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In 2019, App stores saw a record 204 billion app downloads, with a consumer spend of $120 billion. The State of Mobile 2020 report released by App Annie – a mobile data and analytics company helping brands and publishers improve their mobile performance – reveals that in total, consumer downloads were up an impressive 45 percent since 2016 and six percent since 2018, with the average mobile user spending 3.7 hours per day using apps. In other words, the market is looking very good indeed for those wishing to enter the mobile app space.

We have come a long way since the first app – or mobile application – was developed. July 2008 was the month that Apple’s App Store went online with 552 apps, and in just one week iPhone users had downloaded about 10 million apps. Today there are more than 6 million apps to choose from across both the iOS App Store and Google Play Store, making it much more difficult for mobile developers to have their product stand out from the rest. With such a booming market inevitably comes increased competition and an increasingly challenging environment.

As Forbes charitably pointed out last week, many mobile developers are still failing miserably at marketing their applications, which can have a detrimental impact for those developers considering the average app costs between $37,913 and $171,450 to make. So, what are developers doing wrong?

Well, for the most part, they are forgetting the importance of ASO or App Store Optimization. Over 65 percent of all app downloads are the result of organic searches on the app store, according to Apple, and so it really pays for developers to do what they can to push their product up on the search rankings. One incredibly valuable way of doing this is by investing in ASO to increase one’s chances of discoverability and improving one’s conversion rate – in other words, convincing consumers to download your app.

The concept is fairly straightforward. The more app downloads your app gets, the more successful you are.  If you are a business with an app attached to your website especially, increased downloads help direct more traffic to your site, meaning the potential for more business. More business equals more money. But too often, developers get so overwhelmed by the app development process itself that they forget the hard work truly begins when the app launches. Investing in your ASO is like investing in improving your SEO ranking, and cannot be underestimated.

But there are so many ASO tools out there, from Apptentive to Appbot, TestNest to Raise Metrics, Apptopia to APPlyzer, that it is very easy to be overwhelmed by which is best for you, and which is best for your app. What developers need to keep in mind is simply this: app store optimization is an ongoing process of testing updates to app store marketing tools, with the overall goal of increasing app visibility and getting more app downloads. Whatever helps you market your product best is always the right solution, but in 2020 there are some ASO tools which experts have touted already as ‘winners’.

Invest in a decent ‘review & sentiment analysis’ tool, which performs optimization of your user reviews and ratings. This makes the process of figuring out what your customers like and don’t like really easy. TheTool, Apptentive and Mobile Action are a few examples of review and sentiment analysis tools you might consider looking into. 

Next up, app store intelligence tools, which help developers understand current market trends, competitor performance and other data including revenue, advertising spend trends and app downloads of competitor apps. Applyzer, App Annie and Priori Data are brilliant examples of tools which can help you dig up seriously useful data to help you understand the ‘app landscape’ and how to outperform other apps.

And lastly, A/B testing tools like Splitmetrics, Store Maven and TestNest allow you to test two or more mobile app product pages to figure out which one performs better and leads to higher conversions. There’s no denying the value that can be derived by identifying something as simple as which colour on a product page appeals to consumers more. It can mean the difference between 10,000 downloads of your app, or 10 million downloads.

So, if you are sitting comfortably in the knowledge that you are one of the million plus people in the world today who have brought an app from conception to launch, and that enough, you had better think again. The app market is one of the most competitive spaces in the world, and sadly, 9,999 of every 10,000 mobile apps fail. Why? Because, unfortunately for you, apps are plentiful, many of them are free, and apps are seriously expensive to make. If you are in the game to make a profit, you would be well-advised to spend some serious time – and money – investing in ASO tools.

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