ASO Teardown: FotMob Takes the Lead with a Focused Keyword List
Welcome to ASO Teardowns, a series where we dissect the strategies apps use to gain visibility on the App Store and Google Play for you to learn from.
Optimizing correctly gives top apps a great advantage, but for apps that aren't at the top of their category, ASO is a must to remain competitive. Those who do it right, like FotMob, the app we'll be analyzing in this teardown, enjoy better discovery and more downloads without the need for a big ad budget.
This teardown is a bit unique because a few months ago, I gave the guys behind FotMob a few suggestions on how to improve their ASO. They implemented them, and the results of those suggestions you'll see below.
Overall, FotMob gets an A
In this guide:
- Getting to Know FotMob
- FotMob's Got Competition
- Keyword Analysis
- The Keyword List: What's Under the Hood?
- Where Else is FotMob Ranked?
- Screenshot Analysis
- Video Analysis
- Summary: FotMob Puts its Best Foot Forward
- How's Your App Performing?
Getting to Know FotMob
FotMob helps soccer (football, if you're outside fo the U.S.) fans keep track of their favorite teams and leagues. It's become one of my favorite apps. Here's how it's performing in the U.S. App Store, based on our App Intelligence:
- 📈 21.8K estimated downloads in the last month.
- #️⃣ 55 in the Sports category.
- ⭐️ 99% of new ratings were positive in the last month.
- 👋 Audience is young and leans male.
- 💰 Main competitors include LiveFootball, LiveScore, and All Football.
FotMob's Got Competition
FotMob, much like news aggregators, is competing with apps like itself as well as with first-party apps from teams and leagues. And there's quite a few of those.
For the sake of simplicity, we'll only look at direct competitors here.
FotMob leads this set of competitors. This wasn't the case pre-lockdown (or pre ASO changes), which goes to show the importance of having a good keyword strategy in place. As demands for sports apps is growing, being at the top of search results is sure to result in even more downloads than before.
With the lockdown and teams pausing games, downloads have slumped for FotMob as well as competitors. But most leagues have now resumed playing, which caused downloads to increase sharply, and with FotMob's ASO being nice and tight, they managed to snag the lead from rival OneFootball 👏
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We'll start the analysis with the keywords FotMob has in the name + subtitle. Those send the strongest signals to the App Store's algorithm.
- Name: FotMob - Soccer Scores
- Subtitle: Scores, video highlights, news
Strictly based on these, the algorithm sees the following keywords:
Unlike the last teardown, FotMob's keyword list is very specific and focused. That's by design. For FotMob, "owning" a keyword like "soccer scores" provides the necessary foundation to continue and expanding its keywords reach, not to mention immediate downloads.
One mistake, and those of you who follow our teardowns probably noticed this one already, is the repetition of "scores" between the name and the subtitle. That's the same as not using six whole characters at all.
Let's take a look at where FotMob is ranked for these keywords:
Pretty good! First place in several, #2 for a few more, and also ranked for the very generic term soccer. As you'll see below, the app ranks in a bunch of other keywords because of its keyword list, which means this focused set is providing a solid foundation to build on. And downloads.
- Repetition is bad. Repetition is bad. Repetition is bad.
- Focus is good, especially when you can't simply beat the competition on downloads.
- Take advantage of as many characters as you can out of the allotted 30. In this case, the app's name is only 22 characters long, which means a whole new word could be added.
The Keyword List: What's Under the Hood?
We normally need to reverse-engineer the keyword list because it isn't public, but having helped the folks at FotMob, they gave me their current list. This means we can give a more accurate analysis:
This keyword list does a great job of attacking multiple possibilities at once, while still combining with the keywords in the name and subtitle.
It merges features (news, schedule), alternatives to existing keywords (football), and relevant topics (team and league names). Remember, the keyword list is a great place to experiment with new keywords. By mixing them in, you increase your chances of ranking better and finding even more combinations.
If you're thinking, "wait, you're repeating things here?!?!?", that's right, and on purpose. While some believe there's no need to repeat keywords from the name/subtitle in the keyword list, I don't. Repetition between the two, when focused, can give you that little extra "oomph" you need to get ahead.
Pro tip: Using the keyword localization trick to double the list size can really help in testing different team/league names.
- The keyword list, on its own, isn't enough to get you ranked in popular keywords other apps are targeting in their name/subtitle (like "MLS").
- Mix multiple topics your audience might be looking for, in addition to features.
- Use the keyword list in revolving experiments to identify the best keywords in a category. For FotMob that means trying different league and team names with every update.
- Identify the most relevant and popular league names and include them in the subtitle.
- Don't leave keywords that aren't working out in the list. It might feel wrong, but it's the right move.
Where Else is FotMob Ranked?
The combination of this name, subtitle, and keyword list combination helps FotMob establish a foothold in quite a few keywords. Here are the highlights:
This is a beautiful set of screenshots, that's great for conversion. It checks all the boxes: lots of contrast, readable UI, most important features upfront, short captions, and chunky (read, friendly) font. In addition, the app's color is green, which is very intuitive and helps form an immediate connection between the user and the gist of the app.
- Contrast always makes screenshots better.
- If you can, use a familiar background color to make the app instantly more friendly.
- Highlight what users want most with short and actionable captions.
- Sorting screenshots is half science half magic. For the former half, A/B test.
I think that's a missed opportunity. Competing with so many other types of apps means the user might already have some sort of expectation in mind. But FotMob is unique and different, right? Screenshots don't command enough engagement to show that off, which is where a video would come in handy.
That said, putting together a good App Preview video requires effort and skill (or a budget for production), so it isn't accessible to everyone. If you can't produce a great video, it's better to not have one at all and let the screenshots do the talking.
- No video is better than a bad video. Always.
Summary: FotMob Puts its Best Foot Forward
While some of the apps we covered in the past have the luxury of not needing ASO, for apps that don't want to burn all of their revenue on ads, App Store Optimization is the most effective alternative. FotMob is a great example of an app that does it right and reaps the rewards. It was very close to an A+ but misses a few opportunities. Luckily, those are easy to fix.
How's Your App Performing?
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