Your Guide for Writing the Perfect App Title, Subtitle and Description

Yes, sometimes it goes back to the good old words. But these too have their set of rules and best practices. This text optimization guide will allow you to lift your app into the top charts.

With nearly 2 million apps in the Apple App Store alone, competition for user downloads is intense. Your app may be incredibly unique, work perfectly well, and solve an important problem — and still not achieve the success you dream about.

The truth is, success in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store requires more than a great product. You also have to optimize your solution correctly with appropriate text elements – the app title, subtitle, description, etc.

Keep reading to learn what text element optimization is, how to choose the perfect text for your specific app, and the three best practices to keep in mind while doing so. By the end of this article, you’ll have the knowledge you need to lift your app out of obscurity and reach an endless stream of users, ready to download your app.

Let’s dive in!

Text Element Optimization: A Definition

Text element optimization is the process of optimizing the text elements associated with your application. Most notably, its title, subtitle, and description. The stores in which your app is available will determine how you’re able to optimize each of these elements.

Apple App Store

In the Apple App Store the title, subtitle, and description are displayed as follows:

  • Title: The title of your app, AKA its name, is the very first line on your App Store product page. It will be bolded and located to the right of your app’s icon.
  • Subtitle: The subtitle appears directly beneath the title on your App Store product page. As such, it is also located to the right of your app’s icon.
  • Description: Your app’s description will be located beneath its media section (app preview and screenshots), which can be viewed by scrolling down the product page.  

Google Play Store

In the Google Play Store the title, subtitle, and description are displayed as follows:

  • Title: Similar to the Apple App Store, the title of your app is the very first line on your Google Play Store product page. It will be bolded and located to the right of the icon.
  • Short Description: The Google Play Store doesn’t include a subtitle section. Instead, it gives developers access to a Short Description, which will be located beneath the app media section on your Google Play Store product page and can include up to 80 characters.
  • Long Description: The Long Description is viewed by expanding the Short Description. It can include up to 4,000 characters, giving app developers plenty of space to elaborate on app features, benefits, awards won, etc.

How to Choose the Perfect Title, Subtitle, and Description For Your App

Now that you know which text elements you need to optimize for your app, we can discuss how to do so. The following framework will guide you through:

1. Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t choose the perfect text for your app if you don’t have a deep and intimate knowledge of the folks you hope will download it. Who are your target users? Which countries do they live in? What problem will your app help them solve? How does this group of people discover new apps on the Apple App and/or Google Play stores?

Answer these questions (and ones like them) before trying to write titles, subtitles, and descriptions for your app. The target market research you do at the beginning will have lasting benefits and enable you to reach the top of the app charts.

2. Do Keyword Research

Once you understand your target audience, you can begin researching keywords.

A keyword is a word or phrase that users type into app store search bars in order to find specific solutions. For example, an Apple App Store user in the United States might type in the keyword “piano lessons” when searching for an app to teach him how to play the piano.

There are three factors you need to consider when choosing keywords: relevance, competition, and volume. Let’s take a close look at each of these:

  1. Relevance: Relevance is the most important keyword metric to evaluate. While a keyword like “music” is guaranteed to receive a lot of traffic, it will only benefit you if your app has something to do with the term. Always choose keywords that relate to your app.
  2. Competition: In all likelihood, you won’t be the only one targeting a specific keyword. The competition metric tracks how difficult it will be for you to rank well in app store search results for any given keyword. Try to choose keywords with low competition.
  3. Volume: This metric refers to the amount of traffic a specific keyword receives. It’s the least important keyword factor. Just make sure that the keywords you choose receive some traffic. If they don’t there’s no point in using them.

The only way to accurately determine the relevance, competition, and volume levels of your keywords is to use an ASO tool. We’ll talk more about ASO tools in a later section.

3. Craft Compelling Titles and Descriptions

At this point, you should have a solid understanding of your target audience and a few vetted keywords in mind. Now it’s time to actually begin crafting your app’s title, subtitle, and description. Here are a few tips to help you with this process:

Title, Subtitle, and Description in The Apple App Store

Let’s start with your app’s title:

Make sure your app’s title is unique and easy to understand. It should clearly convey your app’s purpose to potential users in a compelling way. Also, the Apple App Store caps titles at 30 characters, so you can’t exceed this amount. Here’s a great example:

Your Guide for Writing the Perfect App Title, Subtitle and Description - 1
Source: Apple App Store

Next up, your app’s subtitle:

Your app’s subtitle will sit directly below its title in the Apple App Store and gives you an additional 30 characters to describe your app to users. We encourage you to use targeted, descriptive keywords in this section. Here’s a strong example from SoundCloud.

Your Guide for Writing the Perfect App Title, Subtitle and Description - 2
Source: Apple App Store

Finally, you need to create a compelling description:

According to Apple, the best descriptions are engaging and concise. They should include an informative paragraph followed by a list of top features that showcase what makes your product unique and useful to its target audience. Use specific keywords in this section as well.

Here are the first few lines of Spotify’s Apple Apple Store description:

Your Guide for Writing the Perfect App Title, Subtitle and Description - 3
Source: Apple App Store

Title, Short and Long Description in The Google Play Store

The Google Play Store operates a little differently than the Apple App Store. Here’s what you need to know to craft a compelling title for android users:

Google allows app developers to use up to 50 characters in their titles. A good rule of thumb is to start with your brand name, then include two to four keywords. Whether you use this strategy or not, make sure your Google Play title is clear and benefit-driven. Like this:

Your Guide for Writing the Perfect App Title, Subtitle and Description - 4
Source: Google Play Store

The Google Play Store also gives app developers access to two different description types. Here’s how to make the most of each of them:

Both your short and long descriptions should be organized and well structured. Google gives you up to 80 characters for the Short Description and 4,000 for the Long Description. We suggest using the entire space if possible. Also, remember to include keywords in both descriptions but don’t stoop to keyword stuffing as this will hurt your rank.

Notice how Twitch uses concise, engaging language in its description, while clearly listing both app features and user benefits:

Your Guide for Writing the Perfect App Title, Subtitle and Description - 5
Source: Google Play Store

4. Test and Optimize Your Text Elements

The final step in this text element optimization framework is to test and improve your efforts. Monitor your app’s performance in both app stores. Is it performing as well as you hoped? If not, you may need to try new keyword combinations or make your text more compelling.

1. Test the impact on conversion rates

As the title (and subtitle in the App Store) is visible to users from all traffic sources (Browse/Explore, Search, and Referral) it has an impact on conversion rates across the board. 

According to our data from running hundreds of Title, Subtitle, and Short and Long Description tests we saw that in the App Store Google Play store it has the potential to increase conversion rates by about 8%.

CVR Uplift by Asset

This is mainly because users prefer to rely on the visual aspects of your App Store & Google Play Product page to learn about it and make their install decisions more than they rely on the text elements. Users in the app stores simply don’t like to read a lot. 

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t test your text elements to gauge if you’re improving or hurting conversion rates with your changes. 

2. Test the impact on visibility

Just remember that it can take about four weeks for the Apple App Store to properly index keywords and six to eight weeks on Google. So don’t give up on keywords too soon!

Test your keywords and category rankings after implementing a change to measure the impact it had on your app discoverability. 

ASO tools (like the ones mentioned below) will help you accurately evaluate your app’s text elements, choose appropriate keywords, and update your app product page effectively. We highly recommend using one of these tools.

Three Text Element Best Practices

If you follow the text element optimization framework outline above, you’ll put your app in a position to succeed. But to really supercharge your efforts, we suggest you keep these three best practices in mind as well:

1. Understand Keyword Placement

Keywords are essential to a high ranking in the Apple App and Google Play stores. However, the perfect keywords placed in the wrong areas won’t benefit your app. Keep these placement tips in mind when choosing where to put your chosen keywords:

  • Title: In both the Apple App and Google Play stores, the app title is the most important keyword area. Be sure to place your highest priority keywords in the title.
  • Subtitle: The Apple App Store is the only store that allows app developers to include a subtitle. If your app is available on iOS devices, place your second-highest priority keywords in the subtitle section.
  • Description: Both the Apple App and Google Play stores have a description section, though this area is split into the Short and Long Descriptions inside the Google ecosystem. Include all relevant keywords in your app’s description if possible.

2. Pay Attention to App Page Imagery

The text on your app’s product page is incredibly important. But perfect text alone won’t ensure you reach the top of the app stores’ rankings. Your app store page’s ability to convert new installs is crucial in your journey to the top of the charts. 

Ensure that your text elements are not clashing with the messaging you convey through your app store video/s, screenshots, and icon. All elements need to work together to create a clear message that entices users to install your app.

You also need to pay special attention to the imagery you use, i.e. your app’s icon, videos, and screenshots.

Choose videos and images that grab attention and showcase specific benefits to using your solution. Also, test your imagery as you do your text and optimize it for better future results.

3. Use Proven ASO Tools

Last, but certainly not least, use a proven ASO tool to ensure you’re choosing the right keywords and properly optimizing your app for success. Here is a list of top options:

  • AppTweak: AppTweak will give you the data you need to increase your app’s visibility in both stores. It includes keyword research, competitor information, localization tools, and more.
  • AppFollow: AppFollow is an app management platform that’s designed to help you make timely, informed decisions. Use this tool to select and monitor keywords, process and reply to app reviews, and measure ASO success.
  • Mobile Action: Mobile Action is another popular ASO tool that you can use to research 3m+ keywords, uncover app market trends, and boost organic downloads via an optimized ASO strategy. 
  • App Annie: App Annie makes it easy to conduct thorough keyword research and learn in-depth information about your competitors. It also comes with a top-notch analytics dashboard that will allow you to connect all your app’s most critical data.
  • Sensor Tower: Sensor Tower will equip you with data and enable you to master the mobile app ecosystem. Learn about important keywords and market trends; then use that information to craft a better ASO strategy and drive more organic traffic. 
  • Storemaven: Lastly, we have Storemaven, a tool that solves a different problem for app developers. Rather than giving you insights into top keywords and competitors, Storemaven is designed to help you accurately A/B test your app’s product page — from its icon to its  title, subtitle, and description — on both the Apple App and Google Play stores to understand the impact of each element on conversion rate so you can methodically improve your install rates

In Conclusion:

Text element optimization is essential if you want your app to be found in the app stores and have the chance to drive organic traffic to your product. Fortunately, it’s not overly difficult. Just follow the four-step framework we outlined above:

  1. Understand Your Target Audience
  2. Do Keyword Research
  3. Craft Compelling Titles and Descriptions
  4. Test and Optimize Your Text Elements

Always remember that text element optimization isn’t a one-time deal. You must continually evaluate your app’s text and improve it if you want to consistently rank well in the Apple App and Google Play stores.

Lastly, don’t stop with the title, subtitle, and description. If you’re looking to improve your conversion rates in the App Store & Google Play store, focus on the most impactful elements such as the app store videos, screenshots, and icon. Take a look through the Storemaven academy to find all these guides and many more.

Jonathan Fishman
About Jonathan Fishman
Jonathan is Storemaven's Director of Marketing. Before joining Storemaven he spent ten years commanding tanks, working on Wall St., consulting high-growth companies, and exploring Black Rock City. In his spare time, he likes building things from wood, writing, and listening to Frank Zappa.