ASO Strategy for 2021 - Unlocking App Growth

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Daniel Peris (CEO and co-founder at TheTool, PickASO), Peter Fodor (CEO at AppAgent) and Thomas Kriebernegg (CEO at App Radar) join Lina Danilchik (App Growth Evangelist at SplitMetrics) to discuss how  to adjust your strategy to new trends, what to do with creatives now and how to streamline your organic ASO with Apple Search Ads. Top experts and invaluable insights.

Source:
ASO Strategy for 2021 - Unlocking App Growth
(no direct link to watch/listen)
(direct link to watch/listen)
Type:
Panel
Publication date:
February 24, 2021
Added to the Vault on:
March 8, 2021
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💎 #
1

Because moving forward there won’t be as precise targeting from ad networks, we will see less pre-qualified traffic coming to the app stores. The role of the stores is going to be more critical in really explaining the product.

13:19
💎 #
2

Apple is trying to regain control over Facebook and Google. We’re going back in time to 2015 when featuring was important and the Apple editorial team could make games popular (instead of games mainly leveraging advertising to get to the top like it’s been lately).

14:25
💎 #
3

One of the biggest factors for mobile games in 2021 will be brand recognition. Even though it’s hard to know which branding direction to go when you’re getting started as a gaming studio, you should make sure your creatives on the app stores are recognizable and have brand consistency.

17:05
💎 #
4

Add your brand name or logo to your icon so users can always recognize your different games. The more users see your brand name, so more they will be inclined to download your (new) app or game.

20:45
💎 #
5

You should do PR campaigns to make sure people know your brand, build quality backlinks and improve your SEO for your Google Play Store listing.

24:20
💎 #
6

The most important thing for branding is to figure out what is your unique selling proposition, what are the key messages you want to communicate in ads and app store listings, and what is your tone of voice. Find the essence of your brand and be consistent. This can be done without any budget.

26:10
💎 #
7

Be extreme or aggressive when A/B testing. Don’t test a white image against another white image.

28:39
💎 #
8

Put your best, most popular and most relevant keyword on your first screenshot.

36:30
💎 #
9

There is a cost to producing and localizing screenshots with text. If an experiment shows that not having texts on screenshots gives the same performance it’s therefore best to remove the text because you’ll end up being faster at testing.

38:50
💎 #
10

It’s a great exercise for designers to produce quality screenshots without any copy. It forces them to figure out how to convey the message visually by enlarging or highlighting things.

39:26
💎 #
11

Your call to action should illustrate the benefit to the user. So it’s not necessarily “Install Now” but instead something that solves their problem in order to convince them to download. Example: “Lose weight now” for a calorie counter.

41:10
💎 #
12

SplitMetrics released an ASO benchmark for screenshots on mobile games. Using a hand pointing in the direction of the “Get” or “Install” button really works.

44:14
💎 #
13

Be careful about adding fake download buttons because Google Ads (UAC) has some bots reviewing the ads that try to find these buttons and they can label your ads as misleading.

52:10
💎 #
14

For the App Store where there is autoplay, invest time in defining your poster frame because it is the first second of the video and stands for a larger part of your store listing. Some people also have autoplay off. On the Google Play Store where there is less autoplay the feature graphic is critical.

57:30
💎 #
15

The example of Clubhouse (getting huge growth and investments) points towards voice in general and voice advertising to become one of the biggest channels. Branding and being first for your brand name is therefore critical because if people hear a voice ad about your app then search for it, you’re at risk of them downloading your competitor’s app.

01:02:29
💎 #
16

When exploring new channels, contextual advertising is going to become more important because with the IDFA deprecation you’ll have to think more about what kind of content your target audience consumes and their interests. 

01:06:15
💎 #
17

Building your brand is about building your community, your product’s brand but also your personal brand.

01:15:46
💎 #
18

Apple is building its own search engine. First it was just rumors but now the “Apple bot” (similar to the Google bot) started crawling websites. If Apple changes Google search to Apple search on Apple devices and also starts running Apple Search Ads to it, it would be a major shift.

01:17:32
💎 #
19

Apple’s spotlight search (on Mac) and iPhone search might be the first spot for Apple to display ads for apps, ecommerce, etc.

01:21:40
💎 #
20

Use your keyword learnings to adjust your visual assets. Example: the best performing search phrase could be used as the headline of the first screenshot. For DoubleDown Interactive the insight that “Cleopatra Slots” is a very popular search term served as a guidance for the theme of the first new screenshot.

43:08
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💎 #
1

Because moving forward there won’t be as precise targeting from ad networks, we will see less pre-qualified traffic coming to the app stores. The role of the stores is going to be more critical in really explaining the product.

13:19
💎 #
2

Apple is trying to regain control over Facebook and Google. We’re going back in time to 2015 when featuring was important and the Apple editorial team could make games popular (instead of games mainly leveraging advertising to get to the top like it’s been lately).

14:25
💎 #
3

One of the biggest factors for mobile games in 2021 will be brand recognition. Even though it’s hard to know which branding direction to go when you’re getting started as a gaming studio, you should make sure your creatives on the app stores are recognizable and have brand consistency.

17:05
💎 #
4

Add your brand name or logo to your icon so users can always recognize your different games. The more users see your brand name, so more they will be inclined to download your (new) app or game.

20:45
💎 #
5

You should do PR campaigns to make sure people know your brand, build quality backlinks and improve your SEO for your Google Play Store listing.

24:20
💎 #
6

The most important thing for branding is to figure out what is your unique selling proposition, what are the key messages you want to communicate in ads and app store listings, and what is your tone of voice. Find the essence of your brand and be consistent. This can be done without any budget.

26:10
💎 #
7

Be extreme or aggressive when A/B testing. Don’t test a white image against another white image.

28:39
💎 #
8

Put your best, most popular and most relevant keyword on your first screenshot.

36:30
💎 #
9

There is a cost to producing and localizing screenshots with text. If an experiment shows that not having texts on screenshots gives the same performance it’s therefore best to remove the text because you’ll end up being faster at testing.

38:50
💎 #
10

It’s a great exercise for designers to produce quality screenshots without any copy. It forces them to figure out how to convey the message visually by enlarging or highlighting things.

39:26
💎 #
11

Your call to action should illustrate the benefit to the user. So it’s not necessarily “Install Now” but instead something that solves their problem in order to convince them to download. Example: “Lose weight now” for a calorie counter.

41:10
💎 #
12

SplitMetrics released an ASO benchmark for screenshots on mobile games. Using a hand pointing in the direction of the “Get” or “Install” button really works.

44:14
💎 #
13

Be careful about adding fake download buttons because Google Ads (UAC) has some bots reviewing the ads that try to find these buttons and they can label your ads as misleading.

52:10
💎 #
14

For the App Store where there is autoplay, invest time in defining your poster frame because it is the first second of the video and stands for a larger part of your store listing. Some people also have autoplay off. On the Google Play Store where there is less autoplay the feature graphic is critical.

57:30
💎 #
15

The example of Clubhouse (getting huge growth and investments) points towards voice in general and voice advertising to become one of the biggest channels. Branding and being first for your brand name is therefore critical because if people hear a voice ad about your app then search for it, you’re at risk of them downloading your competitor’s app.

01:02:29
💎 #
16

When exploring new channels, contextual advertising is going to become more important because with the IDFA deprecation you’ll have to think more about what kind of content your target audience consumes and their interests. 

01:06:15
💎 #
17

Building your brand is about building your community, your product’s brand but also your personal brand.

01:15:46
💎 #
18

Apple is building its own search engine. First it was just rumors but now the “Apple bot” (similar to the Google bot) started crawling websites. If Apple changes Google search to Apple search on Apple devices and also starts running Apple Search Ads to it, it would be a major shift.

01:17:32
💎 #
19

Apple’s spotlight search (on Mac) and iPhone search might be the first spot for Apple to display ads for apps, ecommerce, etc.

01:21:40
💎 #
20

Use your keyword learnings to adjust your visual assets. Example: the best performing search phrase could be used as the headline of the first screenshot. For DoubleDown Interactive the insight that “Cleopatra Slots” is a very popular search term served as a guidance for the theme of the first new screenshot.

43:08
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💎 #
1

Because moving forward there won’t be as precise targeting from ad networks, we will see less pre-qualified traffic coming to the app stores. The role of the stores is going to be more critical in really explaining the product.

13:19
💎 #
2

Apple is trying to regain control over Facebook and Google. We’re going back in time to 2015 when featuring was important and the Apple editorial team could make games popular (instead of games mainly leveraging advertising to get to the top like it’s been lately).

14:25
💎 #
3

One of the biggest factors for mobile games in 2021 will be brand recognition. Even though it’s hard to know which branding direction to go when you’re getting started as a gaming studio, you should make sure your creatives on the app stores are recognizable and have brand consistency.

17:05
💎 #
4

Add your brand name or logo to your icon so users can always recognize your different games. The more users see your brand name, so more they will be inclined to download your (new) app or game.

20:45
💎 #
5

You should do PR campaigns to make sure people know your brand, build quality backlinks and improve your SEO for your Google Play Store listing.

24:20
💎 #
6

The most important thing for branding is to figure out what is your unique selling proposition, what are the key messages you want to communicate in ads and app store listings, and what is your tone of voice. Find the essence of your brand and be consistent. This can be done without any budget.

26:10
💎 #
7

Be extreme or aggressive when A/B testing. Don’t test a white image against another white image.

28:39
💎 #
8

Put your best, most popular and most relevant keyword on your first screenshot.

36:30
💎 #
9

There is a cost to producing and localizing screenshots with text. If an experiment shows that not having texts on screenshots gives the same performance it’s therefore best to remove the text because you’ll end up being faster at testing.

38:50
💎 #
10

It’s a great exercise for designers to produce quality screenshots without any copy. It forces them to figure out how to convey the message visually by enlarging or highlighting things.

39:26
💎 #
11

Your call to action should illustrate the benefit to the user. So it’s not necessarily “Install Now” but instead something that solves their problem in order to convince them to download. Example: “Lose weight now” for a calorie counter.

41:10
💎 #
12

SplitMetrics released an ASO benchmark for screenshots on mobile games. Using a hand pointing in the direction of the “Get” or “Install” button really works.

44:14
💎 #
13

Be careful about adding fake download buttons because Google Ads (UAC) has some bots reviewing the ads that try to find these buttons and they can label your ads as misleading.

52:10
💎 #
14

For the App Store where there is autoplay, invest time in defining your poster frame because it is the first second of the video and stands for a larger part of your store listing. Some people also have autoplay off. On the Google Play Store where there is less autoplay the feature graphic is critical.

57:30
💎 #
15

The example of Clubhouse (getting huge growth and investments) points towards voice in general and voice advertising to become one of the biggest channels. Branding and being first for your brand name is therefore critical because if people hear a voice ad about your app then search for it, you’re at risk of them downloading your competitor’s app.

01:02:29
💎 #
16

When exploring new channels, contextual advertising is going to become more important because with the IDFA deprecation you’ll have to think more about what kind of content your target audience consumes and their interests. 

01:06:15
💎 #
17

Building your brand is about building your community, your product’s brand but also your personal brand.

01:15:46
💎 #
18

Apple is building its own search engine. First it was just rumors but now the “Apple bot” (similar to the Google bot) started crawling websites. If Apple changes Google search to Apple search on Apple devices and also starts running Apple Search Ads to it, it would be a major shift.

01:17:32
💎 #
19

Apple’s spotlight search (on Mac) and iPhone search might be the first spot for Apple to display ads for apps, ecommerce, etc.

01:21:40
💎 #
20

Use your keyword learnings to adjust your visual assets. Example: the best performing search phrase could be used as the headline of the first screenshot. For DoubleDown Interactive the insight that “Cleopatra Slots” is a very popular search term served as a guidance for the theme of the first new screenshot.

43:08
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App Radar is acquiring The Tool!

Changes in ASO: what to pay attention to in 2021?

Thomas

  • Start seeing ASO as one part of the user journey. Put yourself in your user’s shoes: where are they coming from (Instagram, Word of Mouth, etc.).


Daniel

  • Product has more and more impact on ASO visibility and product will become even more critical
  • ASO in 2021 will depend on what Apple and Google want, make available on their stores and developer consoles


Lina

  • Privacy labels on the App Store: now users can see what data apps use and the permission they request before downloading. You might want to test changing the list to see if it affects conversion.
  • App Clips have recently appeared: it’s another opportunity to present your app and get users to sample it
  • Auto correction of misspellings: leveraging misspellings might not work anymore


Which ASO tips for apps and mobile games will be effective in 2021

Peter

  • [💎@13:19] Because moving forward there won’t be as precise targeting from ad networks, we will see less pre-qualified traffic coming to the app stores. The role of the stores is going to be more critical in really explaining the product.
  • [💎@14:25] Apple is trying to regain control over Facebook and Google. We’re going back in time to 2015 when featuring was important and the Apple editorial team could make games popular (instead of games mainly leveraging advertising to get to the top like it’s been lately)


Thomas

  • We will probably see less of the fake screenshots
  • Over the last years the dominating studios are incorporating very well the “internal branding”. Example with Angry Bird and their signature “catchy bird”.
    [💎@17:05] One of the biggest factors for mobile games in 2021 will be brand recognition. Even though it’s hard to know which branding direction to go when you’re getting started as a gaming studio, you should make sure your creatives on the app stores are recognizable and have brand consistency.


Peter

  • Originally, advertising was all about branding. Then we moved to performance, but now we’re going back to branding again so brand identity is really important. Example of Blinkist who shared recently how developing the brand awareness has allowed them to grow performance instead of plateauing.


Lina

  • [💎@20:45] Add your brand name or logo to your icon so users can always recognize your different games. The more users see your brand name, so more they will be inclined to download your app or game.


Daniel

  • One of the objectives of ASO is brand building, just like SEO was. This is even more true now. Wherever your product appears, your brand should be there.
  • [💎@24:20] You should do PR campaigns to make sure people know your brand, build quality backlinks and improve your SEO for your Google Play Store listing.
  • (Mobile) website will become again a critical part


Peter

  • [💎@26:10] The most important thing for branding is to figure out what is your unique selling proposition, what are the key messages you want to communicate in ads and app store listings, and what is your tone of voice. Find the essence of your brand and be consistent. This can be done without any budget.


Role of creatives for the whole mobile growth strategy in 2021

Daniel

  • You can get inspiration from competitors. 
  • [💎@28:39] Be extreme or aggressive when A/B testing. Don’t test a white image against another white image.
  • Adapt your creatives to trends

Thomas

  • The performance of video really depends on the app’s category: game, app, which subcategory. 
  • People that like a specific kind of games or apps are getting used to how they learn about what the product is on the App Store. For some categories video is very present for this.


Peter

  • In a few weeks a lot of users with IDFA deprecation are going to start seeing ads that are not relevant, and creativity will therefore play a big role.
  • Some apps are not visually appealing. It requires creative and marketing skills to get users to download them.


Lina

  • Creatives are coming back to the forefront and the way to stand out against competitors. You need to catch users’ attention quickly.
  • Text in ASO screenshots/images? Screenshots are the most important element, and using text is a great way to convey your value proposition.
    [💎@36:30] Put your best, most popular and most relevant keyword on your first screenshot


Daniel

  • Using texts on screenshots helps with visibility on the Google Play Store. But also if you’re not using text:
    - you’re missing an opportunity to convey your features
    - your screenshots won’t look as professional


Not using text [on your screenshots] is not an option


Peter

  • [💎@38:50] There is a cost to producing and localizing screenshots with text. If an experiment shows that not having texts on screenshots gives the same performance it’s therefore best to remove the text because you’ll end up being faster at testing.
  • [💎@39:26] It’s a great exercise for designers to produce quality screenshots without any copy. It forces them to figure out how to convey the message visually by enlarging or highlighting things.



Creatives A/B testing: what to test, insights & tips

Thomas

  • Regarding “Install now” aggressive buttons or hands pointing at fake buttons: you have to A/B test it to know
  • [💎@41:10] Your call to action should illustrate the benefit to the user. So it’s not necessarily “Install Now” but instead something that solves their problem in order to convince them to download. Example: “Lose weight now” for a calorie counter.


Peter

  • Understand the highly searched phrases through Apple Search Ads so you can reflect them in your screenshots, with text but also visually. 
  • [💎@43:08] Use your keyword learnings to adjust your visual assets. Example: the best performing search phrase could be used as the headline of the first screenshot. For DoubleDown Interactive the insight that “Cleopatra Slots” is a very popular search term served as a guidance for the theme of the first new screenshot.

Lina

  • [💎@44:14] Splitmetrics released an ASO benchmark for screenshots on mobile games. Using a hand pointing in the direction of the “Get” or “Install” button really works.


Daniel

  • The first thing you want to A/B test is the icon, especially on the Google Play Store because you can run experiments.
  • Second, if it’s a mobile game then A/B testing the feature graphic has a big impact on conversion rate.
  • Third screenshots


Lina

  • For some apps screenshots are even more important than icons
  • App previews or videos: be very careful when adding a video when you didn’t have one previously because adding an App Preview might decrease your conversion rate
  • In-app purchases and developer names are also indexed in the app stores and can get you additional visibility


Daniel

  • [💎@52:10] Be careful about adding fake download buttons because Google Ads (UAC) has some bots reviewing the ads that try to find these buttons and they can label your ads as misleading.
  • 53:05 Adding the main keyword of your app to the icon can bring good results. So even if a lot of people say it hurts the brand, it can be worth testing especially for smaller apps.


Thomas

  • Portrait vs. landscape screenshots? It depends on the category, as people are used to different presentations based on the type of apps. You can also use creativity (e.g. landscape video starting with 3 screenshots) to surprise users and increase conversion.


Peter

  • [💎@57:30] For the App Store where there is autoplay, invest time in defining your poster frame because it is the first second of the video and stands for a larger part of your store listing. Some people also have autoplay off. On the Google Play Store where there is less autoplay the feature graphic is critical.



Are ASO and UA inseparable in 2021?

Lina

  • They are inseparable, you need to work with both. Plus, Apple Search Ads might be the only channel where you’ll be able to track users without their consent


Thomas

  • [💎@1:02:29] The example of Clubhouse (getting huge growth and investments) points towards voice in general and voice advertising to become one of the biggest channels. Branding and being first for your brand name is therefore critical because if people hear a voice ad about your app then search for it, you’re at risk of them downloading your competitor’s app.


Lina

  • Apple Search Ads is a way to protect your brand, or to steal traffic from your competitors.



Alternative channels to grow your mobile game or app in 2021

Peter

  • [💎@1:06:15] When exploring new channels, contextual advertising is going to become more important because with the IDFA deprecation you’ll have to think more about what kind of content your target audience consumes and their interests. 


Daniel

  • Audio and voice will be one of the major trends: Clubhouse, Spotify


Major mobile trends which will shape the industry in 2021


Peter

  • iOS 14.5 changes will bankrupt several businesses
  • Non-gaming apps should explore more the web funnel. Not only it saves 30% of the revenue but provides much better customer data and options on how to deal with refunds, discounts or cancellations.


Thomas

  • App fatigue might be something we see in 2021. Some kind of apps will die out, with only a couple of players surviving. It’s no more the golden age.
  • If you want to be the one that survive: build a great product and big brand



Affordable app channels?

Peter

  • If you’re looking for affordable channels, start with looking at building a community


Thomas

  • If you’re thinking of cheap channels, don’t go where big companies are going because the costs are going to be higher. Build up a community of small brand ambassadors. Start with things that don’t scale.


Other than graphics, what is another way to organically brand your app?

Daniel

  • [💎@1:15:46] Building your brand is about building your community, your product’s brand but also your personal brand.


Apple Search Ads vs. Apple Search and Google Ads vs. Google Search

Daniel

  • [💎@1:17:32] Apple is building its own search engine. First it was just rumors but now the “Apple bot” (similar to the Google bot) started crawling websites. If Apple changes Google search to Apple search on Apple devices and also starts running Apple Search Ads to it, it would be a major shift.


Thomas

  • Google is making most of their revenue off search ads. Apple can tap into this huge pot of money, plus they’re already paying fees to Google to use Google Search.
  • [💎@1:21:40] Apple’s spotlight search (on Mac) and iPhone search might be the first spot for Apple to display ads for apps, ecommerce, etc.


Peter

  • What does this mean for ASO? Today, you type only 2 to 3 words when you search on iPhone - typically very simple phrases. If the algorithm becomes more sophisticated it might be a big change for ASO practitioners.  

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App Radar is acquiring The Tool!

Changes in ASO: what to pay attention to in 2021?

Thomas

  • Start seeing ASO as one part of the user journey. Put yourself in your user’s shoes: where are they coming from (Instagram, Word of Mouth, etc.).


Daniel

  • Product has more and more impact on ASO visibility and product will become even more critical
  • ASO in 2021 will depend on what Apple and Google want, make available on their stores and developer consoles


Lina

  • Privacy labels on the App Store: now users can see what data apps use and the permission they request before downloading. You might want to test changing the list to see if it affects conversion.
  • App Clips have recently appeared: it’s another opportunity to present your app and get users to sample it
  • Auto correction of misspellings: leveraging misspellings might not work anymore


Which ASO tips for apps and mobile games will be effective in 2021

Peter

  • [💎@13:19] Because moving forward there won’t be as precise targeting from ad networks, we will see less pre-qualified traffic coming to the app stores. The role of the stores is going to be more critical in really explaining the product.
  • [💎@14:25] Apple is trying to regain control over Facebook and Google. We’re going back in time to 2015 when featuring was important and the Apple editorial team could make games popular (instead of games mainly leveraging advertising to get to the top like it’s been lately)


Thomas

  • We will probably see less of the fake screenshots
  • Over the last years the dominating studios are incorporating very well the “internal branding”. Example with Angry Bird and their signature “catchy bird”.
    [💎@17:05] One of the biggest factors for mobile games in 2021 will be brand recognition. Even though it’s hard to know which branding direction to go when you’re getting started as a gaming studio, you should make sure your creatives on the app stores are recognizable and have brand consistency.


Peter

  • Originally, advertising was all about branding. Then we moved to performance, but now we’re going back to branding again so brand identity is really important. Example of Blinkist who shared recently how developing the brand awareness has allowed them to grow performance instead of plateauing.


Lina

  • [💎@20:45] Add your brand name or logo to your icon so users can always recognize your different games. The more users see your brand name, so more they will be inclined to download your app or game.


Daniel

  • One of the objectives of ASO is brand building, just like SEO was. This is even more true now. Wherever your product appears, your brand should be there.
  • [💎@24:20] You should do PR campaigns to make sure people know your brand, build quality backlinks and improve your SEO for your Google Play Store listing.
  • (Mobile) website will become again a critical part


Peter

  • [💎@26:10] The most important thing for branding is to figure out what is your unique selling proposition, what are the key messages you want to communicate in ads and app store listings, and what is your tone of voice. Find the essence of your brand and be consistent. This can be done without any budget.


Role of creatives for the whole mobile growth strategy in 2021

Daniel

  • You can get inspiration from competitors. 
  • [💎@28:39] Be extreme or aggressive when A/B testing. Don’t test a white image against another white image.
  • Adapt your creatives to trends

Thomas

  • The performance of video really depends on the app’s category: game, app, which subcategory. 
  • People that like a specific kind of games or apps are getting used to how they learn about what the product is on the App Store. For some categories video is very present for this.


Peter

  • In a few weeks a lot of users with IDFA deprecation are going to start seeing ads that are not relevant, and creativity will therefore play a big role.
  • Some apps are not visually appealing. It requires creative and marketing skills to get users to download them.


Lina

  • Creatives are coming back to the forefront and the way to stand out against competitors. You need to catch users’ attention quickly.
  • Text in ASO screenshots/images? Screenshots are the most important element, and using text is a great way to convey your value proposition.
    [💎@36:30] Put your best, most popular and most relevant keyword on your first screenshot


Daniel

  • Using texts on screenshots helps with visibility on the Google Play Store. But also if you’re not using text:
    - you’re missing an opportunity to convey your features
    - your screenshots won’t look as professional


Not using text [on your screenshots] is not an option


Peter

  • [💎@38:50] There is a cost to producing and localizing screenshots with text. If an experiment shows that not having texts on screenshots gives the same performance it’s therefore best to remove the text because you’ll end up being faster at testing.
  • [💎@39:26] It’s a great exercise for designers to produce quality screenshots without any copy. It forces them to figure out how to convey the message visually by enlarging or highlighting things.



Creatives A/B testing: what to test, insights & tips

Thomas

  • Regarding “Install now” aggressive buttons or hands pointing at fake buttons: you have to A/B test it to know
  • [💎@41:10] Your call to action should illustrate the benefit to the user. So it’s not necessarily “Install Now” but instead something that solves their problem in order to convince them to download. Example: “Lose weight now” for a calorie counter.


Peter

  • Understand the highly searched phrases through Apple Search Ads so you can reflect them in your screenshots, with text but also visually. 
  • [💎@43:08] Use your keyword learnings to adjust your visual assets. Example: the best performing search phrase could be used as the headline of the first screenshot. For DoubleDown Interactive the insight that “Cleopatra Slots” is a very popular search term served as a guidance for the theme of the first new screenshot.

Lina

  • [💎@44:14] Splitmetrics released an ASO benchmark for screenshots on mobile games. Using a hand pointing in the direction of the “Get” or “Install” button really works.


Daniel

  • The first thing you want to A/B test is the icon, especially on the Google Play Store because you can run experiments.
  • Second, if it’s a mobile game then A/B testing the feature graphic has a big impact on conversion rate.
  • Third screenshots


Lina

  • For some apps screenshots are even more important than icons
  • App previews or videos: be very careful when adding a video when you didn’t have one previously because adding an App Preview might decrease your conversion rate
  • In-app purchases and developer names are also indexed in the app stores and can get you additional visibility


Daniel

  • [💎@52:10] Be careful about adding fake download buttons because Google Ads (UAC) has some bots reviewing the ads that try to find these buttons and they can label your ads as misleading.
  • 53:05 Adding the main keyword of your app to the icon can bring good results. So even if a lot of people say it hurts the brand, it can be worth testing especially for smaller apps.


Thomas

  • Portrait vs. landscape screenshots? It depends on the category, as people are used to different presentations based on the type of apps. You can also use creativity (e.g. landscape video starting with 3 screenshots) to surprise users and increase conversion.


Peter

  • [💎@57:30] For the App Store where there is autoplay, invest time in defining your poster frame because it is the first second of the video and stands for a larger part of your store listing. Some people also have autoplay off. On the Google Play Store where there is less autoplay the feature graphic is critical.



Are ASO and UA inseparable in 2021?

Lina

  • They are inseparable, you need to work with both. Plus, Apple Search Ads might be the only channel where you’ll be able to track users without their consent


Thomas

  • [💎@1:02:29] The example of Clubhouse (getting huge growth and investments) points towards voice in general and voice advertising to become one of the biggest channels. Branding and being first for your brand name is therefore critical because if people hear a voice ad about your app then search for it, you’re at risk of them downloading your competitor’s app.


Lina

  • Apple Search Ads is a way to protect your brand, or to steal traffic from your competitors.



Alternative channels to grow your mobile game or app in 2021

Peter

  • [💎@1:06:15] When exploring new channels, contextual advertising is going to become more important because with the IDFA deprecation you’ll have to think more about what kind of content your target audience consumes and their interests. 


Daniel

  • Audio and voice will be one of the major trends: Clubhouse, Spotify


Major mobile trends which will shape the industry in 2021


Peter

  • iOS 14.5 changes will bankrupt several businesses
  • Non-gaming apps should explore more the web funnel. Not only it saves 30% of the revenue but provides much better customer data and options on how to deal with refunds, discounts or cancellations.


Thomas

  • App fatigue might be something we see in 2021. Some kind of apps will die out, with only a couple of players surviving. It’s no more the golden age.
  • If you want to be the one that survive: build a great product and big brand



Affordable app channels?

Peter

  • If you’re looking for affordable channels, start with looking at building a community


Thomas

  • If you’re thinking of cheap channels, don’t go where big companies are going because the costs are going to be higher. Build up a community of small brand ambassadors. Start with things that don’t scale.


Other than graphics, what is another way to organically brand your app?

Daniel

  • [💎@1:15:46] Building your brand is about building your community, your product’s brand but also your personal brand.


Apple Search Ads vs. Apple Search and Google Ads vs. Google Search

Daniel

  • [💎@1:17:32] Apple is building its own search engine. First it was just rumors but now the “Apple bot” (similar to the Google bot) started crawling websites. If Apple changes Google search to Apple search on Apple devices and also starts running Apple Search Ads to it, it would be a major shift.


Thomas

  • Google is making most of their revenue off search ads. Apple can tap into this huge pot of money, plus they’re already paying fees to Google to use Google Search.
  • [💎@1:21:40] Apple’s spotlight search (on Mac) and iPhone search might be the first spot for Apple to display ads for apps, ecommerce, etc.


Peter

  • What does this mean for ASO? Today, you type only 2 to 3 words when you search on iPhone - typically very simple phrases. If the algorithm becomes more sophisticated it might be a big change for ASO practitioners.  

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Changes in ASO: what to pay attention to in 2021?

Thomas

  • Start seeing ASO as one part of the user journey. Put yourself in your user’s shoes: where are they coming from (Instagram, Word of Mouth, etc.).


Daniel

  • Product has more and more impact on ASO visibility and product will become even more critical
  • ASO in 2021 will depend on what Apple and Google want, make available on their stores and developer consoles


Lina

  • Privacy labels on the App Store: now users can see what data apps use and the permission they request before downloading. You might want to test changing the list to see if it affects conversion.
  • App Clips have recently appeared: it’s another opportunity to present your app and get users to sample it
  • Auto correction of misspellings: leveraging misspellings might not work anymore


Which ASO tips for apps and mobile games will be effective in 2021

Peter

  • [💎@13:19] Because moving forward there won’t be as precise targeting from ad networks, we will see less pre-qualified traffic coming to the app stores. The role of the stores is going to be more critical in really explaining the product.
  • [💎@14:25] Apple is trying to regain control over Facebook and Google. We’re going back in time to 2015 when featuring was important and the Apple editorial team could make games popular (instead of games mainly leveraging advertising to get to the top like it’s been lately)


Thomas

  • We will probably see less of the fake screenshots
  • Over the last years the dominating studios are incorporating very well the “internal branding”. Example with Angry Bird and their signature “catchy bird”.
    [💎@17:05] One of the biggest factors for mobile games in 2021 will be brand recognition. Even though it’s hard to know which branding direction to go when you’re getting started as a gaming studio, you should make sure your creatives on the app stores are recognizable and have brand consistency.


Peter

  • Originally, advertising was all about branding. Then we moved to performance, but now we’re going back to branding again so brand identity is really important. Example of Blinkist who shared recently how developing the brand awareness has allowed them to grow performance instead of plateauing.


Lina

  • [💎@20:45] Add your brand name or logo to your icon so users can always recognize your different games. The more users see your brand name, so more they will be inclined to download your app or game.


Daniel

  • One of the objectives of ASO is brand building, just like SEO was. This is even more true now. Wherever your product appears, your brand should be there.
  • [💎@24:20] You should do PR campaigns to make sure people know your brand, build quality backlinks and improve your SEO for your Google Play Store listing.
  • (Mobile) website will become again a critical part


Peter

  • [💎@26:10] The most important thing for branding is to figure out what is your unique selling proposition, what are the key messages you want to communicate in ads and app store listings, and what is your tone of voice. Find the essence of your brand and be consistent. This can be done without any budget.


Role of creatives for the whole mobile growth strategy in 2021

Daniel

  • You can get inspiration from competitors. 
  • [💎@28:39] Be extreme or aggressive when A/B testing. Don’t test a white image against another white image.
  • Adapt your creatives to trends

Thomas

  • The performance of video really depends on the app’s category: game, app, which subcategory. 
  • People that like a specific kind of games or apps are getting used to how they learn about what the product is on the App Store. For some categories video is very present for this.


Peter

  • In a few weeks a lot of users with IDFA deprecation are going to start seeing ads that are not relevant, and creativity will therefore play a big role.
  • Some apps are not visually appealing. It requires creative and marketing skills to get users to download them.


Lina

  • Creatives are coming back to the forefront and the way to stand out against competitors. You need to catch users’ attention quickly.
  • Text in ASO screenshots/images? Screenshots are the most important element, and using text is a great way to convey your value proposition.
    [💎@36:30] Put your best, most popular and most relevant keyword on your first screenshot


Daniel

  • Using texts on screenshots helps with visibility on the Google Play Store. But also if you’re not using text:
    - you’re missing an opportunity to convey your features
    - your screenshots won’t look as professional


Not using text [on your screenshots] is not an option


Peter

  • [💎@38:50] There is a cost to producing and localizing screenshots with text. If an experiment shows that not having texts on screenshots gives the same performance it’s therefore best to remove the text because you’ll end up being faster at testing.
  • [💎@39:26] It’s a great exercise for designers to produce quality screenshots without any copy. It forces them to figure out how to convey the message visually by enlarging or highlighting things.



Creatives A/B testing: what to test, insights & tips

Thomas

  • Regarding “Install now” aggressive buttons or hands pointing at fake buttons: you have to A/B test it to know
  • [💎@41:10] Your call to action should illustrate the benefit to the user. So it’s not necessarily “Install Now” but instead something that solves their problem in order to convince them to download. Example: “Lose weight now” for a calorie counter.


Peter

  • Understand the highly searched phrases through Apple Search Ads so you can reflect them in your screenshots, with text but also visually. 
  • [💎@43:08] Use your keyword learnings to adjust your visual assets. Example: the best performing search phrase could be used as the headline of the first screenshot. For DoubleDown Interactive the insight that “Cleopatra Slots” is a very popular search term served as a guidance for the theme of the first new screenshot.

Lina

  • [💎@44:14] Splitmetrics released an ASO benchmark for screenshots on mobile games. Using a hand pointing in the direction of the “Get” or “Install” button really works.


Daniel

  • The first thing you want to A/B test is the icon, especially on the Google Play Store because you can run experiments.
  • Second, if it’s a mobile game then A/B testing the feature graphic has a big impact on conversion rate.
  • Third screenshots


Lina

  • For some apps screenshots are even more important than icons
  • App previews or videos: be very careful when adding a video when you didn’t have one previously because adding an App Preview might decrease your conversion rate
  • In-app purchases and developer names are also indexed in the app stores and can get you additional visibility


Daniel

  • [💎@52:10] Be careful about adding fake download buttons because Google Ads (UAC) has some bots reviewing the ads that try to find these buttons and they can label your ads as misleading.
  • 53:05 Adding the main keyword of your app to the icon can bring good results. So even if a lot of people say it hurts the brand, it can be worth testing especially for smaller apps.


Thomas

  • Portrait vs. landscape screenshots? It depends on the category, as people are used to different presentations based on the type of apps. You can also use creativity (e.g. landscape video starting with 3 screenshots) to surprise users and increase conversion.


Peter

  • [💎@57:30] For the App Store where there is autoplay, invest time in defining your poster frame because it is the first second of the video and stands for a larger part of your store listing. Some people also have autoplay off. On the Google Play Store where there is less autoplay the feature graphic is critical.



Are ASO and UA inseparable in 2021?

Lina

  • They are inseparable, you need to work with both. Plus, Apple Search Ads might be the only channel where you’ll be able to track users without their consent


Thomas

  • [💎@1:02:29] The example of Clubhouse (getting huge growth and investments) points towards voice in general and voice advertising to become one of the biggest channels. Branding and being first for your brand name is therefore critical because if people hear a voice ad about your app then search for it, you’re at risk of them downloading your competitor’s app.


Lina

  • Apple Search Ads is a way to protect your brand, or to steal traffic from your competitors.



Alternative channels to grow your mobile game or app in 2021

Peter

  • [💎@1:06:15] When exploring new channels, contextual advertising is going to become more important because with the IDFA deprecation you’ll have to think more about what kind of content your target audience consumes and their interests. 


Daniel

  • Audio and voice will be one of the major trends: Clubhouse, Spotify


Major mobile trends which will shape the industry in 2021


Peter

  • iOS 14.5 changes will bankrupt several businesses
  • Non-gaming apps should explore more the web funnel. Not only it saves 30% of the revenue but provides much better customer data and options on how to deal with refunds, discounts or cancellations.


Thomas

  • App fatigue might be something we see in 2021. Some kind of apps will die out, with only a couple of players surviving. It’s no more the golden age.
  • If you want to be the one that survive: build a great product and big brand



Affordable app channels?

Peter

  • If you’re looking for affordable channels, start with looking at building a community


Thomas

  • If you’re thinking of cheap channels, don’t go where big companies are going because the costs are going to be higher. Build up a community of small brand ambassadors. Start with things that don’t scale.


Other than graphics, what is another way to organically brand your app?

Daniel

  • [💎@1:15:46] Building your brand is about building your community, your product’s brand but also your personal brand.


Apple Search Ads vs. Apple Search and Google Ads vs. Google Search

Daniel

  • [💎@1:17:32] Apple is building its own search engine. First it was just rumors but now the “Apple bot” (similar to the Google bot) started crawling websites. If Apple changes Google search to Apple search on Apple devices and also starts running Apple Search Ads to it, it would be a major shift.


Thomas

  • Google is making most of their revenue off search ads. Apple can tap into this huge pot of money, plus they’re already paying fees to Google to use Google Search.
  • [💎@1:21:40] Apple’s spotlight search (on Mac) and iPhone search might be the first spot for Apple to display ads for apps, ecommerce, etc.


Peter

  • What does this mean for ASO? Today, you type only 2 to 3 words when you search on iPhone - typically very simple phrases. If the algorithm becomes more sophisticated it might be a big change for ASO practitioners.