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01Jun

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Today with us we have Ryan Kelley, well known App Optimization expert and business development professional with Gummicube ASO. Ryan is in constant contact with companies interested in enhancing their market intelligence strategy and boosting app performance via store optimization tactics.

Keep reading if you’re interested in some insider tips and tricks.

How long have you been involved in the world of apps?

In 2013, I read a book called App Empire by Chad Mureta and started following people like Elaine Heney and Carter Thomas, who were showing people how to create games by reusing source code. Once I learned how to buy source code and update the apps, things moved pretty quickly. One app turned into 20 apps and then eventually a business was started creating games. I got started with App Optimization out of pure necessity; as more and more apps were published, everyone relied heavily on picking keywords to be discovered. I got to know a whole community of people who were also buying source code and remaking games and the one thing they didn’t want to bother with was ASO. At first, I volunteered to help out friends but it wasn’t long before it turned into a business and I started working with companies full time doing  App Store Optimization.

You are a well recognized ASO expert and from your point of view, which are the biggest challenges app developers and app publishers are facing nowadays to get a robust app optimization strategy and organic visibility on the App Stores?

The biggest challenge I see is simply understanding users. Often times, indie developers are not app enthusiasts. They don’t study the market enough and don’t understand their audience. In 2013 and even 2014, you could publish anything and get downloads. App users have matured and the influx of apps means finding the niches and creating unique concepts gets harder and harder. For instance, if you’re not a gamer who spends hours a day downloading and using the latest games but are trying to publish games, it is almost impossible to understand your target users and know the app market.

To be successful with ASO, you have to know what features users are searching for, what terms (keywords) they use to find apps, who your keyword competitors are, what the trending phrases in that niche are, which creative resonate with your users and a lot more. The market has moved from simple keyword optimization to optimizing the whole organic funnel.

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How much can a good ASO strategy impact the success of an indie dev?

Well put simply, you can’t download what you can’t find. For indie devs and even the largest developers, it’s not a case of updating keywords and then sitting back and waiting to see the impact. App Optimization is a continuous process of optimizing, measuring the results and making iterations. The longer you work at the better results you will see!

Five tips for a successful App Store Optimization in 2016

  1. Listen to your users. Reply to every single review (good and bad) review in the Google Play Store. Google sees this as a social signal and it carries weight within their algorithm.
  2. Work at it. Success with app optimization doesn’t come in short periods of  1, 2 or 3 months. It is an ongoing and constant process of testing and iteration to see small but regular growth.
  3. There is no such thing as magic keywords. If there is no demand for an app or it’s features, then users will not search for it. Period.
  4. Know which ASO metrics to track. Category rank is only important when  you are in the Top 20. The majority of people are not casually browsing the charts to discover an app. Who has time for that? Apps are discovered through keyword search.
  5. In the App Store, focus less on single keywords and more on building a matrix of keywords relevant to the app. Less than 20% of all searches are for single keywords. The power of a keyword comes in the 2-3 word phrases it builds.

What are your thoughts on the future trends of app optimization?

R: The future of ASO is in understanding that not all users are the same. Knowing how to optimize for your app’s target markets, devices, app stores, languages, category and audience is the difference between being found in search and being buried in the app stores.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your ideas with us 🙂


With literally millions of apps in the app store, you really need to make your app stand out. Sure, if you have a budget you can run a burst campaign or do one of the many forms of paid promotion. But, in addition to being a key part of app marketing, ASO can help your app generate more organic installs, making your business more sustainable.

Download it for free.

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