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App Store Optimisation Best Practices, Mastering the Fundamentals

App Store Optimisation Best Practices, Mastering the Fundamentals

In 2023 where smartphones have become a vital part of our lives, mobile apps have taken centre stage. Whether it's for ordering food, shopping, or staying connected, the mobile app market is overflowing with options. With millions of apps available for download, standing out in this crowded space can be a challenge. This is where App Store Optimisation (ASO) comes into play. ASO has been around since the dawn of the app, evolving to keep up with industry trends. Its importance is particularly huge in the games industry, where competition is fierce for downloads. For game developers wanting to push their games out there, where do you begin? Let's dive in as we take you through our app store optimisation best practices guide for all game developers looking to conquer the app stores.

What is App Store Optimisation?

Let's start right at the very beginning. ASO, or App Store Optimisation, in a nutshell, is all about making your app the star of the show not only in the Apple App Store or Google Play but also in other mobile app stores such as Galaxy Store, Huawei AppGallery, or Microsoft Store. Think of ASO as a strategic approach to help your app stand out in the crowded landscape of online stores. But in order to make apps stand out across these various platforms, what are the objectives driving this game plan?

First up, we've got the conversion to download. This is the term for getting more people to hit that ‘download’ button when they find your app. You want gamers to take action, and hit that download button right? So, objective number one, increase that conversion rate.

Next up is the game visibility. Think of the app store as a massive game store, and your app is like a hidden gem, you need to make sure it's not lost in the crowd. That's where objective number two comes in – increasing your app's visibility. You want it to show up immediately when people search the stores, not gathering dust in the back corner.

Lastly, we've got brand recognition. Having a well-known and trusted brand is golden, you want your app or game to be a name that gamers recognise and trust. So, objective number three, build that brand recognition.


What Is The App Store Optimisation Process?

Firstly, inside the ASO toolkit for success, you need to identify your target audience. Take into account your target audiences’ gender, age, interests, and habits. You also need to consider the main markets you want to reach, picking the right markets is like laying the foundation for your ASO success. It also helps you create killer metadata and visuals to grab your audience's attention immediately.


Alongside this, think about how your app or game can maybe solve your target audiences’ needs. What's the magic in your product that sets it apart from others that are similar? Do you offer something that others don't? Let's say your users are the on-the-go types who love gaming during their daily commute, and you've got an ace up your sleeve – no need for a stable internet connection to play. That's a good flavour of what you need to highlight when advertising. 


Text Optimisation in Google Play or the App Store 

Let's dive into what text optimisation is all about. Text optimisation is the art of choosing and using specific keywords in your app's store listing. The primary goal of this key tool? To boost your app's visibility and, in turn, increase the number of organic downloads. It's all about working with keywords that help your app be narrowed down from a huge list. Here's how to do it! 


Algorithm of Work with the Text   
Analyse your current set of keywords to see which ones are already helping your app's visibility and driving downloads. You can also consider:

  • Studying your competitors to discover additional keywords.

  • Creating a semantic core (a list of essential keywords) and checking their popularity. You can gauge keyword popularity using tools like Apple Search Ads.

Text Optimisation in Google Play
If you are using Google Play, be sure to keep these facts in mind: 

  • The title is limited to 30 characters, so make it count by adding the most critical keywords.

  • The short description allows a maximum of 80 characters, where you can add less important keywords that you want to rank well for.

  • The full description is capped at 4000 characters, and the optimal keyword frequency is around 1.5%. Avoid changing or breaking keywords because they're indexed in their original form.

Finally, Text Optimisation in App Store 

  • In the Apple App Store, the title has a 30-character limit, so focus on the most crucial keywords and avoid using the word "FREE."

  • The subtitle allows for 30 characters and should contain significant keywords without using "FREE."

  • Use the hidden keyword field, which has a 100-character limit. When adding keywords, aim to create the maximum number of keyword pairs. Apple indexes all possible word combinations, so avoid repeating keywords. Checking the store's list of free keywords can help you avoid duplicates that might get you indexed.

  • Additionally, in the Apple Store, you can add up to 20 items for in-app purchases, but only the title (45 characters) is indexed. Description (45 characters) is also available but doesn't get indexed.


App Store Optimisation Best Practices, Mastering the Fundamentals


App Category Selection 

App Category Selection boils down to choosing the right category for your app. Think of it as assigning your app to a genre, like action, strategy, or puzzle games. This categorisation helps users and algorithms organise and find apps that match the user's interests and needs. In the App Store, there's a selection of categories, each representing a different type of app. Similarly, Google Play also offers a diverse range of categories to help users navigate their vast app collection.

Be mindful that selecting the right app category is no small task, because it directly impacts your app's visibility and ranking in the app store hierarchy and search results. Choosing the right app category can lead to more downloads and user engagement.

So, how do you choose the right category? Here's a quick tip:

  • Figure out what your app is all about and what users want from it.
  • Check out the list of available categories in the store and pick the ones that suit your app's purpose.
  • Look at what categories your direct competitors are in, and see if they're a good fit for you.
  • Remember, that changing the category can affect the app's ranking, number of downloads, and other metrics. 

Remember, aim for categories that match popular search terms and relevant app keywords, as this boosts your app's discoverability within your chosen category and in relevant search results. 

Visual Optimisation, Audience Engagement

Visual optimisation is your ticket to attracting users, keeping them engaged, and ultimately, boosting conversion rates. Your app's visuals are the first thing users encounter, and this initial impression is make or break, with over 50% of users deciding whether to explore your app in just a few seconds. So, what are the key components and rules for visual optimisation that can make or break your app's success?

The Main Visual Elements

  • Icon: This is your app's face, so make it memorable.

  • Screenshots: Showcase your app's features and functionalities in a compelling way.

  • Video Trailer: A video is worth a thousand pictures, use it to tell your app's story.

  • Feature Banner: Catch users' attention with a banner that highlights your app's key selling points.

  • Promoted in-App Purchases: Showcase in-app items to entice users to make purchases.

  • Additional Graphics: These include visuals for Apple Watch and Google Watch, graphics for featuring, and visuals for your developer page. (While not strictly ASO, they can enhance your brand image and attract more users.)


Have you also made sure to follow the Visual Optimisation Rules?

  • 3-Second Rule: You've got a mere 3 seconds to grab a users’ attention, so your visuals must be captivating.

  • Simplicity is Key: Keep all visual elements simple, readable, and understandable even to someone who has never seen your app before - clarity is supreme.

  • Tell a Story: Create a logical flow or tell a story with your visuals. Let users understand the journey and purpose of your app at a glance.

  • Follow Guidelines: Abide by the guidelines set by the app store. Each platform has its rules, and compliance is crucial.

  • Short and Sweet Captions: Use concise captions with a clear Call to Action. Make it easy for users to understand what to do next.

  • Stay Trendy, visual design trends rule the traffic, so stay updated. Be contemporary, but make sure your visuals align with your app's identity.

  • Maintain Brand Identity: While experimenting with different visual variations, ensure your brand's unique identity remains intact.

  • Seasonal Updates, these can give your app a significant boost in visibility. Tailor your visuals to match special occasions or holidays.

  • The Power of One, always remember that one exceptionally successful visual creative can entirely transform your app's fortunes. 


In App Store Optimisation best practice, understanding and mastering the key components is the pathway to success. Remember, ASO is all about making your app stand out in the world of app stores, it's about attracting users and boosting your app's visibility and downloads. ASO is your secret weapon, it's the process that can take your app to stardom. So, master these components, and watch your app climb the charts in the competitive world of app stores. Whether you're a novice or an expert, our Kwalee ASO guide is the ultimate strategy for app success.


Want to publish your game with us? Here at Kwalee, we offer an unparalleled opportunity for game developers seeking global success. As the Publisher of the Year 2022, recognised by both TIGA and Mobile Game Awards, we provide a trusted platform for launching and promoting games. By collaborating with us, you gain access to a variety of support, from expert development support, world-class marketing, and tailored monetisation strategies to name a few. 


Valery Martyniuk is an ASO Expert here at Kwalee, where she enhances the user experience and app growth strategy. Her ASO skills significantly boost Kwalee’s app visibility and performance.

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