ASO + Paid Acquisition: the winning formula of app promotion
Getting noticed in app stores is tough, especially for new apps. It's like standing in a crowded room and waiting to get noticed. The competition within app stores has reached unprecedented levels, and apps constantly face the risk of being lost in the vast sea of options.
That's where App Store Optimization (ASO) comes in. ASO is a not-so-secret weapon for visibility and downloads. It is an essential tool that helps apps get noticed when they are just entering the market and long after that. Yet, companies often neglect ASO and try to get away with using paid acquisition alone.
This article breaks down ASO basics and how you can use it together with paid acquisition. Join us as we explore how ASO can bring you the users you need!
What is ASO?
App Store Optimization (ASO) is a tactic that improves an app's visibility in app stores like Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play and increases the app’s conversion rate.
How does ASO work?
App stores have different ranking systems that evaluate apps based on multiple factors. Dedicated ASO managers analyze the app’s competitors, research, and perform A/B tests to choose a relevant ASO strategy for every app.
However, some basic ASO techniques are essential for every app out there:
- Collecting keywords to promote the app
- Optimizing the metadata for App Store (Name, Subtitle, Keywords) and Google Play (Name, Short description, and Full description)
- Preparing relevant screenshots, icons, videos, and feature graphics.
- Working with reviews and ratings
ASO is not a one-off action. You can’t implement it once and be sure your app is in the top apps in your category forever. ASO managers consistently adjust their tactics to satisfy constantly changing algorithms and match competitors’ efforts. While it often is time-consuming and rather complicated, there is simply no way around it.
How to measure ASO results?
Measuring the effectiveness of your ASO efforts is crucial if you want to get the best results. You need to track various metrics to assess the performance and impact of your optimization efforts.
Here are basic key metrics and methods to measure ASO results:
- Keyword rankings
Positions of your app for specific keywords in the app stores.
- App Store impressions and Google Play store listing visitors
These metrics show the visibility of your app.
- Conversion rate
Percentage of users who visit your app's page and then download it. A higher conversion rate signifies the effectiveness of your app's listing in convincing users to install it.
Number of installs your app receives. It is better to compare the download numbers before and after implementing ASO strategies to gauge their impact.
- User reviews and ratings
Positive reviews and higher ratings can influence potential users to install your app, which in turn will improve your app’s visibility for future users.
What is paid user acquisition?
Paid user acquisition is the process of acquiring a new customer through a paid marketing channel, such as social media, search engines, email, or the web in general.
How does paid user acquisition work?
Paid user acquisition allows you to reach a wider audience and attract potential customers by investing in targeted advertising. Success in this method often involves a combination of understanding your audience, choosing the right channels, creating compelling ads, and continuously optimizing your strategies based on performance data.
Here's a simple breakdown of how it works:
- Identifying your target audience
Define your target audience based on demographics, interests, and behavior.
Understand the characteristics of users who are likely to engage with your app.
- Choosing advertising channels
Select relevant advertising platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or others. Consider platforms that align with your audience demographics and user behavior.
- Creating ad campaigns
Develop engaging advertisements that show your app's value. Craft ad copies, visuals, and calls-to-action that resonate with your target audience.
- Setting budgets and bids
Allocate budgets for your advertising campaigns based on your financial capacity. Set bid amounts, indicating how much you are willing to pay for user interactions (clicks, installs, etc.).
- Setting up targeting
Use targeting options provided by the advertising platforms to reach specific user segments. Choose ad placements strategically to maximize visibility and engagement.
- Monitoring and optimization
Regularly monitor the performance of your ad campaigns. Analyze key metrics such as click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and user acquisition costs.
- Adjusting strategies
Based on performance insights, tweak your ad campaigns to improve effectiveness — experiment with different ad creatives, targeting parameters, and messaging to optimize results.
How to measure paid user acquisition results?
Measuring the results of paid user acquisition is essential for evaluating the effectiveness of your advertising efforts. Pay attention to different metrics such as the number of installs, the number of conversions, Click-Through Rate (CTR), Cost Per Install (CPI), Lifetime Value (LTV), and retention rate.
Examples of online ads
Why does combining ASO + paid user acquisition work best?
Just like various offline industries combine different promotional channels – such as pairing SEO with Google Ads or blending online marketing with offline strategies – the mobile industry follows a similar trend.
You can solely rely on App Store Optimization (ASO) for user acquisition, but we don’t recommend that. Instead, you can integrate paid traffic for increased visibility. This not only enhances your rankings but also positively influences other key ASO metrics.
Note that performing ASO before starting with paid advertising is crucial. This step is essential because traffic generated from paid advertising may not convert into leads if your app's store listing lacks optimization. A well-optimized app store presence ensures that the traffic driven by paid ads translates into installs and conversions.
How ASO and Paid User Acquisition compare
Paid User Acquisition
|Results in 2-3 months
|Long-term cumulative results
|Short-term results (most of the time)
|Improves your app's visibility and ranking to get organic installs
|Increases brand awareness and user acquisition by showing ads
Here’s what happens when online advertising and ASO are both optimized and working together effectively:
- Users see online ads and download the app;
- More downloads lead to increased app visibility and ranking in the app store search results;
- Increased visibility leads to more downloads through organic search;
- Increased organic downloads further increase the app’s visibility and ranking, which means more downloads through online advertising.
As you can see, this creates a self-reinforcing cycle of traffic, downloads, and organic search.
How to combine ASO and Paid Acquisition?
Step 1: Start with ASO (basic ASO workflow is described above).
Step 2: Define your target audience and relevant ad channels for paid ads (scroll above to recall the process).
Step 3: Specify your goals (e.g., grow user base, re-engage existing customers, announce new service types, grow ride frequency or an average revenue per user, increase specific geo penetration, etc.)
Step 4: Shape your creative ad idea based on your value proposition and differentiation point. Choose your ad’s main point.
Step 5: Use ASO keywords in paid user acquisition campaigns: this can be highly beneficial in maximizing the visibility and performance of your app.
Step 6: Prepare creative assets for each ad channel: banners, videos, and texts.
Step 7: Set up your ads.
Step 8: Track your keyword positions. Analyze results using Google Analytics, App Store Connect, Google Play Console, or a third-party mobile measurement partner like AppsFlyer.
Step 9: Adjust your strategy
Make an additional ASO iteration if necessary. See what can be changed based on your analysis.
Case study example
Here is a case where we combined ASO and paid ads for one of Onde's customers and a paid user acquisition campaign triggered organic traffic growth.
+15% organic impressions daily
+44% organic impressions daily
+6% organic installs daily
+23% organic installs daily
The graph above shows that the paid user acquisition campaign started on March 23rd and triggered Android organic traffic growth. On April 5th the volume of Explore traffic exceeded the paid one.
Hopefully, this article paints a clear picture of how both app promotion tactics work and why ASO promotion combined with paid marketing is the most effective tool for attracting users to your app.
Here at Onde, we provide services that blend both strategies seamlessly. Check out our marketing agency website to learn how we can help you take your app to new heights with expert ASO and paid marketing services.