the aso book interview

Phiture is happy to announce that Advanced App Store Optimization: The Complete Guide to ASO (2018 Edition), previously purchasable either in print or in a downloadable PDF file, is now available online for free. Released in 2017, the book continues to be the most comprehensive guide on App Store Optimization on the market today. 

On any given day, the ASO Stack Slack community is brimming with energy. One group of Chinese practitioners is asking about Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency Framework; another group, under the #searchads channel, is discussing testing screenshots in Apple Search Ads Creative Sets. A few glances down other threads reveal the obvious: for anyone practicing ASO, the ASO Stack Slack is mecca. Three years, one published book, and thousands of members later, it continues to be the guiding star for any ASO practitioner. But where did it all start? 

“In the beginning, it was just a handful of people. Today, there are more than 3,000 members from across the world who share knowledge with each other. I really think that’s the premise of all of this,” says Moritz Daan, Co-Founder and Partner of Phiture, over an early morning Zoom call. It’s gray in Berlin, the usual color for as the city transitions from Autumn to Winter, but Moritz is particularly upbeat. To trace the roots of both the community and the ASO book, he says, we have to go back a few years. 

Rewind to 2014. ASO was, at the time, a relatively unpracticed art based on the same underpinnings as SEO: keywords and rankings. “There was very little literature on the topic, and most people were scrambling some words in the keyword set. There really weren’t proper tools in place yet—some keyword tracking tools started to pop up, but it was very, very early days,” explains Moritz. A few Google searches and bloggers later, Moritz found Gabe Kwakyi, Co-Founder and CEO of Mobile Growth Consultancy Incipia, and fellow ASO aficionado.

Moritz Daan and Gabe Kwakyi 
Moritz Daan, Co-Founder at Phiture and Gabe Kwakyi, Co-Founder at Incipia

After the pair realized they were some of the only practitioners digging deep into how algorithms work in the app store, in 2016, the two came up with a novel idea: to create a staple in ASO literature that could identify the big levers to pull in order to drive app-store presence forward, increase visibility, and increase conversion. “Up until that point, there were only a few books—about 30 pages each, or so—that were out there. But they really weren’t all that comprehensive. We wanted to fill that gap—that was really the start of this whole thing,” recalls Moritz.

The “thing” that Moritz refers to happens to be the first watershed publication in the field of ASO: Advanced App Store Optimization: The Complete Guide to ASO (2018 Edition). Written by Gabe and Moritz with the help of more than six guest authors and spanning 370 pages, the book remains the de-facto manual on ASO, identifying best practices in ASO visibility, keyword optimization, conversion rate optimization, and localization. The book is often called the “ASO Bible.” At the heart of the book is the ASO Stack, a “cheat sheet,” as Moritz calls it, to help mobile marketers to improve their app store presence, not only a staple for any ASO practitioner, but a foundation that continues to stand the test of time.

 “Looking at it now, I think it’s the fact that the definition of ASO has become so much broader. In the early days, you often heard that ASO is like SEO, and what they meant was keyword optimization. But our definition is about optimizing your app store presence” says Moritz. Not only is the ASO stack an attempt to increase visibility; it’s also about making sure that you drive the right users to convert on the app store. 

The first edition of the book was extremely well-received, not least of all among the burgeoning Slack community. “Gabe and I were thinking that there were so many people out there who were interested in this topic—how awesome would it be if we launched the Slack community around it?” And so, in 2017, the ASO Stack Slack channel was born. “On top of that, we got really great feedback on the book. It was also overwhelmingly clear that there were ASO practitioners all over the world that wanted to learn about this, and who were open to sharing their experiences in the Slack community” explains Moritz.

But where is the ASO book now? The ASO world constantly evolves, and Moritz stresses the need to continually adapt to its evolution. As co-author Gabe Kwakyi says, “it’s amazing to see how the ASO book continues to be a relevant resource for a systematic approach to ASO even years later. I still hear from people who thank us and our contributing authors, for our work in assembling the book, with the first question being: ‘when will we be writing an update?’”

The answer is now.  Phiture is happy to announce the release of the newest edition of Advanced Store Optimization: The Complete Guide to ASO: 2021. To be released in the first half of 2021, the newest edition will feature the latest ASO Stack, a new ASA stack for Search Ads, and all the latest on iOS14, among many other updates, revisions, and new tips and tricks on increasing visibility and conversion

Collaborating on the newest edition of the book will be AppTweak.  “We’re very excited for the opportunity to collaborate together with Phiture for the 2021 revamp and share the AppTweak perspective on ASO,” says Alexandra De Clerck, Head of Marketing at AppTweak.  “Phiture is at the forefront of connecting and educating the ASO community. Here at AppTweak, we use the book all the time to get team members up to speed. It’s only one example of the high-quality resources Phiture share to educate mobile marketers on app store optimization.”

“It’s about time we give it a really good refresher for 2021,” concludes Moritz. “We were already saying, in 2019, that there’d be a new update to the book. Today, I think it’d be a really good idea to step back and collect everything that we’ve learned and seen over the past few years and put that all into a new book that can be something that people can learn from and for the industry as a whole. It’s great to see that Maggie Ngai and the Phiture ASO team have taken it on themselves to work on the 2021 update.”