The 9 Best App Store Optimization (ASO) Tactics for Mobile Games

How do you approach ASO for your mobile games? Here are the 9 best tactics for you to choose from.
The 9 Best App Store Optimization (ASO) Tactics for Mobile Games
Cristina Stefanova

Improving and optimizing your app’s product page is a must nowadays — you have to come up with an effective App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy. The app stores are full of apps and games so getting visibility and driving organic installs has become a really difficult task. Mobile games are one of the most exploited categories since there are new games everyday — standing out from the crowd is even more difficult here.

In this article, we are going to cover 9 ASO tactics you need to bear in mind if you are planning on launching a mobile game or you already have one available in the app stores. Read and find out how to design and implement the best ASO tactics in order to gain visibility in the app stores (both Apple App Store and Google Play Store)  and get more downloads. 

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Hands mobile device game playing

Nine ASO Tactics for Mobile Games

The vast majority of users discover new games by browsing the app stores. For this reason, game developers and marketers should be very aware of the fact that App Store Optimization is mandatory. Thanks to ASO, your game will rank higher in Search results and appear in the Top Charts, therefore, more users would be able to find, download and play it.

Let’s start with App Store Optimization for mobile games.

1. Search Optimization: Carry out a Keyword Research

Before starting with your ASO plan, it is very important that you carry out a Keyword Research to find out the current performance of your keywords if your game is already launched, or investigate your potential Keywords performance — use an ASO tool to do so.

The main steps in keyword research process are:

  • Brainstorming and coming up with a long list of keywords suitable for your product.
  • Looking for keyword suggestions and creating combinations: “free games”, “games online”, “battle games” , “ car games”, etc.
  • Finding mid and long tail keywords. For example: include something like “battle game online for teenager”  in your selection.
  • Check out competitors’ keywords.
  • Analyse traffic and difficulty of your selected keywords.
  • Add the best performing keywords to your game listing. Remember that there are certain fields in which the most relevant keywords should be included: app name / title, subtitle (iOS), keywords field (iOS), short description (Google Play) and full description (Google Play).
  • ​Track and monitor — gain some insights of your keyword optimization.

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2. Get featured

Getting featured by Google or Apple is the dream of many developers and marketers. If your game happens to be featured on Apple App Store or Google Play Store you will probably see a noticeable rise in your volume of installs in a very short time. But do you know what to do in order to get featured?

Here we guide you with these 6 key tips:

  • You need to have an unique product. Be original and build a great product — if you want to be featured by Google or Apple you have to show that you deserve so.
  • Have an optimized listing — improve your listing as much as you can, this is very important for both stores when reviewing your product and for your potential visitors as well.
  • Ratings and reviews. Make sure you have a good number of Ratings and your Reviews are positive. Be supportive and try to answer to all negative feedback.
  • Research and discover why other games are being featured. Try to understand what’s important for both stores and take the right approach when optimizing your listing and updating your game.

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  • Have an updated game. Add new features and improve functionalities — make your app relevant for the users and the app stores would love you!
  • Keep bugs away. If you want to be promoted by the stores you have to make sure your game is error-free — offer the highest quality possible.
  • Build native games. If you want to get featured (especially on Apple App Store) forget about creating cross-platform games.
  • Build a universal game —  your game should be available for all different devices.
  • Localise your app. This will help you get featured in more countries — at least get started with the basic set of languages: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese.
  • Develop a relationship with the stores. Use your best networking skills and get in touch with the store managers — don’t do it until you don’t have the best version of your game on either store. Use Social media (LinkedIn) to get in touch with them, go to conferences or ask other developers to help you with a few contacts.
  • Pitch your app. Take an objective approach and describe your product as best as possible: key benefits, what differentiates you from your main competitors, who are your ideal users, what are your current metrics (retention, ratings, ARPU, DAUs/MAUs, installs, etc).
  • Promote your app. Ideally you should have a web page that highlights your app’s features and functionalities and you should also try to get noticed by media — create buzz!

Be aware of the fact that getting featured is also a matter of luck and it does not help you to grow your business in the long term. By getting featured you will get a great deal of downloads but you definitely need to follow all the ASO tactics we provide you with in this article in order to have a sustainable business.

games screenshots mobile device

3. Be Ready to Appear in Top Charts

In both Google Play Store and Apple App Store there are different Top Charts sections in which the best performing apps are placed. The criteria for Google and Apple is based on the velocity of downloads and the revenue an app is generating — let’s see what are the differences and what to do to appear there:

  • Top Free. Speed and volume of installs are the important variables here.
  • Top Paid. The equation is simple — the most downloaded or bought apps get in higher positions.
  • Top Grossing. This is a bit more complex because the highest total revenue is the important factor.

If you are interested in appearing in the Top Free charts you need a lot of installs (organic and non-organic). And to get a lot of installs you need to plan out and implement an ASO strategy for your game.

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Hands mobile devices app screen

4. Optimize the Visual Assets in your Game Listing

Ever wondered why after receiving many visits your Conversion Rate to Install is still low? What happens when a user comes to your game page? Why do they visit and not download?

Maybe because your visual assets (icon and screenshots) are not very convincing!

If we feel visually attracted to something we would try to get no matter what. For that reason make sure that your icon is catchy and says something about your game — verify is scalable so users can see it in different devices.

Clash Royale and Flip the Gun

On the other hand, icon is a crucial factor to get more visitors to our game landing page in the stores, so try to find the one that brings more traffic and downloads. How? With A/B testing (ASO tactic #6).

Temple Run 2 game

As for your screenshots, select the ones that show your best features and functionalities and avoid including screenshots that contain welcome messages or are not that appealing. You’ve got the chance to include 10 screenshots in Apple App Store and 8 in Google Play Store so make the most of them!

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Miraculous Ladybug & Cat Noir

5. Make Use of an Amazing Video

Videos are essential conversion factors (conversion rate to download) and when it comes to mobile games they become even more important. Introducing a video highlighting your game’s features will for sure help you get more users downloading your game.

Make sure the video does not last for too long and, above all, be creative — you need to catch attention!

6. Introduce Frequent Updates

If there is something that users like, especially game users, is new content. For this reason, a good advice is to update your game frequently introducing new features, levels, characters or whatever is best for your game. Ah! And don’t forget to fix bugs: users HATE crashing games.

This would also help you engage users to your game and become popular in the stores — both Google Play and App Store love updated apps.

7. Carry out A/B Testing

If you want to give a boost to your game downloads you have to A/B test your game listing elements and find out where the biggest Conversion Rate comes from. Decide what elements you’d like to test and use Experiments in Google Play Console or external tools as SplitMetrics or StoreMaven in Apple App Store.

We advise you to test visual assets first (icon, screenshots, Feature Graphic, Landscape and video), because they are the ones responsible for attracting users’ attention, and run one test at once… If you A/B test all the elements at the same time you won’t be able to detect which one is the most effective one.

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8. Get as Many Positive / Good Ratings & Reviews as Possible

Learn the best time to ask your users to rate and review your game — it is really important for several reasons:

  • The top games have lots of Ratings & Reviews.
  • Users would be more likely to download a game with positive feedback.
  • User ratings and reviews ARE an ASO factor. So, the more and better user feedback in the stores = better rankings and more downloads.
  • It is important for Google Play: keywords in reviews are taken into account in the ranking algorithm.

Rating five star

9. Track and Monitor ASO

To see if your ASO strategy is having a positive or negative effect you have to monitor the most important KPIs: keywords rankings, Top Charts rankings, organic downloads coming from ASO, ratings, reviews and revenues. Learn what’s going on well and what can be improved — remember that ASO is a never-ending cycle so there is always room for improvement.

Traking ASO mobile game analytics

To Sum up — ASO Tactics for Mobile Games

In this article we highlighted the 9 ASO tactics you need to implement if you have a mobile game and want to get more downloads and make more money.

Remember: you really need to focus on improving your product in order to get featured by the stores, improve visibility in Search and run tons of A/B tests to get the highest CTR and CR (Conversion Rate to download). Come up with the best selection of keywords for your game (don’t forget to track your competitors as well), A/B test your visual assets and share an amazing Promo Video / Preview Video to blow your potential users’ minds in a few seconds!

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