#94 - An Interesting ASO Opportunity

Ariel Ariel
4 minute read 2/13/23

Have you ever looked at search results in the App Store and wondered why they're ranked the way they are? In this series of Keyword Teardowns we analyze how the algorithm works and highlight tips and tricks to help you rank higher.

#94 - An Interesting ASO Opportunity

In this keyword teardown we'll be looking at a certain type of "opportunity" where only one competitor is using a keyword while the rest aren't, but are still fairly relevant.

The easy answer is that the competitor wins, and even if they're not the most highly rated.

Easy, right?

Keyword: Home Automation

17 low 83 high 9.7K moderate 766.8K very high

Home automation is slowly taking over every hour thanks to its convenience, but also to devices like Alexa and Google Home. We can see the trend is growing by looking at downloads over the years.

The keyword "home automation" isn't super popular right now, but even so, the algorithm found nearly 10,000 results. That's a lot! And for a big brand like Samsung's SmartThings, not being first is not only a missed opportunity but also a hit to the brand.

So, not super popular but pretty important for brand recognition.

Yet, every single app, with one exception, does it wrong...

Search results for "Home automation" in the U.S App Store

In first place we have the only app that actually uses the keyword somewhere in its visible metadata. Home Assistant, which I talked about in episode 150 of This Week in Apps, is the only one in the top results to use the term in its visible metadata. That's why it's at the top even though it only has single-digit ratings while all other competitors have more.

Home Assistant isn't the biggest name in this niche. Not at all. Yet it's first. That has to feel good for the developers.

Monitor. Optimize. Grow

Get actionable insights in minutes!

Smart Life is the first app to not mention the keyword in its visible metadata yet rank. It achieves that by using the keywords correctly in its keyword list. It's got enough ratings to make the algorithm know it exists. That's a necessity here.

If I had to rate the creativity of the name and subtitle I'd give it a 0. Not only is it short and irrelevant, it also duplicates, and that's a sin.

Home, from Apple, comes in 3rd place. I don't have much to say about that because I'm pretty sure it's not there thanks to ASO... This isn't the first time Apple's own app ranked in the result set in the third position without any real performance.

So, I'll skip it.

But before I do, I'm always astonished at how low the star average is for this app. I have a few theories but would love to hear what you think.


IFTTT comes in third not because it doesn't include the keyword in its metadata, it does, but what it does incorrectly is cut the keyword in half + reverse it.

Reversing words like that has a pretty big negative impact so you shouldn't do it.

What I see very often happen is that developers end up reversing the order of some keywords because that was the only way to lay out all the keywords they wanted to get into the metadata. At this point though, if you can't figure out how to do that, you're probably targeting too many keywords.

There's a lot of good that can come out of targeting a very specific set of keywords (vs. everything)

And the last one on our list just happens to be the biggest name in home automation and comes from TV (and everything) maker Samsung.

SmartThings does the worst job of all 5, so whatever you do, don't do what it does.

A few things are bad here. One is good.

  1. There are no keywords in the name. That's always a mistake -- except if you don't want any organic (aka free) traffic.
  2. There's no subtitle. And it's not like it's been listening to my live streams to try out. They haven't had one. Yet, another place to explain what the app does and turn a view into a download.
  3. As the market leader, in terms of downloads and popularity overall, not being able to find it in the store after purchasing a new device is... infuriating. Unhappy users tend to remain unhappy and not tell their friends about your app.

But something is good here. Just one...

  1. SmartThings' DPR, that's how many Downloads it takes to get a rating, is 26, which is by far the lowest number. And lowest means good in this case.

Now, all of the issues we've seen so far are not just fixable but are also pretty easy to fix. Fixing things like a missing subtitle or a name/subtitle that doesn't have any keywords will yield immediate results. Not instant, but pretty immediate.

Are you making any of these mistakes?

And that's all I have for you today. Subscribe to the newsletter for a new Keyword Teardown next week. If you have any questions or comments, you can find me on Twitter.

Are You Putting My Tips to Good Use?

App Store Optimization is part art and part science. I say it a lot, and I mean it. The art part is what I've been talking about in this Keyword Teardown and in my App Teardowns. The science part is where our simple and intuitive ASO tools come into play.

See where your apps are ranked, track trends, learn from competitors, get smart suggestions, and more, here.

Related Resources

#104 - Your ASO Better Be Ready When It Comes
Keyword Teardowns
#104 - Your ASO Better Be Ready When It Comes

Trends change in the App Store very quickly. Here's what you need to do to be ready with ASO.

#103 - The Trick to Branded Keyword and App Store Optimization
Keyword Teardowns
#103 - The Trick to Branded Keyword and App Store Optimization

How do branded keywords behave on the App Store and how to optimize for them.