ASO trends to look out for in 2021

App Store Optimisation or ASO is becoming a vitally important tool in building organic installs for mobile phone apps. Read what trends our ASO specialist, Alex Zervakos, predicts will be important in 2021.

App Store optimisation trends for 2021

It has been shown that organic app installs are far more valuable than paid for ones, delivering higher engagement and greater value from users, however, this is a highly dynamic field which is constantly evolving. If you are involved with app store marketing, read on.

Developer-focused ASO

In Q4 of 2020, the iOS App Store Connect and Google Play Console were updated, suggesting that both Apple and Google will be taking ASO a lot more seriously in 2021.

Apple App Store Connect has completely redesigned its analytics suite to give developers a cleaner experience. Now, as well as being mobile responsive, the analytics information allows users to view app store impressions, installs, sales and crashes quicker than before.

The Google Play Console has gone even further by introducing completely new features, including store listing acquisitions by traffic source and conversion rates by search term. Review analysis has also been introduced,  this allows developers to view common themes across their reviews, and see how feedback compares to other apps on Google Play. The importance of responding to feedback and continuously monitoring reviews within the stores has been discussed within the ASO industry for a number of years now as a vital element of both stores’ algorithms. With the latest updates, it appears that Google especially are attempting to build a relationship with its developers to understand how good ASO can be achieved.

As part of developer-focused ASO, there is also a need for more robust reporting. ASO is becoming more complex; between search rankings, paid campaigns, crash rates, user reviews and the multitude of other methods of app discovery, it’s becoming increasingly important to get a complete overview of performance. This becomes more challenging as both iOS and Google Play’s reporting dashboard are different in how they display metrics.

New devices and operating systems

Apple and Google release new versions of their operating systems every year, with iOS 14 and Android 11 recently released. At the same time, new devices have been released including Apple’s iPhone 12 series and Google’s Pixel 5. In addition, low cost, Third-party Android devices continue to hit the market and we can’t forget about the huge portfolio of devices Android already has at its disposal.

App developers need to keep up with the latest in technology and ensure their apps work well on each new device and OS. Developers also need to keep up with older devices and ensure thorough testing has taken place, otherwise, this can lead to poor feedback on the app stores which in turn can negatively affect store rankings.

In terms of how this directly impacts ASO, does the new OS provide additional functionality your app can benefit from? Highlight it in the screenshots, videos and description. Does a newly released device have new dimensions? Test your store listing screenshots to ensure they look right in every size and try a test submission to ensure you don’t run into unforeseen obstacles.

Keeping both your app and your ASO up to date with the latest releases is essential if you want to keep up with your users and competitors.

 

Localisation

Localisation can be very important when implementing a successful ASO strategy. Well optimised publishing assets and text can be used to drive conversions and produce more trust in a brand or specific app within the stores.

As part of Bolser’s ASO project with Cartoon Network, we were asked to support the release of their Toon Cup game in Germany & Poland. Through extensive research at the beginning of the project, we quickly realised that current and potential users in both markets had different needs when it came to downloads and installs from the app stores. Firstly, there was a higher percentage of users with Android devices in Poland than in Germany, this meant we had to alter how we wrote the metadata for each listing. We also had to consider popular characters within the Toon Cup franchise when creating an app icon and a promotional video. Again, this differed for each market. As part of our strategy, we did an A/B test on the Google Play Store to provide evidence for our theories. 

View our Cartoon Network case study  

As ASO as a concept becomes more prevalent in 2021, localisation within the app stores will be increasingly important, especially for gaming apps where the industry is so competitive.

Top tips for improved App store optimisation

2021 will be even more competitive than 2020, with more developers becoming aware of the techniques for improving app store listings, Remember it's important for you to monitor and enhance app ranking and performance on both major operating eco-systems. 

Here’s three tips to help you stay ahead:

  • Stay on top of the new operating systems and devices, operating software is trialled many months in advance of release, Check your app will run as expected  and make improvements well ahead of time
  • Get to understand local markets, what works in the UK or the US may not work in overseas markets, this is more than translation. it is also a cultural issue, work with partners to gain understanding. 
  • Keep on top of your app reviews, users read these to work out if an app is worth downloading or not, Respond to all reviews and keep updating your app when users tell you about an issue. Be warned, a poor app store rating will lead to a poor app store ranking, To make this more manageable, use our industry leading review monitoring service, ARO, to stay ahead of the market.

 

Alex, Digital Analyst

Alex is our self proclaimed No.1 ping pong player and is part of our SEO and ASO team.