ASO is pretty important for the marketing of your app, especially for small developers: it is a free way to bring in more users. There are tons of different tools that help you track keywords and discover new ones. In this short post I’ll compare two of the bunch: MobileAction and ASODesk. There are several others like SensorTower and many smaller apps. I’m concentrating just on these two to keep it short. All is done from the viewpont of a small indie developer so I won’t consider expensive features such as market data analytics.

MobileAction

MobielAction has been around since 2013. It is actually much more than a simple ASO app, it has market data analytics (estimated no. of downloads, active installs and revenue) as well. Fortunately, pricing is modular and you don’t have to sign up for the expensive market data plan just for doing ASO. As a unique feature, it shows a visibility score which should describe how easy it is to find your app. It intends to serve as a metric that you can optimize for. However, the formula or the components affecting it are not public so it is just a black box number. The only way to increase it is trial and error.

Rankings and other stats are updated daily. MobileAction gives you free access to their basic plan if you are a small developer and have less than 10k downloads a month. This plan contains basic keyword tracking and discovery, up to 100 keywords. An independent study found that MobileAction had the best difficulty score compared to SensorTower and AppTweak. This study did not include ASODesk though.

What I’ve found problematic is setting up a daily email alert of your rankings. The website has a menu to configure emails, however I still haven’t received any mails to date.

ASODesk

ASODesk has keyword tracking and discovery features only. It is not a full blown app marketing suite as MobileAction. It is also less expensive: the cheapest plan comes at 49$ a month compared to MobileAction’s 69$. On signup, I was contacted by them offering a 1 day trial subscription for the full package. I’ve found the interface much easier to navigate than MobileAction’s. Also the keyword discovery process worked much better. On the other hand it often presented outdated data: for example the latest app update date was several months old for many of my competitors. Additionally, keyword rankings weren’t updated every day. This is a huge mistake as it is the core of the ASO process to get quick feedback of your changes. ASODesk often gives 5 days old data which shows a very bad frequency of updates.

Another difference is that they give you estimated number of searches instead of a search score.

Conclusion

Both services offer the same products: keyword tracking, discovery and chance calculation. They have very similar stats on keyword popularity and difficulty. However, the lack of frequent updates in ASODesk makes MobileAction the clear winner. The extra 20$ gives you a tool that is actually useful and lets you act on the data. And if you are a small indie dev who does not have many downloads yet, MobileAction is free making the choice a no-brainer.

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