So, you’ve invested a lot of time and resources developing a great mobile app. You might think your work is done, but even the best app will flounder if no one can find it. That’s where app store optimization (ASO) comes in.
ASO is similar to SEO, but for mobile apps in the Google Play or Apple iTunes stores. Where SEO attempts to increase website traffic with higher rankings in search engines, ASO drives more traffic to a mobile app by boosting its ranking in an app store’s search results.
Like SEO, there are rules of engagement and best practices for on- and off-page ASO. Best practices for on-page optimization includes things like choosing an effective app title, description and icon. Off-page optimization involves getting strong reviews and ratings for your app, maximizing the number of downloads and building quality links. The quality of your feature images has to be high, if it’s not, nobody will use it.
Despite your best efforts, organic promotion may need a boost… Sometimes you just have to pay to play.
Why Ad Networks?
In a sense, ad networks are to ASO what pay-per-click ads are to SEO. The best mobile ad networks help app developers get their mobile apps found by selling them space on the network’s platform. Typically, ad networks offer a variety of ad packages designed to reach the specific demographic most likely to be interested in the developer’s app, and ads are designed and sized to match the specifications of particular mobile devices. Paying for mobile ads can also help you gain valuable insights.
So Many Networks, So Little Time
There are dozens of ad networks from which to choose and, because every app is different, no single network or group of networks is ideal for every app. That said, there are some that stand out from the crowd, offering developers the best opportunities to monetize their apps.
Here are three of the largest and, arguably, most robust mobile ad networks:
- AdMob was purchased by Google in 2009 for a reported $750 million. As a Google property, AdMob offers developers sophisticated optimization technology and support, and is fully integrated with Google’s AdSense. AdMob works on all the major mobile devices, including iOS and Android. AdMob is immensely popular, boasting more than one million advertisers. On the downside, AdMob limits most advertisers to traditional (and somewhat low-impact) banner ads.
- Flurry, launched in 2005, promotes more than 125,000 apps and claims more than 1.2 billion app users and 3.5 billion daily app sessions. Unlike Google AdMob, Flurry offers, in addition to traditional banner ads, the opportunity to advertise apps using video and full-screen interstitial ads. Flurry also offers a robust analytics feature to monitor traffic, conversions and ad revenue.
- Millennial Media bills itself as “the leading independent audience platform in digital advertising.” Like Flurry, Millennial offers a variety of high-impact ad types, including both full-screen interstitials and video ads. Advertisers can also distribute their ad requests across a wide range of advertising frameworks, including third-party networks.
App developers who understand the need to adopt a smart ASO strategy are often daunted by the sheer number of choices available to ensure their app gets found in app stores. The bottom line is that every app is different and has different ASO requirements. Given the time, energy and money spent in developing a marketable mobile app, developers should consider working with a digital marketing firm with the experience to construct an effective ASO strategy and deliver the results they’re looking for.