App Store Optimization: The Moburst Way
At Moburst, each month we perform a meticulous evaluation for all of our clients’ app store performances, optimizing & updating signature elements to ensure maximum organic app visibility & installs. This analysis, amongst other things, includes an interpretation of the trends we are seeing. Based on the given data, we offer steps for improvement or steps to rectify downward trends. We always knew Apple Search Ads campaigns & ASO had a symbiotic relationship. ASA are key in building a keyword database: you can see the click-through-rate (CTR) per keyword in your ASA campaigns to gauge which keywords bring a higher conversion rate. Running an Apple Search Ads (ASA) campaign bolsters an app’s ranking by ensuring a positive CTR on given keywords. According to Appstore Connect ASA campaigns are even considered to be part of Search Traffic. It’s no question that they are connected. However, it wasn’t until one of our ASO reports that we realized to what degree they should work hand-in-hand. An in-depth overview of Apple Search Ads.
Case study: Apple Search Ads & ASO
Shopkick’ ASA Campaigns
Recently, we launched an extensive ASA campaign for one of our clients in the e-commerce industry, Shopkick. Given the increase in online shopping due to the tumultuous COVID-19, they wanted to amplify their presence in the app store as quickly as possible. In light of this, we launched a campaign and had a broad approach in regards to the keywords we chose with the intention of optimizing further down in the campaign’s life cycle. The keywords we chose were derived based on the highest search volumes in the online shopping category. The hope was not only to cast as wide a net as possible, but to also accelerate the learning curve to see which keywords convert at a slight expense of a higher CPI. We launched the campaign and followed its performance. Over a couple of days we began to optimize and remove the keywords that were not converting to installs.
Apple Search Ads CVR Affects Organic Ranking
When our monthly report came around and we analyzed the app’s trends we saw a decline in organic CVR. We were intrigued since we had a significant gain in keyword rankings that month. Further analysis showed that the dip was not connected to search traffic but to browse traffic, relating to ‘Similar Apps’ and category ranking. We began to see very clear evidence of things we knew for a long time: that CVR reduction causes category ranking loss.
When we try to understand the cause of a CVR decrease, one of the things we check is the app’s CVR over time. In this case, we found that the CVR dropped significantly around the time ASA campaigns started. A deeper dive revealed that a substantial amount of keywords had generated high volume with minimal installs, resulting in very low conversions. CVR:
The client’s decrease in CVR therefore impacted the app’s organic behavior, causing less incoming traffic from similar apps & potentially a reduced app ranking. We therefore decided to close low CVR keywords sooner rather than later in order to avoid hampering organic performance. By being in tune with the ASA team, we were able to fully understand our client’s app and to suggest healthy steps accordingly that would ensure organic visibility.
When launching Apple Search Ads campaigns in conjunction with ASO efforts, you need to be aware of the effects of low CVR keywords which can inadvertently damage an app’s overall CVR. In our case study, we found that low CVR keywords can even play a role in browse traffic and in turn potentially affect category ranking. Category Ranking:
Successful mobile app marketing, and namely app store performance, requires a holistic approach covering all bases. The collaboration between the ASA and ASO team is particularly crucial: it can either help or damage organic visibility. If managed correctly, it will provide a fuller understanding of an app’s performance. Another constructive tactic would be to push keywords with high CVR in ASA to help increase the app’s CVR and measure the effect on its organic performance. However, it’s important to recognize that if not managed carefully ASA can have a negative effect on organic performance ASA is just one of the many tools that factors into a successful ASO strategy, including helping to direct higher quality and converting traffic to your app. Read more about scaling apple search ad campaigns here.