Welcome to App Teardowns, a series where we analyze the strategies apps and games use to gain visibility and downloads on the App Store and Google Play.
App Store Optimization has become very common with apps, but games are not very far behind. When it comes to searching and games, the intent is a bit different, but the process (and results) are exactly the same. Not all games do it (yet), and that's why games that leverage ASO can skip ahead.
In this App Teardown, we're looking at a game that's doing just that. Jigsaw Puzzles is a well-oiled ASO machine, which is why it's the #1 result for that search on Google Play in the U.S. — There's a lot to learn from here.
Jigsaw Puzzles gets an A+ 🎉
In this Teardown
- Jigsaw Puzzles by the Numbers
- The Competitive Landscape
- Keyword Performance
- Keyword Analysis
- Screenshot Analysis
- Video Analysis
- Summary: That's How You Optimize a Game!
Jigsaw Puzzles by the Numbers
Before we dive into the analysis, let's take a high-level look at Jigsaw Puzzles' performance in the U.S., based on our Competitor Intelligence:
- 📈 171K estimated downloads in the last month.
- #️⃣ 22 in the Game → Puzzle category.
- ⭐️ 81% of new ratings were positive in the last month.
- 👋 Audience is young and leans female.
The Competitive Landscape
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There's a clear leader in this group, and it's Jigsaw Puzzles. It leads in downloads, has the highest category rank, and most new ratings. Hard to beat. Optimize your game well enough, and you could have such a lead too.
Looking at demographics, it's clear all apps in this group are going after the same kind of user—young females.
Organic discovery starts with keywords. While there are other ways to get found, such as getting featured, keyword optimization is the only method you actually have full control over. That's why it's so important for getting more downloads.
Jigsaw Puzzles, which seems to know that, is currently ranking well in several relevant and high-popularity keywords:
Jigsaw Puzzles is ranking pretty well, meaning in the top 5 results, for a variety of keywords that have to do with jigsaw puzzles, including those keywords directly, misspellings, and even those words in different languages.
These are the result of careful keyword optimization.
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Let's break down how Jigsaw Puzzles got to rank in these keywords:
Name and Short Description
The first place the algorithm looks is the app's name and short description. It turns those two into a list of keywords by combining them, looking at individual words and their combinations. These fields have a low character limit and are only useful when optimized correctly.
In this case, they're pretty optimized.
- Name: Jigsaw Puzzles - Puzzle Game
- Short description: Jigsaw puzzles for adults: daily HD collection of relaxing jigsaws for free.
At first glance, the name seems like a bunch of keywords, while the short description is fairly human-readable. But if I take off my ASO hat, the name isn't all that bad. As a human who just searched for a "jigsaw puzzle," seeing an app with that exact name is a good thing.
Together, these produce quite a few keyword combinations. Here are the ones that are popular
- jigsaw puzzle
- jigsaw puzzles
- free game
- puzzle game
- free puzzles
- daily puzzles
- relaxing game
- free puzzle
Considering there's a total of just four words in the name, and one of those is repeated, so technically three words, this list is pretty nice. As we saw before, the game ranks well in many of these, so this set works.
Remember, the name combines with the short description, so it's important to always think of them as a single set. Because the short description is fairly long, it's okay to keep the app's name focused and short and have more variety in the short description.
The long description is another area Google's algorithm looks at to identify relevant keywords. The algorithm sees the long description a bit differently than it does the app's name and short description. Because it has a much higher character limit, the algorithm looks for repetition and variety.
We ran a keyword frequency/density analysis on Jigsaw Puzzles' description, and here are the top one and two-word terms:
Top One-Word Terms
Top Two-Word Terms
This description wasn't an afterthought. The most popular one and two-word terms align perfectly with the keywords from the name and short description and are exactly the ones the app is targeting.
While there's no hard rule for what's the right density to aim for, under 5% is a general rule of thumb that works pretty well. Jigsaw Puzzles goes a bit overboard here with repetition, but given how generic the word jigsaw is, it's probably not hurting its chances.
👉 If you haven't already, check the keyword density of your description and see which one and two-word terms are most popular. If those aren't aligned with the keywords you're targeting, it's time for a rewrite.
I'm just about a word or two away from calling these screenshots perfect. They easily check all the boxes for great screenshots with engaging colors, short and actionable captions, and subtle use of people.
The only thing I think could cause trouble is the way the foreground is also the background. Great in theory, but makes my eyes hurt in this case because the colors are so strong. Eye pain = less likely to look, which means less chances of conversion.
That's a pretty easy problem to fix, and overall these screenshots do what they're supposed to.
Yes! Jigsaw Puzzles took the time to put together a video, and I'm sure it's helping with conversions.
This video, just like the screenshots, checks all the boxes. The background music is engaging and pleasant, the visuals are relevant and show gameplay, and it even shows there's a variety of puzzles, which is a great benefit.
Summary: That's How You Optimize a Game!
Jigsaw Puzzles is a great example of ASO done right for a game. It really checks all the boxes:
- A very focused keyword list of popular terms
- Just the right amount of repetition where it counts
- Playful screenshots
- Engaging video
There's not much one can ask for, and the results speak for themselves.
If you've got a game, there isn't much to invent here, just do what these guys do.
Time to Benchmark & Learn
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