After the wild year Pokémon GO had in 2016, from its release to eventual fall from grace, it’s back once again trying reclaim its place on the Top Charts of the App Store. The hit game that took players of all generations and the world by storm last June suffered a major drop, most likely because it’s original release and most current updates do not utilize common ASO standards.
Despite Pokémon GO’s quick success, the initial fall came as no surprise due to poor marketing strategies, weak keyword rankings and Niantic (publisher) relying solely on the long-standing brand name. The app launched at number one in the Top Free Downloads chart and the Top Grossing chart, but it’s lack of ASO standards lead to the app’s eventual fall in the rankings.
While Pokémon GO is currently ranked at number fifteen on the Top Grossing chart in the App Store, it suffers from not utilizing ASO strategies. Apple gives developers 50 characters for titles. Including high volume keywords in the title. The app’s title acts as an additional keyword field, lending itself to build additional phrases with the terms used in the app’s keyword bank. With this additional reach, Pokémon Go could rank for even more relevant phrases that users may be using to search. Even though the app does rank number one for “Pokémon,” a high-volume key word, many of its other high-volume keywords rank lower compared to its competitors. The App Store is still the largest channel for mobile app searches, and Pokémon GO struggles to outrank its competitors in high volume search terms.
The Pokémon GO update in December did not help its optimization and led to low conversation rates for the once wildly talked about app. Once again, Pokémon GO gets a fresh update that adds over 80 new Pokémon for end users to catch. Despite Niantic promising new features, this update seems to be just as useful in not utilizing ASO standards as the one in December. Instead of focusing on how to better market the app and rank higher in keywords, Niantic is adding features like new avatar customization instead of improving the app page listing.
Pokémon GO can’t seem to hold onto the number one spot on the Top Charts because it doesn’t draw users in with its poorly designed app page. Apps need strong app pages to draw users in. This concept is one ASO wildly addresses, and for Pokémon GO, which has now gone through several updates, it suffers from having the same app page with outdated screenshots.
Users want to know what the app’s features are and what’s been added. Through the screenshots, they can see how to catch Pokémon but if the screenshots had some text it would can entice new users to download. Users want to see the new generation two Pokémon like Cyndaquil and Totodile instead of seeing screenshots of first generation Pokémon such as Squirtle and Charmander. Generation two Pokémon were highlighted in the App Store’s featured banner section, but the screenshots do not reflect the major update. Without updating the screenshots, Pokémon GO does not achieve a point stressed by ASO and loses out on getting more end users to download.
Pokémon GO will go down in mobile app history as one of the most popular games of 2016, but in 2017, it will be noted as continuing to suffer for not using ASO strategies. Niantic should begin utilizing common ASO practices such as focusing on high-volume keywords or updating the app page to help conversion results and generate more downloads from new users. But for now, Pokémon GO’s discoverability and conversion rates in the App Store will most likely rise and fall like it has done in the past.