How to Grow Fitness Apps

How we more than doubled the number of Spartan Apps top 5 keyword rankings in the App Store

About Spartan Apps:

Diamond App Group is a developer of fitness and home workout apps. During the COVID pandemic, their Spartan Apps grew by over a million downloads on the Google Play Store. Compared to Android, their iOS rankings were falling behind so that’s where our App Growth Network team came into play.

The Spartan MMA App focuses on MMA-style training and workouts using an AI Coach, fitness tracking, nutrition tracking and community support. The Spartan Home Workouts App supports similar features but is designed for home and gym HIIT workouts. Both apps primarily target males and received previous success in European markets.

The Challenge

We were tasked with improving organic acquisition with the least amount of media spend. This project would span from December-February, some of the most competitive months for health and fitness apps.

Our strategy focused on optimizing the App Store listings for the two Spartan apps using our in-house ASO process. We would then support this approach by applying recommendations for UX improvements, benchmarking, monetization, and Apple Search Ads marketing.

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The Solutions

1. Key Field Updates in App MetaData

The original title “MMA Home & Gym Workouts” was very generic so we updated it to “Spartan MMA Training Fitness,” which better highlighted the unique branding elements of the Spartan training fitness system.

2. Keyword updates and continuous optimization

We updated the keywords field to include keywords that were more relevant to boxing, exercise, training, fitness results, kickboxing, and unique boxing programs. We also included Mexican localization that increased the opportunity to rank for new and more keywords in the US app store.

The key was to continuously update keywords and monitor all changes in keyword rankings

3. UX and Monetization Updates

We provided several UX recommendations to help increase engagement and monetization. Having too many options and screens can confuse users, so our first recommendation was to decrease the product monetization page from four screens to just one. We also recommended updating the graphics to highlight fit Spartan-like men, to which the Spartan team launched an on-brand in-app video.

For the monetization side, we also recommended simplifying the subscription plan by reducing the five options to three easier, more intuitive subscription options.

4. Apple Search Ads

We set up eight campaigns on Apple Search Ads for the Spartan Home Workouts and Spartan MMA apps. The primary focus was on running Generic campaigns with keywords that were identified through ASO and Mobile Action research. Over 100 keywords related to fitness and boxing workouts were added to the Generic campaign.

By using the Apple Search Ads campaign management platform SearchAds.com, we implemented Brand campaigns to focus on protecting the Spartan brand, along with a small campaign that included competitor keywords.

The Results:

1. Number of Top 5 & Top 10 ranked keywords doubled

Overall, we doubled the number of ranked keywords in the top 5 and top 10 for both apps. The MMA Spartan App had 25 keywords in the top 5 within the four months of ASO optimization, which was quite a leap from the five keywords it had in the top 5 before our ASO efforts.

The product page views also increased by 30%, and increased app installs by 20%.

iOS ASO rankings for MMA Spartan App:

iOS ASO rankings for Spartan Home Workouts App:

2. Visibility Score increased by 150%

The visibility score is a score that shows the evolution of an app’s visibility on an app store for a specific set of keywords. For the Spartan app’s keywords, the visibility score increased by over 150% during the reporting period.

Other metrics have improved as well, from sales to engagement. We saw an approximately 58% reduction in the drop-off rate between workouts started and finished, which shows that updated user onboarding helped to engage the users.

3. Achieved Low CPI with ASA campaigns

Apple Search Ads campaigns helped us to achieve a very reasonable cost per install for fitness apps. The average cost per install for Home workouts was optimized to $3.08. Launching a targeted generic campaign in the UK helped us achieve a low CPI of $1.64.

Generic keywords for MMA helped us achieve a low cost per install of $2.38 for over 200 installs. To maximize budget efficiency and get the most value from our ad spend, we focused on allocating our ad spend more on direct competitors and less on discovery campaigns.

According to SearchAdsHQ 2020 benchmarking report, the average CPI for health and fitness ranges from $1.90-$3.60. Furthermore, the average CPI can reach $6 during this time of the year due to high competition. The average cost-per-tap (CPT) is exceptionally high for the UK of $1.44, but we achieved an average CPT of $1.06.

In summary

By focusing our efforts on ASO and ASA, we achieved improved rankings and installs for Spartan Apps. Continuous ASO optimization and monitoring helped to increase keyword rankings and improve overall app visibility score. Generic keywords on Apple Search Ads helped to bring new users with a reasonably low cost-per-install.

While January tends to be a competitive and popular month for fitness apps, we got ahead by optimizing keywords that helped attract new users interested in working out at home.