Blog Comprehensive Definition: What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?

Comprehensive Definition: What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?

what is app store optimization definition

What is ASO?

App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of optimizing a mobile app’s store page so that it ranks well for related keywords and converts page viewers into app users.

Since you have found this blog post, I’m assuming that you have spent a ton of time on developing an amazing app and need to market it… or you have a great idea for an app and you want to learn how to market it after it’s built.

This post will show you how to get started with App Store Optimization, why it is important and where to get more information on how to tune each element.

Let’s start by answering some frequently asked questions about ASO.

Why Does My App Need ASO?

There are many things that you can do to market an app.

However, one of the first things that you should do is optimize your app store page because approximately 65% of all apps are downloaded through app store search. That number comes from Apple, but Google’s numbers are similar.

If your app isn’t optimized for the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, then you are losing out on a lot of free organic downloads.

These downloads happen even if you don’t spend money on ads, actively promote the app on social media or get PR.

ASO can also be used in conjunction with other mobile app marketing strategies. But ASO is where most app publishers should start because it is low cost and easy to learn.

The bottom line is that ASO will help you leverage app store search to promote your app and get more free downloads.

How Many Downloads Can I Get With ASO?

Number of app downloads

That number will depend on several factors.

Things like the size of your niche, the quality of your optimizations and how many downloads you are already getting, all factor into your ASO results.

However, we do have a few case studies that illustrate the power of ASO. Take a look at them and study how you can achieve similar results.

We have seen download results from 30% gains to 300% gains… to improvements of over 700%.

So yeah, ASO can have a big impact.

Just like with anything else, there are no guarantees that your app will get the same results. But if you work hard on your ASO and keep testing new ideas, you will usually see positive results.

…and who knows, you might even surpass those case studies!

Can I Do ASO For Myself?

It depends on how much time you have to spend on ASO. It can be a time consuming process and many companies have dedicated ASO teams.

However, the basics of ASO are simple and anyone can learn how to do it.

We have talked to many independent app developers over the years and all of them have been able to do their own optimizations. So if your budget is tight, don’t worry.

You can do it yourself until you can afford to hire someone to do it for you.

Even if you don’t have time to go through the process yourself, understanding the basics will help you better manage the expectations and timelines of an ASO project.

You might even want to do a couple of rounds of testing, before you pass it off to someone else.

Are There Differences Between iOS ASO and Android ASO?

Android phone


While many of the basics of ASO in both stores are similar, there are a few very specific differences between the two biggest app stores.

They have to do with how the search algorithms find the keywords related to the app.

Check out this blog post if you want to learn deeply about Apple App Store vs Google Play Store or you can see the differences between IOS ASO and Google Play ASO here.

Do Rankings Only Depend on the Number of Downloads My App Gets?

In the early days of the app stores, downloads were heavily weighted in the rankings.

The number of downloads that an app gets is still one of the factors that determines the keyword and category rankings of an app.

In addition to the overall downloads that an app gets, the download velocity also contributes to app rankings. This means that recent download numbers are more heavily weighted than older downloads.

But there is much more to the ranking algorithm than that. The app stores also take into account things like your ratings, app engagement and other usage metrics.

How Do the App Store Ranking Algorithms Work?

The truth is that nobody outside of a select few people at Google and Apple know exactly how the app search algorithms work.

This is for good reason, because if people knew how the how the algorithms worked, they could game the system.

Even so, there are a few parts of the algorithms that are understood. There are also other factors that have been proven to improve download conversions.

The Four Basic Elements of ASO

There are four basic elements of ASO that you need to understand.

If you want to get more details on how to optimize each element, follow the links below.

App Store Keyword Selection and Placement

Keywords are where App Store Optimization starts.

Choosing the right keywords will allow your app to show up in search. But what makes a good keyword?

These resources that will help you choose the right keywords:

Keywords in the app name are more heavily weighted than keywords in the description (Google Play) or keyword field (App Store).

So whenever possible, put your most important keywords in your app name.

Graphic Elements

Once people find your app in search results, the graphic elements of your page are the primary factors that help convince people to download your app. So they need to be attractive and help convey the benefits of your app.

Let’s take a look at each one individually…


Your app icon is the most important graphic elements on your app’s page.

This is because it is usually the first thing that people see when browsing the app stores.

App Store Icon Example ASO

Keep your designs simple and highlight one idea.


Once people get interested in your app by seeing your app icon, it’s time to show people why your app is awesome.

That is where the app screenshots come in.

App Screenshots Examples ASO

These articles will help you create amazing screenshots:


Finally, a preview video can give people a better feel for how your app works and why they should download it.

Videos are usually most effective for complex apps or exciting games, but can work for any app.

Apple and Google have different requirements for app preview videos, so be sure that you read their guidelines before creating your video.

App promo video

Ratings and Reviews

The app stores care about what people think of your app and they take ratings and reviews into account when ranking your app.

Positive reviews start with having a high-quality app.

Avoid “aso hacking” strategies and start by improving your app, so people absolutely love using it.

Even if you have a great app, most people only review an app when they don’t like it. So also implement strategies for getting more positive ratings and reviews.

Responding to app reviews can also change a negative rating to a positive one. Be sure to do it, whenever possible.


This can be a great way to increase your downloads.

When you customize your app for other countries, it is called app localization. This can literally multiply your downloads.

Mobile Action Complete ASO Guides

If you want to get more detailed information on how to do App Store Optimization for the specific app stores, read our comprehensive guides:


So that is what ASO is all about and how you can get started with optimizing your app.

It takes time and patience to get it right, but when you figure it out, it can pay off big.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or contact us.

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