ASO Teardown: Grubhub Earns Our First Ever A+
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.
If you have a smartphone and are hungry, odds are you've used Grubhub before. Grubhub makes food delivery more convenient, but that's not an exclusive feature. Quite the opposite.
Uber Eats (which we did a teardown of a while back), DoorDash, and others offer pretty much the same food, a similar enough UI, and ultimately, the same delivery person. Yet, Grubhub manages to be the first result for most relevant searches.
In this ASO teardown, we'll analyze how Grubhub dominates its most important keywords.
Overall, Grubhub gets an A+, our first 🎉
Note: If you, your team, or your agency are working on Grubhub's ASO, please let me know. I'd love to mention you by name here.
In this guide:
- Grubhub by the Numbers - Gotta Eat to Grow!
- Grubhub vs. Other Food Delivery Apps
- Keyword Analysis
- Keyword List: What's Under the Hood?
- Screenshot Analysis
- Video Analysis
- Summary: Grubhub Proves Every App Needs ASO
- How's Your App Performing?
Grubhub by the Numbers - Gotta Eat to Grow!
Here's how Grubhub is doing in the U.S. App Store based on our app intelligence:
- 📈 718K estimated downloads in the last month.
- 3️⃣ in the Food & Drink category.
- ⭐️ 95% of new ratings were positive in the last month.
- 👋 Audience is young and split evenly between men and women.
- 💰 Primary competitors include DoorDash, Uber Eats, Yelp, and Postmates
Grubhub vs. Other Food Delivery Apps
Food delivery is a hot category. According to our estimates, category leader DoorDash has more than double the downloads of Grubhub in the U.S., which means Grubhub can double if they continue to push. When it comes to ratings, the gap is a bit wider, and we know those will come in handy for ranks.
Let's begin by analyzing the keywords Grubhub uses in the app's name and subtitle. Those send the strongest signals to the App Store's algorithm.
- Name: Grubhub: Local Food Delivery
- Subtitle: Order takeout from restaurants
Strictly based on these, the algorithm sees the following keywords:
Food delivery is a pretty narrow yet popular niche, which means a few keywords earn most of the searches. Grubhub's name and subtitle are carefully crafted to touch on all of those competitive and popular terms.
Let's take a look at how they're performing:
Very well! "food delivery," the most popular keyword, and the one that all other competitors are obviously targeting, has Grubhub at the top, and that's the one that matters. The name and subtitle result in many combinations, but most aren't very popular. The ones that are, have Grubhub ranking well.
In addition to these keywords, the app ranks in a few other popular keywords:
In addition to its target keywords, Grubhub seems to do very well with competitor names and restaurant names. Interesting, right? Well, it makes sense. More on that, below.
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Keyword List: What's Under the Hood?
Now, let's reverse-engineer Grubhub's keyword list. The list isn't public, but we can attempt to uncover it by looking at all other keywords the app is ranked in. We believe it looks something like the following:
This keyword list is as far from standard as possible. It hits every big competitor Grubhub goes against, the most popular food destinations, and then a few variations of keywords already in the name and subtitle.
Let's break this down:
- Competitors: This is one of the few times targeting competitors is not just play but encouraged. Food delivery services are less about the app or experience and more about the food and the discounts, so they're essentially replaceable.
- Restaurants: Grubhub can deliver you food from any of those restaurants, so they're as good as the restaurant's native app.
- Keyword variations: This is a pretty standard best-practice.
- While targeting competitors is normally unnecessary, in industries where the app is essentially replaceable, targeting competitors can work. It's an uphill battle, but not an impossible one.
- Apple won't let you mention competitor names unless they're extremely generic. You can get around that by splitting names into their various words or depluralizing them. The algorithm will put them together, or pluralize them, for you.
- If your app interacts with other services, including them in the keyword list will help you gain more visibility.
- The App Store's algorithm can pluralize and combine words, but it won't turn "deliver" into "delivery," so it's important to include variations, like this one, in the keyword list.
What a beauty! These screenshots really "sell" the app and follow every best practice we've covered in the past. The first screenshot is the hook, they all have actionable captions that highlight the app's benefits, and there's enough contrast to make reading the captions effortless.
The typography here is also outstanding, with a chunky font that makes the captions feel friendly and inviting.
Well done 👏
- Use your keywords to drive action (aka download) by showing the app's biggest benefits (not feature) as captions.
- Contrast makes captions readable. White text on a darker background is the best combination.
- Use the first screenshot as a hook to get them to want to see the rest.
- Apple gives you up to 10 screenshots, and you should take advantage of that as much as you can (and need).
No need. That's right. Although videos capture attention more quickly, in this specific case a video would probably convert less because a discount is as good of a conversion hook as you can ask for. While free offers like this aren't something every app can use, Grubhub can, and it does, and it's good.
- Videos are great because they capture attention quickly and are the first item in the screenshot list, but for some messages, a static image might fit best. This is where A/B testing can really come in handy.
Summary: Grubhub Proves Every App Needs ASO
Grubhub gives us a glimpse into what doing everything right looks like on the App Store. Competing with a very small yet fierce group of apps and over a very narrow number of popular keywords, Grubhub's strategy wins even though they aren't the leader in downloads. Yet.
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