How to Use AppTweak Before Your App Launches in the Stores

Sarah B. Touimiby
Senior App Growth Consultant at AppTweak

12 min read

At AppTweak, we continuously strive to develop the #1 ASO tool that helps you at every step of your app or game’s life cycle. This remains the case even when that app is not yet in the stores! In fact, we recommend you undertake a considerable amount of preparation and consider many elements before even launching your app or game in the stores.

In this blog, we will present the different ways you can use AppTweak to boost your ASO strategy even before your app or game has launched in the stores.

If your app is not yet in the stores, it will also not be found on AppTweak. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use AppTweak to gather the necessary insights to make important decisions and prepare for your app launch. In fact, the best way to do this on AppTweak is to use another app – preferably one of your competitors – to gain access to the most relevant information. This allows you to not only access all of AppTweak’s valuable functionalities and features but also to stay as close as possible to your own app when working on keyword and creative optimization.

Pick the Best Category for Your App or Game

Choosing the best category for your new app is a difficult decision that should be made before even launching your app in the stores. So, how should you decide which category is the most relevant? And how can AppTweak help you make the best choice?

The first element to consider regarding the best category for your app is your competitors and the category (or categories) they have picked. By using AppTweak’s Analytics feature to highlight the category picked by similar apps in terms of functionality, theme, and features, you can have a better idea of how to position your app in the stores. You will often see that similar apps can be found under the same category or set of categories, which will already narrow down the relevant categories you should choose from to pick the right category for your app or game.

The second step is to analyze and familiarize yourself with the specific categories you are considering for your app. With AppTweak’s Market Intelligence feature, you can learn which categories experience the largest growth in terms of app downloads and revenue estimates. The feature can help you determine seasonality trends and also understand a category’s level of competition so you know how difficult it might be to rank highly in that specific category. As a result, it is very beneficial to uncover all of these category insights before launching your app.

Let’s say that for a new Match 3 Puzzle game, you are hesitating between choosing the Games-Puzzle category and the Games-Casual category as your primary category. As shown below in Market Intelligence for the United States, the Games-Puzzle category experienced higher growth than the Games-Casual category in terms of downloads and revenue throughout 2020. However, the total number of downloads was much higher in the Games-Casual category. Additionally, the number of downloads needed to reach the top of the category is much higher for Games-Casual compared to Games-Puzzle (except for downloads to Top 1). This means that your game would rank higher in the Games-Puzzle category than in the Games-Casual category for the same number of downloads (except for the #1 position).

To go a step further, you can look at which apps rank highly for keywords that are particularly relevant to your app, as well as which categories those apps have chosen. For example, looking at the top 10 ranked apps for the keyword “puzzle” on the US App Store, we see that each app is part of the Games-Puzzle category – each game has selected this category as either its primary or secondary category.

Note that for Google Play, you can also add ‘tags’ to your app listing. These tagshelp Google’s algorithm refine its understanding of what your app or game is about and which other apps and keywords it should be connected to. These tags can be added manually, but sometimes Google also automatically assigns relevant tags to certain apps and games. With AppTweak’s Live Search feature, you can see which tags are associated with other apps and games and thus spy on your competitors! This can provide you with a better idea of which Google tags might be best for your own app even before it launches in the stores.

Expert Tip

Don’t pick too many Google tags! It is better to specialize in the most relevant tags rather than go for a wider spectrum.

Check out this blog to learn more about Google Play Store tags

Check out this blog for a complete list of available Google Play Store tags

Target the Best Markets for Your App or Game

Knowing in which market your app or game will generate the most demand (before it has even launched in the stores) is a bonus. How can you identify the markets in which your new app has the best chance to succeed? How can AppTweak help you understand this?

Identifying the markets in which your app would be most demanded can help you better allocate your resources. For example, knowing that your app has the best potential to be searched and monetized in France and Germany can allow you to allocate more ASO efforts and resources into these markets. For instance, you could then invest in localizing and culturalizing your app’s metadata and creatives before its launch to go further than simple translations.

One way to identify the countries in which your app would be popular is to monitor the markets in which your competitors have a strong presence in the top charts. AppTweak’s Market Intelligence feature provides an overview of the top charts across categories and countries so you can identify the specific top charts in which your competitors are most present. This then serves to indicate the markets in which your app or game would appeal to users the most.

In the example below, we see the top 10 games in the Games-Puzzle category on the App Store across 9 markets. We notice that Match 3 Puzzle games, such as Homescapes and Gardenscapes, are very popular in Spain, Italy, and Mexico but are less popular in Japan and Australia.

Optimize Your App or Game’s Title

Are you hesitating between which generic keywords should be part of your new app or game’s title? For example, imagine that your new game focuses on running and you are hesitating between including the keywords “run”, “running”, and “runner”. Which keyword would have the most potential to boost your game’s visibility in your title (the most impactful element of your metadata in search results)? How can AppTweak help you find this out?

To get your first idea of which keyword is better associated with your app or game, you can run a “Live Search” on these keywords using AppTweak’s ASO Intelligence. This feature allows you to immediately see the apps and games that are ranked highly for a particular keyword so you can determine if these apps are similar to your own.

Using the example mentioned above, we see that having the keyword “run” in the title is most relevant to games, while “running” tends to refer to apps in the Health & Fitness category – unless the combination also includes the keyword “game” (iOS, US). As for “runner”, this keyword is also relevant to games but is rarely found in the title. Based on this, we can already see that “run” would be the best keyword among the three to include in our game’s title.

The next step would be to look at the different KPIs, particularly volume and difficulty, for these single-term keywords and their combinations when associated with your brand name. You should also make sure to analyze other relevant generic keywords.

Using the ‘runner game’ example, let’s say that our brand name is “XYZ” and that we are hesitating between the titles, “XYZ Runner Game”, “XYZ Running Game” and “XYZ Endless Run”. We would then look at the volume and difficulty of not only “run”, “running”, and “runner” but also “runner game”, “XYZ running”, “endless run”, and so on.

Based on the volume and difficulty of these keywords and combinations, you would be able to determine which of the 3 keywords considered (“run”, “running”, or “runner”) offers the best opportunity to increase your app’s visibility in its title.

Build a Semantic Dictionary & Optimize Your Metadata Before Launch

How can you build a semantic dictionary when your app or game has not yet launched in the stores? Although your new app is not yet in the stores, you should already know everything about it (e.g., what it’s about, its value proposition, its different features). As a result, you should have a clear idea of the most relevant keywords and, therefore, you can already start building your semantic dictionary.

As previously mentioned, you can use a similar app or game to access AppTweak’s functionalities that can help you prepare your new app’s ASO strategy. To start developing a semantic dictionary, you can first build it on AppTweak based on another app page and then duplicate it later to make it more relevant to your own app once it has launched. Doing this allows you to:

  • Add your initial keyword list and check the different indicators (volume, difficulty, number of results, number of installs, etc) to understand which keywords have the most potential to increase your app’s visibility
  • Check which keywords your future competitors use in their metadata (title, subtitle, short description, long description)
  • Find new keyword opportunities by looking at the keywords your future competitors rank well on, the keywords that drive the most downloads to your future competitors, trending keywords in the stores, and more
  • Find and create relevant high-volume keyword combinations
  • Discover the relevant branded and generic keywords

AppTweak allows you to build a semantic dictionary that can be updated even before your app or game is in the stores. The tool also helps you optimize your app’s metadata so you are ready for its launch. In fact, building a semantic dictionary helps you select the keywords you should target in your metadata and, as a result, optimizing your app’s metadata increases its chances for high search visibility as soon as it launches in the stores.

Analyze Your Competitors’ Creative Strategies

Understanding the best practices for your app or game’s ASO creatives helps you design visual assets that appeal to your target market from the start. How can AppTweak help you understand the creative trends associated with your app or game?

To get a first idea of trends for your icon, you should look at the top charts of your future category/categories and analyze the icons of the top apps in that category. This can help you recognize any common practices that stand out across them. For example, in the Shopping category on the App Store, most apps have very simplistic icons that incorporate a plain background color and only display the brand title, initials, or logo.

Check out this blog to discover our app icon color palette

An effective method to learn creative best practices and identify metadata update trends is to monitor what top apps in your future category do over one year. On AppTweak, you can use the Metadata Update Frequency tab and select the “Compare With Benchmark” option so you can specify the category and benchmark you want to monitor (e.g Top 30 in the Shopping Category).

Check out this blog to learn more about AppTweak’s Metadata Update Frequency feature

To go a step further to learn the best practices for similar apps and games, better understand the strategies used, and find inspiration to successfully optimize your app’s creatives is to spy on your competitors. With AppTweak, you are not only provided with an overview of your competitors’ current creative assets, but also with their update frequency. This feature shows you how many changes a competitor made to each creative element during a specific date range, as well as giving you a timeline of the exact dates a competitor updated its creative assets and what specific changes were made to that asset.

Check out this blog to see how you can spy on your competitors’ A/B tests on Android

Thanks to these insights regarding your future category and competitors, you can better develop your own ASO creative strategy and create the first version of your app’s creatives that follows best practices and appeals to your target market.

These are just some examples of how AppTweak can help you refine your ASO strategy and prepare your app or game for its launch in the stores. And many other features are available to help you at every step of your app’s life cycle! AppTweak facilitates your ASO efforts not only in terms of keyword and creative optimizations but also to help you define your strategy for global expansion and localization, search ads, social media advertising, and more. Remember that ASO is a continuous process so the sooner you define your strategy and prepare an optimized app or game, the better are its chances of success!

Are you interested to boost your ASO strategy even before your app or game has launched in the stores? Sign up for a 7-day free trial today!

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Sarah B. Touimi
by , Senior App Growth Consultant at AppTweak
Sarah is a Senior App Growth Consultant at AppTweak, helping apps increase their visibility and downloads. She has experience in digital Marketing and is passionate about new technology. She is a born entrepreneur!