How to revive an app – Maybe?

admin/ March 22, 2018/ ASO, Marketing

With the poor performance of my two apps, Truck Trials and Zero I Test I knew that I had to do something to try and increase downloads. I spent a lot of time looking at different marketing resources online, I knew I was extremely late to the party but I wanted to learn two things;

  1. What can be done for the two apps that I currently have on Google Play and the App Store?
  2. What should I do better in the future to increase my chances of success?

This included taking advantage of Steve Young’s free coaching call (interview can be heard here)。How to revive an app coaching call

One piece of advice kept on bubbling to the surface was that when you are on a low budget App Store Optimization or ASO is one of the best and cheapest ways to increase downloads organically.

In the past, I have paid for people to do my ASO for me (and the results were not great), but this time I decided to try and figure it out for myself.  I did quite a bit of research, but what helped the most Steve’s App Masters Academy (sorry if this is coming across as an advertisement).


When I looked at the rankings of the title and keywords of Zero IQ Test using Mobile Action I soon discovered that something had to be done.

‘iq’ and ‘iq test’ have high “Search Scores” meaning that people search for these terms a lot, however, the “Chance” is extremely low, meaning my chances of ranking for these terms is low – in other words, a lot of people search for IQ Test, but they will never see my app because it will be hidden down at 45 (or 88 for ‘iq’).

On the other hand, I am ranking extremely well for “Zero IQ Test” and “Zero IQ”, BUT, the search score is only 5 for each (as low as it gets), meaning that nobody (or almost nobody) is actually searching for these terms.

Another factor which I had not taken account was the relevance of the title. When I chose “Zero IQ Test” as the title, I chose it because it sounded catchy, I hadn’t considered the relevance of the title.  Even if I ranked well for “IQ Test”, there is a high likelihood of a low conversion rate as my app is NOT an ‘IQ Test’.

With all this in mind, I went about finding a title and keywords that would be a better fit for my app.  I found it extremely difficult to find words that had high search traffic, and low competition.  Eventually, I decided to use “Brain Distraction: Red Herring” for iOS and “Brain Distraction – Simple to learn, tricky to ace” for Android.  At the time I analysed the keywords for iOS, “Brain”,  “Distraction” and “Red Herring” all had good numbers (although “Brain” seemed a little unbelievable).

iOS ASO numbers 2 months ago when I first did it.

These numbers have dropped quite a bit,  as it has taken me over 2 months to get to this stage (back at work and a newborn mean much less time then I would like), but the numbers above show my reasons “at the time” for choosing the name.

Current iOS ASO numbers.

The current numbers for “Brain” are probably far more realistic, and the chances of being rated for “Distraction” have dropped, but “Red Herring is still quite favourable.

Current ASO for Android

On Android, Brain Distraction, Distraction, Simple and Tricky show strong “Search” and “Chance” scores.The other words were chosen based on their “Search” scores and to make the title readable, and help it flow.


Steve also pointed out that ‘Zero IQ Test’ had rather an amateur look to it, not surprising since I did the graphics myself, and I never consider myself to be a designer or graphic artist (although I think I am slowly acquiring these skill sets).  I decided that if I was going to change the name of my app, that I may as well give it a new look.  I eventually found a cheap designer on ‘Fiverr’.  The designs are probably still quite amateur (you get what you pay for), but I think that it looks a lot better than “Zero IQ Test” did.

Main Menu – Zero IQ Test on Left, Brain Distraction on Right

Game Screen – Zero IQ Test on Left, Brain Distraction on Right



Other Changes

Chinese Localization

The only other change of note is that we decided to localize the app for the Chinese market.  My wife translated the app, and even went through the ASO process when choosing the Chinese title.  We have never released anything to the Chinese market before and I am aware that there are barriers making it difficult to release apps in China.  But, I have read in different places that iOS apps should be OK as long as they don’t contain any objectionable material.  I might do a separate post at some stage on the results of this experiment.

What next?

Currently I have not taken down Zero IQ Test, I plan to leave both apps active for comparison purposes. My next post will either be “How ASO bought me 10x downloads” or “Lessons not learned – How I wasted more time and money.”  Either way, I will leave it a month or so and do some analysis and post my findings.