Top 5 Tips for App Store Optimisation as a Game Developer in 2022
Are you ready to release your game on mobile platforms? Don’t know if anyone would see it? Let's break down the key App Store Optimisations techniques for your mobile game!
How do I get my game seen?
Unfortunately mobile gaming can be an oversaturated market. It doesn’t matter how good your game is if no one ever sees it. App store optimisation, also known as ASO is the best way to ensure your game ranks as high as possible within the app stores. ASO is an important marketing tool which increases the visibility of an app through placing proper categories, employing effective keywords and the title of your game.
The Google Play Store and Apple Store are the two biggest mobile app platforms which will be the ASO focuses throughout this blog.
There were 3.3 million apps in Google Play Store and 2.1 million apps in Apple’s Store by the end of Q1 in 2022. With more than 5.4 million applications listed; achieving and holding high app rankings is challenging.
Top 5 Tips for ASO
Know your market
Choose the right icon
Provide high quality screenshots and videos
Add a review notification
1. Know Your Market
For any marketing campaign, it is important you know your target audience. Your target audience also depends on the type of game you are releasing. For instance if you are releasing an incremental game, your demographic will tend to be between 21 and 44 years old targeting both genders. This can also affect the overall branding of the game and store page. Researching games in the same genres and identifying their demographic is a great start for narrowing down your own target audience.
If your audience target is too broad this can actually hurt your games ranking in both Google and Apple’s algorithms. This is because it will result in a lower click-thru rate (CTR) which negatively affects the algorithm. A game with a 20% CTR is more likely to get recommended than a game with 10%.
Keywords improve your games visibility in the app marketplaces. Keywords hold the highest weight in the title, short description and then long description in respective order. You can find these keywords by researching the top games of your genre and study what the pros are doing and what they aren’t. Make sure you identify the demand for specific keywords. A better choice is a keyword with a lot of traffic and a small number of apps.
To boost ASO in the title, you can add a ‘-’ or ‘:’ after the game’s title. An example of this is ‘Tap Titans 2: Clicker Idle RPG’. Keep in mind both App Stores will not allow you to go over 30 characters.
Someone unfamiliar with ASO may label their title as ‘Tap Titans 2’ which means they miss out on keywords, such as clicker, idle and RPG. Using these words has helped the game reach over 10 million downloads and improved its ranking in the Google Play store. These same strategies also apply to the Apple Store.
Keywords in descriptions are handled differently in the Apple App Store and Google Play. For iOS, you’ll only have 100 characters for keywords. Google Play does not have a unique field of keywords. On the other hand, the app description can be found. Use your description by the most successful keywords for the highest ASO for Android results up to five times. But don’t go overboard. Google can penalize you and regard it as keyword stuffing according to their guidelines. Two general tips are using commas instead of spaces to separate keywords and using numbers as opposed to numerals.
3. Choose the right icon
Users spend an average of 7 seconds on the store listing page, which they have even less time clicking on a game they find interesting. A game’s icon is what leads more users to click on a game’s store page. Remember what we said about target audiences? Select a colour and geometric palette that leaves an instant impression towards your target.
When it comes to app design, both app stores have their criteria
The minimum size for iOS is 1024X1024 pixels. App icons include 180X180 pixels, 66X66 pixels, and icons on the tab bar are 75X75 pixels depending on the symbol application. Make sure that even when the image is scaled down, it appears excellent.
Furthermore, Android has 512X512 pixels as the minimum dimension. Google has set a number of requirements to respect.
4. Provide high quality screenshots and videos
Once users click on your game, they want to see what the game is all about! These medias visually communicate to the user what the app, the gameplay and convey the visual story. This is where views can turn into conversions. The Google Play Store can upload up to 8 screenshots, and the Apple App Store up to 10.
This is where research comes handy. Look at your competitors. What photos are they using? What videos are they using? Take inspiration and execute it in a way that best suits your game.
5. Add a review notification
To encourage users to leave a review of your app, employ push based notifications or pop-up notifications. It is best to wait till after the user uses the app for 15 minutes before requesting a review. This is because they are more likely to enjoy the game if they stick around.
People love to complain and generally if you don’t ask for reviews you won’t receive many positive ones. People are lazy. It’s much easier to leave a review if the user is asked as opposed searching your game in the store and leaving a review. Reviews also affect your game’s ranking in the store and a higher review will encourage more people to check out your game.
EA's 'Dungeon Keeper' does an excellent job at improving reviews on their game.
If you press 1-4 stars you're shown an e-mail form that sends feedback directly to EA, effectively keeping it private. By pressing '5 stars' however, the user is taken to the Google Play store where they can leave their gushing praise in view of the whole world.
And that’s all!
If you are unsure where to start, begin with research and take it from there. Follow these tips and your indie game could see massive success! Good luck!
For more marketing tips in the gaming industry, stay updated with Voyager Studio blogs.
Dignitas Digital. (2021). Appstore optimization ASO tips. https://dignitas.digital/app-store-optimization-aso-tips-2021/
Fodor, P. (2017). Why 7 Seconds Could Make or Break Your Mobile App. https://phiture.com/asostack/why-7-seconds-could-make-or-break-your-mobile-app-f41000fb2a17/
Google search Developers. (July 2022). Irrelevant Keywords. https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/guidelines/irrelevant-keywords
Huffington Post. (October 2014). EA Dungeon Keeper Rating System. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/02/10/ea-dungeon-keeper-rating-system_n_4758757.html
Statistica. (April 2022). Number of apps available in leading app stores as of 1st quarter 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/276623/number-of-apps-available-in-leading-app-stores/