How to optimize your ASA performance with ASO
In an increasingly competitive environment, securing app downloads requires more and more resources. In fact, since 2019, we’re seeing annual increases in app marketing spend of about 20% annually. Should that trend continue, ad spending for app installs could exceed $142 billion in 2023.
As a result of this heightened interest in ad spend, app marketers have to increase their advertising budget to earn a spot in the ad auction. In this competitive ad landscape, marketers must find ways to optimize their ad budget.
An often overlooked strategy for boosting ad performance and decreasing spend is App Store Optimization (ASO).
A strong ASO strategy focuses on conversion optimization and will eventually generate a lower cost per install (CPI) for your Apple Search Ads (ASA) campaigns. Furthermore, a high organic ranking, achieved through a healthy ASO strategy, will increase the score Apple assigns to your app in the ad auctions, which will lead to lower bids and more value.
In this blog post, we’ll find out how exactly ASO can help lower the CPI of your Apple Search Ads campaigns.
How ASO can help you identify stronger keywords to bid on
At the heart of ASO are keyword research and optimization.
Teams that invest in ASO gain a strong understanding of their app’s keyword profile, popular keywords within their industry, and competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. These keyword insights are vital for a well-structured ASA campaign. Furthermore, UA managers can learn from ASO managers’ knowledge and past metadata updates to understand which keywords resonate best with their audience. This can help save valuable time testing different keyword strategies.
With the help of an ASO tool like AppTweak, UA managers can instantly identify popular keywords, terms that drive organic downloads for competitors, and uncover relevant keywords that are underperforming organically. These are all very interesting keywords to target with ASA campaigns.
For example, using AppTweak, we found that the travel-booking app Booking.com doesn’t rank in the top 10 for highly relevant keywords such as “last minute hotel,” “resort,” and “vacation rentals.” Booking.com could actually increase exposure for these keywords by including them in their ASA campaigns.
How ASO can help optimize your app page and lower your CPI
Strong creatives are key to any advertising campaign. That includes the creatives displayed on your app page. A well-optimized app store page will resonate better with your audience and generate a higher conversion rate. The higher your conversion rate, the more installs you’ll get for the same budget, which, in turn, results in a lower cost per install (CPI).
A good ASO strategy encompasses a strong focus on creative optimization. Creative optimization is the systematic process of adjusting the visual elements of your app’s product page – icon, screenshots, preview video, feature graphic (Android only) – to effectively attract your target market.
When optimizing your creatives, don’t forget to heed these best practices:
- App icon: Your app icon is the most visible element on the app stores. Your icon should be clear, and simple, and communicate your app’s main functionality.
- App preview video: App videos provide an in-depth view of what users can expect if they download your app. While preview videos for apps should highlight user experience and explain the app’s core functionalities, preview videos for mobile games should focus on gameplay. Since videos require a larger investment, you should make them as evergreen as possible and avoid including trends or timely events.
- App screenshots: Screenshots are one of the most impactful assets on your app page that help users decide whether or not to install your app. Your app screenshots should highlight your app’s main features and demonstrate its core functionality. It is also important to make sure your screenshots are visually appealing and match your app’s identity.
- A/B testing creatives: Both Apple and Google provide native features to test different creative elements on your app product page that help you find out which variant resonates best with your audience. A well-planned A/B testing strategy can create a double-digit uplift in conversion rates.
How ASO can inform your custom product pages
To optimize ASA performance, UA managers can invest in custom product pages (CPP). Thanks to custom product pages, UA managers can finally show different versions of their app page to different user segments. It is recommended for UA managers to create ad groups targeting keywords with the same intent and match these with a CPP.
By doing this, store visitors will see an app page that is highly relevant to their search intent and, thus, will be more likely to download the app.
AppTweak helped one of their customers in the music industry save 39% on ad spend with a clever CPP strategy. AppTweak’s ASO team performed an analysis of the music app’s reviews to identify those features that users like the most about the app. The team then created an ASA campaign targeting competitor’s keywords, directing users to a CPP highlighting that specific feature users love most.
Due to the new CPP, the campaign’s conversion rate improved by 58%, generating more installs for the same budget.
How can a strong review strategy improve ASA conversion
Ratings and reviews have a significant impact on your app’s conversion rate.
Users are not very keen to install an app with a rating below 4.0 stars, especially given the many alternatives available on the app stores. Given that ratings show on the ad creative in the search results, a low rating can negatively impact your campaign’s conversion rate. Therefore UA managers should support ASO managers in advocating for a strong review strategy.
Because reviews and ratings have such a significant impact, asking users to rate and review your app by sending them in-app prompts is key to increasing your conversion rate. Make sure you ask users to review when they are enjoying your app. It is also crucial that you reply to both positive and negative reviews to maintain a strong relationship with your users and make them feel that their feedback matters. You can hope to change negative reviewers’ opinions over time by making them feel heard.
As app stores become more and more competitive, the use of paid campaigns has become more ubiquitous. App marketers are on the lookout for new ways to get the most out of their paid efforts while keeping spending under control. ASO can help increase the ROI of ASA campaigns by increasing the performance of your app page.
Optimizing your ASO allows you to take full advantage of your Apple Search Ads in the short and long term. The outcome of your ASA will be improved after performing ASO, and the results could remain after your paid campaigns are finished.