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The secrets of App Store Optimization - Part 2

When it comes to travel app marketing, driving downloads and engagement, one of the most important places to start is ASO.

App Store Optimisation is the ongoing process of optimizing and improving the visibility of an app within an app store to increase its discovery and ranking with the ultimate goal to drive more downloads.

Why is ASO so important?
With over 6.5 million apps now available across the major app stores, discoverability has never been more important. While there are numerous ways in which apps can be discovered app search plays a massive role -  the higher your app ranks in the App Store the more chance it has of being found, which is where ASO comes in.

There are a number of elements that make up ASO, all of which have to be optimized separately. In part 1 of this blog series we concentrated on app title, description, category and icons so now let's delve into the final four components that play a vital part in ASO - localization, keywords, screenshots and video.

Localizing an app can reap many rewards. By adding a native language version brands can experience a surge in download volume. However, it isn’t just the localized app itself that can increase downloads, according to App Annie localizing an iOS app’s keywords can yield a 767% increase in downloads compared to non-localized keywords.

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If a travel brand is thinking of localizing their app the starting point would be to mirror any languages that your website is already localized in. Then utilize Google Analytics to see where your users are coming from to determine any other relevant languages to choose.

Keywords play an extremely important part in the App Store search algorithm. There is a specific keyword section which is limited to 100 characters, therefore it’s essential to use those characters wisely, i.e. don’t use spaces and commas (travel,hotel uses less characters than travel, hotel).

Regional App Stores allow indexing in more than one language (ie German and English) so you essentially have double the character count.

Research your keywords carefully. It’s important to note that the keyword strategy for mobile can differ to that of the web, so you may want to instigate a separate keyword strategy specifically for mobile.

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Google Play does not have a specific keyword section, keywords are found in the description, therefore it’s important to include them at least 5 times within the 4,000 character description copy.

The importance of screenshots cannot be underestimated, alongside ratings it is one of the first things a user will look at. Screenshot give brands the opportunity to tell people why they should download your app. One of the best ways to do this is to create an infographic - tell a story - show a screen from the app but add a descriptor, explain what they are looking at and sell the value to the user. 

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The same creative usually don’t work for Google Play and the App Store. Screenshots play a more prominent role in the App Store which allows 5 screenshots (plus an App Preview) while Google Play allows 8 screenshots, but the image gallery plays a supporting role to the above-the-fold view. Therefore it is important to prioritise the key features in the first and second screenshot.

The App Store and Google Play have different rules of engagement when it comes to video. 

Within the App Store brands are allowed a 30 second video, otherwise known as an App Preview. The video cannot be an advert and should demonstrate the value your app will bring to a user. A good option for brands is to do a video version of the screenshot infographic, focusing on the best features and functionality first. To get even further traction on your video it’s a good idea to include descriptive text, as a large number of people now watch video without sound.

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It’s important to note that Apple have strict ‘device usage’ regulations for App Previews that need to be adhered to - such as using the latest iPhone and having the phone at a certain angle.

Google Play video appears at the very top of the Google Play page. It can be anywhere between 30 seconds and 2 minutes and can be as promotional/advert like as you want it to be. There are no regulations on the device used or how it is used. Try and use YouTube links for both ASO and SEO. Video is very important on Google Play as if done well it can have a significant impact, increasing conversions by 23% - the quality of your video matters.

So that concludes our focus on ASO, if you want to know even more about ASO and all the other elements involved in mobile marketing download the full ‘Ultimate Guide to Travel App Marketing’ eBook where we’ll help you boost your app ranking and supercharge your downloads and star ratings in just a few weeks.


Aisling White - Head of Marketing

Aisling has over 16 years’ experience in marketing, brand, and PR. Prior to joining Travelport Digital, Aisling worked at Hostelworld.com and Sage Software. At Travelport Digital Aisling manages the marketing strategy, content, communications, and digital platforms, to drive customer engagement.

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