Welcome to our first ASO app review. We believe this is the best means to learn how to implement ASO for your application. In this series, we’ll thoroughly analyze many common applications that use (or don’t use) ASO properly. The first app we introduced was the Major League Baseball digital trading card game app developed by Topps Sports, best known for their line of basketball, football and baseball trading cards. Let’s get to work.
Choosing a title for any product is a difficult process. However, choosing a title for an app can be even more challenging because with it comes the added challenge of choosing keywords that are relevant but not spammy. A well-balanced separate title that tells us what the app is about and includes the right keywords is a difficult title to find. Here are the different titles Topps has selected for the Google Play Store and Apple App Store respectively.
- We like the fact that Topps has chosen to use different titles for each app store. It shows the developer understands that each app store has a different allocation for title character usage.
- You don’t have to be a mathematician to notice that Topps doesn’t use all the characters the app store allows. We recommend that apps use any characters available on the Google Play Store and 65-75 characters on the Apple App Store. We will discuss this in depth below.
- Be descriptive in your application title. On the Apple App Store, I understand from the title that this app is a game. I don’t get that through the Google Play Store.
- For ASO purposes, we recommend that you don’t put the developer name in your title (the developer name of this app is ‘Topss’).
Notice that 2 of the top 4 search results don’t even have the word ‘Topps’ in the title! Clear
More keyword research leads to more app visibility. It is essential to include relevant keywords in your title and description. We picked a few niche keywords and analyzed them with the Sensor Tower tool to see how the app is performing. Just in case you’ve never used SensorTower before, here are some basic information you need to know. The ‘SensorTower Keyword Traffic’ metric allows app developers to understand what kind of traffic they might see for a keyword that ranks high. The rating scale is from 1-10. An MLB flow of 6.2 (see below) is considered high on this Sensor Tower scale. We’ve determined where Topps Bunt can be ranked by comparing it with other apps rated above it. see, MLB is a pretty strong term with serious traffic. It makes sense to include this keyword in your app’s description and title and maybe promote it a bit more to increase visibility. it doesn’t make sense to include ‘MLB’ in the title, because it’s too long. However, including it in the description, as Topps did, is a smart move.
Love it. I really do.
- Mike Trout is a very popular Baseball League Baseball Player who year after year is an MVP candidate. Most baseball fans (target market) will recognize his face.
- The word ‘Topps’ is in the logo. Most baseball fans are familiar with the Topps brand and would be interested in downloading the app they already have a relationship with.
- Putting faces in icons was a good decision, as people love to see faces and they are well received by users.
Above are 8 screenshots from Google Play Store. It is difficult to evaluate screenshots from an ASO perspective without A/B testing. With that said, we’d love to share some of our thoughts on the current image that Topps has chosen to showcase to potential users.
- Treating this space as an ad space and including text next to images is great, and Topps has managed to do a relatively good job.
- However, most of the screenshots are the same, which can easily discourage users and drive them away. It is important to use images to tell a story, which unfortunately does not happen here.
- Topps could have been more descriptive in the copy they chose for their screenshot. Straightforward is great, but within a certain limit.
Ratings are important to app store algorithms and to reassure potential users that an app is worth downloading. Ideally you want your app to have 4-5 stars. A quick look shows that the Topps app is ranked much higher on the Apple App Store than on the Google Play Store. One of the main reasons apps get low ratings is due to product bugs. In fact, 8% of users in the Google Play Store and 10% of users in the Apple App Store labeled the app as ‘bug’.
Let us dig deeper into the high correlation between product defects and low ratings. Topps updated the Google Play app on September 4. How do you think the update went? Check out the chart below As you can see from this Sensor Tower screenshot, shortly after the update, bad reviews quickly followed. This obviously negatively affects the cumulative average rating that Topps has worked so hard to keep close to 4 stars. During this time of crisis, if your app is available on the Google Play Store, we recommend that you respond to any bad ratings. If your app is available on the Apple App Store, we recommend fixing it as soon as possible because users only see ratings for the current version.
Although baseball is considered America’s “National Pastime,” baseball is a global sport. Localization is the process of making your app maximally visible to people everywhere. Unfortunately, these apps are not localized on both app stores. Localizing your app is not something you can do overnight. Our recommendation is to start small and translate only one or two additional languages and optimize for 2 or 3 countries. Here are the top 6 countries where Topps Bunt is ranked highest in the ‘sports’ category in the Google Play Store.
Two-thirds of the countries speak Spanish. If this app is localized there will be even more downloads in these baseball-loving countries. Even MLB, a big brand, realizes this and localizes the “MLB.com At Bat” app for Spanish speaking countries.
With the recent introduction of app indexing and deep linking, ASO is slowly becoming closer to SEO. Link building is not only useful for driving more traffic from external sites, but links also impact the Google Play Store Algorithm. We saw the app mentioned on PR Newswire, Twitter, Personal blog posts and digital trading card marketplace. * * * * To improve your ASO, the links should lead to the app page (on both app stores) and not the website, causing users to lose interest and the app to lose users.
A/B testing is very important. Below, we see that based on the Sensor Tower, on the Apple App Store Topps has changed its icon from blue to red and back to blue. Apparently the red icon doesn’t help with the download. Maybe Topps needs to do some more A/B testing before they make changes.
Topps Bunt is one of the best mobile games about baseball. We hope that they can implement some of the tips presented in this article so that they can increase their organic downloads at a much faster rate. Any ideas on what apps we should recommend next? Let us know in the comments section.