LIFE AT NORDEUS
INCREASING MOBILE STORE VISIBILITY: ROLE OF THE ASO MANAGER AT NORDEUS
Fact: You love playing mobile games and you always have.
Mood: Today you feel like playing mobile football games.
Action: You’ll simply reach for your phone and type “football games” on the mobile store.
Now, let’s retrace the steps: Mobile stores are filled with millions of apps that compete for users’ attention every second. The entire gaming universe is at your fingertips in just a few clicks, with many options to choose from. Which one will grab your attention? That’s when the job of ASO Manager comes into place!
Securing the highest visibility on the stores with a satisfying conversion rate is the goal of each ASO Manager, but… how can you achieve it? In this blog, we will cover key focus areas of ASO Manager’s job at Nordeus and how we secure success in App Store optimization. The logic remains the same whether you are working on Apple Store, Google Play Store, Microsoft Windows Store or Huawei’s App Gallery.
Back in 2008 when mobile stores were first launched, the App Store had 500 apps available, while Google Play had only 50. As both stores grew, the competition became fiercer. To install the app, a user first needed to find it and then pick it among others. That’s when the need for app store optimization and the ASO manager role first emerged. In the beginning, this role was limited to keyword optimization, but as mobile stores grew, the job of ASO Manager evolved, as well. Today, the role of ASO Manager requires a much broader skill set since keyword optimization is only one of the tools we use to establish and improve our app’s presence.
At Nordeus, the role of ASO Manager encompasses three key areas: research and planning, creative A/B testing, and data analytics.
FOCUS 1: RESEARCH AND PLANNING
Imagine you are starting to work as an ASO Manager for a game you know nothing about. First you ask yourself: Where do I start? Research is your friend.
1. Internal research is an amazing chance for you to get familiar with the product and its core values. You will also get to know the most important markets since each market has its own identity and culture. For example, football is very popular in Europe, but how will you, as ASO Manager, attract users worldwide?
2. External research is equally essential for ASO Managers.
Firstly, understanding the store ASO guidelines and features as well as getting familiar with the main competitors and their ASO strategy is key. For example, in the case of Top Eleven and the football management category, we do our research by checking out store product pages of other football management games. Since football management is a small category, expand your research to the football action category. The tests your competitors have run, the frequency of ASO changes, creative directions, and concepts used can help you better understand the category in which you are competing in.
Now that we have all the information, we can start working on our own ASO strategy. In order for ASO strategy to come to life, we collaborate cross functionally with different teams. Here are some of the teams we work with at Nordeus to make sure we are all aligned:
- Product team – On a regular basis, we share dependencies and planned updates with the Product Team so that we can present new features or live events on the stores in the best possible way.
- Design team – Since ASO is a creative discipline, we collaborate with the design and video teams. The design team at Nordeus is also familiar with the basic principles of ASO, best practices and main KPIs, so that we have the best creative ASO output. We as ASO Manager make sure to prepare a good brief for the design team so we follow the stores’ guidelines.
- Other Marketing disciplines – Since ASO is common ground for organic and paid traffic, we make sure we are aligned with other Marketing disciplines- Product Marketing, for planned campaigns and User Acquisition, for creative direction based on data.
FOCUS 2: CREATIVE A/B TESTING
With the evolution of mobile stores and ASO, creative optimization became a must. Nowadays, ASO Managers are dedicating a lot of effort to finding and testing innovative concepts that impact conversion rates and ASO performance best.
These are a few steps my team follows to create an optimal process of ASO tests:
- During the ideation phase, we check out other football games or games from other genres, new trends, and our current store listing. Plus we search for weak spots.
- After we have a list of new, fresh ideas, we focus on the prioritization. One of the possible approaches that you can take is to determine the potential reach, impact, confidence and effort required for every hypothesis. This step helps us rank the ideas more systematically and focus on the most promising ones first.
- The design team can start producing the creatives that we use for A/B testing. Sometimes taking a bigger risk and trying out creatives that are different from anything you’ve tried before can have a bigger impact.
- What do we do next? Now we wait for our test to reach statistical significance so we can be confident in the results and drive actionable conclusions. Be prepared for trial and error, since there will be many of them until you find the winning combination.
A/B testing gives us a lot of advantages in the long run. Let me give you an example: Many football games have football on their store icon. If we add a football to the Top Eleven icon, will it outperform the version without it? Is football the element that is driving the user’s attention? With the learnings from this test, you can either conclude that having football on the icon can positively affect the performance, that it does not make any difference, or even that it drives negative performance. From now on, you will know soon if you should add football to your creatives.
FOCUS 3: DATA FOCUS (ANALYTICS)
So far, we have covered creative aspects of ASO, but that is just a part of what an ASO Manager does at Nordeus. At Nordeus we rely heavily on data when making decisions, whether it is marketing, product management, business analytics, or game design.
In order to inform all stakeholders about the performance and understand the impact of changes on App Store Product pages, we are tracking product page visitors and conversion rates daily and creating monthly and quarterly reports. On top of that, we are doing post-analysis for every test that we run so that we have all the learnings in one place.
As ASO Managers, we try to keep up with the updates in the mobile stores since they can impact the stores’ reporting methodologies or even influence the KPIs and ultimately impact the business.
The App Store Optimization Manager role is a unique combination of different tasks – from purely tactical (such as uploading a new set of screenshots to the stores), to creative ones (defining new icon concepts to be tested for Top Eleven) to the ones focused on data analysis (monthly analysis of ASO performance with main highlights and learnings).
If you liked what you have read so far and can picture yourself embracing the excitement and challenges of the mobile gaming industry, check out open positions at Nordeus.