Happy Taiwanese Mahjong was a dying app that only had a few daily installs in the App Store. Our goal was to resurrect the app by running multiple rounds of App Store Keyword Optimization (ASO).
But is App Store Keyword Optimization powerful enough to save a dying app like Happy Taiwanese Mahjong? Let’s find out…
Note: while this case study is based on the Apple App Store in China market some time ago, the same method still works for all markets and all languages now.
To make it more challenging, there were a few more obstacles:
- The app developer did not want to change any programming codes and app contents;
- The app developer did not want to change the app icons, screenshots, reviews, etc;
- The app developer did not have any budget for advertising campaigns;
- And at that time, there were just a few daily downloads in China market because users there don’t like the Taiwanese Mahjong rules.
Despite these obstacles, we were thrilled by the ASO results in less than a month.
Here’s how the journey began…
BEFORE APP STORE KEYWORD OPTIMIZATION
Before doing ASO, the monthly downloads was just 83, which means an average of less than 3 daily downloads.
- Using the help of an app keyword suggestion tool, we came up with a new set of keywords for the app.
- These new keywords were then added to App Annie ASO module for tracking purpose.
- Before the new app version release, these keywords were mostly “out” of the ranking.
THE FIRST ROUND APP STORE KEYWORD OPTIMIZATION
The 1st round ASO was released on Oct 13:
- 1 week before 1st ASO: 18
- 1 week after 1st ASO: 68
- Growth: 378%
- 2 week before 1st ASO: 38
- 2 week after 1st ASO: 142
- Growth: 374%
Though the numbers are small, the growth rate is consistently over 370%.
Here were the app rankings of the new keywords sorted by highest ranking:
- The new version was submitted on Oct 12 and approved on Oct 13. It just took one day this time. However, this should not be considered standard.
- The new version got in the top 10 of only 3 of our target keywords. The other target keywords are too hard for this app to rank for.
- Perform a second round ASO to replace the non-performing keywords with some new keyword suggestions.
THE SECOND ROUND APP STORE KEYWORD OPTIMIZATION
Using the keyword suggestion tool again, we got a new set of keyword suggestions to replace the non-performing keywords.
The second round ASO was released on Nov 3:
- 1 week before 2nd ASO: 59
- 1 week after 2nd ASO: 266
- Growth: 451%
Though the numbers are small, the 1-week growth rate is over 450%.
Here were the app rankings of the new keywords sort by highest ranking:
- This time, the new version was submitted on Nov 3 with a bunch of error because iTunes Connect has a major upgrade. The app was approved on Nov 10 (a week later). Nonetheless, the keyword rankings were already updated on Nov 3 in the first submission.
- Out of the 15 target keywords, the app got on the top 10 ranking of 9 keywords (60%), compared to only 3 keywords in the first round.
- For the remaining 6 target keywords, the app got on the top 30 ranking of 5 of them.
- To review the new keyword suggestions again after a week, and perform ASO again.
OVERALL APP STORE KEYWORD OPTIMIZATION RESULTS
Let’s compare the 1-week download count before and after the whole ASO process.
- 1 week before the first ASO (Oct 6~12): 18
- 1 week after the second ASO (Nov 3~9): 266
- Growth: 1478% in less than a month!
The downloads had improved by 1478% in less than a month! This was achieved purely by ASO of app name and keywords only. During this period, there were no advertising campaigns or changes of the app codes or contents.
Surprised? It had exceeded our expectation too considering it was a dying app with just a few daily downloads!
In fact, we believe our the growth rate could have been even much higher if we had run marketing campaigns in concert with other app store optimization techniques.
HERE IS WHAT TO DO NEXT…
You’ve just finished reading the case study of app store keyword optimization.
But what app keywords should you use for your app?
Don’t worry: just use this tool to get your keyword suggestions automatically using AI.
The best part?
Yes, so go ahead and give it a spin now 🙂
Marcus is a tech entrepreneur & a father of 3 daughters.
He is the founder of Meatti, which helps mobile app developers increase app downloads using artificial intelligence.