ASO Hacks & Tips to Grow Your Apps & Games

Mariia Chernoplyokovaby
ASO Manager at MY.GAMES

11 min read

It’s no secret that mobile app life cycles aren’t exactly linear. Indeed, mature apps that found success during the first 1-2 years following their release often eventually face stagnation – hyper-targeted experiments and optimization do not bring the expected results. As a result, attracting new users and bringing back the old ones becomes more and more difficult.

In this blog, we’ll discuss ASO tips for mature apps in detail and share insights on how to determine further growth points for existing apps.

This is a guest blog written by MY.GAMES.

1. Enter new markets with app store localization

Sooner or later, any mobile app reaches a peak point of growth within its “home” markets. In cases like this, entering new markets can be an excellent way to drive growth. Expanding a mobile app into new markets is preceded by several stages:

Selection and prioritization of new markets

This includes analyzing a niche in the local market, its competitiveness, traffic volumes and profitability, studying analogues of your product in target markets, and assessing their development and promotion.

Localizing your app to the target language

We strongly recommend that you go beyond just localizing the visual and textual metadata on the app page. All the content and the UI of your application must be fully translated into the target language. At the same time, it’s important to deal with localization nuances – like adapting texts to the size of buttons, correctly spelling names, addresses, and so on. Without making these efforts, retention will be low, and the result won’t justify the cost of attracting new traffic.

Elaborate on the semantic core in the target language

It’s best if this stage takes place in parallel with the first one – semantic analysis will allow you to study the needs of the market in more detail by collecting a pool of key queries on relevant topics.

For example, the search query “TPS” (third person shooter) has a popularity score of 11/100 in the UK (low frequency) and 34/100 (mid-range) in Japan. Thus, it’s possible to draw conclusions about game genre popularity within particular countries, and to take this into account when planning an expansion strategy.

Take into account market specificities while creating metadata

When preparing text metadata, it’s also important to take into account the peculiarities of local markets. For example, all the top-grossing gaming app titles in the Japanese and Korean stores have localized brand names:

Clash of Clansクラクラ클래시오브클랜
Clash Royaleクラロワ클래시로얄
Homescapesほ ー む す け い ぷ꿈의 집

When entering new markets, it’s best to consult with native speakersconcerning an appropriate name for your app. Even non-native experts with lengthy experience studying the target language may not be aware of some nuances here.

Creative optimization based on local market trends

This stage consists of a qualitative audit of the market and competitors – evaluating the messages and color palette of the leading competitors in the niche and A/B testing the elements of your app page with local users.

Comparing the icon color palette of Hustle Castle vs the top 50 icons in the Games category in the US, App Store
Comparing the icon color palette of Hustle Castle vs the top 50 icons in the Games category (US, App Store) with AppTweak’s Metadata Benchmarks feature. Source: AppTweak

Learn the importance of creative optimization and localization to ensure your app’s success in international markets

2. Boost your app’s search visibility on a regular basis

Moving on, let’s discuss the different steps we can take to make sure that our app continues to show up in search results:

Update your text metadata regularly

Regularly updating your app’s metadata on the App Store and Google Play is one of the most efficient ways to ensure sustainable app visibility and to drive downloads every day.

How often you should update your app metadata depends on the resources at your disposal along with your overall ASO strategy. Though there is no singular update frequency to guarantee you optimal visibility, by regularly monitoring keyword rankings and store changes, you can adapt and find new opportunities to stay visible.

Keep these best practices in mind when updating your metadata for the App Store and Google Play

Use cross-locales on the App Store

Take advantage of cross-localization on the App Store, and the fact that keywords in at least two locales can be indexed in each App Store territory. For example, in the US, the Apple algorithm will consider the keywords added to the English (US) and Spanish (MX) app metadata when indexing your app. This implies that you can actually increase your character space by utilizing your app’s metadata in different languages.

Make your app ready for new countries with Google Play localization

Google Play allows you to add translations of your app’s store listing page to provide a localized experience for your users around the world. If a user’s language preference matches the store listing languages you have enabled, they will see the localized version of the store listing and any localized creative assets you have added.

You can also choose to add relevant, high-volume keywords in your metadata manually to rank higher for those terms.

Looking for more information on localization for Google Play? Check out this blog on a beginner’s guide to Play Store localization.

Work with the Google Natural Language API on Google Play

Analyze your app’s full description using the Google Natural Language tool to understand how Google categorizes your app. Try to modify your app’s full description to fit into the most relevant category with the highest possible index (the hit ratio must be at least 0.8 out of 1). The better GNL can categorize your app, the more effectively your app can be promoted on Google Play.

Getting into the target category according to the GNL tool will allow you to optimize the application for Google indexing algorithms. The app will be included in more relevant collections, categories, and featured sections, which will increase the explorer traffic. Therefore, try to add more keywords at the beginning and at the end of your app description. Repeat keywords 3–5 times.

Create an optimized long description for your app on Google Play with these handy tips

Keep an eye out for seasonality impact on the app stores

Don’t forget to align your app’s product page with seasonal offerings, for example, updating your app’s keywords or creative assets like screenshots or icons to reflect the holiday season. Incorporating keywords like “Halloween,” “Christmas,” “St. Valentine’s Day,” or “Black Friday” will help you significantly boost your visibility during the holiday season. Such keywords tend to be less competitive than general keywords, so they can bring you additional traffic.

Read these tips & trends for app store seasonality to prepare your app/game for the holiday season

3. Test and optimize for new search queries

You’ll want to make sure that search queries are optimized for your app, and that you’re taking advantage of effective new keywords.

Use Apple Search Ads to test various search queries

Based on the TTR (clicks on an advertisement in the search results), you can draw approximate conclusions about how relevant a search query is for an app. An indicator above 19-20% is considered optimal.

With Apple Search Ads Search Match, your ad will automatically be matched to search terms, thanks to multiple resources (such as your app title, subtitle, and keyword field, and also information regarding similar apps). Search Match allows you to discover new keywords without having to conduct any research.

Use discovery campaigns to find new keywords

Discovery campaigns allow you to discover new, effective keywords. We recommend running these for 7-10 days. This is enough time for initial data collection on relevant keywords. The larger the budget set for the campaign, the faster the search for new effective keywords will be.

Find valuable tips & insights in this exclusive guide to Apple Search Ads to boost your app visibility and downloads

4. Use promotional content & in-app events for user engagement

Promotional content (previously LiveOps) on Google Play and in-app events on the App Store are special event cards displayed on the app page. These are great tools to keep users up to date with the newest functionalities, crossovers, battle passes, and so forth.

Both in-app events and promotional content are featured in special collections within the stores. These have an impact on:

  • Returns: Highlighting product innovations will bring the latest upgrades to everyone’s attention and can influence the return of old users.
  • Retention rate: Promotional content work to keep users in the product by demonstrating the latest updates and improvements.
  • Monetization: Promotional content is an additional placement for the showcase of seasonal updates, sales, and promotions.
Royal Match's LiveOps card on AppTweak
Royal Match! promotional content (LiveOps card) on AppTweak. Source: AppTweak.
Scrabble Go in-app event on the App Store
Scrabble® Go’s in-app event on the App Store. Source: AppTweak.

5. Create custom store listings for your top markets

Google Play allows you to create up to 50 custom store listings for multi-language countries. For example, a custom store listing for the USA, which targets English-speaking users will allow you to conduct experiments with only the American audience, without experiencing ad mixture with audiences from other countries from users with their phone language set to English (US). This will make the results of the experiment more transparent and allow for more precise targeting to a specific country.

At Google I/O this year, some major improvements to custom store listings were announced. CSLs by user status now allows developers to target inactive users or Google Ads campaigns. This will help target narrow user groups more effectively and increase retention and conversion rate of paid traffic. 

Take a look at how you can make the most out of custom store listings

6. Analyze market evolution & monitor app trends

The mobile market is growing bigger and bigger every year, and so does the competition within the market. Analyze the features that top-grossing apps offer to users and ensure that your app is maintaining a competitive edge that corresponds with the latest trends. You’ll first need to make sure your app has a unique selling point to begin with, and is-up-date with current user demands.

7. Maintain a strong reviews & rating system

Ratings & reviews play a significant role in your app’s conversion. Users are not keen to download an app that has a rating lower than 4. Moreover, Apple and Google are more likely to feature and promote a highly rated app in the stores.

For an established app, the mantra is to “maintain a strong rating.” You may have a lot of users, but you still need to maintain a consistently high rating while minimizing low ratings and negative reviews. There could be several competitor apps with high ratings, so you need to differentiate yourself by maintaining an even higher rating.

Negative reviews leave you clues about how disgruntled users feel. Even with the best of apps, unhappy users will go out of their way to leave low ratings and negative reviews. So first and foremost, helping these users will be your number one long-term goal. Additionally, make sure to pick smart rating triggers in your appcraft the right messaging and flow for the rating experience, and reply to prominent user reviews.

A prompt appears after a successful reservation.
A prompt appears after a successful reservation.


All in all, a mature app’s growth strategy can be narrowed down to two main objectives – improving app visibility and overcoming market competition.

With these valuable ASO hacks, you can significantly boost your organic traffic, as well as retention rate and user engagement:

1. Enter new markets by localizing your app page for relevant geographies

2. Boost your app visibility in the stores through:

  • regular metadata update
  • benefit from cross-localization on the App Store
  • use GNL to better promote your app on Google Play
  • align your app page listing to resonate with the holiday season

3. Optimize for new search queries

4. Leverage promotional content and in-app events to drive attention to your app’s latest updates

5. Build custom store listings for your top markets

6. Analyze market evolution and monitor trends among competitors

7. Maintain high ratings and reviews for your app

Mariia Chernoplyokova
by , ASO Manager at MY.GAMES
Mariia has 7 years of experience in mobile app marketing, and works on organic growth for gaming applications.