The Keyword Conclusion – Exact Match on Success

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results” – Winston Churchill

The Key Word is Keyword

This is a follow up to the last post I wrote about the Great Icon Experiment and how I realized that just updating the icon and screen shots were not enough to bring me to the next level. Tragic, I suppose, but it did leave me with one more variable to test – the keywords. I did change the name of the app to start with an A, but I honestly can’t imagine that’s such a huge game changer. As a reminder, I changed my keywords from:
alien invaders,space wars,space invaders,super laser,alien,atari,space ace,cows in space,mr space
My goal here was to capitalize not on the keyword volume of people looking for a fun game, but ride the wave of all the other popular games out there where people are spending thousands of dollars on marketing.
And ohhh man did it work.

The 258% Payoff

The first is the old game’s first week. The second is the new game’s first week.
Oscar's Retro Space AdventureAlien Combat
No – that’s not photoshopped – that’s just the biggest difference I have ever seen after making such a small change. That’s literally ALL I DID. Same game, same graphics.
What’s even more fun about this is that it looks like the Alien Combat app is starting to level off around 5o downloads a day – that’s legit! I’ve even made a handful of sales off this new app, which is just a huge bonus. The delta ended up being 258% when I updated my keywords. Not bad for a two hour project 🙂

Keyword Research? More Like A Popularity Poll

I’m developing a theory that I hope becomes one of those tangible resource that everyone can look to for hard evidence – the App Store is NOT Google and should not be treated it as such. People don’t search for “cool arcade game about aliens” but the do search for all those awesome games they see ads for or read a review about. Keyword research for the app store should pivot off the following question:
What apps are getting a lot of downloads that are similar to mine?

The chart on the right explains this. Your keyword research should be all about finding games or apps that are hugely popular (measured by number of reviews) and have very little competition. What I mean by competition is when you type in the name of that app into iTunes, there are not 200 other apps that come up. Check out MetalStorm as an example – it has 5+ Million users…and no competition. Well, except Alpha Combat 😛
When you put these names in as your keywords, you pop up for those app searches. This is NOT as easy as it sounds, as finding these apps is just as big of a process as doing research for Google.

Update Your App and Join the Party

Believe it or not, Apple now lets you update your keywords other than your initial launch – when you create an update, you can change everything in the meta data.
What does that mean to you all you app owners out there? It means you can easily test this out yourself. Release an update that “fixes some small bugs” or whatever and actually just update the keywords. Let that run for a few weeks and see if there is a change for you too.
All I know is that a 258% increase just because of keywords is not something I would ever ignore.
Keep rocking! I also want to say thank you to everyone who has left comments, emailed, and signed up for the newsletter. I’m glad there are people out there getting some benefit from this info. LOTS more to come!


  1. david
  2. leosion
  3. Michelle
  4. Alexey
  5. K
  6. Joarley
  7. vol

Leave a Reply