4 min read

A Must-See for App Marketers! An Introduction to ASO

ASO stands for App Store Optimization, and it is crucial for app marketers to understand and utilize. Unlike SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which focuses on web search results, ASO is specific to app stores.

Michael Nathan

Table of Contents

What is ASO?

Do you know about "ASO"? Every app marketer should know. If you aren’t familiar, I would like to carefully unravel the question, "What is ASO in the first place?" There is a lot of jargon in the marketing industry. There are many terms that you should definitely understand, such as CPI and ROAS, and ASO is one of them. If you can understand and utilize these tools, you are a fine PAM! (Professional App Marketer)


What is ASO

It is an abbreviation for App Store Optimization. When it comes to app store optimization, many people may think of SEO (search engine optimization). That's the closest definition.

Difference from SEO

SEO = "a measure to increase the natural inflow of users by displaying your company's web page at the top of search results on search engines", whereas ASO focuses on the app store rather than search engines. Strictly speaking, ASO is much more than appearing at the top of search results. The purpose of ASO is not just to rank higher in the app stores and increase organic traffic. It’s a must have tool for app marketers because ASO is a measure aimed at "maximizing installs"! There are various applications in the world, but "install" is most important to all applications. No matter how good an app is, if it doesn't have enough users, it won't be active or monetized. The first thing to do is to prepare the leads for user acquisition. So the first thing you should do is ASO! That's why it’s most important.

Let's check how users install apps on their smartphones in the first place!

User store search flow

The movement of users seeking apps in the store is as follows:

  1. Search for the keyword of the app you are looking for in the App Store
  2. Browse the search results and search for an app that seems to meet your needs
  3. Click on an app that you’re interested in
  4. View the app overview and install the app if you like what you see

As you can see from this flow, before an app is installed by a user, it first needs to be displayed in the search results for the keyword and catch the user 's eye. It is necessary to attract the interest of the user to lead to the installation of your app. 

In other words, the purpose of ASO to acquire users can be roughly divided into two.

Purpose of ASO

  1. Maximize impressions: Display at the top of store search results to increase chances of being noticed
  2. Increased CVR: Optimize UI such as icons and screenshots to attract user's interest

Promoting these two by implementing ASO will be a shortcut to acquire more users. Before you say, "Well, I'd like to know how to utilize ASO myself," rest assured. In the next chapter, I'll tell you what I've done with ASO!

What do you actually do?

ASO measures are broadly classified into two categories: "improvement of text" and "improvement of creative" . The two correspond to each other as follows, and by improving them, you can optimize the leads to user acquisition.

  1. Improving text = maximizing impressions 
  2. Improving creative = increasing CVR

First, let's talk about text improvements. Improving the text aspect mainly means related words in line with the algorithm. Similar to search engines such as Google Search, the App Store and Play Store have their own algorithms, and understanding these algorithms is the key to ASO. 

Based on that, the improvement of the text here refers to "incorporating specific keywords into the title and description to make the algorithm recognize the relevance of the keyword and the application", and take countermeasures. This will allow you to appear higher in the search results. On the other hand, creative improvement means measures for visual appeal such as icons and screenshots. While the text aspect was "anti-AI", the creative aspect requires the imagination of "anti-user" elements. From the perspective of users who search in the store, it is essential to back-calculate what kind of creative will make them want to install. Understanding user psychology is the real thrill of being a marketer!

Let's take a look at "where" and "what".

Improving Your Text

App Title

The title refers to the "app title (app name) consisting of up to 30 characters" and is displayed at the top of the product page. For example, if we take a household account book app, just putting the app name in the title will only show it to a limited number of users. By including keywords that you want to expose (e.g. pocket money, money management, etc.) in the title, it will be recognized that there is a strong relationship between the app and the keyword, and when the keyword is searched for, it will be displayed higher in the search results.


The subtitle is "a brief description of the app within 30 characters" displayed below the title. As with the title, by including the keyword you’re aiming to be more exposed. It will then be possible for your app to display higher in the search results for that keyword.


The description is "a place to describe the app, such as its functions and features." As with 1 and 2 above, it is important to include highly relevant keywords, but it is not possible to list them all. It is necessary to explain the functions and features in easy to read sentences to focus on the appeal of the users. *The Play store has a character limit of 4,000 characters.

Keywords (iOS)

We call them "100-character keywords" because they are limited to 100 characters. The 100-character keyword that can be set only on iOS has the feature that it is not displayed on the store UI, unlike 1 to 3 mentioned above. However, choosing your 100-character keywords is also very important in order for users to find you, as it will affect your store's algorithms as well.

By the way, the comma used to distinguish each keyword is also counted in the 100 characters, so let's take that into consideration when creating!

Creative Improvement

Now let's move on to another important factor: creative improvements.

App Icon

Icon literally means the icon of the application. Icons are visually appealing to users and have a large impact on CTR and CVR. If the appeal of the icon is strong, it can meet the expectations of users who search for the app at a glance. Don't underestimate the power of a small icon.


Screenshots are images that appear in search results and product pages. Similar to icons, they can be visually appealing to users, which affects CTR and CVR. You can post up to 10 screenshots on the App Store and 4-8 screenshots on the Play Store. Among them, the composition of the 1st to 3rd pages that are displayed first in the search results is especially important. Icons and screenshots can each be A/B tested to verify which creative is more appealing to users. AB testing is a verification method that allows users to randomly display multiple patterns of creatives and compare the performance of each. Based on the test results, choose the creative that best suits your users. 

  1. App Store (iOS) → Icons, screenshots, preview videos
  2. Play Store (Android) → Icons, screenshots, preview videos, descriptions

By the way, there is also an article that explains iOS A/B testing, so please read it as well . Finally, we would like to mention a little bit about "reviews".

The Importance of Reviews

When you shop online, how do you compare and consider if there are several products that are similar to what you want? Not to mention functionality and price, but don't you care about "reviews"? Even if the function and price are good, if the reviews written there are bad, you should hesitate to click install. There are also reviews in the App Store. The item displayed after the description can be roughly divided into two categories: "Total Review" and "Top Review" .

Total review 

The total review is the average value of the app rated by users on a 5-star scale. This total review is also displayed large in the store, so it influences user behavior. Also, the higher the number of total reviews, the higher the trust from users.

Top reviews

Top reviews are those that have been picked up and posted in the store among many user reviews. Top reviews are not simply displayed with a large number of stars or a large number of characters.

There is also a proprietary algorithm here to ensure that the reviews are more relevant, credible, and user-friendly. Up to 6 top reviews for the App Store and 3 for the Play Store are displayed. In implementing ASO, this review is also an important factor, and it actually affects CVR and billing rate. Definitely reviews make a difference.


So far, I've talked about the elements that are particularly important in ASO, but what do you think? In fact, if you dig deeper from here, ASO has a lot more to offer you. This time, we have given you a rough overview of ASO as an introduction, but next time, we plan to deliver a more in-depth applied version! If you read this article and feel like you've learned a little about ASO, we have published various other articles, so please drop by .

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