As of this writing, there are 2.2 million apps in the Apple App Store and 3.4 million apps in the Google Play Store. That’s a lot of competition. Especially when it comes to your app name.
How do you choose a name that’s easy to remember, full of high-target keywords, and unique? It seems impossible, right? We won’t lie to you, choosing the perfect app name is no small feat—but it’s definitely possible. In this article, we’ll show you how.
Why your app name matters
The right app name is essential to success in the Apple App and Google Play stores.
It makes sense when you think about it. Your app’s name, along with its icon, is the first piece of information potential users see in regards to your app. If it doesn’t entice them to download, they probably won’t and your conversion rate will suffer.
In addition, both app stores use app names to help them organize search results. If your app name contains a keyword or two, it has a better chance of ranking.
Let’s pretend you’ve created an app for running enthusiasts that tracks the mileage they cover and the speed at which they cover it. You’re deciding between two potential names: “Runner Deets” and “Track ‘Em All”. Which one should you choose?
Based on the information we just shared with you, “Runner Deets” is probably the better option because it speaks to what your app does and includes the keyword “runner”.
How to pick the perfect app name in 4 easy steps
Does choosing an app name fill you with anxiety? Don’t worry, we have a foolproof system for you! Just follow these four steps and you’ll have the perfect app name in no time.
1. Brainstorm app name ideas
The first thing you should do is think about your app. What does it do and why would someone want to download it? Who is your target audience? And what sets your app apart from other solutions and/or games in the Apple App and Google Play stores?
This initial brainstorming process is very important and should help you come up with a few potential app name ideas. But we’re just getting started…
Next, do a little keyword research. What words and phrases does your target audience type into the search bar when they search the app stores? As we mentioned earlier, both Apple and Google assess app names when deciding how to rank apps in search results.
If your app teaches users how to play guitar, you probably want the word “guitar” in your app name. That’s the main keyword your target audience will search for.
Consider related words and phrases, too. If you’ve created a dating app for busy professionals, for example, “dating” might be your main keyword. But words and phrases like “chat,” “meet people,” and “love” should probably be considered as well.
Next, take a look at other apps in your category.
Can you spot any trends? One of the most enduring trends of late is to eliminate select vowels from app names. Apps like Puzzl, Grindr, and Tumblr immediately come to mind.
At the very least, competitor research will help you choose a unique app name. We’ll talk more about this in a bit. For now, just know that you don’t want your app name to sound too similar to other solutions. This will make it harder to distinguish your app.
App name generators
If you haven’t hit on the perfect name after keyword and competitor research, don’t worry. Take what you do know—specific words or phrases you might like to use and an understanding of what your competitors are doing—and throw it into an app name generator.
All you have to do with a tool like this is type in a few words, then sift through the results. It’s super easy and, to be honest, a whole lot of fun!
Let’s pretend we’ve created a cooking app and need to name it. We know that our main keywords are “cooking,” “chef,” and “recipes”. If we type these words into an app name generator like Business Name Generator, we get potential names like:
- Chef Smart
- Recipes Wired
We can then decide which names we like and compare them to other apps in the app stores.
2. Consider character length
At this point, you should have a few potential app names. If you don’t, read back through this article and go through the previous steps. It will be worth it—promise!
The next step is to analyze your potential app names for character length.
The Apple App Store gives developers a maximum of 30 characters for their app name. The Google Play app name character limit is a bit more generous at 50 characters. If any of your potential app names exceed these limits, eliminate or modify them.
In general, the shorter your app name is, the better. This is because short app names are easier to remember and will allow you to include more keywords. How does fewer characters allow you to target more keywords? We’ll explain with a quick example:
Dropbox is a popular cloud storage company that’s been around since 2007. While the company is named “Dropbox”, its App Store name is “Dropbox: Cloud Storage & Drive”.
Because Dropbox is so short, the company is able to include other related terms in its app store name, which helps it appear in searches for terms like “cloud storage” and “drive”. You can use this same strategy if you limit your character count!
3. Go for something unique
Did you know that 31% of consumers download apps because the name sounds interesting or fun? So don’t choose a boring, humdrum name. Make it unique!
There are a few different ways to do this. One idea is to change the spelling of common words like we mentioned earlier with Puzzl and Tumblr. Apps like Lyft do this, too. But instead of removing letters, they change them in a way that makes sense and looks cool.
Another idea is to combine two words into one app name. The most famous example of this is Instagram, which took the words “Instant” and “Telegram” and smashed them together.
No matter what you do, keep these three things in mind:
- Your app name must be relevant to your app. Don’t choose a title that’s so unique it no longer speaks to the functionality or gameplay of your app.
- Don’t use special characters. Hyphens, dashes, etc. are unnecessary—unless you’re using them to separate your app name from a description, like Dropbox does.
- Beware of explicit language. App names that contain curse words, sexual innuendos, and offensive terms usually don’t do very well in app stores.
4. Optimize your app name
Now that you have an app name, it’s time to optimize it. Fortunately, if you followed our advice up until this point, most of the hard work is done! Think about it, you’ve already…
- Researched keywords and inserted them into your app title.
- Studied your competitors for trends you might want to capitalize on.
- Worked to minimize character count in order to add more keywords.
- Brainstormed ways to make your app name unique so that it stands out.
The only thing left to do is to track your results and adjust your app name if necessary.
The easiest way to do this is with Storemaven. Our solution will let you A/B test your app name (and every other aspect of your app store pages) in a sandbox environment, which won’t affect your actual app store pages or harm your real-world traffic.
Request a free demo today to see StoreMaven in action.
Three app name examples
Before we let you go, let’s take a quick look at three app name examples: Each of these app names is short, unique, and targets keywords—the holy trinity of app names!
This popular app, which teaches users how to speak a variety of different languages using fun games, is officially called “Duolingo – Language Lessons” in the app stores.
Why does this app name work so well? For a few different reasons: it’s easy to remember, it targets top keywords like lingo, language, and lessons, and it’s unique—the Duolingo moniker is definitely different from the other language learning apps available.
We’ve all heard of Pandora, the popular music streaming app. In fact, most of us have probably used the service a few times in the past to play our favorite tunes.
The app is titled “Pandora: Music & Podcasts” in the app stores, which perfectly encapsulates what the app does. As soon as you see that title, you know if Pandora is something you want to download or not. This app name also targets its chosen keywords really well.
Finally, we have Snapchat, the social media app that your kids can’t stop using.
Unlike Duolingo and Pandora, Snapchat doesn’t include extra keywords (though it does have a subtitle that gives users more context.) This is okay because the app is so well known. What we do like about this app name is how well it describes the app’s functionality.
To use Snapchat, you take pictures and or videos of yourself and send them to friends. Since everyone knows that pictures are often called “snaps” and “chat” is another word for a conversation, Snapchat is a wonderful name that’s easily understood by all.
Here’s the truth: your app name is important. Make sure you choose a name that’s easy to remember, unique, and targets keywords. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do. But if you follow the process outlined above, you’ll be able to choose an awesome app store name.