The New Normal in 2015: ASO Strategies, RTB, & Programmatic Marketing

Most industry professionals probably already know how app store optimization (ASO), real-time bidding (RTB), and programmatic marketing can impact their business. But what are the things to watch out for? What new trends will 2015 bring us?

With more than 1.6 million apps in the three major stores, 2,600 new daily app submissions, and 75 percent of apps never reaching more than 5,000 downloads in their entire lifespan, it is important to understand these concepts and utilize them to stay ahead of the competition. So what’s the secret sauce for 2015?

App Store Optimization (ASO)

Following my app store optimization article from 2012, there have been further changes due to the industry maturing at an accelerating rate. Recent studies from Nielsen indicate that more than 63 percent of app installs come from app store search engines. ASO basically covers a wide range of topics, from being found in the search engines to managing keywords, leveraging related-tos, and optimizing your app icon and app store landing pages to increase downloads. In return, organic (free) downloads generated by the app stores will be generated. The formula to keep in mind for a good ASO strategy is as follows:

ASO = (Relevance) + (Competition) + (Traffic Quantity) = Organic Downloads

Here’s how to apply an effective ASO strategy in 2015 and stay ahead of the competition:

Step 1: Find the right keywords

You can use tools such as SensorTower and/or Searchman to help you identify the right keywords. Find keywords related to your app theme, solution, and niche. Also look at the competition to see which keywords they are being found on to see which keywords you can compete on or rather stay away from for the time being.

Step 2: Create a keyword pool

Identify relevant keywords, analyze the competitiveness of the keywords, and check the traffic availability on the keywords. For example, don’t focus on a keyword which has zero traffic since you won’t generate any traffic if nobody is searching on a specific keyword. Instead find keywords that represent a decent traffic value and at the same time have low competitiveness so you are ensured to generate traffic by focusing on these keywords.

Step 3: Implement the keywords skillfully

You can influence your relevance in the eyes of the app store algorithms through your publisher name, app store title, description, keyword submission, and even through user reviews. Make sure to have the keywords you want to leverage in as many of these texts as possible. Logically, some weigh more than others. Your name and the keywords selected when submitting your app weigh the most. Each app store has its own algorithms indexing importance and relevance of keywords in a different way.

Step 4: Optimize your keywords

This one is often forgotten but probably the most important step. Use the data you collect on your app store download data per individual keyword and check where you got the most (quality) downloads from, then optimize from there. Keywords which aren’t working or are giving you a lot of low-quality downloads should be exchanged for new keywords by relevance. Start back at step one and keep optimizing until you are maximizing your organic traffic streams to the full potential of your app!

Real-Time Bidding (RTB) and Programmatic Marketing

To follow the trends of RTB and programmatic marketing, it is important to define the distinction between the two first. Quite often RTB is considered programmatic marketing and the other way around, but this greatly undervalues the true meaning of programmatic. Nowadays, programmatic marketing has moved beyond just transactions and RTB – it’s consuming the entire workflow for advertising, accounting for 47 percent of non-search advertising in the U.S. and $21 billion in overall spending.

That leaves the question, what exactly is programmatic?

In short, programmatic is automation. The ability to optimize the value chain on an automated basis, reducing work input whilst raising output. We see this in other industries all the time – think of the stock exchange and its live calculations or factories replacing people with machines. These are examples of programmatic being applied in the value chain of other industries. For the advertisement industry, this implies much more verticals as well as targeting intelligence for both advertisers as well as publishers.

Let me elaborate: More and more ad formats are supported, branching out to mobile, video, native, and audio – in turn supporting more platforms. At the same time, data collected on user profiles and behavior is more efficiently being utilized and programmatically being matched – this is what we call RTB. Publishers benefit because each individual user or impression generated by them is being optimized to the full extent. At the same time, advertisers can reach their target audience at a precision that was not possible before, allowing them to spend in a more targeted way. Instead of paying for 1,000 impressions to reach the 100 consumers they want to target, they can now easily pay for the 100 impressions that allow them to reach those 100 consumers.

Current Examples of Programmatic Marketing

You’ve probably been the target of a programmatic marketing campaign without really knowing it. Think about it. Have you ever been browsing the Web, and consistently seen the advertisement of a single brand or organization no matter which website you were on? Remember thinking, these guys have some serious marketing budget? Well, the truth is, you were retargeted. This basically means that once you visited a certain website or mobile site, maybe even a certain point or page, you were given a certain value for the brand in question to keep targeting. Since you already had shown a general interest, it is more likely that you would return and resume a purchase, sign up, or convert in some other manner, thus making it more valuable to keep targeting you instead of another user who has no association yet with the brand. This is a form of programmatic marketing. Based on a certain event, keep retargeting a user to optimize media spends.

The Future of Programmatic

It’s hard to say exactly because the possibilities are endless. The most important question though, is how will programmatic further evolve in the year 2015? With more and more precise data points becoming available allowing to target audiences more precise than ever, marketing messages will become more and more relevant. Machine learning will also play a bigger role in 2015 on this matter, as large brands such as American Express, Proctor & Gamble, and many others are making programmatic one of their core marketing strategies. Brands like these will heavily invest in having machines replace humans in creating the right messages and targeting the right audiences at the right price points.


Your mobile marketing strategy should include highly optimized programmatic marketing techniques to fully optimize your media spends and draw in the right consumers. At the same time, it is important to make sure the basics of your app are in order, to fully utilize the ecosystems provided by the three big app stores, and create additional added value. In 2015, the basics of a good marketing strategy include a professional (and consistently optimized) ASO strategy as well as precise demographics targeting in the form of programmatic marketing campaigns.

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