Asodesk Blog / App Store Optimization / Article

How to choose keywords that will generate revenue for your app

Julia Suliagina
Julia Suliagina
Julia Suliagina
Julia Suliagina
Asodesk Content Manager. She writes newsletters and articles in blog. Make all complex topics in ASO easy and interesting.
All articles by author
Published: 18.03.2022
Updated: 01.12.2022
7 min read

Your app might get into the top and gain organic installs, but still fail to generate revenue. So, which keywords will make a profit for your app? Read this article to find out.

To search for the most “monetized” keywords, we use Apple Search Ads (ASA) data. At the top of the search results are apps that are advertised in the ASA. Next, there are the apps that have been optimized for this keyword using App Store Optimization (ASO). Therefore, the context of ASA and ASO is the same, while the type of traffic is different: advertising and organic.

We suggest testing the feasibility of keyword promotion using ASO and ASA tools in three steps: 

  1. Determine how similar the behavior of your users is from search and advertising in the App Store. This will help us draw conclusions about whether we can use ASA data when creating an ASO strategy. 
  2. Find keywords with optimal popularity and competition using ASO tools.
  3. Make a test purchase of ads and see how users who made a purchase with different keywords behave. Based on this data, we will select the keywords depending on which users buy the app most often. 

Let’s look at how you can put each of these steps into practice. In the end, you will also receive a bonus hack that will help improve your conversion rate. 

Step 1: Compare conversion rates from ASO and ASA

It is important to understand whether we can use ASA statistics to form an ASO strategy. To do this, compare conversion from ASO and ASA. You can create separate segments for users who come from App Store search and Apple Search Ads in Adapty. The platform interface explains how to do this step by step. 

Let’s see how to compare conversion rates using a Graphics & Design app as an example. Unfortunately, app marketers do not segment paid traffic channels, so we will compare the overall data on organic traffic from search and inorganic traffic from ads. 

The app only offers two products: an annual and a monthly subscription. At the same time, annual subscriptions are prioritized in promotion: it is more attractive both in terms of price and appearance. Let’s look at the statistics of all paid traffic in the app.

In Adapty you can check statistics of your paid traffic in the app
Statistics of all paid traffic in the app

The subscription conversion rate of all Welcome New paywall traffic used for advertising is 0.34%. There is no trial in the app, and the focus is on expensive subscriptions, so this conversion value is to be expected.

App developers lead organic users to the Limited Time Offer paywall, their subscription conversion is 0.35%. 

In Adapty you can create several segments to check organic and inorgaice traffic or traffic from ASO and ASA
Conversion of organic and inorganic traffic

The subscription conversion rate from organic traffic sources is 0.35%, and of all paid traffic is 0.34%. Since the conversion is almost the same, we can conclude that the behavior of users from organic and paid channels is quite similar. 

Step 2: Find the best keywords for promotion in the App Store

We learned that we can make conclusions about ASO based on ASA data. Let’s now select keywords for promotion in search and Apple Search Ads. 

To find suitable keywords, you can use Keyword Manager and Keyword Auto-Suggestions in Asodesk. 

Keyword Manager helps you build a semantic core for your app. An infinite feed of auto-suggestions will offer a large number of keyword options for promotion. In the tool, you will see keywords for which the app already has positions and can potentially get installs. 

Keyword Manager in Asodesk can show you different keywords' suggestions
Keyword Manager in Asodesk

The tool will also show you keyword variants that you have not yet used in the semantic core. For example, the Apple Search Ads Suggestions section shows keywords that are recommended for your app advertising in the App Store.

In Asodesk you can see Apple Search Ads Suggestions
Apple Search Ads Suggestions in Keyword Manager 

As a rule, it is difficult to claim positions at the top of the App Store for popular queries due to the higher volumes of competition. Therefore, it is important to choose keywords that will give you a real chance of progressing in App Store search. 

You can view popularity and competition for keywords that were previously added to the semantic core in Keyword Table. Daily Impressions shows the number of impressions for a query per day, and iPhone total apps shows the total number of apps that are also ranked for this query.

In Keyword Table in Asodesk you can see the number of apps which can be found by this keyword and Daily Impressions
Keyword Table in Asodesk

Often, the best conversion rate is achieved not by general queries with high popularity but by medium-frequency queries that reflect the purpose of your app more accurately. 

You can find these phrases using Long-Tail Keywords. It will show keywords longer than four words, which will make it easier for you to progress in search. 

Long-Tail Keywords in Asodesk shows keyword phrases which are more tham 4 words long
Long-Tail Keywords in Asodesk

Read the detailed instructions for collecting a semantic core in this article.

Many developers buy ads for their competitors’ queries to attract some of their traffic. We recommend doing this last after you have exhausted all other options since in practice, installs with someone else’s branded queries give the worst conversion. 

However, if it is important for you to get installs based on competitors’ keywords, pay attention to Competitors Best Keywords in Keyword Auto-Suggestions in Asodesk. Here, you will see relevant keywords that bring installs to your competitors. 

Competitors Best Keywords in Asodesk shows keywords that give installs to your competitor
Competitors Best Keywords

Keep in mind that competitors’ branded keywords cannot be used in app metadata. You can try adding someone else’s query with an error in the keyword field, but it is important to check the traffic for this keyword before doing so. 

This way, when choosing keywords, it is important to pay attention not only to their popularity but also to competition. Often narrower and less popular queries result in higher subscription conversion because they better reflect the purpose of your app and attract more interested users. Now let’s see how to monitor conversion. 

Step 3: Buy ads from Apple Search Ads and analyze user behavior

After collecting keywords with ASO tools, try buying ads from Apple Search Ads to see how installs for these keywords are converted to paid subscriptions. 

ASA testing costs should not exceed ASO costs. See how a developer from the Graphics & Design category purchases ads for keywords. 

In Adapty you can analyse how app purchases ads for keywords
Analysis of purchasing ads for keywords in Adapty

Unfortunately, we cannot show specific keywords, but you can estimate the number of continuous test purchases. 

For this app, Asodesk suggests paying attention to the branded keywords of their competitor VSCO. Let’s see how many subscriptions get purchased for these keywords in Adapty. You can select the necessary keywords and see the number of users who purchased annual or monthly subscriptions based on these keywords. 

In Adapty you can select the necessary keywords and see the number of users who purchased annual or monthly subscriptions based on these keywords.
Total number of subscriptions

This chart helps you check which keywords users use to renew their subscriptions more often and which keywords are used to cancel them. 

In Adapty you can check the number of active and inactive subscriptions
Number of active and inactive subscriptions

Charts show that the app has about 60 active subscriptions from Apple Search Ads based on the competitor’s keywords. About half of the users disabled auto-renewal of the subscription, but almost everyone subscribed annually.

Even if the conversion in ASA itself is not high, subscribers continue to renew subscriptions, which means this keyword is suitable for promotion. However, you should also check how subscriptions change for each group of keywords for an extended period. To do this, select the desired period and analyze the statistics in Adapty

To calculate potential revenue from keywords, you need to estimate the number of subscriptions from them. It is also important to see how often users renew these subscriptions.

A useful hack: Create personalized sentences with keyword data

You can apply the keywords, based on which a user installed the app, to build segments. Let’s say that you launched ads and received a certain number of installs. Some users subscribed and some users didn’t, but they didn’t delete the app either. 

Since we know which ad matches which keyword, we can create a segment based on the ad and send them a personalized offer. There, you can include the keyword that interests each user.

For example, you purchased ads using the popular keyword “instagram filters” for your photo editor. Now you need to encourage these users to subscribe. You can create a personalized paywall for them in Adapty, for example, with the following message: “80% off the best Christmas filters for Instagram” and send this offer as a push notification.

You can create a personalized paywalls in Adapty which depends on the keywords, based on which a user installed the app
Setting up segments based on user queries

This way, thanks to Apple Search Ads data, we can create an individualized offer for each user segment. 

How to select the best keywords for promotion

1. Compare install conversion rates of organic and inorganic sources for your apps. This way you can understand how much the behavior of users from search and from the ads align. 

2. Use ASO tools to find the best keywords for promotion with ASO and ASA. 

3. Check subscription numbers, as well as their renewals and cancellations for different keywords. This will help you understand which keywords generate the most revenue for you. These are the keywords you should use for further promotion.

4. Use keyword data to create personalized offers. For example, offer a 80% discount on Instagram filters to users who downloaded the app using this keyword. 

Subscribe to the Asodesk newsletter and get expert articles on how to work with reviews and App Store Optimization, as well as ASO news digests.

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