App Store Optimization: How to Name Your App
From choosing the right app name to determining effective keywords, app store optimization helps to get your app found and downloaded. App store optimization or “ASO” as it is sometimes called, is one of the first steps to marketing your app. It encompasses different elements that are submitted to the Apple App Store and Google Play app store such as the name of your app, keywords and app description. This post explores the strategy behind choosing an effective app name. Future posts will go into more detail on keywords, app descriptions and app store graphics.
Your app’s name is going to be the first impression that potential users get of your app. Very quickly, it will give your audience a glimpse of what your app entails, hopefully encouraging them to click on the app listing to read more and then the download button.
First, come up with a list of potential app names to work with, then do some research prior to making your final decision. App names should be somewhat descriptive and unique but also spelled intuitively. When a user sees the app name, it should give them a pretty good idea of what your app does or the information it provides. For example, an app named “Go Austin” clearly speaks to what the app entails. Consider using a call to action or verb in your app title such as “Go”, “Discover”, “Explore”, “Visit”, etc. If your app is a full community resource for visitors and residents, adding a term such as “360” to the name could be effective.
Keep in mind that the iOS App Store now limits app names to 50 characters or less, and Google Play limits app names to 30 characters. Both of these character counts include spaces, so plan accordingly.
Spelling and spacing will also play a role in how easy it is to find. If you’re trying to reach an audience that may not be very familiar with your location, avoid using abbreviations that only an insider would know such as using “ATX” for an app about Austin, TX. A well-known city nickname or airport code on the other hand (such as ATL for Atlanta) may be a good way to shorten the app title without negatively impacting users’ searches. So use your judgement here. If you have multiple words in your app name, strongly consider using spaces between them instead of smooshing them together (such as “GoAustin”). This will make it easier to find in the app stores.
Once you get a list of potential app names, search in the app stores to see if the name is currently available or if there are already apps with this name or something similar. Since your app will be available on both iOS and Android, it is important that your name is consistent across both platforms.
Next, broaden your search from the app stores to the internet. If you do a Google search for the names, what comes up? Is a company already using this name for their business? Is a domain available? If you plan on building out a full brand for your app or creating a companion responsive website, you’ll want a matching domain.
Some other considerations include how you will capitalize the name. Using regular sentence capitalization instead of starting the name with a lowercase letter or spelling it in all uppercase letters could help it seem more legitimate and authoritative.
Lastly, think about keeping your app name short and concise; about 11 characters will fit on a user’s iPhone screen under the app icon once it is downloaded (about 20 characters will display on Androids). Keeping your app name within this limit will ensure it is all visible and looks right amongst other downloaded apps. Alternately, when you submit your apps to the app stores, you can determine a specific shortened version of your app title to appear in this area as the app “nickname”.
Naming your app is only the first step in helping your audience find it easily on the app stores. Stay tuned for future posts about determining app store keywords and writing app descriptions.