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December 22nd, 2020

Get more app downloads on the Google Play Store

For organic growth of your Android app, there are some important practices to follow and some pivotal points to consider along the way. The road to obtaining a significant userbase for your app may be slow-going at first, but don’t dismay — there are some things you can do to attract more users and to help garner more app downloads within the Play store.

Let’s get started.

Optimize your app’s listing in the Play store

You can’t read any article on the topic at hand without coming across this term, and rightly so. It’s known as “app store optimization” (or ASO for short) – and it is the app store equivalent to search engine optimization (SEO) — the process websites use to stand out and rank higher in search engines (and thus, gain more visibility and users).

In our case, we’ll be aiming to implement some ASO practices in order to obtain more app downloads.

ASO basics

When you first submit your app to the Play store, you’ll have the chance to populate some key information about it. For instance, you’ll be asked to provide: your app’s title, a description of your app, some images/screenshots of your app and so on.

It’s important to pay close attention to this part of the process, what you do (or don’t do) here can (or should I say, will) greatly impact the success of your app moving forward!

Let’s go over the basics.

Your app’s title – up to 50 characters

The title can be more than just the actual name of your app – it should include some of your most important keywords also, these can appear alongside the app name.

You have up to 50 characters to use here, so you should utilize this space wisely to make a clear and descriptive title. Remember, the title will be one of the first things your potential users will see, so ensure you really make it work for you as much as possible.

Main store listing
The information you provide in your “Main store listing” is crucial to your app’s success

The short description – up to 80 characters

So here is where you should “pitch” your app idea to your potential users in a snappy and memorable way.

Why should a user download your app? What are it’s main features?

Again, you’ll want to reference your important keywords, but also create a good first impression in doing so.

The full (long) description – up to 4000 characters

Think of this as an extension of your short description. It should expand on the basic selling points of the app and clearly state why a user should download your app and what features they will receive in doing so.

Since you have up to 4000 characters at your disposal, you should provide all of the relevant details whilst exercising the basic SEO/ASO best practices.

So, again, keyword usage is massively important here.

Images and graphics

During submission, you’ll be required to upload an app icon as well as a series of screenshots of your app in action.

For your app screenshots – it’s better to create custom images here as opposed to just providing raw, unedited screenshots of your app. For an example of this, you can check out the Microsoft Office app‘s store listing page. You’ll notice that the majority of apps do something similar to this.

Not only do the app screenshots look fantastic, they also contain easily digestible information about the key features in the app. This is a really effective mechanism to use, users can quickly get a sense of what the app is and what it does purely by looking at the app screenshots alone. Great!

App image examples - Discord and Microsoft Office
The Discord and Microsoft Office apps make great use of this space

App store optimization in summary

So that’s a relatively brief overview of some of the main components with regards to the optimizations you can make on your initial submission to the Play store. As you can see, keyword usage is the most critical aspect here — but you’ll need quality content that’s clear and informative, too.

To delve deeper into the topic of ASO specifically, I’d recommend this article from Neil Patel – What is App Store Optimization? This covers the ASO fundamentals in detail.

It’s important to remember that optimizing your app in the Play store is an ongoing process, you’ll definitely need to tweak your submission as time goes by in order to get the most out of your listing and ensure it’s performing as you want it to perform.

Given that your app listing is decently optimized to begin with, then, there are some important processes to follow up with post-launch, too.

Promote your app

Typically, the vast majority of your app installs will come from users searching from within the Play store directly. That’s why ASO is so critical. Increasing your app’s visibility within the search results for your given niche is one of the most critical factors to consider when first starting out.

However, if you have other avenues at your disposal whereby you can promote your app, it’s definitely worth pursuing these avenues for obvious reasons. It’s another stream you can utilize to get more users on board!

Where you can promote your app may very much depend on the niche in which your app resides. Here are a few of the more common approaches to consider:

Social media

Pushing your app via the different social media networks (Facebook, LinkedIn and so on) can help to promote growth and lead to additional downloads.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn can be great places to push your app

Depending on your chosen niche, there may be particular groups or channels that you can join and utilize to spread the word about your app. Your app should provide value to these groups, you definitely don’t want to thoughtlessly spam links to download your app everywhere and anywhere that you can!

So consider the audience, if you feel that your app can provide value to this target audience – then by all means let them know about your app. This could hopefully let to a bolstered interest and ultimately allow you to get more app downloads as a result.

Dedicated website/landing page

A decently optimized website could lead to more downloads in the app store. Having a website that specifically promotes your app means that your app could become visible within search engines, so you’ll have a chance to attract users that are searching for your keywords on the web, via Google, for example.

It also provides a good platform (in addition to your app store listing page) to spread the word about your app.

The website or landing page should clearly state the purpose and intent of your app, its key features, and it should be aesthetically pleasing with clear call to action elements. The main call to action should of course be the link to your app within the Play store. You’ll want this to stand out and be apparent to visitors in the hopes of them clicking through.

The whole purpose of the website is to succinctly provide the key information about your app and then to convert your website visitors to ultimately result in more app downloads!

Ask for reviews

The importance of positive feedback on your app cannot be understated. Therefore it’s hugely important to ask or (gently) prompt your users to review your app.

You’ll want to do this in a way that’s not too disruptive or intrusive, and you’ll want to make it as easy as possible to do. You could have a prompt on a specific page in your app that links directly through to the app listing page, or you could have a popup that appears periodically to persuade the user to leave a review.

Ask for reviews
Prompt your users for reviews, and make it as easy as possible for them to do so!

It’s also possible to have your users review your app without actually leaving the app itself, by using the Google In-App Review API, which is definitely a recommended approach.

Positive feedback will help to make your app more visible – it’ll help your app to rank higher as per the algorithm Google use. Not only will your app become more visible, though, it’ll also make users more likely to download it. A positive overall rating lets potential users know that the app is fit for purpose, while a negative overall rating is a sign for them to steer clear!

So obtaining positive reviews is a big step in the right direction towards garnering more app downloads. Once your reviews start trickling in, however, you’ll need to be proactive with handling and managing these reviews wherever possible.

Be receptive to your users

You should always try to respond to your users if at all possible. If a user has taken time out of their day to leave some comments or feedback on your app, it’s common courtesy to respond to that feedback if you can. Especially when your app is just in its infancy and you are trying to promote growth.

Not only that, but you should try to take the reviews on board where applicable, too. If there are common themes that crop up in your feedback — maybe you need to make some adjustments to the app sooner rather than later.

Either way, whether the feedback is good or bad – responding and interacting with your userbase will leave a good impression that’s directly visible in your app store listing page. If you can learn something from the feedback provided and improve your app in the process, then that’s even better.

Thanks for reading!

Have any questions? Ping me over at @justacodingblog
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