Your app will never hit a grocery store shelf (well, probably not) but some common in-store marketing practices — packaging, location, product name — can be just as vital to success in the digital marketplace as they are at your local supermarket.

Provided you prepare properly, it’s not terribly difficult to gain acceptance to Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, but the mere placement of a program is by no means a guarantee of success. If you want your app to make a significant mark on the mobile marketplace, you’ll need to put in some promotional work.

App store optimization (ASO) is a fancy term given to the practice of crafting a program’s app store submission in ways that maximize its visibility via searches as well as its appeal to human eyes.

There are several steps you can take to make the most of your program’s presence on app store shelves. We’ll take a look at some of the most promising below.

Keywords

Like it’s web-based cousin, SEO (search engine optimization), successful ASO relies heavily on the inclusion of keywords to grab the attention of search software within app stores.

While keywords are important parts of submissions to both the App Store and the Play Store, each platform emphasizes them in different ways. Both iOS and Android reward the inclusion of keywords in app names, but Android searches also recognize them when they’re added to descriptions. Keywords in Apple’s App Store descriptions don’t contribute to search results, but iOS developers do have the opportunity to add 100 characters worth of searchable keywords to their submissions.

You can search for relevant keywords using online tools such as Google Adwords and AppTweak.

App Name

Your app’s name isn’t just a place to stuff a few keywords, of course. It’s also the easiest — and maybe, the most important — way to grab consumers’ attention, and to let them know what your app does.

The name you ultimately choose for your app should be short and sweet, while also giving users a good idea of the program’s function. Remember, both major app stores will only display a certain number of an app name’s characters, depending on the font, so make sure the title is short enough to avoid being cut off by the platform.

Your app’s name should also be pronounceable, and should serve to differentiate the software from similar programs.

Description

While the importance of your description will depend, in part, on your chosen platform, the space provides an opportunity to sell your program to users, and should not be marginalized.

Android developers should emphasize keywords when writing their descriptions in order to take advantage of the Play Store’s search function. The description should be much more than an excuse for keyword-stuffing, however. Be sure to make efficient use of the space provided, while taking care to include any and all information that is likely to convince consumers to give the app a try.

Apple developers don’t have to worry about keywords when writing their descriptions, but they shouldn’t dismiss the features as secondary. A user might find your app through a search or scroll, but they’ll likely check out its description before deciding whether to download it to their devices. Make sure to paint a mental picture of your app that emphasizes its functionality while mentioning any awards, ratings, or reviews that will help your cause.

Remember that some of the description will be cut off upon initial viewing, so embrace brevity, and include the most important information “above the fold” in order to ensure it gets in front of the maximum number of eyes.

You can also include bullet points in the description to break up your paragraphs, or to place added emphasis on details you want to highlight, like high ratings and key functionality components.

Icon

Ideally, your app store submission materials will lead to familiarity among the consumers who come across it while searching for new software. The best ways to make your app easily recognizable are descriptive, clever names — which we’ve already covered — and eye-catching icons.

When creating your app icon, make sure you (or your designer) concentrate on the image’s conveyance of the program’s overall theme, while keeping the graphic simple. No matter what image or images you choose to include in the icon, however, don’t skimp on the quality. Make sure the icon is sharp and memorable — one that users will be happy to display on their devices.

Text should be added to icons only sparingly, if at all, due to the limited amount of available space. The name of your app will display directly above or below the icon, so there’s no reason to cram it into your graphic’s valuable real estate.

Also be aware that your icon’s corners will be automatically rounded in Apple’s App Store, so make sure to plan accordingly. If you don’t round the corners of the image before your submission, the icon might appear altered when it makes its big debut in front of your potential users.

Screenshots

You’ve spent a lot of time and effort making sure your app looks great, so make sure you let consumers know by including the best possible screenshots from the program. You can post five screenshots to the App Store, and up to eight on the Play Store, so you’ll be able to provide a great glimpse into the design and functionality of the software to those considering installation.

Grab several high-resolution shots from the working app from which to choose, and then pick the very best to fill the first available slot on your respective app store. If you’d like, you can add text directly on to the screenshots to explain the features highlighted in each image.

In addition to static screenshots, you can add a preview video to your App Store submission, and a YouTube video of the app in action to the Play Store. These are important promotional opportunities, so make sure to take advantage of them.

Ratings

Even the most thought out and best executed app store submissions can be derailed by low marks, so pay close attention to your app’s ratings during the entirety of its run in the mobile marketplace. If your rating is high, add it to your app store description to provide further evidence of the program’s quality. If the rating is low, identify the reasons and take immediate actions to solve the problems.

Conclusion

Your app’s quality will go a long way in determining its success, but it’s far from the only element that will do so. Your promotional efforts can make or break your attempt at app store supremacy, and your submission materials will likely be the most important parts of your marketing strategy. The more care you put into your app store submission, the likelier it is that all your efforts — from development to promotion — will pay off in the long run.