The One Secret To Effective App Store Optimization

The One Secret To Effective App Store Optimization

To mobile app developers, it is no secret that app store optimization (ASO) is a must do in their app marketing plan. It helps improve an app’s rank in Google Play or the App Store.

To perform app store optimization, developers optimize the metadata (e.g. app name, description, and keywords), localize the content, and manage reviews. Developers usually evaluate the ASO effectiveness by the keyword ranks and the number of downloads.

However, there is a secret metric that many app developers have missed. In fact, it is the one metric that really matters the most in any app store optimization strategy…

It is the Conversion Rate.

What is conversion rate (CR)?

Let’s use the analytics from Apple App Store to illustrate the concept.

In Apple iTunes Connect’s App Analytics, you can find the followings:

  • Impressions (the number of times your app showed up in the App Store)
  • App Page Views (the number of visits on your app’s page in the App Store)
  • and App Units (the number of downloads)

With these data, you can easily calculate two CRs:

  • Page View CR = App Page Views / Impressions x 100%
  • Download CR = App Units / App Page Views x 100%

To put things into perspective,

  • The page view CR is the percentage of people who see your app from search results, rank lists, or featured app lists, and then tap the icon to check out your app.
  • The download CR is the percentage of people who visits your app page and then downloads your app.

These two CRs can be presented along with impressions, app page views, and app units in a diagram called Conversion Funnel in app marketing.

app store optimization conversion funnel

Why is conversion rate such a big deal?

There are mainly three reasons.

1. CR is a strong quantitative indicator of ASO effectiveness

Keyword ranking and number of downloads are not the best metrics to measure the performance of ASO. There are many external factors that can influence those two metrics. For example, a big competing publisher may publish a hugely popular app and shift the apps in the keyword ranking by a margin (e.g. The impact of Pokemon Go and related apps on the keyword “Pokemon” and “Go”). Or you run ASO and an advertisement campaign at the same time and the number of the downloads become not purely organic.

On the other hand, CRs are independent of market competition nor the source of traffic. They give you the true picture of ASO effectiveness.

2. CR reflects the likelihood of getting ranked

CR is a natural ranking signal in app store search. If lots of people search certain keywords, click on the same search result, and download the same app, Google Play and the App Store should receive a strong message:

“Users want to see this app!”

and place the app in a dominant spot (i.e. rank or featured list).

3. CR saves you money!

It’s just simple math: if you double your CR, you cut your advertising cost by half for the same amount of downloads. For the same reason, if you haven’t optimized your CR, don’t spend big bucks on advertising campaigns! You would be wasting your money.

Just a side story: some ranking manipulation farms even go far and take advantage of this. They offer keyword-rank-manipulation service. They boost the ranking of an app by “searching” the app by specific keywords, tapping the app in the search results and download the app — the exact flow of conversion store optimization improve conversion rate

How do you improve your conversion rate?

Now you know the importance of conversion rate, let’s see how we can improve them.

Let’s do a recap:

Page View CR = App Page Views / Impressions x 100%

If Page View CR is less than 3%, you should try to improve it.

3%? Really? Yes, 3% sounds very low, but you won’t believe many apps have less than 1% we have seen!

To improve Page View CR, focus on optimizing these metadata:

  • App name
  • App icon
  • First 2 lines of app description
  • First 2 screenshots (or app preview video)
  • App ratings

It is because the app search result only shows these pieces of information. That means they are your baits to bring users to your app page. So make good use of them!

Pro Tip: How to do App Store Optimization
For more tips about ASO, check out this post App Store Optimization in 3 Easy Steps.

Now, let’s look at Download CR:

Download CR = App Units / App Page Views x 100%

Folks from SplitMetrics have done a wonderful job on this topic. They gathered the download conversion rates from hundreds of experiments with over 10,000,000 users. Here are the best conversion rates in each app category in their study:

app store optimization conversion rateBased on this graph, you should set your download CR target to at least 60% for most categories. For Health & Fitness and Education categories, you may set your target a bit lower to around 40% and 50% respectively.

When you’re satisfied with your app’s conversion rates, you’re ready to scale up the traffic. It means getting more impressions at the top of the funnel. You can do it by fine-tuning the keywords, media outreach and other advertising campaigns.

Remember, app store optimization is a continuous process. You should do a lot of experiments with your app metadata. Check the conversion funnel and conversion rates regularly for areas of improvement.

And most importantly, never give up!

Here’s what to do next…

Before starting your own journey, how about seeing a real app store optimization in action?

Sign up now to check out our Case Study on How App Store Optimization Increased App Downloads by 1478% in a Month.


  1. What’s a Good App Store Page Conversion Rate? We Asked 10M Users. SplitMetrics
  2. Average App Category Conversion Rate: 6M Users Analyzed. Chupamobile

Tech entrepreneur & father of 3 daughters.
Marcus is the founder of Meatti. He helps mobile app developers with app marketing and app store optimization services. Marcus also helps app developers overcome the business challenges of entering the China’s app market.

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