(2022) How We've Optimized a Shopify App Store Listing to Boost Downloads

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Shopify is the undisputed king when it comes to eCommerce platforms—at least in the English-speaking world. The platform supports over 1.5 million websites, 1 million vendors, and holds a U.S. market share of 29%.

With a user-base that large, it will come as no surprise that Shopify is incredibly attractive for app developers hoping to carve out a piece of the eCommerce market. There are currently over 6,000 apps on the Shopify App Store, and that number is growing steadily.

Newclick is the app developer behind one of the thousands of apps competing for attention. Newclick's app allows merchants to design and schedule banners, pop-ups, top bars, and forms that increase conversions, grow email lists, and generate revenue. 

Having tested it extensively, we can confidently say that it's an excellent product. However, excellence alone isn't enough when it comes to Shopify's fiercely competitive App Store.

That brings us to the topic of this article: optimizing Newclick's Shopify App Store listing. This is a process is important for any developer hoping to drive app downloads, so make sure you’re following along!

What Is Shopify App Listing Optimization?

Before we dive into the practical steps we took to optimize Newclick's Shopify App Store listing, it's important that we're on the same page about what the process entails.

App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of putting an app listing (in this case, a Shopify app listing) in the best possible position to succeed. To get more specific, ASO has two main goals:

  1. Get the app in front of potential users (i.e., increase exposure)
  2. Get potential users to download the app (i.e., increase conversions)

Let's talk about both of these goals in a bit more detail:

Goal #1: Increase Exposure

This first ASO goal is primarily achieved by increasing the ranking of the app in app store results pages for different search queries. Within the Shopify App Store, rank is determined by a number of factors:

While the specific weights given to each factor have yet to be confirmed by Shopify, anecdotal evidence from app developers suggest that average rating, number of downloads, and number of reviews are by far the most influential ranking factors.

However, all three of those factors are largely outside the purview of ASO. Ranking highly is a precursor to getting downloads and subsequently getting good reviews. In other words, the only Shopify ranking factor that doesn't depend on ranking highly in the first place is keyword usage.

For those that are new to ASO (and SEO), keyword usage refers to the inclusion of certain words or phrases in a listing that potential customers are likely to use when searching for apps. Generally speaking, the more closely a listing's keywords match a searcher's query, the higher the app listing will rank.

Keyword usage is also important outside the app listing. While having an external landing page or blog posts that rank well in Google SERPs for your chosen keywords won't impact your Shopify App Store ranking, it will impact the amount of exposure (i.e., traffic) the listing receives.

This process can be confusing, but don't worry! We'll be walking you through it in much more detail in the sections to come.

Goal #2: Increase Conversions

Despite the title of this section, the second goal of ASO isn't to increase conversions. Well, it is… but not directly.

To explain, ASO is mainly concerned with creating a listing that can lead to increased conversions. The reason for this nit-picky distinction is that there is nothing that extremely low ranking apps can do to increase their conversion rates. No one sees them, no one downloads them—it doesn't matter how enticing their app listings are.

However, when the app does start climbing the ranks, it's incredibly important that your listing is ready to capitalize on the increase in impressions. How do you do this? By following a few best practices in key areas of the listing.

These include:

Optimizing Newclick's Shopify App Listing

Now that we've covered the main goals of AOS, it's time to see them in action. In this section, we'll be walking you through the process of optimizing Newclick's Shopify app listing and explaining each step in detail.

To provide a bit of structure, we'll break the process down into three sections based on the sections of a Shopify app listing:

  1. Listing Details
  2. App Details
  3. App Description

1) Listing Information

When you create or edit an app listing on the Shopify App Store, the first step is entering listing information. Listing information includes three distinct elements: app name, app icon, and search terms.

Let's go through each of these:

App Name

Over 70% of app downloads come directly from search. That means the name of your app is incredibly important! It needs to catch the user's attention, impart a sense of what the app does, and convince them to either click onto the listing or blindly download the app—all while fitting within a significant character limitation.

In most scenarios where an existing app listing is being optimized (this one included), the name of the app is already set in stone. However, there may still be room for optimization.

Studies have shown that the majority of top ten apps contain keywords within the name field. While a causal relationship has yet to be established, many ASOs have concluded that adding keywords to your app name is an easy way to boost your ranking.

Newclick had already taken this approach when we began to optimize the listing. Rather than simply naming the app "Newclick", we’ve opted for "Newclick ‑ Pop-Ups & Banners". 

However, if you don't already have keywords in your app name, we'd recommend adding one or two of your top performers.

App Icon

App icons are great for catching the eyes of potential customers. To make the most of this opportunity, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

Newclick already had a logo that met all these criteria, which was great news for us!

Search Terms

Like many app stores and marketplaces, Shopify allows developers to tag their apps with up to twenty search terms that help them reach potential users. Think of these search terms as hidden keywords baked into the metadata of your app listing.

The first step when optimizing this section is counting how many search terms are currently connected to the listing. If there are less than twenty, there's room to optimize! There's no reason not to take advantage of all twenty search term slots.

The next step is determining which search terms to included. You'll want to start by identifying which keywords are generating the most traffic for your website, landing page, and Shopify App Store listing. We used Newclick's Google Search Console (GSC) data for this step.

GSC automatically sorts keywords by impressions. From this sorted list, we began by screening out keywords that potential customers wouldn't be searching for.

For example:

With the irrelevant keywords removed, we were left with a list of Newclick's twenty top performing keywords. We entered them as search terms and that was that!

Note: We had a such nice list of keywords to work with because we had selected them as potential targets months earlier in the development of Newclick's keyword strategy. A keyword strategy is a prerequisite to effective ASO. For more information about finding the perfect keywords, read this guide on keyword mapping.

2) App Details

Once you've optimized your listing information, it's time to move onto the app details section. This includes elements like featured image or video, key benefits, and screenshots.

Let's optimize each of these sections in turn:

Featured Visual

Shopify's featured visual is a large image or video that sits at the top of your app listing. The main purpose of this section is to introduce visitors to your app—both visually and contextually. It should set the tone for the entire listing.

In the process of optimizing this section, it's important to keep a few things in mind:

When we started this project, Newclick already had a featured image that accomplished everything it needed to. However, we feel it's important to mention the optimization potential of featured videos.

There's a growing body of evidence that suggests videos are more effective than images as marketing assets. They can dramatically increase conversion rates, increase retention rates, and lead to positive marketing ROIs 93% of the time. In other words, opting for a featured video rather than an image is likely a way to further optimize your listing.

Key Benefits

The key benefits section is found directly below the featured visual. It consists of three blocks of text used to outline the main benefits of your app. While the key benefits section is technically optional, we would highly recommend taking advantage of it.

Throughout the key benefits section, you have a simple goal: address the pain points of your ideal customer. You need to put yourself in the shoes of a user who absolutely adores your app and ask… why? What are the problems the app is solving for this ideal customer?

In Newclick's case, their ideal customer is someone who is curious about the benefits of running eCommerce promotions but lacks the coding experience or time to design and schedule the accompanying promotional banners and pop-ups.

These pain points can be summarized as:

  1. "Running promotions is too confusing."
  2. "Running promotions is too much effort."
  3. "Banners and pop-ups aren't worth the effort."

Based on those pain points, writing the key benefits was simple. All we did was provide examples of how Newclick's product addresses those concerns:

  1. Newclick is incredibly easy to use (e.g., no coding, preset templates, etc.).
  2. Newclick is mostly automated (e.g., AI-powered copywriter, promotion scheduling, saved templates, etc.).
  3. Banners and pop-ups have tons of beneficial use cases (e.g., growing email list, announcing promotions, etc.).

In this section, we also made sure to include as many primary keywords as possible—you should too!

Screenshots

The screenshots section is the final piece of the app details puzzle. Here, you have the option to upload five screenshots of your app that allow potential users to envision what it would be like to use the product.

The screenshots section is only as good as the images you use to represent your app. In other words, if you include low-quality or irrelevant images, then this section will fail to improve conversions and downloads. In Newclick's case, we chose to upload a series of high-quality screenshots that depicted each tab of the app in action.

For each screenshot we uploaded, we also added ALT text that described the image and mentioned a few of Newclick's top performing keywords. This helps search engines understand the images and turns them into ASO (and SEO) assets.

3) App Description

The final stage of the Shopify app listing optimization process involves rewriting your app description. Shopify allows for a sizable app description (up to 2,800 characters), and it's important that you take advantage of all that space.

When optimizing your app description, it's important to keep the two main goals of ASO in mind:

  1. increase exposure
  2. increase conversions
  3. Search engine optimization

The app description provides ample space to work on achieving these aims. To achieve the first, you'll should include as many keywords as you can fit in naturally. To achieve the second, you should work to write compelling sales copy.

When writing sales copy (especially if it isn't your strong suit), it's helpful to adopt a copywriting framework to structure your work.

Examples include Problem, Agitate, Solution (PAS), Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA), Features, Advantages, Benefits (FAB), and Before, After, Bridge (BAB).

Each of these frameworks has been developed over years of trial and error for the sole purpose of making a compelling case to consumers. In other words, they can be incredibly powerful tools when used correctly.

In editing Newclick's app description, we loosely structured our work using the PAS framework. For those who are unfamiliar, the PAS framework involves a three-step process:

  1. Problem: Define the problem that brought the lead to you in the first place.
  2. Agitate: Explain why the problem is so serious, bad, horrible, frustrating, exhausting, etc.
  3. Solution: Present the solution. In this case, Newclick.

The problem we decided to focus on is one you'll be familiar with from the key benefits section: running promotions is too difficult and time-consuming

From there, we agitated by describing the late nights and early mornings spent working that so many entrepreneurs will relate to. Finally, we presented Newclick as the solution—making sure to include keywords in the process!

Wrapping Up

With that, we were ready to publish Newclick's newly optimized Shopify App Store listing! If you've been following along with your own optimization project, we hope this guide has been helpful.

In case you need a bit of a refresher, here's a summary of a few key points:

  1. Conduct keyword research ahead of time.
  2. Include top performing keywords throughout.
  3. Base written content on consumer pain points.
  4. Add descriptive alt text that includes keywords.
  5. Use a framework when writing sales copy.
  6. Take full advantage of every character and item limit.
  7. Upload high-quality images and videos.

If you follow these steps, you're well on your way to successfully optimizing your app's listing. The process can be time-consuming, but you'll get over it when the downloads start rolling in!


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