ASO Teardown - Robinhood is Almost There
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, their performance, and competition.
Robinhood has become the app of choice for many who are new to investing and the stock market for its simplicity and fee-less transactions. Where's a great place to find people who can invest but may not know how? Yup, it's the App Store.
FYI - Robinhood has been in the news a lot over the last couple of weeks, but in this ASO Teardown we're going to ignore the news and focus on Robinhood's ASO strategy, from keywords to screenshots.
Overall, Robinhood is doing an almost great job, and for that, it earns an A-
Good: Good keyword list, good screenshots.
Not so good: Not using keyword properly in the name and subtitle.
In this guide:
- Robinhood by the Numbers
- Robinhood's vs. Competitors
- Keyword Analysis - The Obvious Parts
- Going Under the Hood — The Keyword List
- Where Else is Robinhood Ranking?
- Screenshot Analysis
- Video Analysis
- The Verdict: Just Another Minute
- The Tools I Use
Robinhood by the Numbers
Here's how Robinhood is performing in the U.S. App Store, based on our Competitor Intelligence:
- 📈 1.9 estimated downloads in the last 30 days.
- #️⃣ 1 in the Finance category.
- ⭐️ 15.3% of new ratings were positive in the last 30 days.
- 👋 Audience is in their 30s and leans male.
- 🏅 Competitors include Webull, Fidelity, E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, and M1 .
Robinhood to the Moon
Last week Elon Musk sent Robinhood's downloads soaring, but even without that tweet, Robinhood was doing fairly alright on its own.
Here are what downloads looked like in the last few years, not including 2021, which flattens the Y axis too much.
According to our App Intelligence, before the $GME ordeal, Robinhood average about XX downloads per week. The most in its category.
Robinhood's vs. Competitors
Robinhood's competitors come in two different flavors, traditional investing platforms that also have an app, and mobile-first platforms. App Store users favor one kind more than the other:
Robinhood sits at the top of its group mainly because it was one of the first apps to bring fee-less transactions, but also because of its extremely user-friendly interface and super simple interactions.
Robinhood took an otherwise dense set of tasks that require some technical knowledge and turned it into an experience that's as easy as ordering food from Seamless. Whether this is good overall or not is an entirely different question. Judging by downloads, from a product perspective, it most definitely is.
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Keyword Analysis - The Obvious Parts
- Name: Robinhood: Investing for All
- Subtitle: Learn. Invest. Spend.
Strictly based on these, here are the popular keywords the algorithm sees:
- robinhood invest
- robinhood learn
- learn investing
- investing learn
- robinhood investing
There's a handful of useful keywords there, but I wouldn't call this list optimized in any way. It reads more like a brand pitch, which isn't necessarily bad but also isn't necessarily great.
First. What does "spend" mean??? If you get the point of this here, please tell me.
This set looks fairly branded to me, with a tiny addition of keywords. In other words, a missed opportunity.
While branding is important, most people aren't likely to fully read and comprehend the app's name beyond the bare minimum they need to decide if they'll download it or not.
Does this mean you should just shove keywords into the name and subtitle? No. It means you have to find the delicate balance between writing something useful to humans that incorporates the more relevant keywords. It may take a few more minutes to come up with, but it's worth it.
- You're limited to 30 characters for the name and subtitle. Use them on keywords that can earn you traffic.
- "Invest" and "Investing" are totally different words for the algorithm, so if you want to target both, you need to include both. Or, focus on the one that fits your strategy better.
- The name and subtitle are combined by the algorithm, so you want to find keywords that when put together, generate useful keywords.
Going Under the Hood — The Keyword List
Now, let's reverse-engineer the 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 isn't a bad set of keywords! While the name and subtitle leave a lot to be desired, this keyword list does not. These terms are optimized, actionable, and combine very well together.
The keywords also combine very well with those in the name and subtitle, but because the good ones are mainly in the keyword list, Robinhood isn't ranking quite as high as it could be.
Where Else is Robinhood Ranking?
This combo of name, subtitle, and keyword list gives Robinhood a bit more than just the name and subtitle alone. Here are some of the highlights:
Robinhood's keyword list really comes to the resecure here, and where possible, earns the app a decent rank. We can see that by looking at any of the 100+ popular keywords Robinhood is ranked in right now.
Apple's algorithm has this "quirk" where it automatically ranks an app for names of its competitors, which really means apps that are very close to it in its category. That's why you see Robinhood ranking for a bunch of competitor names.
Given Robinhood's slick and friendly UI, I came into this with a certain expectation, and I'm happy to report, Robinhood delivered.
- All screenshots have a caption as well as relevant UI.
- There's enough contrast to make the captions very easy to read + they're pretty short, so they're more likely to be read.
- Changing colors between screenshots is playful and engaging.
Really great overall.
I'm not a big fan of the horizontal line that cuts across all screenshots. It feels out of place, but it doesn't really hurt overall.
What I do find more interesting is the caption in the first screenshot. Where I'd expect a caption that describes what the app does, which we see in the second screenshot, we get a vague sort of social proof.
This means to me that Robinhood believes the main reason a view doesn't become a download is trust and not confusion about what the app does. While this could be the case, I think there's a way to involve social proof without having to completely omit the app's purpose.
Also also, a vague statement about the number of users is not likely to move the needle. For social proof to work well, it needs to be both relevant and relatable, and overall answer questions such as "do many people like me use this app?", "do people I follow use it?," etc.
Good, but there's lots of room to improve here.
It's been a while since I analyzed an app that had an App Preview video, and Robinhood isn't changing that.
The real question here is, should there be one?
And the answer to that isn't really clear cut, but I, almost always, think one would be better than none. This case isn't different. For a user who's looking for a way to get in on the action, a video that runs through the simplicity of buying/selling a stock, or trading bitcoin, or even options—which Robinhood makes easy—can make a big difference.
If you're considering a video for your app, remember that you can start simple. The production needs to be great but what's more important is what you show off.
The Verdict: Just Another Minute
Robinhood's already the top dog in its space, but that isn't a guarantee things will remain that way forever, especially not after current events. With a few simple tweaks, however, it can leverage all those downloads to take an even more commanding lead.
Nothing's constant in the App Store, so it's better to be prepared.
The Tools I Use
I did this entire analysis with our App Store Optimization and Competitor Intelligence tools, the same ones hundreds of thousands of app makers rely on to monitor and optimize their apps. Get ahead + outsmart your competitors with Appfigures. Get started →
Download and revenue figures used in this teardown are based on estimates extracted from our Competitor Intelligence tools.