App Store Optimization (ASO) is important to mobile app marketing

The mobile app market is a massive and monstrous marketplace where the number of annual app downloads is forecast to top 200 billion in 2017, up from 82 billion in 2013.

Research from Gartner expects app downloads will soar to 269 billion in 2017, up from 102 billion in 2013. 451 Research reminds that there are 2.64 billion active mobile app users globally, a number set to hit 3.13 billion by end-2018. The avalanche of apps is creating serious bottlenecks in app discovery. The issue – called the “Discovery Dilemma”- is a major headache for app developers and brands alike.

Why is ASO so important?

The digital shelves of the app stores are full and difficult for shoppers to navigate. Tune surveyed 2,100 mobile users and found out that a whopping 67 percent of mobile app installs happened after an app store search and not via a direct link. It is important to develop an ASO strategy to turn the flawed app store search into an opportunity. It is all about finding ways to increase distribution of your app in a global app marketplace that is constantly evolving.

Go beyond ASO with this blueprint

At one level, the App Economy is extending to regions and territories where Google play can’t compete. You must harness analytics, data and business intelligence at every stage of your app lifecycle to monitor your performance and watch your competition. Architecting an effective strategy to tap the vast distribution opportunities offered by alternative app stores starts with a clear understanding of their unique characteristics and their business practices.

Here is a breakdown of the stages in your app lifecycle.

Ideation: In this early stage you want to make sure your app is a fit with your target audience and your pick of alternative app stores. It is all about understanding which stores are compatible with your app category and focus. You need solid research of the app store data to help you target the stores and audiences that will truly pay dividends for your effort.

Distribution: Once you know where you want to be, you have to know to get there. It starts with the tedious and time-consuming process necessary to register, submit and manage your assets for multiple stores. When it comes to title, screenshots and other key assets for your app, it may sound like a straightforward “cut-and-paste”– but it isn’t. Some stores require app descriptions that are 2,000 characters, while others prefer 4,000 characters. And then there’s a whole headache around localizing and sensitizing your content to specific countries and territories.

Calculation: Your business doesn’t run on autopilot. Data is the lifeblood of all businesses – and even more critical for digital-only businesses that rely solely on analytics to validate their KPIs and drive user acquisition campaigns. Multiply that with the effort needed to monitor how each app is performing (downloads, sales and ranking across different stores and different separate dashboards), and it is clear this task is very time consuming.

Automation: Distributing, managing and tracking your apps across multiple alternative app stores comes with its share of challenges. It is great to have reports generated on sales and downloads, but it is also critical to ensure your apps – in all the stores – align to your brand guidelines. In a world where rogue apps and app piracy are on the rise, you need visibility that will allow you to protect your IP (Intellectual Property) and preserve

Distribution in the stores that are a perfect fit with your app category and target demographic equips you to take your app from good to great. The task of distributing, managing and tracking your app (and IP) across multiple stores with in-house teams and resources might eat revenues faster than you can make them.