The promise of app store optimization has always been bright. Better visibility, discovery and ultimately, conversions and installs from users in the app store are just a few of the numerous benefits afforded through rigorous testing and analyzing. But one misconception that people still have about ASO is that it’s a one-time deal.

Acquiring more users is great, but the impact of app store optimization can be much greater than a peak in installs. ASO allows developers and publishers to target the audience that are more likely to be an app’s loyal and long-term user. However, these users and their interests fluctuate with the trends in the market which is why ASO done-right is a fluid process that adjusts to those changes.

Implementing a long-term app store optimization strategy that takes into account the trends and changes in user behavior helps mobile apps acquire more relevant users, impacting everything from engagement and retention to monetization and user lifetime values.

Acquiring the “Right” Users

Users who see relevant results for their search query are far more likely to convert immediately, stay engaged and pay for in-app features.

By choosing to position an app for traffic instead of quality users, mobile app marketers create an app that under-performs by all measures. The allure of “big traffic” is understandable, with downloads being a primary drive of app store rankings. Landing in the top 10 or 20 used to mean a goldmine of organic traffic.

Today, the top spots are all reserved for either heavy advertisers (Candy Crush, Clash of Clans), or huge brand names with a “pre-mobile” user base (Facebook, Twitter, Pandora).

Thus, the very best way to tap into organic traffic is by positioning your app for its target audience within the app listing.

Positioning in an App Listing

How do mobile app publishers and marketers create and optimize an app store listing for continuous visibility, discovery, installs and use by a target audience?

Users have been trained to be specific in their search requests lest they receive results that don’t help them much: When you search for “twitter”, Twitter is the first result. But why are Instagram and Google+ showing up?  And a Happy Park game?

Studies confirm user app store search behavior, the majority of app store searches are multi-word, feature based phrases.  Start with who your mobile app was created for and why. What are the most important or differentiating features and benefits? By focusing on your app’s core features, users who are actually looking for those features will be able to find your app.

Long-Term App Listing Optimization

One of the most important things to keep in mind while optimizing an app is that the optimization strategy should be updated every couple of months. With changes in the market such as advancement of technology or an upcoming holiday season, app store listings should change with the times.

Aside from being able to determine what users are looking for in relation of your app’s core features, app store intelligence platforms will show and suggest other relevant terms tied to your app and the latest trends in the app stores. Platforms such as App Annie offer insights into trending keywords and user engagements.

Armed with this data, you can start to craft your app listing’s app name, keyword, descriptions and images to highlight the most important features, giving publishers the chance to improve conversion from app store views to installation.

Data-Driven Decision-Making

The old saying about data certainly applies when measuring and optimizing a mobile app’s performance: bad data in, bad data out.

The data being used to make decisions on how to modify and optimize a user experience is significantly impacted both by users who are in an app’s target audience, and those acquired due to poor positioning in the app store.   There are a lot of ways to measure user engagement, sometimes several ways in a single app. Whether measured by account signups, connecting a social account, unlocking a character or beating level four in a game — but which users are we trying to optimize the user experience for?

Are decisions being made based on users who are not in the target market?

Product positioning and optimizing for a target audience is not a new phenomenon. We see different ads on a kids’ network than we do during daytime soap operas. The ads and products or services themselves are trying to reach a specific audience with a specific message. To use an analogy, car companies who produce sports cars know that these vehicles cater to a specific niche market. Robust data collecting software such as Gummicube, consolidate all of the feedback from your iOS’s audience into one actionable dashboard. Using the data you gain through A/B testing, ASO and focus group testing, you can optimize your app for your audience’s wants and needs.

An Optimized App is a Better Performing App

Positioning your app for a target audience and adjusting to the coming trends and changes in the market will likely improve installs, but acquiring installs from relevant users will boost your app’s key performance indicators (KPIs), however you define them.

From engagement, retention and LTV, to user onboarding and social sharing. These relevant users provide better data to make decisions on how to optimize your app for the newly targeted audience you are acquiring. Instead of optimizing your app for all users, get your ASO strategy defined and start building a better app for the people you care about most.