Guide To App Store Optimisation (ASO) To Promote Your App

What Is App Store Optimisation (ASO) and How Does it Apply to Singapore Digital Marketing_

Digital marketing continues to take a new turn every day, thanks to technological advancement. As a marketer, you have two primary ways of discovering and installing mobile apps on your smartphone or tablet.

 It could either be done through digital advertisements, or via the search on an app store. If you haven’t started taking advantage of the organic installs, then you are missing out on the best deals. To fit into the competitive world, you will need to optimise your app store.

Since the digital marketing environment is getting more complicated, you will need to make use of competing apps available within Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

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Consequently, you are required to drive apps that target a need that hasn’t been explored by other popular brands.

What is App Store Optimisation (ASO)?

ASO involves improving visibility in Apple’s app store & Google Play, increasing your organic downloads. ASO depends on your user’s ability to focus on the click-through rate (CTR).

Your convincing power must be high to ensure more people click on the specific icon. Once it is fully optimised, users will be able to find it and download it. You can increase viewership by optimising the name of your App, title, logo, screenshots, and ratings.

Anytime new users download your app, you will generate more income. This can only be achieved once they have accessed the App Landing Page to download or to make a purchase. At this point, you have reached a stage known as Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO).

How does ASO Work?

Like SEO, App Store Optimisation deals with search results and top chart rankings. It relies on two major concepts;

Keyword Optimisation

Generally, keywords assist in focusing on relevancy and search results. For example, if you have already created an app for people that need to compare prices on the prices of farm products in the Southwest, you can rank it as “farm products comparison southwest’.

Chances are, your visitors would like to have a glance before they can decide to download. By using precise keywords, you will increase your user’s ability to download the app. If you get hundreds of like-minded individuals, you will increase the conversion rate for your web design application.

Asset Optimisation

To differentiate your app from its competitors, you will need to include unique assets such as icons, screenshots, reviews, or any videos. Always give them a reason to visualise your app, and know what to expect once they have downloaded it.

Why Is App Store Optimisation Important?

There is stiff competition in the app stores across all niches. There are over 6 million apps constantly competing for the attention of smartphone users. Therefore, outshining your competition to get your app in front of the right audience is one of the biggest challenges you face in marketing your app. 

What is more, 67% of app downloads happened after a search on an app store. This means that ranking high on the app store is your best chance of getting discovered by your target customers.

Without a proper app store optimisation strategy, your app will not appear on the relevant searches. You will end up losing thousands of downloads as a result.

Even if you use other marketing strategies such as blogging, social media marketing, and paid advertising to promote your app, you might still find you are not getting an adequate number of downloads if your app store optimisation strategy is lacking.

By spending more time and effort on updating and improving your app store, you can expect to reap massive benefits in the long run. 

Here are some other reasons why you should take app store optimisation seriously:

Lower Acquisition Costs 

 With a good app store optimisation strategy, your app will rank higher for different related search results. This will increase the visibility of your app and consequently increase your organic downloads. Since organic downloads doubt cost you anything, you will be getting more downloads without paying for them.

Get Your App in Front of Relevant Users

The key to increasing your install rates is to have your app in front of people interested in it. 

App store optimisation helps you target a specific audience by using the right keywords, adding your app to the right category, and having a good description that clearly states what your app does.

Increased Revenue

With proper app store optimisation, your app will get more downloads. This translates to increased revenue if your app is monetised in ways such as in-app purchases, ad revenue, and subscriptions.


When you first launch your app, you might use paid marketing techniques to get some new users. However, with time, the downloads will slow down, and you might find yourself wanting to increase your marketing budget to get more people to install your app. However, this is not a long-term solution. 

Instead of increasing your marketing budget every time your app’s downloads dwindle, you can use app store optimisation to ensure a steady increase in downloads and a much more stable future for your app. 

Now that you know what app store optimisation is and why you should take it seriously, lest look at some of the ways you can optimise your app for the app store.


How does ASO relate to Singapore Digital Marketing?

By now, you must have realised the importance ASO in website design. Not only is it a perfect marketing strategy for mobile apps and games, but also boosts website traffic. Other benefits include;

Increased Organic Downloads

Once you have optimised your apps, more people will be motivated to download them. Organic installs often ensure you enjoy long-term results. However, it is important to always monitor and tweak to ensure you get satisfactory results.

Makes You stand out from the Crowd

The digital marketing arena has many potential entrepreneurs who will do anything to stay ahead of their competitors. Your job will be to ensure your app is more conspicuous. This will ensure potential clients visit your site to make purchases. The only way you can achieve visibility is by optimising your app.

Eliminates User Acquisition Costs

Spending money on ads is the last thing you want as a start-up entrepreneur. Fortunately for you, digital marketing allows you to cut acquisition costs by allowing you to pay attention to organic growth. Now you can channel the funds to other things such as increasing your investment rather than spending on things you can avoid.

Increases your Profit

Opening your app isn’t the only thing your visitors should be doing. You can only convert those visits into real money, only if they download it. If they fail to do so, then it means you start making losses. App Store Optimisation will prevent you from losing visibility, giving you a better chance to convert downloads into real payouts.

Expands your Customer-Base Worldwide

The only way you can increase your revenue is by attracting clients from different parts of the world. It doesn’t matter where they are located. As long as you can speak in languages that they can understand, they will find your app and download it. This explains why the App Store Optimisation has improved the Singapore digital marketing environment for all types of marketers.

Potential Users Can Easily Find You

Anyone can stumble upon your site, but it doesn’t mean they are your potential clients. You should make your existence known by optimising your app store. Always ensure you increase the site’s usability by adding the relevant features to it.

 App Store Optimisation Best Practices

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Being unique and relevant are two essential elements you should consider when optimising your app. Here are the tips to help you come up with a functional ASO;

Create a visually appealing icon

When it comes to digital marketing, people will get attracted to stunning icons as it is the first thing they will notice about your app. You need to ensure it is attractive enough to make people click and download it.

If you are going to create a digital marketing app for your business, you will need to be consistent. Avoid creating icons that fail to match your logo, color, or style. For games, on the other hand, you will need to accentuate the gameplay to make them interested in playing it.

Create a captivating app store description

It doesn’t take rocket science to come up with creative content for your digital marketing app. The best hack is to keep it simple and straightforward. Use language that any layman can understand. Ensure it describes your app in the first 15 seconds.

To prevent your users from getting bored, you can come up with a bulletin to explain all about the app. Ensure you have listed the features users will pay great attention to. Come up with an accessible email for questions and support at the end of the page.

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Use high-quality screenshots

Using high-quality screenshots is highly recommended if you want to attract clients to your app. Not only do they portray your strengths, but they also facilitate an easier decision-making process for your users. They can easily make up their minds depending on how attractive it appears on the screenshots.

How will you ensure it is the best? For starters, you can make use of the spaces allocated for screenshots. Ensure the first one makes an appealing statement. Now you can add a tagline to explain the function. Always remember to update your digital marketing to ensure they stay relevant.

Take advantage of updates

Most of the time, users will take your app seriously if there is an update. They will read all about it to determine whether you are legit. Avoid poor descriptions that will dissuade them from visiting your app. Instead, you can use the space to inform them about the benefits of updating their apps.

Track the changes

You will need to repeat all these steps. This will help in detecting whether there are any problems before they wreak havoc in your business. Once you have identified the problem, you should try to tackle it using an OS update. Think of yourself as the end-user by testing it.

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How to Optimise Your Mobile App for The App Stores

Start with A Descriptive Title

The name of your apps is your chance to make an excellent first impression. It evokes a brand feeling in your potential customer’s heart, and it is what makes your app memorable even before someone has used it.

Additionally, your app name will follow your app forever. This is why you must choose it carefully. Here are a few tips to help you come up with the best name for your app:

  • Hint at the functionality of your app

The name of your app should be related to its primary function. If you choose an obscure name, you will be forced to rely too much on your app icon to convey your app functionality. 

Before you choose a name, take time to outline the ned goal of your product, its target audience, and the emotions you hope to inspire in your users. With these factors in mind, pair words that enhance your app’s originality while also hinting at its function. Remember to keep it clear and recognisable.

  • Be original

Before you settle on a name, conduct thorough research to ensure that no one else is using it and it has not been trademarked, this will keep you out of legal trouble. 

Additionally, using a name that is almost similar to a popular app might get you a few downloads, but it will eventually cause your app to lose its legitimacy.

  • Keep it short

Think of the most famous apps on both Apple and Google stores such as Instagram, Facebook, Tinder, Evernote, Snapchat, Twitter: they all have short names.  You can borrow a leaf from their book when naming your own app by keeping your name short and relevant. 

 Using a long name with several words and numerous characters will only make your app less memorable. A short name is easy for your users to remember, and they will find it easy to communicate it when referring your app to friends. 

Use Keywords Wisely

Just like in SEO, keywords a crucial when it comes to optimising your app for app stores. 

How you handle keywords will depend on whether you are optimising for google or apple play store. For the apple play store, you get 100 characters for all your keywords. This means you must be very careful when choosing which keywords to use. You should also strive to use as much of the 100-character space you are given as possible.

With google play store, you don’t have a specific keyword field. However, the app description in the Google play store is searchable, which means you have about 4,000 characters to work with.

Here are a few things you should consider when choosing keywords:

  • Keyword relevancy 

When choosing your keywords, keep them simple and relevant. Using off-target keywords will result in fewer conversions, and google and apple will lower your rankings for those keywords.

  • Narrow it down 

It’s okay to brainstorm as many keywords as possible. However, when it comes to suing them, narrow down your options as much as possible. Narrowing down your options will ensure that you only use the most relevant keywords instead of having a long list of keywords that won’t convert.

  • Use keywords with less competition

When it comes to the app store, the top three search results grab most of the downloads. This tells you that you are better off using keywords with less competition. This way, you stand a better chance of ranking higher for these keywords than you would for more popular keywords.

  • Track keyword performance

After you have decided on the keywords to use and have incorporated them in your app store optimisation strategy, you need to monitor their performance. Give yourself about three or four weeks and use your app store metrics to see how your keywords perform. If your strategy is working, focus on improving it even more. If, on the other hand, your keywords are not getting you enough downloads, you should tweak your strategy or consider a completely different set of keywords.

  • Give your keywords a chance to work

It might be tempting to keep tweaking your keywords every now and then. However, doing this can harm your conversion rates and even lead to lower rankings. Once you have decided on your keywords, give them at least four weeks to see how they work.

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Use your top keyword in your app name- placing a keyword in your app name can lead to higher rankings for the keyword. However, ensure that the keyword you use fits naturally with your app name before using it.

  • Use commas instead of spaces to separate keywords  

The app store algorithm reads commas and spaces as separators. However, spaces count as characters, but commas do not. As such, you should use commas to separate your keywords.

Consider using plurals- you’ve probably heard that search algorithms do not distinguish between the singular and plural forms of words. However, a quick search on the apple play store will show you that the algorithm is not that intelligent. To be on the safe side, treat plurals as different keywords. Check out your competition and traffic and compare the singular and plural form keywords to decide which one is better for you.

Finally, beware of keyword stuffing. It would help if you used relevant keywords for your app to rank, but using too many keywords will lead to lower rankings. 

Describe Your App Well

Your app description is like your website landing page. It would be best if you considered it an essential part of your app store optimisation strategy. 

To nail your app description, start by answering the following questions:

  1. What is your app about? 
  2. What makes your app unique
  3. Why should anyone download your app?

Once you have the answers to these three questions, you’re ready to write an apt description that will convert. 

To do this:

  • Start with an intriguing introduction

Most people never read the entire app description.  As such, you should use the first three to five lines to catch the user’s attention. Resonate with your user’s feelings and tell them why they should download your app.

  • Focus on your best unique feature

Rather than wasting time on all the small and minor features, choose one feature that will surprise and excite the average mobile user and move from there.

  • Keep it memorable

Remember to keep your description easy to understand. Most people who will be reading it are not knowledgeable in technical terms, so keep your description easy to grasp and hard to forget.

  • Use bullet points

You should also consider using bullet points to break up your description into short, readable chunks. Using lengthy prose in your description is a sure-fire way of intimidating users. Keep in mind that people rarely read word by word. Breaking up your text will help them skim through quickly.

  • Think like your customer

Finally, put yourself in your customer’s shoes when writing the description. If you saw your description in an app store, would you read it or simply glance at it as you scroll past?  You can also look at your competition. How are they writing their descriptions?  Get a little inspiration from the apps that are doing well in your category and use it to create your own killer description.

Use High-Quality Screenshots

screenshots are one of the most critical elements of your app on the app store.

Although there is no one perfect way to create screenshots for better app store optimisation, the following tips will guide you in the right direction:

  • Take screenshots of the key screen and critical features of your app

Screenshots give you a unique opportunity to show your potential customers what they can expect from your app.  Your first screenshot should effectively highlight your crucial message, while the rest of the screenshots show your main features and your app’s overall functionality.

That being said, some users will spend more time on your screenshots than the average 7 seconds. You should therefore add a few secondary features so that you can better capture their attention.

  • Ensure status bar icons and time are consistent between your screens

To ensure homogeneity between your screenshots, ensure that the timing and the status bar icons are consistent. Homogeneity helps your app look professional and quality.

Eliminate Bluetooth icons, location, service provider names and ensure you keep a full Wi-Fi icon and a 100% battery icon. 

  • Use a maximum number of screenshots.

App stores allow you to use up to 10 screenshots per language and per device size. Make maximum use of this opportunity by uploading as many screenshots as possible.

  • Localise screenshots in all supported languages

If your app supports three languages, ensure that you localise your screenshots to reflect this. Localising your screenshots will eliminate the language barrier for international clients and help them understand the features of your app.

  • Use the same colour pallet as your app uses

When creating background gradients, stick to your brand’s colour pallet. This helps to enhance your app identity.  

If you don’t have brand guidelines for colour, select a few colours from your app and use them. One way to do this is to use a different colour for different features or pick a colour depending on the emotion it triggers.

Add A Preview Video

 It’s not enough to have screenshots showing your users the significant features of your app. You should go a step further and provide them with a video preview of what your app looks like, its features, functionality, and UI. To ensure that your preview video paints your app in good light, use the following tips:

  • Plan ahead

App stores allow you to upload a 30-second video preview. It might sound like an easy job since the video is short, but it takes time and planning. Remember, you are trying to showcase the value of your app, not just some random footage of its contents. 

  • Get some inspiration

Before creating your preview video, go to app stores and watch as many previews as possible from your competition. See what they are doing right and where they are missing the mark. This knowledge will help you create a better preview than what they have, which will, in turn, translate to more downloads.

  • Create a story

Your preview video needs a coherent story. Otherwise, it will just be a chaotic mess.  To create a good story, think about your app’s most important use case. List the scenes you want to features and ensure they include your use cases and essential features.

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To help speed up the process, create a storyboard for each scene in your video and decide how many seconds you would like each scene to have. This will make it easier to create a clear and well-organised video.

  • Add some text

Most people watching your preview video will do so using a muted device. As such, you might want to add some text to help them better understand what your app is all about.

  • Add some music

Most apps will use some background music in their preview videos. Add the right music to your video can help elicit the needed emotions from your users. Please take time to carefully consider the background music you want to use and different sound effects from your app to be sure that it works well with your story.

  • Pick a poster frame

A poster frame is an image that appears when your preview video does not autoplay. You want this image to be compelling enough to entice your users into clicking.

  • Use multiple previews

You can use more than one video to showcase the functionality of your app. For instance, your first video can show your overall app experience, while the rest of your videos highlight the main features and other additional features that your users might not be aware of.

Pick The Right Category

App category is an organisation system that simplifies the process of discovering apps.  Examples of app categories include finance, business, entertainment, books, food and drink, health and fitness weather, sports, and strategy. 

In the Apple app store, apps are assigned a primary and a secondary category. The primary category is the most important as it is where your app will appear ins search results.

In the Goole play store, your app is given an application type of either game or app and then assigned a category. You are also allowed to add tags to describe the features better your app offers. Tags contribute significantly to the positioning of your app, so choose them wisely.

Your app’s category plays a significant role in how users see it in app stores. This means that the app category affects your ASO efforts, especially in competition and relevancy. This is why you must be careful when choosing an app category. Here are few guides to help you ensure your app ends up in the best category:

  • Prioritise relevance 

The category you choose must be relevant to your app. Otherwise, people will never discover your app.

  • Run competition analysis

Start by finding a few potential categories that are relevant to your app. Next, narrow them down and then research the developers of the high-ranking apps in these categories. Ask yourself what the top-ranking apps have in common and what their developers have done differently. This will help you to see whether these categories are the right fit for your app.

  • Make a choice

You now have a small list of relevant categories and competitive analyses to help you make a decision. Now, it’s time to choose. Ideally, it would be best if you ended up with a category that is highly relevant to your app but is not full of competitors.

Although choosing the right category plays a significant role in how well your app ranks on app store searches, don’t let the importance of this decision paralyse you. You can change your app’s category later on if you find that the first category you chose is not working for you. 

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However, don’t keep changing app categories on a whim. Proceed with caution and keep a level head when deciding to switch to a new category.

Focus On Icon Design

There is a direct relationship between your app’s downloads and where it ranks in searches. The more downloads your app has, the more popular it is perceived to be and the higher it is ranked.

As such, you must know how to design an engaging app icon as it is the app icon together with your app name that gives your potential users the first impression about your app.  Your app icon is also a way to automatically tell your potential users that your app is worth their time and effort. As such, you must choose carefully.

In the past, app developers got away with creating functional and easy-to-use icons. These days, the only way to capture attention is to base your icon choice mostly on aesthetics.  Here are some app icon creation best practices you should uphold when creating the best app icon for your application.

  • Pick a bold and unique shape

To create an app icon that is memorable and easy to recognise, you must uphold simplicity.  Picking a shape that is unique and bold will help your app stand out from the rest. An app that stands out is more likely to capture attention and get more installs than one that blends into the background.

Your app icon must also incorporate the functionality of your app in its design. Try to do this in a simple way, without adding too much detail. If your icon is crowded with detail, it will be difficult for people to tell what the app does straight away, and they will be less likely to download your app.

  • Don’t use a photo

Even if you have a photo that includes a unique shape and you think it would make a great app icon, don’t use it as it is. Instead, use the photo to create a vector image or get some inspiration from it. No matter how unique and extraordinary it looks, a photo will not capture enough attention to help you increase your downloads. Especially not in the competitive atmosphere in the app stores.

  • Keep it simple. 

Keep in mind that your app’s icon will appear as a small shape on your user’s mobile device. This means that overloading it with colour and detail will prevent your app from standing out. 

Limit yourself to two or three colours and resist the urge to add too many details. The simpler the design of your app icon, the more likely it is to stand out.

Take your time to go through the app store to see what the most popular apps have done with their icons. You will notice that they stick to two colours (mostly blue, green, and red), and they have very few features on the icon itself.

Although icons with the colours green, blue and red seem to be more popular, you should not sacrifice your branding to use them. Remember to use colours that agree with your brand’s communication and colour pallet.

  • Don’t use words

As we mentioned, your app icon will appear as a tiny shape on your user’s screen. This means that they won’t be able to read text on your icon. If people struggle to understand what your app icon is all about, they will simply scroll away and find another app with a more straightforward icon. 

That being said, if you have a well-known brand, and you feel that a particular letter represents your brand well. You Can use it in your app icon. It’s still better to avoid any words, but using just one letter has worked very well for apps like Facebook, and it might also work for your brand.

  • Consider adding a border

You can consider adding a border around your app icon to make it stand out even more. Check out adobe’s icons to see how they incorporate a border around a simple icon to make it stand out.

Using a border works because it helps to emphasise the content inside the border, making your app stand out from the rest in the app stores. An app that stands out is more likely to get downloads.

If you use a border, ensure that you choose a strong colour that contrasts with the rest of the icon to help your icon stand out even more.

  • Do some research

Before you settle on an app icon, look around the play store for apps like yours. What are your competitors doing? What colour schemes are more likely to get you success?  

For instance, if you notice that other apps in your niche use clean apps designed with mostly white and blue or white and blue colours, you can use a clean and simple design for your app icon, but choose a different colour that will make your icon stand out from the rest of the apps in your category.

Looking at what your competitors are doing will help you stand out while also taking advantage of what they have done right to improve your application’s chances of succeeding. It only takes a few minutes to check your competition out, so there is no excuse for not doing it.


Web design keeps getting updated thanks to the number of changes digital marketers introduce in the corporate business environment. This explains why most digital marketers based in the country want to stay relevant.

With over 2 million mobile apps in the primary app stores, getting your app to be discovered will be an uphill task. You can only increase visibility by optimising it through the established steps. One of the easiest hacks you can rely on is to make the features stand out from the crowd.

Get in touch with us for more details about app store optimisation and digital marketing trends and services.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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