There are more than 5.6 million apps available in Apple and Google’s App Stores, and that number keeps growing. And as we’ve said before, App Store Optimisation (ASO) is the fundamental process of standing out in that crowd. An ASO tool is simply what ASO specialists and mobile app marketers use to make that process happen.

In this article, we’ll take a complete look at what an ASO tool does and what to look for in a good one.

What is ASO?

If you’re curious, we’ve written another article on the essential components of app store optimisation. In case you haven’t read that article, though, App Store Optimisation is the process of improving app visibility within app stores. Another way to think about it is as SEO for apps, where specialists optimise elements such as the title, description, keywords, and even imagery.

Why is ASO important for app growth?

This is probably obvious, but increasing an app’s visibility will often lead to an increase in impressions and organic traffic, thereby driving more installs and generating new customers.

To put its importance into context, though, in September ’21, developers released more than 75,000 apps on Google Play Store alone. With so much competition, App Store Optimisation is designed to increase downloads by boosting sustainable organic growth, and, the first step of maximising those downloads is creating app pages that the right users can find easily.

How do users find and download apps?

Most people find apps through the app store search. Going back to ASO, the increase in traffic and downloads will, in turn, increase an app’s visibility by virtue of its relevance. We refer to this as a growth loop, where an app’s increasing search ranking and increasing visibility keep feeding one another so that the cycle of growth continues.

However, markets change all the time, as do users’ interests. That means app marketers have to monitor and optimise their campaigns on an ongoing basis to make sure their apps remain as visible as possible and benefit from this growth loop, and ASO tools play a major role in making this happen.

What is an ASO tool?

Like we said earlier, an ASO tool is simply the software an ASO specialist or mobile app marketer will use to understand the mobile landscape, track an app’s performance, and/or identify new performance opportunities.

And while no ASO tool will single-handedly create a successful app marketing campaign, the accuracy of their data have made them vital to mobile strategies.

The key benefits of ASO tools

We just mentioned data accuracy – both Apple and Google offer analytics within their marketing tools, but the data they supply can often be limited. On the other hand, third-party tools and platforms can collect hundreds of different data sets, while helping to automate campaign optimisation stages, and lower time and research costs for internal marketing teams.

With the right tool, marketers can:

  • Provide detailed analysis of user behaviour
  • Increase the effectiveness of an application’s performance
  • Analyse competitors
  • Generate reports for stakeholders
  • A/B test images and descriptions
  • Optimise keywords and titles through exhaustive research
  • Discover new app store categories
  • Use predictive analytics for long-term forecasting

What to look for in an ASO tool

While all app store optimisation platforms share the same goal, they don’t all share the same features. This makes it important for marketers to do their due diligence to make sure they choose the right tool for their business and app marketing strategy.

With this in mind, we’d recommend looking for an app tool that includes:

Keyword research and search tracking

The core of any good ASO tool is its keyword research and tracking functionality, as these help with discovery, optimisation, and analysis. Again, an app without organic visibility will suffer in terms of downloads. A marketer should therefore be able to track their own rankings as well as their competitors’ to see where they stand and how they can improve.

Asset management

This refers to the ability to upload new assets (images, videos, etc.) and track how well they perform. This functionality also becomes important in A/B testing the performance of images and other assets to find out which ones work best.

Cross-platform monitoring

Performance monitoring is perhaps the most important aspect of any campaign, especially across multiple locations and while tracking changes over time. App marketers should therefore look for an app tool that allows them to monitor search performance across different devices, regions, and application categories.

Our preferred ASO tools

Because looking through review sites can be a pain, we’ve compiled a short list of our top three preferred ASO tools:

Sensor Tower

Sensor Tower is one of the more commonly-used ASO platforms. Primarily a data-driven, app intelligence platform, it also provides great keyword research functionality as well as insight into App Store and Search Ads performance. Sensor Tower’s ability to leverage data competes with industry leaders like App Annie and helps marketers make informed decisions for their ASO strategies.

Key features:

  • Store data
  • Top charts
  • Keyword research
  • Keyword suggestion
  • Competitor analysis
  • Keyword translation
  • Search traffic score estimates
  • Predictive rank
  • Localisation analysis
  • App profiles
  • Review history
  • Featured app history
  • Daily reports

App Annie

App Annie is probably one of the most comprehensive ASO tools out there. Its strength lies in its massive database, which provides insights on a wide variety of apps. Using this, marketers can track keyword rankings and discover new opportunities to grow. It also supports competitive analysis that helps develop an understanding of competitors and their tactics to increase app downloads.

Some clients report that certain features such as traffic and difficulty scores are still lacking. Still, the significant number of App Annie’s other features makes it a top contender against other ASO tools.

Key features:

  • App Store Tracking
  • App Store Reviews
  • App Store Optimisation
  • Paid Search
  • Download and Revenue Estimates
  • App Usage Estimates
  • Game IQ
  • Mobile Web Usage Estimates
  • Advertising Estimates
  • SDK Insights
  • Data Delivery

AppTweak

AppTweak prides itself on its simplicity and accuracy, earning the company multiple awards in 2021 and a client list that includes Amazon, Adobe, Expedia, and LinkedIn.

The platform uses deep-learning algorithms and a diverse range of data to provide critical metrics and insights as accurately as possible. It has an easy-to-use interface and is a powerful, safe ASO all-rounder.

Key features:

  • Keyword research and suggestion tool
  • Keyword ranking history
  • Organic installs per keyword
  • Keyword volume and search popularity
  • Keyword impact analysis
  • ASO timeline
  • Featured app list
  • Keyword translations
  • Visibility score
  • ASO update history
  • Competitor keyword spy
  • Category rankings
  • Keyword rankings and install growth
  • App download and revenue estimates

Choosing the right tool for you

Any discussion about ASO tools is really a conversation about App Store Optimisation – the tools are simply a means to an end.

That said, they have become a vital means, as the market has become crowded and marketing teams rely on analytics to both streamline their processes and make data-based decisions on their campaigns. ASO tools provide this automation, support, and information, all of which help increase an app’s visibility and downloads, and with that its growth.

It is, however, important to properly research and understand the different tools on the market. Although the sheer volume provides marketing teams with a range of choices, those choices need to match the marketing team itself and its objectives.

And more important than the tool is obviously the strategy itself. Because for the app to truly grow, it will need cohesive funnel that leverages all of the data the tool provides.

And here comes the plug: if you’re a SaaS entrepreneur or marketer looking for the right marketing strategy for you and your business, we can help. We’re a team of senior consultants and specialists, so get in touch and let’s get the conversation started.