Launching a new mobile game is an exciting time – all your hard work has led up to this moment of truth. The work doesn’t stop once your game launches, though. After the game goes live, the next step is to get the app in front of players and get them to install it.
One great way to attract users is through App Store Optimization (ASO). By using ASO best practices and taking the time to prepare a good strategy, a mobile game can start off strong and increase its chances of acquiring players. ASO also provides long-term benefits that can help mobile games continue to grow after launch, which can be difficult to maintain with paid marketing alone.
What is ASO?
ASO is the process of increasing and optimizing an app or mobile game’s visibility and conversion in the App Stores. This can involve several facets, including, but not limited to:
– Market research using ASO software
– Analyzing trends
– Optimizing metadata to increase visibility
– A/B testing creative assets like screenshots to improve conversions
– Measuring how different channels influence each other
Mobile game developers of all sizes can utilize ASO to get their games in front of valuable users.
Why ASO is Important for Mobile Games
The mobile game space is a competitive one, with new games released each day. In order to break through the noise of older titles, publishers, and reskinned games, developers should ensure they are optimizing their game’s keywords and creatives. This can help it rise through the rankings and get installs.
All aspects of the mobile game you have developed should be taken into account, researched, and optimized for. Start with a simple checklist, including but not limited to:
- What is the genre of the game?
- What kind of characters, mechanics, or other in-game elements are used?
- Who is my target demographic?
These questions can help guide your initial research. For example, games in the Arcade genre will have a different ASO strategy than role playing games. From there, look into apps within your genre that share similar aspects. Is your role playing game mechanic driven by turn-based strategy, or real-time action? These will impact the kinds of keywords and competitors to research as part of the process. Following this, think about your target demographic and the other games they may be interested in. If your app is a turn-based strategy RPG, you may discover keyword and demographic overlap between card-battle games and your game.
This is just the start of developing your strategy, but may stunt the growth potential for your app if not assessed, researched and executed. Once this has been done at a high level, doing a deeper dive can give your app an advantage at launch.
Preparing Your ASO Strategy for Launch
There are a few things to consider when you’re preparing your mobile game for its launch. First is the research. In order to structure your game’s ASO strategy, you need to understand its category, the keywords your users are searching for, conversion trends and so much more.
Before launching your app, you need to research what keywords are relevant to your app and have a high volume of searches, then integrate those keywords into the mobile game’s metadata. The algorithms in the App Store and Google Play Store use the targeted keywords to determine what to rank a mobile game for in the search results and how well it ranks. Metadata fields that directly impact organic search and indexation include the Title, Subtitle and Keyword Bank on the Apple App Store, and the Title, Short Description and Long Description on Google Play.
Applying best practices, such as adding title tags and structuring the metadata properly, a mobile game can rank for keywords much faster than if it launched without optimizing.
Keyword targeting can generate more visibility, but increasing conversion on those keywords is vital to success. The App Stores’ algorithms look at a mobile game’s click-through rate compared to other apps on the same keyword to determine if its ranking should move up or down. Optimizing creatives can convince users to install the mobile game by highlighting its strengths and relating to their search queries. The first three portrait-mode screenshots or first landscape-mode screenshot or video are displayed first in the store, so they can impact a user’s decision to click on the app.
Preparing well thought-out creatives, including the icon, screenshots and preview video ahead of time can help a mobile game stand out from the competition and draw in clicks from users.
Supporting ASO with Paid Marketing
Along with using ASO to increase organic visibility and installs at launch, paid marketing can bolster your efforts significantly. The more traffic a game receives, the faster the store algorithm can index it for keywords.
For new games, this can be particularly useful as it speeds up the entire ASO process and makes generating traction more efficient.
Preparing for your mobile game’s launch is worth all the work that goes into it. From designing creative sets to preparing the page listing for maximum exposure, each aspect can ensure the best possible outcome once you launch.
While this will put you off to a great start, it is key that you continue to optimize your mobile game to continue growing. If your goal is to continually acquire new users, regular research, execution, analysis and iteration is critical to success.