app. It could perform better on the app stores.

4. Neglecting changes on the App Store & Google Play

…And not customizing your visuals accordingly. Nothing stands still, and App Store & Google Play are a clear demonstration of that. If you don’t follow the updates and don’t adapt your app store product page to a rapidly changing environment, new features & algorithms, you take a losing position.

I mean, design changes on the app stores (take, Dark Mode), new device launches and updated iOS versions on the App Store require changes in your icon and screenshots, to ensure that your potential users get the best possible user experience. Otherwise, you are risking to lose part of your target audience to your competitors.

5. Thinking of ASO as a one-time action

Some mobile publishers make a mistake thinking that they can just hire a freelance ASO expert, pay once for ASO services, and that’s it. They expect that once is enough and an app will hit the top charts followed by thousands of installs, whereas in reality app store optimization is a continuous process. It includes finding new relevant keywords, checking new design trends & updating visual assets, monitoring competitors & adjusting ASO strategy accordingly.                                       

6. Thinking ASO has nothing to do with paid UA

ASO is inextricably linked to paid user acquisition. As a rule, it doesn’t work on its own without paid traffic, so you should not expect that you will be able to make the most of your app listing with ASO alone. This occurs only in rare cases. They say, “there’s safety in numbers”, right?

To consolidate your efforts, leverage paid user acquisition. In particular, I would recommend to run Apple Search Ads on the Apple’s App Store. This will bring you a number of benefits: your mobile game or app will occupy the privileged position – on top of search results; you will protect your brand name from competitors, find keywords that result in conversions and revenue. If you are new to this channel, take a look at the free and most comprehensive Apple Search Ads Course by SearchAdsHQ, an official Apple Search Ads Partner.

7. Comparing conversion in A/B tests with conversion in the app stores

…And getting disappointed that they do not match. This is another common ASO mistake: some marketing workers compare the conversion rate from an A/B test with the conversion rate they eventually see on the App Store or Google Play. The thing is, they often forget to apply appropriate filters and watch an average conversion from a number of sources, while A/B testing experiments show conversion rates gained from, for example, Facebook Ads paid traffic.

So be careful when comparing figures: don’t believe your own eyes until you make sure you’re comparing the same parameters.

8. Not watching your competitors

While you don’t pay much attention to what your competitors are doing in the app stores, they are most likely watching you and borrowing your ideas. They check changes in your metadata, find relevant keywords, run Apple Search Ads for those keywords, track the iterations of your creatives…The list goes on. 

Keep an eye on your competitors, figure out what works for them and run A/B testing experiments to learn if it will work for you.

9. Relying on competitors as if they are pillars of truth

The opposite extreme in your relations with rivals is to believe that every hypothesis of your competitors is the ultimate truth. If you just copy the design of the competitor’s page, don’t be surprised if your conversion rate suddenly drops. They may be targeting an audience that is different from yours, so what works for them will not necessarily work for you.

Look at your competitors as a source of ideas, not as a guide to action. If you’d like to add a short app description to your title but your competitors don’t use this tip, stop hesitating. Use all opportunities to improve your app performance in the app stores, and run mobile A/B tests to make sure you’re on the right track. Good luck!

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