App Marketing Guide

Drive awareness, downloads, engagement and conversions.

App Store Optimization: bringing your apps to the forefront

Also known as ASO, App Store Optimization makes your app more visible to an in-store app search, helps them stand out from similar apps, and gives people more reasons to download them.

Once your apps are live in the app stores, you want to make sure that people can find them. While you can tell friends and customers about it on your website and social network accounts, how do you make people who don't know your shop to find your apps, download them, and become your customers?

The answer is easy: take advantage of all the marketing features the app stores offer you. In this article, you will find ASO tips to make your apps more visible, attractive, and compelling in the iOS and Android app stores.

Seven ways you can maximize ASO:

  1. App icon
  2. App name
  3. Subtitles
  4. Keywords & categories
  5.  Feature image
  6. App description
  7. Promotional text
  8. App screenshots
  9. App ratings & reviews

ASO Tip #1: Create a simple app icon

People are unlikely to download an app with a cluttered and confusing icon design. A good app icon tells the story of your shop and grabs the attention of a potential customer. Before you learn how to configure your app's icon and other graphics, find out below what makes an icon pique the curiosity of app store surfers.

To please the eyes of your picky customers, follow these tips:

Use your shop logo.
Make sure it is legible at icon-size.

Keep it simple.
Use the most representative element of your shop logo or name.

Use graphical elements.
You don't need to include your shop's name in the icon. If the shop name is part of the logo, make sure it's short and legible.

Try colors and see if they fit.
Colorful icons can attract attention. Use the main colors of your shop logo.

Pay attention to details.
Make sure the icon looks clear and attractive at size 1024x1024.

Use the same icon across platforms.
Use the same icon for Android and iOS apps, and for smartphone and tablet apps.

Try to avoid the following mistakes:

Too much detail on the icon.
Too many words and images will look tiny and unprofessional.

Including shop descriptions in the icon.
There are app descriptions and keywords for that!

 Too many colors or irrelevant colors.

 Making an icon too small.
Your icon will look blurry on a big device.

Using different icons for each platform.
Your customers may be confused when they try to download your apps on a different device/app store.

ASO Tip #2: Add keywords to your app name

"Around 60% of apps are discovered through app store browses and searches."
-- Forrester

Your app name is the most important factor in search. You can learn how to enter an app name and other key information here, but keep reading here to learn how to maximize the effect this information can have!

Feel free to use your shop name as your app name, keeping in mind that you have a maximum of 30 characters in both app stores. However, adding a few keywords to your app name could greatly increase your chance of being discovered.

Try these tips when adding keywords to your app name:

Keep it short.
Use 2-3 keywords--the most relevant keywords you can think of. Keep in mind that only the first 19-20 characters (including spaces) of an app name are always displayed in the app stores, depending on the page.

Make it interesting.
Describe your specialty products and services--the facets of your shop that set you apart from your competition.

Be explicit.
Make it clear that users can buy physical products from your app. Summarize which products you sell.

Use URL-safe characters.
Try not to use accented characters or symbols like & or ~.


ASO Tip #3: Choose a subtitle (only)

You also have the option to add a subtitle for your app that will show in the App Store. This will be displayed directly below the app title and cannot exceed 30 characters. The subtitle is also used by Apple to index search rankings, so you should consider it carefully.

Tips for choosing the right subtitle:

Formulate your subtitle as a call-to-action.                           
“Install the app and register for 10% off!“

✓  Use your subtitle to convey an idea, an intention or even a slogan.
 “Just do it!“

✓  Choose something simple and straightforward.
 Use a descriptive term or emphasize the purpose of the app, such as “Transform photos into works of art."

Note: Subtitles will only appear on the App Store for customers with iOS 11 or newer and changes will require an app update in order to appear.


ASO Tip #4: Choose research keywords & categories ( only)

Keywords and categories have a huge impact on search. The App Store ranks your app in a search according to the keywords and categories you selected. Therefore, selecting competitive, best-fitting keywords and categories are crucial to making your apps visible.

Follow these tips when selecting your keywords:

 Use relevant keywords only.
Describe the products you offer, where and how your products are used, what functions they serve, what makes them special, which group of people is your shop aiming for, and other important facets of your brand. Keep in mind that there is a 100-character limit.

 Use a thesaurus to help you find alternative words.
Try different keywords which may reduce competition and bring your app to a higher ranking from a search.

 Research your competitors' keywords.

 Analyze keywords' popularity and difficulty.
Search for an ASO tool on the Internet to analyze the popularity and difficulty of your keywords.

An easy style guide on keywords:

 Separate your keywords with commas only.
Spaces are not necessary and take up precious space. For example: go with "awesome,organic,farm,fruits,veggie" instead of "awesome, organic, farm, fruits, veggie."

 Use single words instead of phrases.
Use "organic,farm" instead of "organic farm."

 Use the singular form of a word instead of the plural form.
Use "banana" instead of "bananas."

 Use numbers instead of words.
Use "8" in place of "eight" to save space.

Beware of the following mistakes - some of which may result in a rejection from the app stores:

Don't use names or brands from existing apps or third party companies.

Don't use offensive words.

Don't use irrelevant keywords.

Don't use your app name or company name as keywords.
They are automatically added by the App Store, which gives you more characters to use!

Don't add the word "free."
This is automatically added for Shopgate mobile apps.

ASO Tip #5: Adding an eye-catching feature image ( only)

The feature image is a wonderful opportunity to highlight your Android app and promote your brand in a big and visual way.

Follow these tips when creating your feature image:

Image needs to be 1024 x 500 pixels and designed to scale.
Your feature image needs to look good in both a full-size web browser and on a handset.

Create fun and enticing graphics.
Be bold and creative when promoting your brand.

 Use colors that stand out on a black or white background.

Don't use a text-heavy advertising-style graphic.

Don't overload the graphic with details.


ASO Tip #6: Adding a smart description

You can describe your shop's products and services in 4000 characters. This description will help customers to understand your business in more details. Please note that you need an app update to change the description.

If you're looking for tips to write a good description, read these tips:

 Place your most important info first.
Describe the most important information about your shop and app in the first three lines. The rest of the text is only visible by clicking "read more."

Explain what you sell and why should people buy from you.

List the features and benefits your app provides.

Include social proof.
List awards, customer testimonials, blog post reviews, recommendations from social networks, and other forms of praise you've received.

ASO Tip #7: Create promotional text (only)

In addition to the standard description, you’re able to add promotional text which can be used to share the latest news about your app, such as limited-time sales, important updates, or other events within your app. This text can be up to 170 characters long. A simple sentence or two can capture the user’s attention and persuade them to install the app. 

To get the best results from your promotional text, follow these tips:

Avoid long run-on sentences, instead opting for something short and sweet.                          
✓ Remember to keep it simple!

✓ Be persuasive enough to convince curious users to download your app.

Note: The promotional text will only appear in the App Store for customers with iOS 11 or newer and does not require an app update to show.

ASO Tip #8: Personalized screenshots

Note: You do not need to upload screenshots of your own. Shopgate will create generic screenshots of your app's homepage, product pages, and checkout page at no extra cost for you.
Note: When creating your own screenshots for Apple devices please ensure that no third-party platforms are displayed. Examples of third-party platforms are products (android devices, software products) from companies that could be considered competitors of Apple. 

App screenshots are your best trick to turn potential customers into buyers. If someone has come so far to look at your screenshots, you need to be prepared to show them your best work, catch their eye, and make your app scream "download me!"

At Shopgate, we generate screenshots for each device/size (iPhone 6, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, iPad, and Android smartphones and tablets). However, if you'd like to use personalized screenshots, feel free to upload them to your Shopgate Admin by clicking Design → Logos.

If you're making your own personalized screenshots, try out these tips:

 Use as many screenshots as possible.
You can upload five screenshots for each device size at Shopgate. If you would like to add more screenshots, send them to

 Put your most relevant screenshots first.
The first one and a half screenshots will be directly visible on the app's detail page. Make sure your first two screenshots are attractive and informative. Use your splash screen if it has a nice design and tells a story about your shop.

 Upload a video.
Made a demo video of your brand and products? Want to include additional information? Send your video to! Your video should be in mp4 format and should be 12-30 seconds.

 Beautify and explain your screenshots.
You can spice up your screenshots by editing them in an app (such as PhotoShop). Frame your screenshots on a phone, use a background, highlight your products, and add a short explanation.

Please note that Shopgate automatically generates and updates screenshots for all shops when a new app design rolls out. If you noticed that we updated your screenshots, send us an email at We can reverse the update for you.

ASO Tip #9: Ask for ratings and reviews

It's no secret that mobile users tend to trust apps with good reviews and a fair amount of downloads. Once your app is live, it's in your hands to get a good start!

Try these tips to get ratings and reviews for your apps:

 Advertise your apps to your current customers.
Add a banner on your shop's website saying that you're now offering native apps. Notify your customers of this news in your newsletters. In all of your online advertising, make sure to provide links to download the apps.

 Ask existing customers to review your products and services.
Ask people who have bought products from your shop to write a review in your apps.

 Tell your fans and followers about your apps.
Your fans and followers already like you - tell them to download and review your apps! Try posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, or whatever you use to connect with your customers.

 Give a little incentive.
Motivate your customers with a coupon after they download and review your apps.

Going live in the app stores

It's always a good idea to preview your apps before you let them go live in the app stores. This will provide you an opportunity to see what your customers see, and correct any mistakes or features you aren't happy with. Learn how to preview your apps here.

After you've taken your big leap into the app stores, you may want to update your apps, as we've advised above. Fortunately for you, we have a whole article dedicated to what you should update and how to do it. Read How do I request an app update? for this information and more.

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