This past week we had the chance to sit down with Laurie Galazzo at AppTweak, a Belgian startup that focuses on App Store Optimization (also known as Mobile SEO, or App Marketing). With over 1.2 million apps in the App Store, app optimization is in an important topic to many of you. With that in mind, we delved deep into what this means for all of you. Please enjoy the insights and key takeaways from our discussion!

Tell us about your business and its unique value proposition.

AppTweak is an online App Store Optimization (ASO) platform providing its users a personal and instant app marketing report. Before going further, let’s quickly recap what App Store Optimization is. App Store Optimization is the process of improving an app’s visibility in the App Store. Like SEO for websites, ASO helps apps to rank higher in the store and therefore to improve their visibility among other apps.
Ranking higher will most likely result in more organic (natural, non-paid) downloads. With over 1.2 million apps in the Apple App Store, it is nowadays extremely difficult to be found. App marketers and developers therefore need to maximize their ASO efforts and work on all the factors influencing the App Store algorithm (app name, publisher name, keywords, reviews & ratings, etc.).
With AppTweak app marketing report, all these important factors are being instantly reviewed and their flaws and strengths are pointed out. Recommendations are provided for each of these examined elements. A global ASO score is also given so it’s very easy to have an idea of how the app’s ASO is doing. AppTweak main unique selling point would certainly be the extreme simplicity of the app marketing report. Very easy to understand and straight forward, this report gives a nice overview of the app regarding its ASO and what to do in order to improve its ranking. No other tool offers this kind of feature. The platform is also very easy to understand and the navigation is intuitive and smooth. Our platform also provides detailed analytics and a powerful keywords tool. Its particularity is that keywords provided are generated from our homemade native dictionary. This means that no automatic translation has been used, as it can be misleading. All the keywords we deal with are optimized for each language: English, French, Dutch, German, Spanish and Portuguese. More languages will come in the future.

What do you see as the top challenges in the mobile industry right now?

According to the recent trends, we can see that there is a clear shift from desktop and mobile web towards mobile applications usage. With the increasing popularity of smartphones, apps unsurprisingly multiplied more and more. As a result, the app stores are now crowded, overloaded with apps of all kinds. The extreme competitiveness of this industry makes it very hard to succeed. One of the top challenges in the mobile, and more specifically, app industry, is to stand out from the others and manage to drive downloads. Getting users to actually download an app demands a lot of work and efforts on a regular basis. Another top challenge in the industry – and probably the biggest currently – is user engagement.
We already said how difficult it was to drive app downloads. What’s even harder is to keep users engaged and to keep them active within the app. On average, a smartphone has 41 apps installed[1] but around 80% of these apps are only used once. The figures speak for themselves: the situation is quite worrying. The average app user is clearly feeling overwhelmed and gets easily tired of his apps. App retention should therefore be one of the main concerns of app marketers nowadays.

How is your company working to overcome these challenges?

AppTweak is trying to increase App Store Optimization awareness among app developers and marketers. Surprisingly enough, many of them simply publish their app on the App Store and don’t work assiduously on optimizing the various ASO elements. The rankings are therefore very poor and the app, as good as it can be, loses its potential. We believe that App Store Optimization should be implemented in every app marketing strategies in order to drive more installs. We also believe that ASO is an excellent alternative/complement to paid acquisition for small budgets for 2 main reasons:

1. App Store Optimization is cheaper.
ASO can be done at no expense at all but it would require a serious knowledge of the market and a lot of work. Finding the keywords would be extremely difficult without any tool tracking their rankings. Using an ASO tool like AppTweak would certainly make things easier and bring more precise results. This option is definitely cheaper than paid acquisition and it can drastically increase the number of downloads. Let’s take a small example. On average, ASO can bring an increase of 20% of downloads per month if the app is well optimized regularly. For a small developer getting, for instance, 1000 downloads per month, a monthly increase of 20% using paid acquisition at a $1,50 CPI (Cost Per Install) would cost him $300 per month. This amount is huge if we compare it to AppTweak Startup Plan at $69 per month. It can however be an interesting idea to use a combination of both solutions at some point in the app marketing strategy if the budget allows it. Paid acquisition could be used punctually, from time to time, in order to boost app downloads. This could be very effective in order to promote important updates or simply at the launch of a new app to increase its awareness.

2. ASO drives more quality users.
Another important point to underline is that App Store Optimization brings more quality downloads. Indeed, ASO is all about organic non-paid acquisition. Just like inbound marketing techniques, App Store Optimization seeks to pull users towards the app naturally.

The downloads would therefore be more interesting since there are more chances that these users will stay engaged and keep on using the app. Regarding today’s main new challenge to increase the app retention rate, downloads coming from App Store browsing and searches seem to have the highest potential to overcome high churn rates. Our company therefore seeks to provide app developers and marketers with a useful App Store Optimization platform to help them improve their app in order to increase their rankings and natural downloads.

What’s your vision for the future of your business? Can you give us insight into some of your future, planned corporate developments?

In the future, the number of apps will increase even more… Consequently, it would therefore be even more challenging to stand out from the competition in the App Store.  Let’s however hope that bad applications with poor design and only purpose of making $1 or $2 from a few daily banner clicks would disappear.We truly believe that App Store Optimization would therefore become very soon a common practice as popular as SEO. More app marketing efforts would consequently be required in order to create the best marketing mix possible. That’s why we believe that App Store Optimization and mobile performance marketing companies should collaborate and work hand-in-hand in order to offer the best app marketing strategies to their customers.AppTweak is therefore seeking to associate and collaborate with multiple mobile advertising and performance platform of this kind to provide a complete set of complementary solutions for small, medium and big app entrepreneurs.

About the Author

Laurie is content strategist at AppTweak. Passionate by new technologies and apps, she loves finding new ideas to spread content on App Store Optimization and App Marketing. She’s in charge of the company’s blog, crafting articles helping users to increase their app downloads and rankings. She’s also at the head of the ASO University, teaching App Store Optimization basics through video tutorials, all available for free on AppTweak blog. Follow AppTweak on TwitterFacebookGoogle+ and LinkedIn

[1] An Era of Growth: The Cross-Platform Report Q4 2013, Nielsen, 2014
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