A very common practice among user acquisition managers is to divide UA activities into two categories with separate budgets, strategies and goals. I'm talking about App Store Optimization (ASO) and paid user acquisition. How does this approach affect user acquisition? Read this article and learn about the most important problems UA Managers make in this skipping ASO.
A very common practice among user acquisition managers is to divide UA activities into two categories with separate budgets, strategies and goals. I'm talking about App Store Optimization (ASO) and paid user acquisition. How does this approach affect user acquisition? The Paid UA department gets a big budget for paid app advertising, and the ASO team has a hard time convincing managers to invest in ASO. Why? After all, ASO should be simple as an organic activity so why pack a big budget into it? This approach is wrong by definition - it is a missed opportunity to combine activities and build UA based on a holistic approach to both topics and take advantage of the fact that they can complement each other perfectly. Read this article and learn about the most important problems UA Managers make in this skipping ASO.
Poorly constructed user acquisition strategy building silos between App Store Optimization and Paid UA
The close relationship between paid UA and ASO is a fact, as both areas prioritize the same goal: to drive more conversions of quality users while lowering the overall cost per install (CPI). This is why leveraging both fields to your advantage is key to effectively grow your app.
The goal of the app marketer is to adjust UA strategies to get as many users as possible. It is not indifferent what kind of users they will be. A good UA strategy is one in which we acquire a large number of users, at a low enough acquisition cost and with the highest possible retention so that the acquisition cost can be recouped in future user spending. Paid UA activities are successful in attracting awareness among new users, announcing new features, but it is through ASO that you build virality, which is the driving force behind the application's growth and success.
ASO helps you build visibility, get found among people who are looking for solutions to the problems your app provides, and allows it to be featured in stores and attract even more new users.
A properly constructed UA strategy starts with App Store Optimization to lay the foundation for future UA activities. Paid UA activities should then be matched to these activities point by point only where they are necessary. Reporting and management of budgets and campaign optimization should take place after analyzing the reports of both activities. Only looking at UA through the lens of ASO and Paid UA will yield results. It will save you thousands and millions of dollars on Paid UA which you will be able to allocate to, for example, application development and new functionalities.
Overlooking App Store Optimization
ASO is the process of improving an app’s visibility in the app stores with the primary goal of increasing app downloads and your app’s conversion rate (turning app impressions into downloads). According to Apple, up to 65% of all app downloads come from users who search for a specific keyword on the App Store, so if you aren’t investing time in ASO, you’re missing out on the largest discovery channel available within the store.
Your app store listing is critical because every user who comes through the store to download your app will eventually land on your app page. It doesn’t matter if they are coming from organic searches, Search Ads, social media ads, display ads, or referrals; the last thing a user will see before downloading your app is your app page. That said, a thoughtfully optimized app page is key to increasing your conversion rates and lowering your CPIs for app advertising campaigns.
Despite the big impact UA campaigns can yield, it’s essential to remember that paid user acquisition is not sustainable alone. While UA campaigns may bring instant results, these paid campaigns will not continue to bring users to your app page once they’re stopped; even pausing your campaign will cause an immediate drop in your overall downloads. If you don’t have an unlimited budget for paid user acquisition, you will need a solid ASO foundation to maintain a stream of high-quality users downloading your app, even when UA dollars aren’t actively being pushed towards it.
When combining UA with ASO, your goal should be to keep the return on investment (ROI) high and the cost per install (CPI) low (while making sure you aren’t cannibalizing keywords—we’ll get to that later). When running your campaigns, if you find that your ads are receiving a high number of impressions but your app page’s conversion rate is still low, this likely signals a problem with your ASO.
UA and ASO work best when they work together. As it so happens, UA can often lead to more organic installs, because paid ads bring new attention to your app listing, which leads to more first-time installs. Then, the more installs you receive, the higher your game or app will rank in the app stores. The higher you rank in the app store, the more visibility you’ll receive in the top charts, categories, Browse tabs, and general search results. The more visibility you have, the more people will find your app organically in the store and download your app. Thus, the cycle continues. To put it simply; UA leads to an increase in discoverability and discoverability is key to good ASO.
Disregarding keyword cannibalization
When you decide to combine ASO with Paid UA you need to pay attention to the keyword cannibalization. It’s a term used to describe the moment when you are paying for a download that would come to you organically without any paid activities. For example using Search Ads in app stores you can optimize by ASO a keyword that after such optimization will be ranked #1. Then you don’t need to pay to display the ad on this keyword because user will download your app without this ad. As a result, you would end up wasting money on what would have been an organic download. Clearly, cannibalization is a risk for keywords your app already ranks high for organically.
Using combination of ASO and Paid UA requires constant reporting on what keywords are ranked high by ASO and what you should put the budget to market them to get downloads. In AppDNA for example you receive weekly report on what was optimized by ASO and what keywords you should pay to be advertised. We can also automate it to pay only for the keywords you don’t have yet organically optimized by ASO.
In such a highly competitive market as the app store and google play with hundreds of apps arriving every day, and in an era of rising user acquisition costs, a good strategy and understanding of the connections between ASO and Paid UA is important as never before. Only by having an unlimited marketing budget can we not worry about ASO. Otherwise, properly designing a strategy to combine the two methods so that they are one and complement each other will be an essential element of success in app marketing in the coming years. If you want to learn more about how to combine these primers in your application sign up for a free consultation and learn how to build a UA advantage in your application.
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