App Store Optimization Tips – 15 ASO Case Studies

“Does that A-S-O thing really work?”

We hear this question quite a bit and we don't really blame anyone for asking.

After all, it is a little hard to believe that a few little tweaks can have such a big impact on how many times your app is downloaded (and how much income your app produces).

On top of that, ASO case studies are a little hard to come by.

That may seem strange, but there is a perfectly logical reason for that…

Why App Store Optimization Tips and Case Studies Aren't Published As Often As They Should Be

Companies that have ASO platforms are limited to publishing results from their customers.

Makes sense, right?

Would Ford promote the 0-60 time of the Chevy Camaro, if it was better than the Mustang, just to show how awesome American muscle cars are?

No way.

Customer case studies can also be a Catch-22:

  • Potential customers want to see proof that ASO works.
  • But once they are customers, they have NDAs that prevent the ASO company from releasing any of their results.

Perfectly understandable.

But it's a shame, because ASO is a powerful weapon that should be in the marketing arsenal of every app publisher.

It really is the best place to start, when it comes to app marketing. 

ASO Success Case Studies

Since we aren't an app store optimization company, we don't care which ASO platform an app publisher uses.

We simply want to show you that it works, so you will implement it and get results.

[tweet_box design=”default”]These 15 case studies prove that #ASO works…if you give it the attention it deserves. [/tweet_box]

If you get this question as often as we do, this post will also give you an easy way to answer the question, instead of having to dig up a bunch of links. 🙂

So here are some App Store Optimization tips for your app…

1. Gaston Irigoyen (Guidecentral)

Uh, yeah…700%. Do I really have to say more?

Gaston gave a talk at App Promotion Summit that shared how App Store Optimisation helped him increase the downloads of the Guidecentral app by 700%. Luckily, they recorded the entire talk and posted it on YouTube.

Check it out…

Biggest Lesson

The ASO element that had the biggest impact for Gaston was the app icon.

  • In the beginning, they didn't have the money to pay for an icon, so they designed it themselves. Sound familiar?
  • But when they finally decided to get an icon designed, they wondered why they didn't do it in the beginning. He shares other optimizations in the video, but that was the biggest one.

So if you think that an app icon doesn't matter, think again. If you don't have design skills, you can easily hire someone to design one for you.

It probably isn't as expensive as you think. 

Gaston credits app store optimization as the reason that Guidecentral is able to compete with well-funded Silicon Valley startups. If that isn't a testament to the power of ASO, I don't know what is.

2. Spiros Christakopoulos (Senior Manager of User Acquisition for Sega)

OK, so that last story was from a smaller company…but what about a bigger company? This video has some great insights from Sprios, who leads the ASO efforts at Sega.

If you think that they only have a couple of Sonic games, think again.

They have several studios and last year, they were #14 in the world in App Store revenue.

Their goal is to get to #12 this year and app promotion and ASO are going to be a big part of that. 

This video actually features two speakers. The first speaker is Alex, co-founder at Sensor Tower and he gives a great introduction to ASO, if you are new to it. If you already know the basics of ASO, then Spiros' talk will be more interesting. You can skip to 16:00 in the video to hear his part of the presentation.

Biggest Lesson

The biggest app store optimization tips from Spiros are in the area of Google Play optimization. There are also a lot of app marketing tips, so I recommend that you watch the video above because there really is too much to list here.

3. Justin Mailk (Money From Apps)

App marketing case studyWhen Justin first got into apps, he didn't know anything about ASO. As a result, his apps would make about $10 per day for a few days, then just die off.

But after he figured out how to do ASO, he saw that he could make about $10 per day for the lifetime of the app.

Yeah, that doesn't sound like much.

You could almost get lunch in most US cities.

But when you multiply $10 per day by all of the apps in his portfolio, the cash flow starts to pile up real quick. Soon, you can buy more than just lunch.

Justin left his full-time job in 2013 and hasn't looked back.

Biggest Lesson

Justin says that if you really want to see results, you need to review your keyword rankings weekly. This needs to be a core app marketing strategy. At the bare minimum, you need to review them monthly.

Most app developers think that they can choose a bunch of keywords once and just let it rip. But you need to adapt to changing conditions on the App Store.

He also believes that app store optimization will give you some of the best long-term results:

“…if you want to create long-term, sustainable income, focusing on ASO so that your apps provide consistent returns over the course of months, if not years, can be a great strategy.”

Read more about Justin's app development experiences in this blog post. He also recently published a blog post on how ASO used to work and how he is approaching it now.

4. David Janner (Make App Magazine)

make-app-magazine-story

Localization is an area of App Store Optimization that is easily overlooked. However, it can also give you the biggest gains. In David's case, he was able to increase his downloads by 767%.

He is an amazing app publisher and he spends most of his time creating apps, instead of blogging.

But when he does get around to writing a post, it is always loaded with useful app marketing strategies.

Biggest Lesson

David says that French, Spanish, Italian and Russian have done very well for him.

Of course, this will depend on the app. But this is a good starting point, if you want to localize your app.

Finally, David sums it up pretty well when he says:

“Put simply, without localization, we would have had around 3,000 downloads for that month.  With localization we had 23,000 downloads. Localizing this app’s keywords helped increase downloads by 767%! Yes, that’s over 7x the downloads we would have otherwise achieved.”

Read the entire blog post here.

5. Wojtek Szywalski (PressPad)

This one will be quick and dirty…

After doing app store optimization, PressPad increased their downloads by 140%. Here is the chart:

PressPad download growth results

Downloads grew +140% (measured 30 days before ASO vs 30 days after ASO) – Downloads between Jan 2nd 2015 and Mar 2nd, 2015 – Image: PressPad

That translated into an 87% increase in revenue:

magazine-app-aso-revenue-boost1

Revenue between Jan 2nd 2015 and Mar 2nd, 2015 – Image: PressPad

Biggest Lesson

What did they do that was so special?

That's the thing…nothing really. In reading through their blog post, they followed standard ASO practices. They didn't have any “tricks” or groundbreaking strategies.

So the biggest lesson is that you simply need to follow the best practices and get to work. 

Our App Store Optimization guide is a great place to start.

Read the entire blog post here.

6. Felipe Watanabe (Tapps Games)

Tapps Games app portfolio

This information is from a post that I wrote when I first started at Sensor Tower. Being completely new to ASO, at the time, I looked around for people who were already successful.

One guy that stood out early on was Felipe Watanabe, from Tapps Games.

As I was browsing the iPhoneDevSDK forum, I came across quite a few of his posts…

He had nothing to gain by posting, he is cool and just wanted to help people out. Here are a couple of examples of his posts:

aso-forum-post

So I decided to interview him to find out what he was doing. Tapps Games has a great story. They actually started out with enterprise apps, but that didn't go so well.

They came to a crossroad…either shut the business down or try their hand at games. One of their first games was a hit and they never looked back.

When I interviewed Filipe back in 2013, they had just passed 10 million downloads and he attributed a lot of their success to ASO. Now with over 170 apps and titles like Call of Doodie and Goat Evolution in their portfolio, they have truly mastered app templates and ASO.

Biggest Lesson

Felipe feels that one of the biggest advantages that the Tapps company structure has, is that anyone can suggest an idea for an app.

This leads to a lot of great ideas, not only for the concepts of their games, but for app store optimization and app marketing.

So if you can figure out a way to collaborate with others, that can help you a lot. One way to do that is to join Bluecloud Select.

You can read the complete interview here.

7. Abhinav Gupta (Game Scorpion Inc.)

OK, so this isn't a case study per se, but Abhinav does have a cool acronym for remembering what you need to check, when optimizing your app. He teaches people to remember: T.R.I.C.K.S.

  • Title
  • Reviews
  • Icon
  • Customer
  • Keywords
  • Screenshots/Video

Biggest Lesson

The biggest lesson from the video is to localize your keywords. He makes a good point that just because a keyword is hard to rank for in one language, doesn't mean that it will be just as hard to rank for in another language. 

In other words, you need to track your keywords for each language separately. You can use a spreadsheet or you can use one of the app store optimization tools out there to track your localized keywords.

You can read the complete blog post here.

8. Nic Raboy (Snapper for Digital Ocean + Others)

Snapper app

Nic is like most indie app developers, scrappy and resourceful.

Since he doesn't have the huge budget to go out and buy downloads, he had to figure how out how get them from free sources.

At the time he wrote his blog post, these strategies were helping him make a few hundred dollars a month with his apps.

Again, it's not FU money, but you have to start somewhere.

Biggest Lessons

Nic has some great ASO tips, but what I found most useful was the “Things I’ve Found To Be Useless” section in his post.

  • He mentioned that he found paid reviews to be useless. He is talking about reviews on so-called “review websites.” I've heard similar reports across the board, so if you are thinking about it, that tip alone will save you some money.
  • Interestingly, he also says that paid ads don't work. That is something that I only hear from people who are new to ads, especially Facebook Ads. If you want to learn how to actually get results with Facebook ads, you should check this out.

You can read the complete blog post here.

9. Kshitij Minglani (Mindvalley Mobile)

Mindvalley mobile app study

Mindvalley has an amazing mission to help people unleash their potential. Every time I check on the website, I see them expanding.

I had the opportunity to talk to Mindvalley Mobile CEO Kshitij Minglani on Skype and he was super helpful and focused on growing the company in a methodical way. ASO helped them grow the downloads of their Omvana app by 125%. 

Biggest Lesson

Kshitij mentioned that they experiment a lot with their screenshots and that has made a huge difference when it comes to converting search rankings to downloads.

He also mentioned that Facebook ads have been extremely effective in their marketing.

You can read the complete blog post here.

10. Haris Ikram (CloudOn)

CloudOn is an app that helps people share documents on multiple platforms.

I saw a video of Haris presenting this slide deck, but I can't seem to find it. So I had to settle for the slides that he uploaded to Slideshare.

Haris is constantly tweaking his ASO and he really take the time to figure out what works. This presentation may be a little hard to read at times, but it will give you some great tips.

 

In January 2015, CloudOn joined Dropbox. They must have been doing something right 🙂

cloud-on-dropbox

Biggest Lessons

One of the biggest wins for Haris was adding keywords to his title.

He was able to double the number of downloads of the app, just by doing this one simple thing.

It can really be as simple as that. If you want to learn how to find the perfect keywords, this will show you how to get started right now.

11. Corey Breier (MailTime)

MailTime marketing study

Corey openly admits that the first version of their app wasn't very good. That is why they didn't spend too much time on marketing it.

But they knew that their 2.0 version would be amazing. So they really thought through their launch plan.

It really paid off. Here is what happened:

“MailTime 2.0 launched on May 28 on the top of the US App Store’s Productivity Category, and on the front page in 18 other countries worldwide as the Best New Apps. This coverage last over 3 weeks and drove tens of thousands of downloads every day. Now that’s a good MailTime!”

Biggest Lessons

Two weeks before their launch, they really focused on dialing in their App Store Optimization. Like we have seen before, adding keywords to their title was one of their biggest wins.

You might be tired of hearing that, but putting the right keywords in your title can have a huge impact on downloads. To learn which keywords to put into your title, this will help.

You can read the complete blog post here.

12. Eric Partyka (SocialSell)

SocialSell-app-in-app-store

Like a lot of developers, ASO isn't something that Eric realized he needed until after he launched his app.

Before optimizing his apps, his iPad app was ranking in the top 1,500…on a good day.

But this is what happened after his ASO update:

“Fast forward to around 1 in a half months after optimizing my app for the App Store and now my iPad app is ranked in the Top 5 and my iPhone app is ranked in the Top 70. My downloads are continuously increasing, my App Store ratings and reviews are improving, and I am ranking higher and higher each day.”

Biggest Lessons

Eric's best advice is just to get started. He attributes his success to Mobile Action's easy to use platform and the help that he received from them. This helped him to drastically improve his app ranking. 

You can read the complete blog post here.

13. Twitter

Thanks to Aykut Karaalioglu at Mobile Action for sharing the previous two case studies with us:

Here are a couple of tweets from people who have had great results with Sensor Tower: 

 

14. John Mitchell (Veg Pest ID)

After doing ASO for his bug identifier app, John was able to get the following search results for his primary target keywords. They are very targeted keywords, especially something like “pest id.”

App screenshots and iOS app ranking

Biggest Lessons

They actually used a keyword suggestion tool to find their keywords. This is an important point because you may think that you know what keywords will do well, but you may be missing out on keywords that you never thought of.

You can read the complete blog post here.

15. Chris LaCombe (Apptation)

Podcast episode

This podcast episode comes to us from Steve Young at App Masters. Chris LaCombe talks about his experience with app store optimization and at the time that this podcast was recorded, he was getting 300-400 downloads, strictly from ASO.

That is a significant download number because that is generally when an app will start to make money. We call it the Rule of 500.

Individual results will vary, depending on monetization strategy. But that is the rule of thumb.

Biggest Lessons

Aside from app store optimization alone, Chris believes that having a portfolio is the only way to create passive income from apps. You don't need a big win with one app, but you can have several smaller wins, that add up.

You can read the complete blog post here.

Conclusion

These case studies demonstrate the power of App Store Optimization.

If you have not optimized your app yet, you need to get started because it is one of the highest leverage marketing strategies that you can implement. Remember that there are different elements of ASO.

If you have done some ASO in the past and thought that it doesn't work, then you may need to simply do some tweaking and look for more long-tail keywords. Learn how here.

Finally, remember that ASO or any other marketing strategy is not a magic bullet.

You still need to have a quality app that people want. But since you are here, I'm assuming that you do, or you want to build one. 🙂

To see more examples of apps that do an amazing job with specific parts of ASO, read this blog post.

Do you have any other app store optimization case studies that you want to add to this list? We want this post to be the place that everyone comes to see ASO case studies, so share a link or your personal experience in the comments below…

Complete List of ASO Platforms

Now that you know that app store optimization works and how to get started, which platform do you use? There are quite a few options out there, depending on your budget and needs. Check out this list and take some time to figure out which one is the best for you.

How to Make An App
 

COMMENTS

  • Nic Raboy July 14, 2015

    Thanks for sharing my story 🙂

  • Justin Malik Justin Malik July 14, 2015

    Thanks for sharing my case study, Hugh! This is a great compilation.

  • Hugh Kimura July 14, 2015

    Thanks Justin, we appreciate all the great information you share on your site!

  • Hugh Kimura July 14, 2015

    My pleasure Nic.

  • Felipe Watanabe July 15, 2015

    Hey, Hugh! Surprised to find myself here. Thanks for sharing the case! ASO is still going strong and helping us drive millions of downloads every week nowadays.

  • Hugh Kimura July 16, 2015

    @Felipe Happy to hear it, thanks for stopping by and letting us know!

  • Abdul July 20, 2015

    Hey Hugh, thanks for sharing the information. I am an indie developer and i appreciate if you give feedback for my game icon and controls. Thanks

    Here is the link
    https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/oblivion-bounce-the-line/id991167974?mt=8

    Promo code
    RHXN6A3KNTTA

    Thanks

  • Rômulo July 23, 2015

    Hi Hugh,

    Great post! Unfortunately what you said is truth… We, as ASO companies, can’t just publish our customer’s cases everywhere. So thanks for doing it 🙂

    It’d be awesome if you could put us (https://eyso.io/platform) on your ASO platforms as well 😀

    Cheers

  • Hugh Kimura July 23, 2015

    @Rômulo Thanks for stopping by and the input. Sorry for leaving you out, you have been added to the list.

  • Wojtek Szywalski July 27, 2015

    Fantastic compilation Hugh, I am glad that I can be a part of it with our (PressPad) case. Thanks

  • Rômulo July 27, 2015

    Thanks @Hugh!

  • Hugh Kimura July 30, 2015

    @Wojtek Thanks, we hope to see more case studies from you.

  • matt August 5, 2015

    Awesome post as usual Hugh. Love these as guidance, best practices and motivation.

  • Hugh Kimura August 6, 2015

    @Matt Thanks, glad you liked it.

  • Abhishek March 28, 2016

    Hey, Hugh thanks for sharing your views about ASO. I read your article and it works great, i appreciate you for this. Here, i share my personal experience about ASO which is done by appfillip for my apps. You guys can also visit at least for more details appfillip dot com

  • Cloud Security December 10, 2016

    Hey Blue Cloud,

    I love all these tips for optimizing your apps. This is such a great list of resources from so many people who have already had success in the industry. I will have to save this one for future reference when developing.

    Thanks,
    Dennis

  • iprism July 3, 2017

    Thank you for sharing your article. This is very informative article to mobile apps development tips.
    Keep it up.

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