ASO Teardown - Todoist, the #1 To Do List in the App Store, Does it Right!

Ariel Ariel
6 minute read 12/1/20

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.

ASO Teardown - Todoist, the #1 To Do List in the App Store, Does it Right!

To-do lists are one of those things that seem easy to build, but as many developers who tried to build one know, they really aren't. That's why there are so many of them in the App Store, and for the most part, they're all fairly similar.

So how do you pick one? Price, they're all freemium, next. Brand? Maaaybe. But, to-do lists aren't really the kind of brands (most) people follow all that much, so that branding comes at a price (aka. paid promotion).

In the App Store, the decision is based on exposure and a good App Store page.

In this Teardown we'll look at all the great things Todoist does to be the #1 result for to do list in the U.S. App Store.

Overall, Todoist gets an A+

Todoist by the Numbers

Here's how Todoist is performing in the U.S. App Store, based on our Competitor Intelligence:

  • 📈 75.1K estimated downloads in the last 30 days
  • #️⃣ 66 in the Productivity category
  • ⭐️ 95.5% of new ratings were positive in the last 30 days
  • 👋 Audience is young professionals, leaning male
  • 🏅 Top competitors include Microsoft To Do, Productive, MinimaList, and Do!

Rocking 2020

This year has been nothing but "uneven" for many apps, and Todoist is no different.

Although work has moved home during the pandemic, the demand for to-do lists hasn't really changed by that much. But... between one of the most popular to-do lists dying (Wunderlist), a splash of new updates, and a massive partnership with Verizon to bring organization to the classroom, Todoist managed to nearly double downloads year over year.

Todoist vs. The Competition

Quite a few apps are competing for people who want to be more organized, and it shows.

Competitor intelligence for iOS and Android Apps by Appfigures

Todoist beats them all, including Microsoft (#3), which could "borrow" some of the things we'll look at today.

These numbers represent the last month in the U.S. App Store, and I have to say they aren't bad. Todoist is ahead of its closest competitors' downloads by about 50%, nets a pretty good number of new ratings, which are mostly positive. It's also featured in a bunch of places—thanks, Apple!

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Keyword Analysis - The Obvious Parts

Let's kick off the analysis with the keywords Todoist is using in its name and subtitle. Those send the strongest signals to the App Store's algorithm.

  • Name: Todoist: To-Do List & Tasks
  • Subtitle: Reminders, day planner & habit

Strictly based on these, here are the popular keywords the algorithm sees:

Both the name and the subtitle are packed with keywords yet are still fairly readable to humans. That's a balance you always want to strike, and Todoist does it fairly well. But are those keywords useful?

Todoist ASO Keyword Performance by Appfigures

Mostly, yes. I left some duds in there, but for the most part, the keywords you expect to be popular are, in fact, popular, and Todoist gets into the top 5 of a few of those, which is great.

I left a few low popularity keywords in there to remind you that even though a keyword combination sounds right doesn't actually mean it's popular (aka. worth the space it's taking up). I see far too many apps guess instead of using the popularity score.

While this keyword list feels a bit less focused than I'd like, I suspect it's a part of an ongoing experiment/optimization cycle based on where else it ranks, which we'll get into below.

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:


There's a lot going on here. This was actually hard to reverse-engineer because it looks like Todoist makes changes very often.

What you see here is a lot of keywords that combine (fairly) well with the name and subtitle, are relevant, and highlight specific intents. Grocery and project are specific types of lists, which Todoist can help the user with.

This is a great strategy to get more keyword coverage! If you go for this strategy, make sure you include intent-based keywords that have some popularity score that's in the double digits.

Where Else is Todoist Ranking?

This combo of name, subtitle, and keyword list gives Todoist a bit more than just the name and subtitle alone. Here are some of the highlights:

Todoist is ranked on the App Store by Appfigures

Todoist does it right, again, and we can see it by their vast keyword coverage.

Filtering out less popular keywords as well as keywords the app isn't in the top 10, we still have multiple pages of results. That means Todoist get in front of lots of people every day.

These results indicate iterative optimization, something I can't stress enough, which yu can build over time. So start early. Think about it this way, the algorithm is fast to learn and slow to forget, or in other words, opportunity. We can see how that plays out here.

Screenshot Analysis

Let's take a look at Todoist's screenshots. Hint - they're gorgeous!

Todoist for iOS Screenshot Analysis by Appfigures

Todoist sticks the landing on this one, following best practices and doing so with flair!

Here's everything that's great about these screenshots:

  • Lots of contrast. Easy to read.
  • Simple captions that describe what's unique and useful about the app.
  • Highlights of relevant UI elements that pair exceptionally well with the captions and enhance them.
  • Showing off their "street cred" (aka. being featured). That really helps in making the app look credible and getting closer to a download.
  • And lastly, something we don't see too often, they ask for the download.

Beautiful execution, straight to the point captions, but what I believe has the most power, is the ask.

There's quite a bit of research on words that create urgency and drive action, and guess what, both "get" and "now" are high on the list.

If there's one thing you try out of everything we learned in this teardown, please try this one.

Video Analysis

Todoist doesn't have an App Preview video, continuing the long tradition of apps that fail to leverage this opportunity.

The missed opportunity here is differentiation. To-do lists aren't rare in the App Store, and if you've used any before, you know the right one is all about convenience. A video can show how easy it is to use Todoist and give it a bot of a kick against the competition.

Of course, this is one of those things to experiment with and isn't a one-size-fits-all scenario. If you're considering creating a video for your app, make sure you capture what makes it unique and easy to use.

The Verdict: Doing it Right

Todoist does an almost perfect job with its App Store page, and given how competitive this segment is, it's more than just a nice to have. Competing with big names like Microsoft is no easy task, in which Todoist excels.

Between its beautiful presentation and strong keyword coverage, Todoist is simply doing it right. Well done 👏

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.

Tagged: #app-store

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