Lesson 1 - Introduction to ASO

Welcome to the Beginner’s App Store Optimization (ASO) Course. Even if you know absolutely nothing about ASO, we will start at the very beginning and teach you everything you need to know.

This course is broken down into eight individual lessons. You will receive one new lesson per day. This will give you time to review each lesson, take notes and implement what you learned.

We have carefully crafted each lesson to be concise and provide you with actionable steps that you can use immediately.

In this lesson, we will define App Store Optimization, show you why it is important and show you one example of an app publisher who has benefited from ASO.

The Definition of App Store Optimization

Before we get started with how to do ASO, let’s take a minute to define what it means.

Here is our definition:

App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of improving the characteristics of an application that is designed for mobile platforms such as iOS and Android, with the goal of creating better search visibility and getting more downloads on app stores such as the Apple App Store and Google Play. The characteristics that are optimized include: app name, keywords, screenshots, demo video, icon and description.

There are a couple of things that we would like to emphasize in this definition.

First, it is a process. Some people think that they can just do ASO once and forget about it. Nothing is further from the truth. Conditions on the app stores change on a daily basis and you need to monitor your keyword rankings regularly. It is a long-term marketing strategy that must be continuously monitored over the lifetime of an app.

Second, there is a misconception that ASO is only about keywords. It is true that keyword rankings are a large part of ASO. But once someone finds your app through a keyword search, you also need to make it visually appealing, so they download it. This means having compelling screenshots, a beautiful app icon and other elements that will help convince a person to choose your app over your competitors.

Why is ASO Important?

According to a Forrester study, 63% of apps are discovered through app store search. This was the largest app discovery method in the study.

Based on this data, it is essential for your app to rank for keywords that people are searching for when they want to download an app like yours.

ASO is also a very cost effective way of getting more downloads, when compared with paid advertising. A May 2014 Chartboost study showed that paid advertising for an app costs an average of $2.73 per iOS app installation, in the United States.

This means that if you advertise on an advertising network that uses a cost per install (CPI) model, you pay a certain amount of money every time someone installs your app. The amount you pay is determined by a bidding system. App publishers like you bid on ad slots.

Higher bidders get their ads displayed more often, and are thus more likely to be seen and get installs. But at $2.73 per installation, you need to have a substantial advertising budget for this method to make sense.

On the other hand, ASO can potentially drive thousands of downloads a day for the relatively low monthly cost of ASO data and a few hours of research every month.

Therefore, if you do not optimize your app for the app stores, you are losing out on one of the most cost effective ways of driving downloads of your app.

However, as important as ASO is to the overall marketing strategy of an app, you must also remember that it is not a magic bullet. It is simply one piece of a marketing plan that can include paid ads, content marketing and more.

But since ASO is usually the lowest cost strategy, it is generally the best place to start. Even publishers with large marketing budgets will benefit from proper ASO. It can allow them to expand their downloads and reduce what they spend on ads.

Case Study

Now you are probably wondering if ASO really works or not. This is a valid question, so let’s take a look at one of our favorite case studies.

Tapps Games originally started as an enterprise business app developer. They decided to move into the games market, even though they had never made a game before.

After a rocky start, they were able to hit their stride fairly quickly and chalked up over 10 million downloads in under two years. Marketing Director Felipe Watanabe attributes a large part of their marketing success to ASO.

He told us:

“Personally, I believe the definition of a good set of keywords is the most cost-efficient way to optimize the performance of an application.”

“We have many examples of games in which the definition of new keywords have completely changed the outlook of a game. It is really that powerful.”


So we hope that this first lesson has helped you understand what ASO is and why it is a key component in marketing your app. Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s lesson, where we will show you how the Apple App Store and Google Play each determine which keywords are associated with your app.

Applying the same strategy to both app stores can leave you tired and frustrated, so you need to know this before you actually start choosing keywords.

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