Why Apps Need ASO Even if They're in the Top 10

January 12th, 2018

Why Apps Need ASO Even if They're in the Top 10
David Bell

by David Bell

CEO at Gummicube, Inc.

When it comes to getting an app seen and downloaded, reaching the top 10 list in the app stores is like reaching the holy grail. For most people, it takes a momentous adventure through proverbial caves, dodging competitors, and working hard (on their ASO strategy) to reach their goals. However, for some, reaching the top 10 happens without much effort. Reaching the top 10 is a numbers game that takes into account the amount of downloads over a certain period of time. It can be a great way to jumpstart an app’s claim to fame, but without proper ASO, an app will start to lose steam and drop from the ranks faster than a boulder falling from the sky. Before we jump into why ASO is so important even if an app is already ranking in the top 10, let’s go over what it actually takes to reach. The top 10 list requirements vary for different app stores, and even for different categories within an app store, but the concept is the same. If an app is able to get more downloads over a set period of time than another app, it ranks higher. To reach the top spot in a category, or overall, the app must have more downloads over the same time period as the app in the second spot.

The Luck of The Top 10

The idea behind it is pretty simple, but actually making it happen isn’t. Most downloads are keyword driven, meaning that users find an app based on a certain keyword or set of keywords. While choosing the best keywords are part of a strong ASO strategy, it isn’t the only thing to consider. Here are a few reasons apps can reach the top 10 without strong ASO.

  • Popular Brands: This one is simple. If the brand is already known, especially by an already established fan base or a large social reach, their fans will be waiting in line to download the new app.
  • Reinventing the Wheel: These apps take a concept that is already popular and creates a new app around that, often times relying on gimmicks rather than solid innovation. They are usually not as well developed as the original but they often get a lot of downloads quickly.
  • Right Place at The Right Time: These types of apps are usually from unknown developers who publish the right app at the right time. Their app is most often basic, but stable. However, since this relies on either correctly predicting upcoming trends or getting lucky, it’s pretty rare.
Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 1.22.17 PM
  • Self-Fulfilment: These apps are usually created for personal use, or internal use within a company and then offered to the public. A lot of finance apps are created this way.

IMG_4E5787E42A22-1 Reaching the top 10 without a solid strategy, one that evolves over time, is mostly about luck, or having a pre-existing community. In almost all cases, without proper ASO, apps that fit under these categories will drop from the top 10 list just as fast as they reached it.

ASO For Long-Term Stability and Growth

Whether an app is one of the lucky ones that reached the top 10 without much work or one that has been optimized, a strong ASO strategy that adapts to the changing market, as well as current trends, can mean the difference between failure and long-term success. By looking at the top 10 on any app store under any category, many will start to notice a few trends. These trends are often optimized titles, descriptions, and creatives. These ASO tactics will help apps organically rank higher in search and allows for the app to stay fresh and up-to-date on current trends. Apps that follow these tactics to tend to see not only an increase in downloads, but also more loyal users that increase their retention rates. While the above tactics are the positives to having an ASO strategy, there are also negatives that can occur. Falling prey to common ASO mistakes can break apps just as fast as it can make them. A poor ASO strategy can mean essentially handing competitors new business, even if the user was originally looking for a specific app. Developers need to make sure that they avoid common ASO mistakes to ensure that their app can hit the coveted top 10 sooner rather than later. One last thing to consider is that if an app’s marketing campaign includes Apple Search Ads, ASO is especially important to get the best results. With the exception of your keyword bank, both the Basic and Advanced versions of Apple Search Ads use pre-existing metadata that is already established within an app’s listing. This means without optimizing the app’s metadata, even an app in the top 10 would be throwing away money with paid search.


A solid ASO strategy that takes advantage of the changing market and current trends is essential for any app trying to attract new downloads. Just simply reaching the top 10 or having a pre-existing audience isn’t enough to keep the app going. Optimized titles, descriptions, and creatives are important in order to compete with other apps. Developers need to focus on bringing in new customers with a winning strategy such as ASO.

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