ASO Teardown: Ultimate Guitar Knows How to Optimize โœ…

Ariel Ariel
4 minute read 6/16/20
ASO Teardown: Ultimate Guitar Knows How to Optimize ✅

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.

Ultimate Guitar is the go-to app for chords and tabs, a simpler version of sheet music used by guitar players. With a massive community and an endless catalog, if you play guitar at any level, you've probably come across it.

In this ASO teardown, we'll look at what Ultimate Guitar is doing right and what can be improved on the App Store.

Overall, Ultimate Guitar gets an A.

Ultimate Guitar by the Numbers

Before we start analyzing keyword, here's the app's performance in the U.S. App Store:

  • ๐Ÿ“ˆ 145K estimated downloads in the last month.
  • 2๏ธโƒฃ6๏ธโƒฃ in the Music category.
  • โญ๏ธ 96% of new ratings were positive in the last month.
  • ๐Ÿ‘‹ Audience is young and leans male.
  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ Primary competitors including Songsterr, Chordify, and ChordBank.

Ultimate Guitar vs. the Competition

Music, especially for hobbyists, is a serious industry. While Ultimate Guitar's direct competition is limited, several other apps are fighting over similar keywords. Here are the ones we that come up most often, and their performance in the U.S. App Store based on our app intelligence:

Guitar apps competitive intelligence on the App Store

Ultimate Guitar leads its category, and by a substantial margin. This lead can be attributed to paid ads, a very popular brand, but also a very optimized App Store page.

Keyword Analysis

For iOS apps, there are three areas Apple looks at for keywords: the app's name, subtitle, and keyword list. The first two are public, so we'll start by analyzing those:

  • Name: Ultimate Guitar: Chords & Tabs
  • Subtitle: Learn and play favorite songs

Strictly based on these, it looks like UG is targeting the following keywords:

There are a few more, but these are the ones with decent popularity. Here's how the app's ranked in these, along with keyword insights:

Ultimate Guitar's target keyword performance | Keyword ranks tool

Ultimate Guitar benefits from having "guitar" as part of its name as a separate word. This means they can do more with the same 30 characters. In this case, they've chosen to focus on "guitar chords" and "guitar tabs," two terms familiar to guitar players. However, the very new guitar player is unlikely to search for these, and that's where the subtitle helps, with keywords like "learn guitar" and "play guitar."

Because the competition is pretty weak, download-wise, UG can rank well across so many keywords at once.

In addition to these keywords, the app ranks in a few other popular keywords:

Ultimate Guitar is ranked in many popular keywords on the App Store | Tool for ASO ranks

This table goes on for quite a few pages, a testament to the usefulness of ongoing experiments with keywords.


  • Always aim for the keywords you use in the name to combine with those in the subtitle.
  • Focus the name on the keywords with the highest popularity.
  • Your brand is a part of your keyword set. Use it as such.

Accelerate Your Downloads

Discover new keywords, monitor ranks, and snoop on competitors.

Ultimate Guitar's Keyword List

The keyword list is private and can only be seen by the developer and Apple's search algorithm, so we're going to have to reverse-engineer it as well. Based on keywords the app ranks in that aren't already in the name and subtitle, we believe it looks something like the following:


Note how this list isn't stuffed with competitors ๐Ÿ‘ Ultimate Guitar is so far ahead of its competitors that targeting them would be a step-down, plus because most competitor names are a play on "chord," Ultimate Guitar doesn't have to target them directly to rank for them.


  • Save your characters and don't target competitors.
  • Use the keyword list to identify other, secondary, use-cases your app caters to (ex. "guitar tuner"), but make sure those still combine with the keywords in the name and subtitle.
  • Place direct modifiers (ex. "acoustic," "electric") in the keyword list, as long as the resulting combinations have a high-enough popularity score.

Screenshot Analysis

Screenshot analysis of Ultimate Guitar | ASO tools

Hello landscape! Ultimate Guitar is using landscape screenshots, a strategy more common in games. Although the app isn't used in landscape, going wide gives the app use of the full width of the screen in search results in a single continuous graphic.

Landscape screenshots add focus, but at the same time limit the number of things you can show in search results. As such, I'd highly recommend testing it for a short period of time first.

Regardless of orientation, the basics still matter, and Ultimate Guitar hits on them all: high contrast, large font size, and actionable text.


  • Don't be afraid to experiment with landscape screenshots, even if your app is not used in landscape.
  • Put the most compelling offering right up front.
  • Contrast is your friend. Use a much of it as you can.
  • Each caption should answer a question or challenge a user may present, making them more actionable.


  • The screenshots are too focused and don't touch on most keywords, which could result in confusion and lower conversion.
  • Some captions are too vague (ex. what does "your time killer"), and may result in the user asking, in their heads, "what does that even mean?", which lowers the chance of a download.

Video Analysis

No video. That's a missed opportunity.


  • Create an App Preview video for your app and test its impact on conversions. It may not help much but could be what improves conversion with minimal effort.

Summary: Ultimate Guitar's ASO Works

Ultimate Guitar is clearly investing in ASO. Judging by the number of updates and the experimental nature of their page, it's safe to say App Store Optimization is an essential part of the app's marketing strategy.

Your Turn!

How's your ASO strategy performing? The key to success with ASO is to constantly make changes, and base those on data. Appfigures has all the tools you need to find and evaluate keywords, track performance, and monitor the competition. Get started

Tagged: #aso-teardown

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