App Store Optimization: Best Practices for the iTunes App Store

It can be difficult to optimize your app for discoverability in the iTunes App Store. Most of the best practices online are tailored to gaming or non-brand name apps, so we’ve outlined some app store optimization best practices to help improve discoverability and drive retail app downloads.

Keyword Ranking

Keywords can help your app appear more frequently and higher up in the search results, and improving discoverability will improve downloads. 

  1. Title: The rankings of keywords in this section hold the most weight in Apple’s algorithm. Here’s how you can optimize this section:
    • Aim for a character length of about 80 characters
    • Use different keywords than those used in the keywords section
    • Avoid “spam” keywords such as Facebook or Instagram, since those are likely to be rejected by Apple
  2. Keywords: Keywords hold the next highest amount of leverage for app store rankings. Although there is a 100 character limit, only the first three lines are displayed. We recommend conducting a competitive analysis of similar shopping apps and their keywords. From this analysis, try and differentiate from competitors to stand out. 
  3. Description: The description doesn’t affect the ranking or exposure of your app with the current Apple algorithm. However, a well written description is recommended in case this is pulled into the algorithm. 

Updating the Title and Keywords requires a new app store version number and submission. To change the Description once your app is live, simply log in to your iTunes Connect account and make the update.

Contact your Customer Success Manager if you have any issues – we’re happy to help.

5 Keys to App Store Optimization

  1. Versions & Releases: It’s important to continuously update keywords as Apple’s algorithm is constantly changing. Keywords that held weight at one point, might not hold the same weight anymore.
  2. Reviews: Your Mobify app includes a feature to prompt heavily engaged users for app reviews. Mobify monitors both the in-app feedback and App Store reviews to provide additional user experience improvements.
  3. Genres: 80% of searches in the app store are for specific genres like “Games” or “Puzzles.” Retail is different; customers are likely to search by brand name rather than the category. As such, your brand name and keywords are more important than category. Consider focusing on the “Shopping” and “Lifestyle” genre for your app.
  4. Images: We’ll help with app images and descriptions to include in your app store submission. Images are used to tell the story of why someone should download your app. Whether your focus is beautiful product imagery, increasing loyalty, or telling your brand story, images can help users visualize themselves interacting with it. Think of these as another opportunity to advertise. We also recommend including descriptive text on app screenshots. 
  5. Localizations: There are 147 iTunes App stores throughout the world with 28 languages available. If you globalize your app, we recommend translating everything.

App store optimization is never complete. After the initial submission, it’s always worth revisiting the submission every few weeks to update and modify. This should then become a regular review cycle as you learn more about your users and effective keywords.

Please reach out to your Mobify Customer Success Manager with any questions or feedback!

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