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As I have talked about in my previous post, my startup My Day To-Do has grown to the point that I have to consider getting some marketing help (get marketing interns). Now, App Store Optimisation(ASO) is a (relatively) new concept and I cannot expect the marketing intern to know about it, therefore I must prepare for the possibility to explain it to them. In this post I will outline my process of explaining ASO to the marketing intern working with me at My Day To-Do. I will not be explaining what ASO is but rather my four step method of helping someone understand what ASO with the use of some online reading material and real world examples.

Background

It was only when I released my first mobile (iOS) app that I actually got to know about App Store Optimisation(ASO) and how? well it’s a little hard for me to remember exactly what it was? but this app launch guide does shed some light into it. Prior to this, I had heard about this thing called SEO (search engine optimisation), but I never did bother looking deeper into it because, well I am a programmer so why do I need concern myself with that? I mean it’s not my problem, it’s a problem for the marketing team of the company and it will never really be something for me to be concerned with…. or so I thought, fast forward a few years and as soon as I launched my app, this totally became my problem, especially since I am a one man startup at this stage!!! However to ease some of my burden I am looking for a marketing intern and I cannot rule out the possibility that a marketing intern may not be very familiar with ASO. Therefore I have to prepare myself for the situation where I have to explain what ASO is to the marketing intern who works with me. I suppose in a startup as small as mine, the marketing intern would obviously turn to me for guidance for most things, so I cannot possibly tell my intern “hey I am just a computer science guy, I just write code”, between the two of us, I will be the expert who shows the intern the door and the intern walks through it and discovers the wonderful world behind it? Sorry, I have no idea where am I going with this, I mean I started off by doing a Morpheus/Neo analogy, but I think I got lost somewhere. Anyway let’s get to the ASO bits.

Explaining ASO

I do not intend to write a description of what ASO is, there are enough descriptions out there that do a good a really job of it. What I intend to do here is give an account of how I would go about explaining ASO to someone. Here’s my four step process of explaining ASO to a marketing person

Step 1: Real world example

The first step is is start with a real world example, e.g. we would have a sit down and the conversation below would follow,

me: so let’s say you want to do something and you want an app to help you with that, tell me about the kind of app that is?

intern: I want an app that shows me the best daily public transport route to my work

me: that’s great so now let’s try to look for it on the App store, how would you do that?

At this point, I expect the intern to take out their phone (iPhone) and type a bunch of keywords and search for it on the App Store. Once they do that, I can tell them that, what they did was basically what ASO helps with. I would tell them that for iOS App Store at least ASO is about defining a set keywords that can potentially make your app appear higher in the app store search.

Step 2: Provide some resources (online) to go through

I do not think I have the knowledge to give a full in-depth explanation of what ASO is and let’s face it, that’s not my job either. I can’t possibly know everything about everything. So I would leave them with a set of online resources that they can follow up on and read to get a better understanding

  1. The wikipedia article: A good introduction covering the basics.
  2. App Store optimisation –  A crucial piece of mobile App marketing puzzle: An in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of ASO
  3. App Store Optimisation: A good article that aims to explain it using SEO as a reference point

The above resources should equip them with enough knowledge such that if they have any more queries about ASO, they know how to look for it by searching with Google, Bing, Baidu etc. Once they have an understanding of ASO, they are ready to know about some of the tools out there that aim to help with ASO.

Step 3: Tools to help in ASO

Finding the best available tools to help with ASO is the job of a marketing intern, however in this scenario we are assuming they do not know much about ASO. That combined with the fact that in the last year of working on a one man startup, I have gained some knowledge of some ASO tools, so why not give them a head start by sharing my knowledge with them.

  1. Sensor Tower: my ‘goto’ site in the last year to check my app’s ASO ranking
  2. App Annie:  I do not know this one but I have heard a lot about it on some of the podcasts

I am sure there are many more tools that help with ASO and I expect them to help me find it. What I would expect would be a report of sorts, which says,

  1. A brief description of the tool i.e. what it is etc
  2. Why would it be beneficial for My Day To-Do
  3. Pros and cons of it as well as who uses it (any known companies?)
  4. Lastly the cost benefit analysis i.e. the cost of it over 6 months along with profit estimates

Ok, I got a little distracted there, but after step 3 they will have a better idea of what ASO is, as well as what some of the tools out there to help with it, so they are as ready for a real world exercise.

Step 4: A real world problem to solve

My goal is to make My Day To-Do as popular as it can be and this will be the first real-world contribution of the interns for the company’s main business. This is a fairly simple exercise where they can pick one of the app localisations (English, Spanish, Chinese etc), pick the ones that are not very good replace them by defining a set of more effective keywords. Once the keywords are defined, we will release an app update and then monitor that for a period of 5 weeks to see how it affects the downloads i.e. increase, decrease or remain largely unchanged.

Summary

In summary, I have covered my four step process of how to explain ASO to a marketing person with potentially no knowledge of it. Like any other technical concept, I think ASO is best understood when you can relate it to a real world example, which in this case is how would you search for an app you want on the App Store. The next step is to follow it up with some reading on the theoretical aspects of it and then narrowing your focus to learning more about some of the tools out there and how it can help you achieve better ASO for your app. The final stage and the most useful one at that as it involves a real-world hands-on exercise, that aims to test just how you understand ASO. The last exercise involves monitoring the app downloads for a few weeks on introducing new ASO keywords which could potentially provide an insight into what areas of ASO need improvement (if any?).

Conclusion

At this stage I think this is the best approach to help someone understand ASO, if you have a different opinion, then please feel free to leave a comment below.

Finally, I am working on My Day To-Do full-time right now so if you find my blog posts useful and want to support me you can buy the Pro version of My Day To-Do.


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