Features of ASO Mobile Game Optimization
In this article, we will try to determine if there are any features of ASO optimization for mobile games. Mobile games occupy a special place in the mobile world, as they are the most profitable segment. But today, we will turn our attention not to the features of monetization but to the basics - text and visual optimization, their parts in the context of games, and how exactly these processes differ from ASO application optimization.
Mobile games market analysis 2019-2022
Interesting facts (also based on data.ai analytical reports) - changes occur not only at a quantitative level but also at a qualitative one. Take a look at this exciting analysis that testifies to the maturity of the mobile games market:
- the number of game releases and the total number of games has been declining since 2016.
- profitability is very uneven, with the top 150 games generating more revenue than the rest of the market share.
- games began to develop and reach the profitability ceiling faster than in previous periods.
Games continue to be a significant growth driver for the mobile app market as a whole. But the structure of user spending is changing by genre:
ASO mobile game optimization
If we were to offer you an extended optimization guide, then we would have to write a lot and in great detail, but we have already done it. You can get acquainted with the concept of text and visual optimization, tools, and differences between stores in our articles:
- ASO APP OPTIMIZATION: BASIC CONCEPTS, TERMS, AND STAGES
- TOP MISTAKES OF ASO APP OPTIMIZATION
- BEST ASO TOOLS 2021
- HOW TO PICK UP KEYWORDS FOR YOUR APP?
- VISUAL ASO APP OPTIMIZATION AND ITS IMPACT ON CONVERSION
We will not discuss the basics of ASO optimization of the text and the visual part but will try to draw your attention to the differences in mobile game optimization. Since in general, all the steps look this way:
- Find, collect and analyze relevant keywords: search queries that users enter and that are relevant to your game.
- Use these keywords in parts of the game metadata that are ranking factors for app stores
- Upload your game with metadata and wait for indexing.
- Track search positions.
What is the difference between ASO optimization of mobile games and applications?
The difference is on the basis of the search query - after all, in a regular search, users usually formulate a problem that can be solved using an application. The applications themselves are a solution to problems or at least a tool. There are many examples - losing weight at home, personal finance, work time tracker, affirmations for every day. All these search queries represent a logical chain “need - search query - app.”
As for mobile games, they are not a tool for solving user problems, thereby changing the context of search queries in this category. Now let's talk about the features:
Collecting the semantic core
Working with semantics is not much different from the standard approach to collecting keywords. You can read more about using mobile analytics tools here. A feature of working with search queries for mobile games is the importance of the genre of the game, the mood, and the user's need to spend their free time (usefully, relax or learn something - underline the necessary). Search queries really often will contain the name of the game, its genre, or its category. That is why at the stage of collecting keywords, you must clearly understand the above characteristics.
But the approaches to working with semantics remain the same - relevance assessment, competitor analysis, and structuring the assembled pool of key queries.
The title of a game is an essential ranking field, whether it's on the App Store or Google Play. We have a whole collection of naming tips from both marketing and ASO standpoints. But for mobile games, it is crucial to note that in addition to the brand itself, the genre of the game is most likely to be indicated in the title:
- For racing, it is natural to insert the Race key into the Name.
- MOBA will be listed in all games of this genre.
- Match 3 will tell more than any brand name.
- Merge in puzzles will show you its direction.
Short Description or Subtitle - the optimization feature of a short description or subtitle will be a call to action that includes relevant keywords for your mobile game.
Description of the game - as a ranking factor on Google Play, we must take into account the content of keywords of different frequencies (from high-frequency, but also the most competitive, to medium- and low-frequency, which have a low level of competition and it is easier to get into the top search results for them). But for both markets, the description of the mobile game will be an essential factor, as you need to introduce the user to the capabilities of your application briefly. Descriptions of the gameplay, characters, and purpose of the game will all help establish a connection between the user and the game.
Installs, ratings, and reviews - all three factors affect user behavior, whether a mobile application or a game. The number of installs will show the popularity of the game and the rating and reviews - its quality.
Visual optimization of mobile games
For mobile games, visual elements play an essential role, as they are an integral part of the gameplay. The brighter, more exciting, and more high-quality game design is, the more you should work out the visual optimization. In applications, the user will forgive you brevity or some flaws in the interface if the application completely solves the problem. With games, this will not work, and visual optimization should motivate the user to install. Therefore, this is a direct impact on the conversion rate.
Visual optimization concerns the following elements:
The latter is not mandatory when optimizing, but sometimes it can significantly affect the conversion. As for the optimization of visual elements, you will find the main approaches here. And about the features, let's talk more.
Icon: the main feature of icons for mobile games is that they display part of the gameplay or a game character. It is rare to find a game where the icon is just branded. But sometimes, when it comes to popular games, a character can be a brand at the same time.
Screenshots: these visual elements should be tied to the gameplay. Try to arrange them in order to get acquainted with the game so that the user sees all the brightest and most exciting things while scrolling, but at the same time, does not fall out of the gameplay. Tell a short story to the user with focusable captions and calls to action.
Video: this visual element is most often used specifically for mobile games. This is due to the dynamism of the application itself. We think you will agree that a calculator app or a game to save the empire from alien invaders have very different visuals and dynamics. But for some games, video can lead to a decrease in conversion, which is why everything related to visual elements, whether it is a game or applications, follows the “need to test” rule.
Localization of mobile games
Since the primary goal of ASO optimization is the ability to find your application or game, i.e., make it available to users. Localization of applications for the most part implies the presence of an application page on the store in various languages, while the interface language can be only one - for example, English. This will allow you to find your users all over the world, and a well-designed user interface will keep the “language issue” to a minimum.
With games, everything is not so simple; it depends very much on the genre and the degree of user involvement in the gameplay. If we are talking about a puzzle like “snake,” then the localization of the interface itself is not so important there. And imagine a game where you receive tasks and communicate with players or the application itself; here, the issue of localization can be very acute, and mismatch with user expectations will cost more - players will leave you bad reviews and ruin your rating. How can this be avoided? Think carefully about your localization strategy:
- Localize only metadata - the text part, be sure to localize focus captions and calls to action. Leave the game interface unchanged if the complexity of the gameplay and genre allows doing so.
- Localizing both the interface and metadata is complex and costly but a win-win. It will allow you to attract players first with well-executed optimization and then keep them with the help of the gameplay.
But even if you don't know what to do yet, you definitely need to localize the game - don't lose your users, and don't miss opportunities.
Tracking the results of ASO mobile game optimization
There is no particular difference here between tracking the results of your optimization performance in games or mobile applications. ASO is evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Visibility on app stores. What keywords our game was indexed for, and what positions of search results it occupies for these search queries.
- Conversion rate. After all, visibility is not yet success; success is an attitude.
- Ratings and reviews. This is what feedback from users is. From here, you can get information on the second criterion; if the conversion rate is unsatisfactory, you can find the answer in the reviews - what to fix.
The result of ASO optimization is organic traffic, i.e., the traffic that your game has generated without the participation of advertising and paid promotion.
It is pretty challenging to evaluate the effectiveness of optimization without the participation of professional mobile analytics tools. That is why we base almost all of our cases and guides on ASOMobile mobile application analytics, where there are consolidated tools for evaluating your ASO's effectiveness, its correctness and easily tracking market dynamics and competitor positions worldwide.
As you can see, ASO optimization of games and applications is not much different, but it has its own characteristics, given which you can achieve your goals. Mobile games will be the flagship of the mobile application market for a long time, and not betting on this means losing from the beginning. Good luck in the field of optimization, and do not forget about the use of analytics, which will significantly increase your chances.