Day to Day Operations of Mobile App Store Optimization (ASO)

My last few blog posts have provided background, tips, and best practices for doing search optimization with your brand’s mobile apps. Beyond that, the glue that really holds all those tips and best practices together is a disciplined way of getting all that done consistently and comprehensively. If I had to single out the one glaring weakness in the mobile app marketing environment, it’s the lack of discipline in knowing which apps are doing well and which aren’t, coupled with why they are performing in the manner they are.

The potential impacts are not insignificant. Mashable reports that nearly 80% of the apps in Apple’s App Store are basically lifeless or “zombie apps.” These are apps that don’t experience enough downloads to warrant receiving a ranking. There are many reasons for this, ranging from poorly designed software to lack of discoverability due to poor ASO implementation. The negative outcomes that hang in the balance are company reputation and customer sentiment against your brand.

Organizational Factors

Ok, let’s talk about the internal company process involved in ASO. Who are the stakeholders in that process? First and foremost, who owns the process? In my case, ownership rests with search marketing … yeah, the guys who do SEO. It’s a natural fit because the talent and knowledge of interfacing with search engines and their algorithmic gymnastics resides there. The App Store and Google Play are home to millions of mobile apps, all competing for top billing on the search results page. The algorithm expert resides in search.

Beyond that, who are the stakeholders and are they committed members of the matrix team that will review the performance of the app. You want to keep this group as small as you can without sacrificing any key skills and insightful people. The product management group will have most of those players, along with people from the integrated marketing team of data analysts, IT specialists, and creative professionals. All these people had a hand in designing the app.

Initiating Events

These are events that will initiate the start of the ASO process. Most of these are common sense events with the important quality that someone on the team has to do the initiating.

  1. Recurring meeting with the primary outcome to review the mobile apps already in inventory for performance against KPIs. Depending on the volume of apps, quarterly or semi-annually will do the trick.
  2. Performance-based meeting in which a mobile app experiences a significant decline in velocity of downloads or a rash of negative reviews.
  3. New mobile app development that kicks off the replacement of an existing app or is being fielded as a new access point for a corporate product.

These initiating events will also involve the running of many sub-processes, including keyword development for the venue to which the app will be published (iTunes App Store/Google Play), keyword analysis for performance with the intended audience segment, pre-launch and submission checklists, and the inevitable review and approval process for all content and design elements of the app itself.

Mark Simon Blog Aug 27.1

The one overall important consideration in doing ASO is that the mobile apps involved are products of your company. In general, they provide access to other, more mainstream products that are directly tied to corporate ROI. That fact alone provides a compelling reason for doing ASO and doing it well. If the app can’t be discovered, ROI is zero. The act of optimizing mobile apps provides an incremental lift to the primary product ROI thus proving its own worth in terms of attribution to the revenue bottom line.

Do you know the total inventory of mobile apps for your company? Are the measured and evaluated on a consistent basis or are you part of the “zombie app” generation of mobile apps?