04. Roles and Team Structure in ASO

“What does a successful ASO team structure look like?” 

Having the resources to manage an ASO strategy requires the combination of a multitude of unique functional areas.  While management of ASO at a larger marketing operation (e.g. a game studio) may be spread between several people,  at a smaller marketing operation (e.g. an independent developer), one person may have to fill each role as best he or she can, or else decide to outsource one or more roles. In any case, knowing about all of the unique roles that exist  within the remit of ASO can help you plan, delegate and prioritize ASO at your marketing operation, whatever the size: 

  • Keyword research – pulling keyword ideas from myriad sources, prioritizing a full keyword list into an app’s limited metadata space, analyzing changes in keyword rankings based on ASO and determining the next course of action all belong to one of the most fundamental and more scientific roles in ASO: the keyword researcher. 
  • Copywriting – copywriting comes into play not only in figuring out the best text to use in a text-based metadata element, but also in the overlaid text on visual elements such as screenshots, and even writing the text to be used in review prompts. 
  • Graphic design – a core component of every ASO strategy, graphic design is a mix of scientific direction and art-led creativity, and is key to improving your app’s conversion rate by making a good first impression and standing out from the crowd. While basic visuals (e.g. the actual screenshot of an app) may sometimes suffice,  custom designs often make a critical difference in driving ASO results. 
  • Video production – the product of another scientifically-informed, art-led role, a well-made video stands to significantly improve an app’s conversion rate, especially in the wake of iOS 11; however, the opposite is also true, as poorly made videos often harm conversion rate. This means that an expert’s eye is truly valuable in leading the role of video production. 
  • Analysis/data science – ranging from the simple end of measuring the change in Installs after an optimization,  to ingesting data from multiple ASO data sources across multiple countries, the analyst must help inform the  ASO lead in targeting, reporting, and continuous optimization. 
  • Development – without the blood, sweat and time of developers, there would be no ASO; yet a developer’s role is not finished once the app is launched. To ensure the success of an app, the developer(s) must maintain and grow the app by adding features, fixing bugs, reducing file sizes, implementing technology such as engagement SDKs for the ASO lead, and leveraging other technologies such as Apple’s iOS 10.3 review prompt. 
  • Customer service – the best products are those made by teams who listen to and take care of their customers by quickly capturing and acting on negative feedback, addressing product needs, and responding to customer service issues in the app and via reviews. As reviews are surfaced in a prominent location for all apps, customer service is an important role for keeping ASO conversion rates high. 
  •  User acquisition – the more highly desired a top chart spot or keyword placement is, the higher the level of competition for that ranking, and thus the higher the bar for an app’s total user base required to earn that ranking. For apps competing for these top spots, a significant user acquisition effort is a must to support an app’s organic ranking power, as discussed in the Outside of the Store chapter. 
  • User retention – related to user acquisition, user retention has taken on a larger and larger importance as the ranking algorithms factor more and more for active and retained users, vs simple install states. Without retaining users, an app has little chance of earning or maintaining a top rank spot. 
  • Project management – in some cases, such as a large app that is localized in many countries, a project manager role may be required in order to oversee the various projects and coordinate communication between the various individuals owning each aforementioned ASO-related role. Project managers take ownership for keeping the entire operation on the right track and running smoothly.

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