First of all, let’s differentiate what makes a small app and a large app:

Small Apps:

  • Less than $5,000 monthly marketing budget
  • Reliant on ASO for growth
  • No brand name

Large Apps:

  • More than $5,000 monthly marketing budget
  • Uses other acquisition channels for growth, such as Facebook ads
  • Brand name recognition

For ASO tools, I recommend using the two most accurately ones out there: Sensor Tower and Mobile Action. For Sensor Tower, we pull Traffic and Difficulty scores. The latter is what I deem as low competition and the lower the score is, the better. For Mobile Action, we pull Search Scores and Chance. Anything above a 70 in Chance is what I deem as low competition or a high probability to rank well.

Now, let’s go to the strategies –

  • ASO for Smaller Apps

Target keywords which have:

Traffic: 10-50 scores. The higher the traffic, the better but anything about 50 tends to be more competitive. Anything less than 10, you might not get a lot of growth.

Chance (or difficulty): at least 70, 80+ preferred

  • ASO for Larger Apps

Target keywords which have:

Traffic: 30+. Go for high traffic keywords as this is going to drive growth. You are going to rank higher in these keywords because of other acquisition channels, downloads and it has probably good reviews as well.

Chance (or difficulty): doesn’t matter as long as it is relevant and there’s real traffic.

Steve Young

Founder at AppMasters
I started building apps in 2011 and my first app hit #8 under educational games. I started making a few hundred dollars a month, but had no idea what I was doing. Then in 2013 I decided to start a podcast so I could pick the brains of app creators that I admired including the co-founder of Shazam, Tapbots, Crossy Road, etc and that changed everything.

Now I run an app marketing agency where we’ve helped 28 clients get featured by Apple, 5X downloads with ASO, and get coverage on Techcrunch, Mashable, Venture Beat and other major publications. I also write about apps on The Next Web,, and on my blog