App Store Optimization (ASO) is essential for a successful app user acquisition strategy. However, when it comes to subscription apps, the main objective behind ASO is not simply attracting users but attracting the right users that will stay. This makes it important for subscription apps to sustain their relationship with current customers and continuously exhibit the value of their apps.
Leveraging the right ASO tactics can help you increase your revenue and retention rate by highlighting your app’s value and benefits to a wide range of users. Furthermore, a strong ASO strategy, in comparison to paid UA campaigns, will help drive more organic installs and high-quality downloads to your app.
Keyword optimization is at the heart of ASO. To maximize an app’s visibility in the app stores, ASO managers focus on selecting high-volume and low-competition keywords for their metadata. With subscription apps, the objective behind keyword optimization is to attract high-value users who will buy their service after downloading the app.
That’s why, it’s important to focus on keywords that drive downloads and ROI. Using an ASO tool like AppTweak can help you facilitate your keyword optimization process and find new keyword ideas for your app. Users are more likely to download your app and purchase it if the value it brings is clear from the start. Therefore, make sure to optimize your metadata accordingly and add keywords that convey your app’s value, especially in the most visible parts of your metadata – your title and subtitle.
In the following example, the health apps BetterMe and Falou both clearly highlight the value and benefits they provide in their title and subtitle, rather than focusing on specific features found inside the apps.
Apple Search Ads is a great way to help you identify keywords that convert best and bring the most engaged users to your app. Adding keywords that perform well in your ASA campaigns to your app’s metadata (title, subtitle, keyword field) has proven to positively impact keyword rankings.
Screenshots are one of the most impactful elements on your app page, helping users decide whether or not to download your app. Optimizing your screenshots is, therefore, crucial to increasing your app’s appeal and downloads.
Generally, the best practice for designing screenshots is to showcase the in-app experience and main features of an app. However, since the goal for subscription apps is to increase downloads and retention, it is more important to highlight the value your app brings to paying users. To put forth your app’s value proposition, ask what makes your app different from the others, or why users should pay for your app rather than your competitors. Balance’s screenshots (and the captions in the screenshots) do not just showcase the app’s features but instead focus on what users will get out of downloading the app – a more balanced life and good sleep.
Remember to regularly update your app screenshots to highlight new content and features, and showcase content based on seasonal events and trends. It is important to leverage your app creatives to advertise and improve the adoption of a specific feature by displaying it prominently.
Streaming apps like Hulu and Netflix regularly update their screenshots to showcase new shows and movies available on their platform as well as add new content. By doing so, they increase their app’s relevancy and appeal to a broader audience.
To be able to compete on equal footing with other apps in new markets, app store localization is indispensable. Localization is the process of adapting your app page to the market you’re trying to enter. To successfully do this, you need to understand the cultural and linguistic differences and match your app page to local practices and preferences.
For subscription apps, it is all the more important to adapt your app page and reflect local preferences and attract more engaged users. In the example below, Tinder adjusts the people they show on the screenshots based on the country's demographics. By doing so, they increase the app’s relevancy – the screenshots help users connect with individuals that share the same background or interests. A good localization strategy will get your target users to feel the same familiarity they feel with local apps and, therefore, increase the likelihood of your app being downloaded and paid for by new users.
Store visitors are less likely to download apps that have a rating below 4 stars. This is especially true for subscription apps. Furthermore, when money is involved, users are more likely to leave a harsh review when they are not satisfied with the app. That’s why, ASO managers for subscription apps should craft a well-thought-out reviews strategy. It’s important to focus on generating positive reviews by sending in-app review prompts to users who enjoy the app and respond to negative reviews.
If your app is well-rated, you can consider using this social proof in your screenshots on the App Store to make your app stand out from the competition. However, follow store guidelines when adding social proofs to your metadata. In the following example, the productivity app Focus showcases in the first screenshots its worldwide popularity among users.
Reviews also bring a wealth of insights into what users like about your app. Use this positive feedback as inspiration for your metadata and highlight the features and benefits people mention the most in their reviews on your app page.
In-app purchases (IAPs) are another way to increase your app’s visibility on the App Store. There are two types of IAPs:
IAPs can rank in the search results on the keywords included in the IAP metadata. To maximize the visibility of your IAPs on the App Store, it’s important to optimize for keyword discoverability. Apple allows for a 30-character limit for your IAP’s name and a 45-character description. Ideal keywords included in the IAP metadata should be popular and low-competition to have the most chances to be on top of search results when users search for that keyword. You should also make sure to optimize the promotional image of your IAP, since it also appears in the search results. This image should fit seamlessly with your app icon’s design, as both will appear in search results.
In-app events (App Store) and promotional content (Google Play) allow marketers to promote new content, major app updates, competitions, etc. via an event card that will appear in multiple places throughout the stores. In-app events appear in the form of event cards on product pages, in the search results, and in the editorial sections.
ASO managers for subscription apps can optimize the metadata of in-app events, helping them increase their app’s reach beyond the keywords included in their app page. In-app events and promotional content also appear in the editorial sections of both stores, allowing ASO managers to promote a variety of content to a large user base.
Thanks to their nature (promoting new content), in-app events are also a great way to engage current users or bring back lapsed users. For example, music streaming apps can create in-app events with new album launches and workout apps can highlight new content, encouraging current users to open and use the app more often.
App clips are a small part of your app that customers can view when receiving an NFC Tag, a QR code, via Apple Maps, or even a website banner. The goal of app clips is to help app users perform a quick action without having to download an app and complete the entire sign-up. It’s a great way to provide users with a first quick tease of what your app can offer.
App clips allow users to sign up for your app after having seen a single-core functionality. This is especially relevant for subscription apps, as the account creation and payment steps are skipped for users already signed in with Apple and Apple Pay for such features. This means that marketers for subscription apps should ensure that their clips highlight their app’s value to customers in just a few seconds and create an enticing first-user experience.
Subscription apps face different challenges from other apps when it comes to optimizing their visibility in the app stores. Nevertheless, app marketers can tap into App Store optimization strategies to increase downloads and convince users of the value of their app. From text and visual metadata optimization to localization and in-app marketing tools, ASO teams have a variety of methods at their disposal to entice their target users, stand out from their competitors and increase downloads.