Social Media and ASO: The Two Essentials of App Marketing


by Lilach Bullock, {grow} Community Member

In 2016, app developers will have their work cut out for them. Not only do they have to design and create an app that offer users something unique and valuable, they also have to find a way to generate substantial interest in it.

According to Statista, 3,970,000 apps are currently available on all of the leading app distribution platforms combined. That’s a lot of apps! So how can app developers (especially small development teams and independent developers) possibly hope to draw potential users to their app specifically?

Thankfully, most app developers turn out not to be too business savvy, and this presents the canny app developer with a wonderful opportunity. In fact, according to

  • Despite 91 percent of developers believing that marketing is necessary for success, over half (52 percent) set aside absolutely no money for their marketing budget.
  • And 52 percent spent five percent or less of their time promoting their app.

Figures such as these make a lot of sense in light of the fact that 59 percent of apps don’t generate enough revenue to break even on their development costs. The fact that the industry’s top earners (those earning more than $50,000 from their app) spend an average of 14 percent of their time marketing their app and set aside around $30,000 for marketing, really puts the importance of marketing in the app world into perspective .

Of course, $30,000 is a lot of money, and raising and using this amount for marketing purposes is simply out of the question for many small-scale or new developers.
The good news is that it’s easier and cheaper to get ahead in app marketing than you may think (largely due to the negligence of most developers). To do so, you need to take full advantage of two critical (and cost-effective) ways of generating buzz, downloads, endorsements, and users: ASO and social media.


ASO (App Store Optimisation) refers to the techniques app marketers use to ensure that potential users are able to find their app on whatever app distribution platform they’ve chosen. The desired result of ASO is more traffic and, in turn, more downloads.

Sixty-three percent of all app downloads originate from an organic search, according to Martin Palsovic, so the higher your chances are of showing up in a good position on a number of searches, the higher your chances are of significantly increasing downloads. If your app can’t be found, then you can’t expect any downloads to materialize!

To do this, you need to understand the most important aspects of ASO. These are:

  • Keywords – Keywords are words that potential users of your app are likely to search for. Including as many keywords in your app store listing, then, increases your chances of appearing in relevant results. It’s a simple concept, but there’s a catch: include too many keywords (to the point at which the readability of your listing decreases) and you’ll be penalized. You’ll find that some keywords fit quite naturally into your listing, and that you may be able to change one keyword for another. Do this until your listing reads well and contains as many keywords as possible, and it will benefit as a result.
  • App Name – What you call your app will have repercussions for your search ranking. Your title needs to be short, catchy, and descriptive. Recently, it’s also become apparent that including a keyword in your title may be a good idea. In fact, the amount of apps which include a keyword in their title has jumped from 16 percent to 51 percent! Just think of some of your favorite apps: Spotify Music; Gmail – email from Google; and Vine – video entertainment.
  • Intro – Most app stores allow you to use 580 characters for your intro. Clearly, then, it’s important that you make the most of this space and use it to get your readers hooked. To make your intro as appealing as possible, you need to include: your value proposition, any media mentions, and quotes from influencers, as well as references to any apps you’ve previously released.
  • Description – If your intro convinces readers to click “more,” they will then be confronted with your description. Usually around 300-500 words, an app description should tell readers why your app is unique, what differentiates it from the competition, how users will benefit from your app, and how your app will improve people’s lives. The text should be clear, concise, relevant, and user-centric.

SellMyApp’s “Ultimate Guide for How to Create an App That Rocks the App Store” goes into much more detail about ASO best practice and is an invaluable resource for any app developer (well, since we helped write it, we would say that, wouldn’t we?). Anyway, make sure you check it out!

Social Media

Social media is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools around. Done well, even the most budget-poor marketing team can generate significant interest and exposure using social platforms.

App developers are perfectly positioned to make the most of social media since their products are perfect subjects for the viral loop. The viral loop refers to the snowball effect that occurs when a product’s existing users share their experience with their social connections, which, in turn, encourages those people to use and share the product themselves.

The viral loop consists of four stages: seeing, installing, desire to share, and sharing.

The larger the amount of users that go through this process, the more downloads your app will receive.

  • Seeing – Being seen requires a social presence. If you have no existing social media presence, then you may need to invest in some paid advertising to get the ball rolling. For more information on social media for companies building a social presence from scratch, have a read of this article detailing some social media best practices for companies just starting out.
  • Installing – Good ASO should encourage some organic downloads. If you’re not getting the amount of downloads you need, you may want to consider offering some rewards for installation. These could be in-app credits or benefits, or entry into a competition, etc. In this article, lists some great ways to boost downloads.
  • Desire to share – Creating a desire to share is the most important stage to the viral loop. To do so, those users which share your app need to receive some benefit. One benefit may just be to allow users to have the opportunity to share their successes on your app (this works especially well for fitness apps, games of skill, and intellectual challenges). If your app is not suitable for success-based sharing, then offering in-app benefits (such as a “sharing badge,” extra-power-ups, credits, etc.) may be a more plausible option.
  • Sharing – In order for the viral loop to work, sharing needs to be as easy as possible. Adding “share buttons” which allow users to share on their favorite networks with just a click is necessary. The simpler you can make the sharing process, the more people you can expect to take part.

The viral loop provides a great concept from which app developers can orientate their social media campaigns. However, pursuing the viral loop alone isn’t enough to achieve long-term social media success. For this reason, app marketers should implement a more traditional social media campaign as well. Hootsuite list some great best practice advice for social media marketing here.

I hope this article has been helpful to anybody hoping to market their app. But have I missed anything out? Or do you have any first-hand advice you’d like to share? Let me know with a comment!

Lilach BullockLilach Bullock is co-founder of Comms Axis has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street with her presence! She’s a hugely connected and highly influential entrepreneur.


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