How to Optimize Your App Name for the App Stores

optimizing app name

An app name is like the icing on a cake. If it’s smooth and delicious, it will be chosen and eaten. If it’s moldy and hard, it will be ignored and thrown away. You want your eaters (you’re potential users) to choose your cake among all the others in app store search results, and one of the ways they will find and choose you is by your app name.

Over half of the apps are discovered through search, so to optimize your app name for Apple App Store and Google Play, here are a few tips that can help you decide on the winning title (the best icing for your cake 😉 ).

Make It Unique and Relative

When choosing your app name, one of the first steps is to think about these types of questions: What makes your app unique? What’s its purpose? What do you want people to think when they think of your app? If it helps, make a list answering the above questions.

Once you have your list, do some research on your competitors and see what they have come up with. The reason for doing this step is to help narrow down your potential app names so that it’s not the same as everyone else’s. Having the same name as five or more apps may not only confuse users, but also make them download the wrong app. Take, for instance, the flashlight app example. Do a quick search and you’ll get a result similar to the one below:

flashlight app

As such, you should come up with a name that’s unique, and at the same time, relative to what your app does. Find the right balance! If you need some inspiration, use name generators such as nameboy.com or dotomator.com.

Use Keywords

When deciding on a name, consider adding some keywords in there, each one separated by a comma. Don’t worry about making words plural or singular—app stores do a good job handling this, so stick to singular words that are relevant to your app.

But don’t just stick any keyword you think will get you downloads. It’s important to do thorough keyword research to see how high the competition is for that word. For those who are just starting out in the app world, it’s important to use keywords that are high in search volume and medium to low in competition.

Some great tools you can use to figure out some of your competitor’s keywords and find new ones are AppTweakApp AnnieSensor TowerMobile Action and Gummicube.

Keep the App Name Short

As of September 2016, Apple has limited the character count for app names down to 50 (smart move, Apple). Google Play allows up to 30 characters. Keep in mind, although Apple allows up to 50 characters, users only see up to 25 in search. As such, you should have the most relevant keywords in the beginning of your app name.

If you look at the top overall apps in Apple App Store and Google Play, you’ll notice that most of those names are one to two words (see examples below).

Apple App Store

top apple apps 2016

(Source: App Annie, September 2016)

Google Play

top apps google play 2016

(Source: App Annie, September 2016)

Conclusion

Once you’ve decided on a name that’s short, relevant, catchy yet descriptive to your app, it’s important to test it. You need to continually experiment and optimize your app title to see which one shows up higher in search, and which one triggers more downloads and new users. The app stores are constantly changing, and you need to keep up in order to stay on top. If you’re ready to start testing, register for a free trial with us and A/B test your app name today.

app store optimization

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Kristina AltmanKristina Altman is Head of Content at TestNest. She’s a marketing guru that thrives in a startup environment. After many years of working with smaller businesses, Kristina has learned to wear many hats—she’s a jack of all trades, a swiss army knife. She has a passion for blogging and loves any challenge. You can always connect with her on LinkedIn.

  • Amir Nourian

    Thanks for your article. I just wanted to say sth about the app name. It was said that we should choose short names for apps but I think app name is the best opportunity to put the important keywords in to consider ASO.