Keywords For Apps Explained (2024 Guide)

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As the digital space continues to expand, the ability to effectively utilize keywords for apps is becoming increasingly critical for tech companies, developers, and digital marketers. This article will serve as a comprehensive guide to understanding and implementing keyword strategies that can significantly enhance app visibility and user engagement.

Understanding Keywords for Apps

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The Role of Keywords in App Discovery

Keywords play a vital role in helping people find apps. They link what people are looking for to the apps available in the store. When someone searches for an app, whether they know its name, the brand behind it, or just the type of app they want, the words they type are key. These search terms decide which apps show up in their search results.

For example, if a user types “fitness tracker,” apps with those keywords in their title or description are more likely to appear. This shows how important it is for app developers to know what potential users might search for. By understanding this, developers can choose the right keywords to connect with their audience.

The Balance Between General and Specific Terms

Finding the right mix of general and specific terms is crucial for keyword optimization. General keywords, like “game” or “health,” help you reach a wider audience. However, they also mean you’re up against more competition. Specific keywords, like “meditation timer” or “space strategy game,” match more closely with what someone is specifically looking for. This can lead to more clicks and app installs because it’s exactly what the user wants.

However, there’s a catch. If your keywords are too specific, you might not reach as many people. It’s like fishing in a smaller pond; there are fewer fish, but the ones you catch are exactly what you’re looking for. This balance is tricky but essential. You want to be visible to a broad audience while also attracting those who are most interested in what your app offers.

In summary, keywords are the bridge between users and apps. They guide users to the apps they’re seeking. By carefully choosing a mix of general and specific keywords, developers can ensure their app reaches the right people. This balance between reach and relevance is key to successful app discovery.

Crafting Your Keyword Strategy

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Adopting the User’s Perspective

To create a winning keyword strategy, step into your potential users’ shoes. Think about what they would type into a search to find your app. Start with the name of your app and add terms related to what your app does or the problem it solves. For example, if you have an app called “Music Teacher” that offers music lessons, you might consider keywords like “guitar” and “music lessons”. You should also include specific terms like “Music Teacher app” and “acoustic guitar lessons”.

Imagine you’re looking for an app yourself. What would you search for? This approach helps you come up with a list of keywords that match what your users are looking for. It’s about finding the right words that connect your app to your audience.

Focusing on Relevance and Popularity

Choosing keywords that are both relevant and popular is crucial. It’s better to target keywords that are a perfect match for your app rather than trying to cover all possible terms. Use tools like Search Match to uncover keywords that you might not have thought of but are still relevant to your app.

Relevance means choosing keywords closely related to what your app does. Popularity refers to how often people search for those terms. You want to find a balance. Highly popular keywords can drive a lot of traffic, but they might be very competitive. Less popular, but highly relevant keywords can attract users who are more likely to download and use your app.

In essence, your keyword strategy should be about understanding your users, what they search for, and how they think. By focusing on terms that are both relevant to your app and popular among users, you can increase your app’s visibility and attract more downloads. Remember, the goal is to reach those who will not only find your app but will also find it invaluable.

Leveraging Keyword Match Types

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Broad Match

Using broad match keywords means casting a wide net. This type of keyword targeting allows your app’s ad to show up for searches that are related to your keywords, even if you haven’t specifically thought of them. Imagine you use “fitness tracker” as a broad match keyword. Your ad might appear for searches like “exercise app” or “health monitoring app.” This approach saves you from guessing every possible keyword combination your potential users might search for.

Broad match is like having an assistant who constantly finds new ways people might look for apps like yours. It helps you catch the latest search trends and low-volume terms easily. You won’t need to keep adding new keywords to your list because broad match does the work for you. It’s a great way to ensure your app gets seen by a wide audience without extra effort on your part.

Exact Match

On the other side, exact match keywords offer a tighter focus. With exact match, your ad shows up for searches that exactly match or are very close to your chosen keywords. This means you have more control over who sees your ad. Exact match is perfect for targeting users with a specific intent, like searching for your brand or a direct competitor.

Think of exact match as a sniper approach. It’s less about volume and more about precision. You might get fewer impressions than with broad match, but the users who see your ad are more likely to be looking for exactly what your app offers. This allows you to set your pricing more strategically to maximize your ad’s impact. Exact match is especially useful for brand and competitor campaigns where you want to target users with high intent.

In summary, broad match and exact match serve different purposes in your keyword strategy. Broad match expands your reach, bringing your app to a broader audience. Exact match narrows your focus, connecting you with users who have a clear intent. By understanding and using both types wisely, you can optimize your app’s visibility and attract more downloads.

Managing Non-performing Keywords

Regular Performance Checks

Keeping an eye on how each keyword performs is crucial for a successful keyword strategy. Just like a gardener weeds out plants that aren’t thriving, you need to spot which keywords aren’t bringing in the results. Some keywords might seem perfect, but if they don’t lead to downloads, they’re not working for you.

Imagine checking your app’s performance and noticing that some keywords, despite a high number of taps, have low conversion rates. These are the non-performers. They’re costing you money without contributing to your app’s growth.

Using Negative Keywords

When you identify keywords that aren’t performing well, you can add them as negative keywords. This means your ad won’t show up for these terms anymore. By doing this, you’re telling the ad platforms, “Don’t spend my budget on these keywords.” It’s a way to focus your spending on keywords that actually lead to downloads.

Adding non-performers as negative keywords helps in two ways. First, it saves your budget for terms that are more likely to convert. Second, it improves the overall efficiency of your ad campaign. Think of it as fine-tuning your strategy to make sure every dollar spent is working towards your goal of gaining more users.

In essence, managing non-performing keywords is about optimization. Regularly reviewing keyword performance lets you adjust your strategy, saving money, and improving your app’s visibility. By focusing on the keywords that truly matter, you ensure that your app finds its way to the right users.

Utilizing Search Match for Keyword Discovery

Automating Keyword Discovery

Search Match is a powerful tool for finding new keywords. It’s like having a smart assistant that automatically connects your app with potential users. This tool uses the details from your app’s store page, what similar apps are out there, and other search trends to match your ad with the right searches.

Imagine you’ve done all you can think of for keywords, but you’re not sure what you might be missing. That’s where Search Match comes in. It looks at everything your app is about and finds search terms you might not have considered. This means your app could show up in searches you hadn’t thought of, reaching more people without extra work from you.

Leveraging Your App’s Metadata

The key to making Search Match work for you is having strong metadata on your App Store product page. This includes your app’s title, description, and any other information that tells what your app does. The better and more descriptive your metadata, the easier it is for Search Match to find the best keywords for your app.

Also, by understanding the landscape of similar apps, Search Match can identify unique opportunities for your app to stand out. It’s not just about matching keywords but also about understanding where your app fits in the bigger picture.

In summary, Search Match simplifies keyword discovery by using your app’s metadata and the context of similar apps to find relevant search terms. This tool helps ensure your app reaches its intended audience, even with keywords you hadn’t thought of. By keeping your app’s metadata detailed and up-to-date, you enhance Search Match’s ability to connect your app with potential users effectively.

Structuring Your Keyword Campaigns

Organizing Campaigns for Better Management

When setting up your keyword campaigns, think of them as different teams, each with its own mission. By dividing your keywords into specific groups, you make it easier to manage, optimize, and understand how each part of your campaign is performing. This approach allows for more targeted advertising efforts and clearer insights into what’s working and what’s not.

Categories for Keyword Groups

  1. Discovery: This group is all about exploration. It includes broad match keywords that help new users find your app when they’re not searching for something specific. Think of keywords that describe the general category your app belongs in, like “games,” “health apps,” or “productivity tools.”
  2. Category: These keywords are more specific than discovery ones but still relate to the broader category of your app. For example, if your app is a meditation tool, your category keywords might be “meditation apps,” “mindfulness tools,” or “stress relief apps.”
  3. Competitor: Here, you target keywords related to your competitors’ names or specific apps. This strategy can attract users looking for similar apps and might consider yours as an alternative. It’s like saying, “If you’re looking for this, you might also like our app.”
  4. Brand: Brand keywords are all about you. These include your app’s name, any specific features unique to your app, or branded terms that users might search for. This group targets users already familiar with your app or those who have heard about it and want to learn more.

Benefits of Separating Keyword Types

Separating your keywords into these groups helps in several ways:

  • Optimization: You can adjust bids, tailor ad copy, and refine strategies for each group based on its performance.
  • Reporting: It becomes easier to see which types of keywords are driving downloads, engagement, or any other goals you have. This clarity helps in making informed decisions about where to invest your budget.
  • Scaling: As your app grows, you can add new keywords to each group without disrupting your overall campaign structure. This organized approach makes scaling your campaigns smoother and more efficient.

In summary, structuring your keyword campaigns by separating them into discovery, category, competitor, and brand groups can significantly enhance your marketing efforts. This organization not only simplifies campaign management but also improves the effectiveness of your ad spend, ensuring that your app reaches its target audience more efficiently.

Leveraging Keyword Recommendations

Taking Advantage of Automated Suggestions

After your keyword campaigns are up and running, a goldmine of insights awaits on the Recommendations page. This feature acts like a guiding light, offering new keyword suggestions based on actual search behaviors in the App Store. It’s as if you’re getting a peek into what potential users are typing when looking for apps similar to yours.

How Keyword Recommendations Work

The Recommendations page analyzes the performance of your current campaigns and the search trends on the App Store. It then suggests keywords that you might not be using yet but are relevant to your app. These suggestions are based on real data, including how users search for apps in your category or related fields.

Benefits of Using Keyword Recommendations

  1. Discover New Keywords: You might find keywords that you hadn’t considered before, opening up new avenues to reach potential users.
  2. Stay Current: As trends change and new search terms become popular, the Recommendations page helps you stay up to date. This ensures your keyword strategy remains relevant and effective.
  3. Optimize Campaign Performance: By adding recommended keywords to your campaigns, you can improve your app’s visibility and potentially increase downloads. These suggestions are tailored to boost your app’s performance based on current user behavior.

Implementing Recommendations

To make the most of these suggestions, review them regularly and consider testing them in your campaigns. Not all recommendations will be a perfect fit, so it’s important to monitor their performance closely. Add the ones that align with your app’s goals and audience, and set aside those that don’t meet your criteria for success.

Remember, leveraging keyword recommendations is an ongoing process. The digital landscape and user preferences evolve, so should your keyword strategy. By actively using the Recommendations page, you ensure your app remains visible to the right audience, capturing the interest of potential users at the right time.

In summary, the Recommendations page is a valuable resource for refining and expanding your keyword strategy. It offers data-driven insights into user search behavior, helping you discover new keywords and stay ahead of trends. Regularly incorporating these suggestions into your campaigns can lead to improved app visibility and increased downloads, keeping your app competitive in the bustling App Store.

Monitoring Keyword Performance

Watching how your keywords perform is like checking the health of your garden. Just as you’d give more water to the plants that thrive and less to those that don’t, you should adjust your budget based on keyword success. This close monitoring helps you understand which search terms are truly valuable, bringing users to your app.

Identifying High Performers

Some keywords will stand out by attracting more clicks, leading to more app installs. These are your high performers. They’re the terms that resonate most with your target audience. Recognizing these keywords is crucial because they represent the most efficient use of your advertising budget.

Adjusting Your Strategy

Once you’ve identified which keywords are working best, consider giving them a boost. This could mean increasing your bids on these terms to secure more visibility. More visibility often leads to more taps, which can then lead to more downloads. It’s about investing more where you see the best returns.

The Benefits of Increasing Bids

  • More Impressions: Higher bids can help your ad appear more often, increasing the chances that potential users will see it.
  • Better Positioning: With higher bids, your ad might appear in more prominent positions, making it more likely to be clicked.
  • Increased Downloads: Ultimately, the goal is to increase the number of people downloading your app. Investing in high-performing keywords can help achieve this.

Balancing Your Budget

It’s important to find a balance. While investing more in high-performing keywords is wise, you also need to ensure you’re not overspending. Keep an eye on your overall budget and the return on investment for each keyword. Sometimes, a slight increase in bid can yield significant results without breaking the bank.

Continuous Optimization

Keyword performance monitoring is an ongoing task. Trends change, and so do the words people use to search for apps. Regularly review your keyword performance, adjusting bids and reallocating budget as needed. This dynamic approach ensures your app remains visible to the right audience, maximizing your investment in app store advertising.

In summary, by diligently monitoring keyword performance and strategically adjusting your bids, you can optimize your app’s visibility and increase downloads. This process of continuous review and adjustment ensures that your advertising efforts are always aligned with the most effective keywords, thereby maximizing the impact of your budget.

Updating Your Keywords

Keeping your keywords fresh and relevant is crucial for the success of your app. It’s like updating your wardrobe to stay in style; your keywords need to evolve to match current trends and user search habits. Regularly reevaluating and updating your keywords ensures that your app remains visible and appealing to your target audience.

Reevaluating Low Performers

Just as you pay attention to the winners, it’s important to give some thought to the keywords that aren’t performing well. These low performers might be draining your budget without contributing much to your app’s visibility or downloads. By reassessing these keywords, you can decide whether to adjust their bids, replace them, or remove them altogether.

Optimizing Ad Spend

The goal of updating your keywords is not just about maintaining visibility; it’s also about optimizing how every dollar of your ad spend is used. By lowering bids on underperforming keywords, you can reallocate that portion of your budget to the keywords that are driving results. This kind of strategic adjustment ensures that your advertising budget is always working as hard as possible for you.

The Process of Keyword Update

  1. Review Performance Data: Regularly look at how each keyword contributes to your campaign goals. Use this data to identify which keywords are worth keeping, adjusting, or dropping.
  2. Adjust Bids Accordingly: For keywords that are underperforming, consider lowering your bids or pausing them to save budget. For those that are doing well, think about increasing your investment to maximize their potential.
  3. Explore New Opportunities: Always be on the lookout for new keywords that could capture emerging trends or interests among your target audience. Incorporating these new keywords can help you tap into new user segments.
  4. Test and Learn: Updating your keywords is an ongoing experiment. Try new combinations, test different bids, and see what works best. Use the insights gained from these experiments to refine your approach over time.

Keeping Your Campaign Fresh

In the fast-paced world of app marketing, what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. Regular updates to your keyword strategy can keep your campaigns fresh and effective. This proactive approach not only improves your app’s visibility but also enhances user engagement by ensuring that your app remains relevant to their needs and interests.


Mastering the art of keywords for apps involves understanding the role of keywords in app discovery, crafting a user-centric keyword strategy, leveraging keyword match types, managing non-performing keywords, utilizing tools for keyword discovery, structuring keyword campaigns, leveraging keyword recommendations, monitoring keyword performance, and regularly updating keywords.

With the right approach to keyword optimization, you can significantly enhance your app’s visibility, reach the right audience, and ultimately drive more downloads and user engagement.

App Keyword FAQs

What are app keywords?

App keywords are specific words or phrases that describe your app and its features. They help users find your app when they search in an app store. These keywords are crucial for app store optimization (ASO) and can significantly impact your app’s visibility and downloads.

How do I find the best keywords for an app?

To find the best keywords, start by thinking like your users. Consider what terms they might use to search for your app. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or App Store’s Search Match feature to research and identify relevant keywords. Look at competitors’ keywords and use analytics to see which terms bring traffic.

What keywords to use for the App Store?

For the App Store, use keywords relevant to your app’s features, benefits, and the problems it solves. Include both general and specific terms, brand names (if applicable), and synonyms. Avoid using very common terms with high competition unless they’re very relevant.

What are good keywords?

Good keywords accurately reflect your app’s functionality and are terms your target audience uses when searching for apps like yours. They have a balance of high search volume and achievable competition levels, making them effective for driving visibility and downloads.

How do I identify my keywords?

Identify your keywords by:

  • Analyzing your app’s features, benefits, and target audience.
  • Researching competitors’ keywords.
  • Using keyword research tools.
  • Gathering insights from customer reviews and feedback.
  • Looking at search queries leading to your app.

How many keywords for the App Store?

The App Store allows up to 100 characters for keywords. Choose your keywords wisely to fit within this limit, focusing on relevance and search volume. It’s about quality and precision, not just quantity.

How do I find the most profitable keywords?

Find the most profitable keywords by analyzing the competition and search volume of keywords related to your app. Use tools like Sensor Tower, App Annie, or Keyword Tool for the App Store. Profitable keywords are those that lead to high conversion rates from searches to downloads.

How do I find winning keywords?

Winning keywords are found through:

  • Continuous testing and analyzing keyword performance.
  • Keeping an eye on industry trends and adapting your keywords accordingly.
  • Using ASO tools to uncover high-impact keywords.
  • Monitoring and adjusting keywords based on campaign performance and user feedback.

How do I find high-paying keywords?

High-paying keywords, in the context of app monetization through ads, are those that attract advertisers willing to pay more for ad placements. Use market research tools to identify industries and topics with high advertising spending. For app store optimization, focus on keywords with high search volume and intent to download or purchase.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Ayrus Hill; Unsplash – Thank you!

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