When we talk to app publishers about App Store Optimization (ASO), the topic of app names inevitably comes up. It can actually be a source of conflict in their organizations. If this is the case, they are always torn between two choices.
The first choice is to only include the app name. This option is generally preferred because it is aesthetically pleasing. Not having keywords in the name of an app can also make it seem like the app is so popular that doesn’t need ASO.
The second choice is to add several keywords to the name to take advantage of the ASO benefit. But this doesn’t look quite as slick. When taken too far, it can also make the app look unprofessional.
So how do you find the right balance? This post will show you how to figure out the ideal name length for your iOS app.
The Two Types Of Names
There are actually two names associated with every iOS app. The first one is the App Name.
This is what we will be talking about in this post. It has a maximum length of 255 characters.
The second is the Bundle Display Name. This is the name that appears under your app icon on the home screen of an iPhone, iPod or iPad. You don’t need to worry about this name for ASO.
How To Find The Ideal Name Length
There is no specific character count that will work for every app. Therefore, we cannot say that 122 characters (for example) is the best length.
It is much more useful to think in terms of general concepts. Here is what you should consider when determining the length of your app’s name.
Keep It Short
Since shorter names look more branded and 255 character names look spammy, you want to lean towards a shorter name. A good rule of thumb is to include a maximum of three of your top target keywords. The Dark Sky app is a perfect example.
However, this is not a rule. The bottom line is that you should include as many keywords as you feel are absolutely necessary.
Ranking difficulty is another thing that you may want to consider when choosing keywords for your name. You can sort your target keywords by Difficulty Score and include one or two of the most difficult ones.
This is because you will usually rank higher for the keywords in your name. So targeting the most difficult ones can help you get ranked for keywords that you might not otherwise be able to rank well for.
If you choose keywords using this method, make sure that they describe your app. This may not necessarily be the case for all the keywords on your list.
Make It Interesting
This point is not related to name length, but you should be aware of it when you optimize the name of your app. Since only a limited number of characters are displayed in App Store search results, you should put your most interesting or beneficial keywords at the beginning.
The All-In Fitness app is a good example. It instantly communicates that the app contains 1,200 exercises. Most exercise apps probably don’t include this many exercises, so this is one way that they differentiate themselves.
Take a look at the search results for apps in your category and make note of characteristics that catch your eye. It could be a unique term, a quantifiable feature (like in the example above), or the biggest benefit of the app.
Going Too Far
We have received several inquires from publishers who have had their updates rejected for having “keywords in the title” of their app. Needless to say, this made them doubt that using keywords in the title of their app is even possible.
But when we looked at the titles they submitted, all of them did not form coherent phrases. They were just stuffing keywords into the title. Make sure that your title makes sense to human readers and you will avoid App Store rejection.
If you are struggling with balancing branding and ASO benefit in your app name, you are not alone. Implementing the tips in this post will help you determine the ideal title length for your app and give your app the best chance of being downloaded.
What is the best app title that you have ever seen and why? Let us know in the comments below.