ASO Teardown: Fitness Coach is a Lockdown Success Story

Ariel Michaeli Ariel Michaeli
July 21, 2020, 7:00 AM ET #aso-teardown
ASO Teardown: Fitness Coach is a Lockdown Success Story

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.

The market for fitness apps isn't small and has been growing steadily over the last few years. With lockdowns forcing millions to exercise at home, fitness apps have become a necessity and not just a nice to have.

One app gained and maintained the most traction in this time—Fitness Coach (which we covered in the first issue of This Week in Apps). The leader of its category, and the app we'll be analyzing in this teardown.

Overall, Fitness Coach gets an A-

The 411 on Fitness Coach

Fitness Coach is just about a year old, and for most of that year, downloads weren't stellar. But then came the need for working out at home and changed everything.

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

  • 📈 711.5K estimated downloads in the last month.
  • #️⃣ 2 in the Health & Fitness category.
  • ⭐️ 84% of new ratings were positive in the last month.
  • 👋 Audience is young and leans male.
  • 💰 Main competitors include a variety of apps, somehow all called home workout...

The Competitive Landscape for Fitness Apps

The health and fitness category is competitive, and the numbers aren't small. They tend to grow much higher around January when many resolve to get in shape. Here are the top fitness and workout apps in the category:

There are quite a few competitors. If we had to list them all, you'd need to scroll for quite a bit.

COVID's Impact on Fitness Coach

It's hard to tell how an apocalyptic event, like the entire world locking down for a while, will impact app downloads. To some, it meant bye-bye downloads, but for others, it was a complete game-changer. Fitness Coach is in the latter category.


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Keyword Analysis

We'll start the analysis with the keywords Fitness Coach has in the name + subtitle. Those send the strongest signals to the App Store's algorithm.

  • Name: Fitness Coach
  • Subtitle: Workout & Fitness in 30 Day

Strictly based on these, the algorithm sees the following keywords:

  • fitness
  • workout
  • fitness coach
  • workout coach
  • 30 day fitness
  • fitness workout

Let's take a look at where Fitness Coach is ranked for these keywords:

That's right, both "fitness" and "workout" have a competitiveness score of 100. That's quite a challenge and could explain why Fitness Coach chose not to use any other keyword in its name. That, however, isn't a great choice, as you can see by these results.

I expect more from the category's leader in downloads. Let this be a reminder that just having the downloads isn't enough when the competition is so fierce.

Takeaways:

  • Focus is great, but not at the cost of potential.
  • Having your most important keyword early on in the app's name will give it more weight with the algorithm.
  • Don't forget the name and subtitle are read by people, so avoid grammatically incorrect sentences (like "30 day" in this case).
  • Choosing keywords that combine together to more phrases with a decent popularity score grows your chances to be discovered.

The Keyword List: What's Under the Hood?

Now, let's reverse-engineer Fitness Coach'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:

exercise,home,abs,fit,bit,plan,woman,mom,indoor,weight,loss,body,p90x,beach,activity

Fitness Coach may have the downloads, but it trails in ranks, and that's likely because of a keyword list that isn't optimized. If our calculations here are correct, Fitness Coach is trying to attack too many keywords through the keyword list. The opposite of what they're doing with the app's name. A missed opportunity for sure.

Takeaways:

  • Focus will help the app get better results. A few high ranks are always better than a bunch of low ranks.
  • Repetition isn't always bad. If you're targeting a very competitive keyword, add it to the keyword list and the app's name. It's controversial, which means worth experimenting with!
  • There are a few great variations here. That's a great strategy.
  • Mentioning things people could be looking for, like P90X (an insane workout routine), is a great way to get exposure. But make sure it's popular enough first.

Where Else is Fitness Coach Ranked?

The combination of the name, subtitle, and keyword list propelled Fitness Coach into a few more keywords. Here's the first page of results sorted by rank:

Screenshot Analysis

Not the worst, but also not the best...

It looks like someone tried some applying best practices but didn't follow through. There are captions, there is lots of contrast, and the font makes them very easy to read. But... only some are actionable. There's also good use of the app's UI here, especially the parts that show people in action, which is always a great way to increase engagement. But... there's some obvious repetition that doesn't feel intentional.

Lastly, and this one's important, the captions attempt to make use of the keywords, which is good. But... they don't align, which causes confusion. The kind you may not think about consciously.

With a few tweaks, these screenshots can be great.

Takeaways:

  • Caption your screenshots and make those captions actionable. When someone reads them, they should say (in their heads), "yes, I want that!".
  • Contrast is a necessity, not a nice to have.
  • Double-check your screenshots before submitting your update and made sure old ones that no longer belong are out.
  • If appropriate, use people in screenshots. It humanizes the app instantly. At least run an A/B test.

Video Analysis

Fitness Coach has an App Preview video, finally! It's exactly what I expect to see from an app in this space with so much competition.

The video is a mix of the app in action, and callouts with the app's benefits. A healthy mix that captures attention, highlights what makes the app unique, and shows it in action.

Takeaways:

  • Use a video!
  • Think of a video as a combination of your keyword list and screenshots. Show the app in action, but also associate the intent with it.
  • Use vibrant colors and lots of contrast.

Summary: Just a Few Tweaks

The folks at Luni are doing something right because the app leads the category in download. But when it comes to ASO, it's not all there just yet. It is close though. A few minor tweaks to the app's name, a more focused keyword list, and a few touches to the screenshots will ensure Fitness Coach dominates rank results too.

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