Health & Fitness apps got organic boost using paid media+ASO

Health & Fitness apps got organic boost using paid media+ASO

About Health & Fitness Category

We see a trend with Health & Fitness apps picking up organic traffic in springtime, supposedly explained by warmer weather and willingness to go outside and work out in general.

The average category benchmark for impressions/installs is 4.3% over the last 6 months (data from AppTweak). This category is relatively competitive with the demand for healthier lifestyles growing steadily over the last decades. You can find personal trainer apps, trackers, motivators, reminders, various sport variations and more.

In this case study, we will share how – by using a mix of paid media and ASO tactics – App Growth Network helped 2 mobile apps in the health & fitness category achieve organic growth. For the first mobile app, we will cover Android growth (referred to as ‘Mobile App 1’ ) and for the second, we will cover iOS growth (referred to as ‘Mobile App 2’). App names are kept anonymous to protect our clients’ privacy.  


The primary goals for both apps were to:

  • Rank higher for relevant high-traffic keywords 
  • Boost organic downloads for both Google Play Store and iOS in various countries including Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada


The install growth charts below show the results of App Growth Network’s hybrid approach of combining Paid Media & App Store Optimization – a method that involved Google Ad campaigns and keyword optimization techniques.

For Mobile App 1 (Android)

+57% increase in downloads in March 2019 compared to January 2019

For Mobile App 2(iOS)

+ 300% increase in downloads from Feb’19 to Mar’19

+ 100% increase in downloads from Mar’19 to Apr’19

Let’s dive deeper into the details of our approach to achieve these results in the following section.

For Mobile App 1 (Android)

App Growth Network’s Approach:

Phase 1: February to Mid-March: Stand-alone Approach with no Paid Ads – Pure Google Store Optimization 

  • Since the title and short description carry more weight for keyword ranking in Google Play, these two metadata fields are of absolute importance for gaining more visibility from Google Play search results. Considering this optimization factor, we started by optimizing App 1’s Google Play store title and short description (App Store meta optimization) to rank higher for more relevant keywords.
  • Our strategy behind shortlisting the keywords was to identify high-traffic, low-competition long tail keywords to gain as much visibility as possible on the search results and lead to more installs. KPI’s followed for this were traffic volume, relevancy and difficulty. These KPI values were obtained from several App Store Optimization tools such as AppTweak, Sensor Tower and Mobile Action. We also did a competitive analysis to find keywords based on the above stated KPI’s.
  • App Localization is a great way to boost installs, as Google Play favors apps that are localized to provide a better user experience. Not every person speaks English, so having an app localized for non-English speaking countries in their native language will have an advantage. Hence, we localized the app store listing in English for English-speaking geos, in Spanish for Spain and in German for Germany, to rank higher in the Google Play store and increase organic downloads. We followed the same keyword strategy to shortlist German and Spanish keywords.
  • As the next step in optimization, we also did keyword optimization for the long description in the U.S., Germany and Spain.

Phase 2: Mid-March Onwards: Tested the Correlation between Universal App Campaign (UAC) and Organic Growth for Smaller vs. Bigger Apps

  • Based on our past experience, we knew that UAC organic lift effect works best with smaller apps; so we hypothesized that if we run UAC, we can gain even more organic downloads, which was great because the client had different size apps in their portfolio.


Phase 1: Google Play Optimization

  • By doing keyword optimization, we were able to improve the ranking for Top 5 keywords (based on ranking progression) in 28 days – starting from February 1, 2019, and ending on Feb 28, 2019 – which led to 17.4% Growth Organically.  (comparing Feb to Dec Data – skipping the Jan stats that are an anomaly in this genre ) 

The ranking improvement results for a few of the keywords are shared in the appendix below for reference.

Phase 2: Google Ads Campaign in Germany & the United States for Download Boost

We also started the Google Ads campaign in Germany and the United States to boost downloads on March 9, 2019.

Here is the graph for paid downloads in Germany:

Total installs (paid and organic combined) in Germany from Jan ‘19 to Mar ‘19 are depicted in the graph below:

  • Total Installs in Jan’19 –  X (All Organic) 
  • Total Installs in Feb’19 – X (All Organic)
  • Total Installs in Mar ‘19 – Z = [Y paid Ads + (X+ NX = 1.35X Organic)]

As a result, compared to Jan’19, we saw 35% boost in organic traffic.

This was tested with a 3-digit monthly ad spend with a smaller app, and organic lift was evident.

We also tested the same with a larger app with many more downloads, and the correlation was not as high. 

Conclusion: The organic lift in February, when there was no UAC, compared to December was 17.4%; while overall organic install lift increased to 35% in March when UAC was running. This shows that our hybrid approach, i.e. UAC combined with ASO, results in more organic growth.

For Mobile App 2 (iOS)

App Growth Network’s Approach:

Based on our experience with app best practices, we did the following:

  • Updated metadata to optimize keyword rankings, a/b tested icons and updated video 
  • Creative assets testing
  • Apple Search Ads (for iOS) to boost organic efforts


The above graph shows the expenditure on ASA (red bar) with total app units (green line) and organic downloads (purple line). We see the following trend: while the expenditure is decreasing, the organic downloads are growing over the four months of AGN marketing.

For Mobile App 2, we also ran UAC campaigns for Android, but there we couldn’t see any correlation with paid media and organic growth. 

Conclusion: For iOS, ASA is one of the most effective tools for keyword bidding with the highest conversion of 49.69% and also helps boost organic downloads. While for Android, the correlation between paid & organic boost isn’t that strong.

For more details on how we achieved growth for these apps in iTunes and the Google Play store, please shoot us a message: We are always ready to help!

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One Response

  1. […] interesting finding was that Health&Fitness picks up at the end of March and not in January when people make their New Year resolutions. The Weather apps do much worse once […]

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