One of the unsung heroes for attracting new customers and expanding your exposure is App Store Optimization (ASO). However, just like any other avenue, it has some unique characteristics. Below we discuss the basics of App Store Optimization (ASO), specific issues related to the Japanese market, and how JapanMarketing can help you succeed!
Smartphone apps: Gateway to the Internet
In 2021, more than 50% of all Internet traffic comes through mobile devices. As a result, smartphone apps (applications) are now the main access point between users and companies.
To tap into the huge potential this presents, you need to create a business model that takes full advantage of this new reality. Part of that process is creating an app that is attractive and offers a user experience (UX) that makes it easy for your customers to engage with you, your product or service, and seal the deal.
However, first, you need to get the customers to discover and then download the app on their phones.
Can your customers find your app?
Whether your business is brick and mortar or purely online, one of the biggest challenges is connecting with potential customers. How do people find you and your amazing product? How do they discover the service you offer is exactly what they need? Advertising and marketing are all about helping you get your information in front of the people who need and want what you offer. But what about an app?
Smartphone apps are no different, and in today’s increasingly crowded and noisy market, with millions of apps already out there, it can be even more difficult, even overwhelming, to find the best way to stand out from the competition.
Answer this question honestly: Have you done everything you can to get your app downloaded onto potential customers’ smartphones?
Many people understand the importance of search engine optimization (SEO), the steps involved in improving the quantity and quality of traffic to a website or webpage from search engines. Businesses spend a great deal of time and money on research and design, constantly changing and adjusting more than 200 factors to improve their SEO. The result they are looking for, ultimately, is an increased number of visitors who will become customers.
App store optimization (ASO) is a very similar process with very similar goals. ASO is designed to improve an app’s visibility or ranking in the search results in an app store. However, one main difference is the goal: increase the number of users that complete the process by downloading the app, often referred to as “conversion rate optimization” (CRO). The more downloads an app gets, the more customers use your product or service.
ASO factors: Apple and Google
With millions of apps each, Apple’s “App Store” and Google’s “Google Play” are currently the dominant players in the field. Each of them uses a variety of ASO factors to determine an app’s search ranking:
- App name
- App URL
- App subtitle
- Keyword field
- In-App purchases
- Rating and reviews
- Downloads and engagement
- Hidden factors
- App name
- Short and long descriptions
- In-app purchases
- Rating and reviews
- Downloads and engagement
- Hidden factors
While there are some similarities, there are also differences you need to pay attention to.
Improving your app’s ASO
Once you have finished developing your app and working out all the bugs, you need to prepare all the above information required to list your app in the app store.
However, there are some key steps to consider as you think about ASO:
- Establishing an effective ASO strategy
- Choosing the right app name
- Researching the best keywords
- Writing clear and persuasive app descriptions (short and long)
- Creating app icons, screenshots, and videos
- Localizing the app for different geographic target markets
All of the above are vital steps to get your app to the top of the app store rankings and deserve a blog post of their own. However, each one also requires a great deal of time and expertise to ensure they are done properly and for maximum optimization. This is where JapanMarketing can help you, especially in terms of app localization for the Japanese market.
ASO localization for Japan
Not all markets are the same. Any company, whether they make the tiniest widget or the largest airplane, that ignores that fact does so at its own risk. Understanding and adapting to linguistic and cultural differences are extremely important for success.
A recent example is described in this article about the Japanese version of the Uber Eats app. Japan is no stranger to food delivery services; however, due to a poorly localized UX design, app users struggled to successfully complete the registration process or use the app successfully. Problems, such as how Japanese names and addresses are formatted, brought the UberEats app negative reviews and publicity, something a company trying to enter a competitive market wants to avoid at all costs.
Japan-specific ASO considerations
More than one alphabet
One of the more interesting characteristics of Japanese is that there are three different “alphabets:” kanji (the more traditional logographic characters originally from Chinese), hiragana (phonetic characters for Japanese words), and katakana (phonetic characters for foreign loan words). Searching for the right keywords based on usage, meaning, pronunciation, and other factors can be extremely difficult in Japanese. App designers need to have a clear understanding of users and the kinds of things they will intuitively look for when hunting for an app.
Entry field character length
Due to the fact that Japanese kanji is image/meaning-based, not phonetic, it is possible to convey much more information with less text compared to other languages. For example, “不動産” (fu-do-san) can mean “real estate.” In this case, only three characters are needed to convey the information that requires 11 characters in English. For the App Store and Google Play, there are set limits to the maximum number of characters in the entry fields for app information. However, in Japanese, this creates a fantastic potential to convey much more information in the space allotted if you know what kanji to use and how to choose them..
The Japanese language has very different grammar from some other languages and relies heavily on context. For example, as compared to English which requires pronouns (I, you, he, she, etc.) in most situations, pronouns are not used as frequently in Japanese. The listener or reader must understand the surrounding information to know who is being referred to. This can make reliance on machine translation very problematic when researching the keywords or metadata of Japanese competitors. Machine translation, for example, often fills in the word ‘it’ instead of “I,” which can be awkward, to say the least.
Japanese ASO experts can help your app and organization avoid these pitfalls and many others.
JapanMarketing: The ASO partner you need to succeed
To achieve the best ASO localization to launch your service or product in Japan and gain a foothold in the Japanese market, you need to collaborate with those who know the target audience, language, and culture. JapanMarketing’s team brings together the expertise and experience needed to improve your app’s keyword, conversion rate, and review score optimization.
Benefits of working with JapanMarketing
No minimum contracts
While three- to six-month contracts are standard in Japan, we offer flexible services that can be tailored to your needs. We believe that while some things are standard in this field, your company and its product are not. Custom-designing our services for you and the length of contracts is one of the key ways we have found to ensure our clients get off to a good start in the Japanese market.
Focus on improvement
Instead of selling you a service package with features and options you don’t need, we spend time talking and working with you to get to know your company and products or services. This allows us to spotlight the areas with the greatest potential of enhanced optimization and create a plan of action.
Compared to our competitors, our affordable prices make us a popular choice. Talk to us about potential plans and projects, and we will find a price point that works for both of us.
Take charge of your ASO
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