While App Store Optimization (ASO) focuses on keywords and earning higher ranking positions in App Stores (Apple, Google Play), etc., there are other improvements you can apply using indirect ASO techniques to help increase your app downloads.
Picking the best keywords for your app title and other app meta tags should be your No. 1 priority, but once your app is ranked in the Top 10 (or maybe the Top 20) on a targeted keyword, these other techniques will help catch the users’ attention.
Best of all, these ideas are all free. They include:
Improve Your App Icon
Your icon is the first thing everyone sees in search results. Does it stand out against your competition? Will it attract a click? More downloads? If your app is ranking high on targeted keywords, try testing a new icon.
In our game “Bath Bubbles Tap & Pop Multilevel Challenge,” an icon change definitely helped downloads. We switched from an icon featuring a low-quality stretched little boy in a bathtub full of bubbles (with a blue background) to an icon with no characters and a standalone bathtub (with a green and black background).
Don’t be afraid to test an app icon change for 30 days. You can always switch back to the original icon with your next update.
Improve Your Screen Captures
After your game icon, the next thing users are going to see are your screen captures.
We would highly recommend that you use all the screen captures allowed by the iTunes App Store, Google Play, etc. One or two screen captures may not accurately reflect the necessary features in your app the user needs in order to download.
The first screen capture is the most important one. Within search results, users will see your game icon and your initial screen capture. An initial “action” screen capture is better than your app’s splash screen.
Also consider taking your screen captures one step further by adding short text annotations to better describe the capture. In our game “The Trout Family Swim and Fish Adventure,” we have used speech bubbles so that the main character describes how to play the game (which bugs to eat; what to avoid, etc.).
Improve Your App Description
While game descriptions don’t help your app store rankings in the iTunes App Store, they are an important factor in Google Play.
If you’re in iOS world, you should still write strong game descriptions as they will help influence a user to download your app. Long descriptions aren’t necessary. However, your description should give the user enough information about the app and its features. Tell them why they should download your app (but don’t be too salesy and tell them your app is the best app in the world).
One developer wrote the following app description about his new game:
“If you like Minecraft, then you’ll like our game.”
That’s it. A one-sentence app description which basically tells the user this game is a copy of Minecraft.
We created an app description template for staff to use for all of our games, so they follow a specific format. This helps speed up writing our descriptions, but gives the user enough information to consider before they download our app.