Dear Indie Devs: App Store Optimization Tips Aren't Enough

October, 12 2017

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The app market is noisy, crowded and unforgiving. How can an Indie app with a small budget stand out?

Before launching your app, you will need to ask yourself some questions.

What do you need to do to optimize your app? Are you are going to launch your app in more than one language? Will you localize for each language (not just the product, but a proper app store optimization strategy, localizing with specific keyword research per language). Or would you just translate your master app store card version into other languages? 

Indie apps generally have small teams. Time and attention are limited resources - just as limited as marketing budgets. This post will outline ways to re-purpose work you’re doing into multiple workflows:

  1. Search Engine Optimization
  2. Social Media Optimization
  3. Video Marketing
  4. Paid Advertising

Combining your strategies across these is a great way to create a cohesive, memorable brand. It is also a recognition of one simple point: app store optimization alone will not be enough. 

ASO is low hanging fruit. It’s the minimum. It will not make you stand out. 

Read more >> The Priori Data ASO Book

This post will teach you how to build on the work you put into ASO.

looking beyond app store optimization tips

1. Search Engine Optimization

Consider your website as another channel to acquire app installs. You could use a full product site or a microsite (e.g. 1-page WordPress site) detailing what your app is about. If you have the skills in-house, bigger is better.

Plan out your keyword strategy based on your ASO - your web copy should reflect the keywords you’re targeting in the app stores.

Consider also if you are only optimizing your website in one language or more. Prioritize by the target markets you want to reach.

Start with one language. Pilot it, and optimize later for a second. Rinse and repeat.

2. Social Media Optimization

Go further than linking to your website. What you publish on social media should be guided by your SEO strategy - think of it as a way to push your keywords out to your audience.

Find the keywords you are most interested in for your positioning and think where to include them organically. Make it natural sounding. Shoving keywords into your tweets shouldn’t come at the expense of readability.
Remember to include your keywords on your profile (e.g. your Twitter bio, your Facebook about section, company overview, or story).

This is a way of recycling previous work, from your ASO or SEO strategy. If you repeat copy across all your marketing efforts, it builds your brand and it helps you to be more memorable.

Bonus tip: Include custom links when you are posting across your social media networks to know where your app installs come from.

3. Video Marketing

(You should start first by using the biggest video social channel, YouTube, but these tips are also applicable to other channels such as Vimeo or Daily Motion.)

The first step is to do specific keyword research for video. Again, you could start with the same keywords from your ASO strategy. However, you also need to widen the scope as people search differently on different platforms. Youtube searches are not the same as Google searches.

Investigate your main keywords on YouTube, look at the suggestions offered. Additionally, look at the suggestions from tools like for video.

With these suggestions, optimize all the YouTube fields you can. Work on your video titles, follow proper nomenclature and think about how you will name each video. It could be the name of the video, the category it belongs (if relevant), and the app title. That way, you strengthen your other strategies at the same time. You also need to consider if your focus is on overall branding or the individual video´s optimization - the app title should come first for the former.

Include all the relevant tags then work on the description of your video. Make an appealing first paragraph, include custom links to the different app stores where your app is published to drive installs, think about your video localization.

One good tip can be to create playlists and include your videos in them together with high profile videos of the same app category.

There’s no reason not to go further.

Why don’t you maximize the specific keyword research and optimization for video you previously did? And why not you use your video titles and descriptions as a basis to include the videos on other relevant video channels and sites for a better visibility?

You might have the chance of your app being featured. Featured on the app stores, featured on YouTube: it all drives organic installs.

4. Paid Advertising

It could be a phrase, a sentence, an expression, or a bit of text you already optimized in organic - be it your ASO, SEO, SMO or video marketing. You shouldn’t forget about it as it can translate to paid advertising. With tight budgets, it’s important not to waste any forays into paid advertising!

Start with at least a budget of 500 Euros - keep on trying, optimizing, and see how many installs you are getting, and which cost-per-install you are achieving. 

Remember to keep testing. Testing, testing, testing and more testing.

Maybe your conversion rate will increase, or simply your clicks, or whichever metrics you track. It is worth doing the tests.

Get the text, modify it, adjust to the guidelines of your paid media channel, and see what happens! Anything you learn from testing through paid advertising can then be used to improve your ASO, SEO or Video Marketing copy - it’s important to keep learning and not to let your efforts in one area become isolated from the rest.


There is more to Indie app marketing than ASO. Much, much more.

People may browse for apps in the app stores, but the app stores are becoming more and more editorial (i.e. harder to game) so you’ll have to get creative to make your app as discoverable as possible. Most online purchases are made after people look up the product they’re interested in - make sure that research phase will throw up a lot of appealing, on-message and optimized content.

Hopefully you got some nice ideas to make your app stand from the crowd. Write to me and tell me how it worked for you!

Written by Charo Paredes, Global Head of ASO & SEO at DOCOMO Digital

The Ultimate Guide to 360° App Store Marketing

This article is part of a bigger project by Priori Data and Peggy Salz — a mobile authority, industry educator and lead author of The Everything Guide To Mobile Apps and Apponomics: The Insider’s Guide To A Billion Dollar Business— are working on: an e-book titled THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO 360° APP STORE MARKETING.

The aim is to bring together a select group of recognized ASO experts and ninjas including Moritz Daan (Phiture, ex-Soundcloud), Thomas Petit (8Fit) and Gessica Bicego (Blinkist), to name a few. It’s a free resource focused on giving app developers everywhere on the planet what they need to grow their business on a budget.

Pre-register for the e-book today

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