How to love your dating app's keyword strategies, on a low budget.

When it comes to app store marketing for dating apps, there are very few generic, high-intent keywords in the vertical, so competition for them is fierce. Ranking for hotly competed keywords is not achievable for the majority of dating apps, since they’re unable to pay the CPI that the big players such as Bumble and Hinge can pay.

It’s worth noting that simply ranking highly for the top performing keywords is not all it takes - it’s just as important to rank well for keywords that are right for your brand and audience. Winning at the wrong keywords will have an adverse effect on the type of user you attract to your app - if you’re a serious dating app, you’ll likely want to avoid a situation where your main source of traffic is from the keyword ‘only fans’.

So if you’re a smaller app in the top-heavy dating vertical, how do you squeeze the best results from your keyword strategy?

Find your long-tail keywords/phrases

Although this might not seem like an obvious place to start,  there are certainly gains to be achieved from targeting long-tail keywords or phrases at volume, and although, (for the most part), those gains might be incremental, occasionally there will be very specific long-tail keywords that contribute their share of instals to your app’s overall monthly volume, when targeted rather smartly.

Long tail keywords are also referred to as ‘unpopular’ keywords, which simply means they register less search volume for your dating app. However, on the flip side, this opens an opportunity to get ranked very highly for certain long-tail keywords, due to low competition for them. These keywords may have the opportunity to become an essential part of your overall ASO strategy by helping you to reap benefits, where other dating apps aren’t.

To find long-tail phrases with the potential to perform, dating apps need to get under the skin of user behaviour by interrogating keyword data. If you're smart enough to understand the data (or you have an agency to do it for you), you can uncover a lot of long-tail keywords that are easy to target and rank for. See an example below:

Long Tail Keywords

Additionally, dating app managers may also leverage user feedback and reviews from the app stores to understand and explore features that people are searching for and target those keywords/phrases.

Love Local

You may also find that using location-based keywords or phrases is another way to win impressions and avoid a keyword war.  If your user data tells you that you’ve got a critical mass of customers looking for love or friendship in certain locations, then maximise this in your target keywords. These types of keywords tend to have low volume, but high potential to be specifically relevant, if needed.

Location based keywords

Generic Keywords

Generic Keyword CPP

When users search for generic terms, they intend to use an app that provides what they are searching for, but they likely don’t have a specific app/brand in mind. Naturally, since it's a generic term, competition is fierce and almost all competitors are targeting them.

In a scenario like this, the app that converts the user wins. This is exactly where dating apps can leverage App Store custom product pages to show users exactly what they are searching for. For a generic search term like "dating singles", using a custom product page like the OKCupid example here (targeting the keyword 'dating singles'), helps users decide quickly and tap in favour of the app, which increases conversion rates.

Targeting Your Competitors

The leading dating apps spend millions of dollars each year on marketing their brands, so brand searches on the app stores are understandably high and are therefore greatly competed.  For example, Bumble received circa 20,500 downloads in the past month by ranking second for the competitor brand keyword ‘Hinge’. Incidentally, they went a step further by using an App Store custom product page that was designed to mimic Hinge, to increase tap-through rates.

So there is value in targeting your competitors’ keywords, but you’ll want to bear in mind that your competition might have deeper pockets than you, and could easily out-gun your bids, which may only serve to drive costs up in the long run.

However, targeting the right competitor keywords in your non-visible metadata will increase your ranking and propensity to bid on the competitor keyword with Apple Search Ads, whilst simultaneously reducing your cost per install.  If you’re a challenger brand in the dating arena, you’ll want to give thought to whether this strategy is a good use of your budget.

Custom Product Pages

Before we leave this topic, it’s worth mentioning that adding App Store custom product pages into the mix is a highly effective tactic for each of the keyword strategies mentioned.  If you have performant keywords or phrases, creating a custom product page is simply a smart way to improve user conversion when budgets might not be available for paid media on the App Store.  More on that in our next blog!

Everyone Needs Someone

Our team is lucky enough to work with both huge/global and small/niche dating apps - we believe our guys when they say it’s a highly competitive market, no matter where an app sits within it; it’s a challenge to stop your hungry competitor from eating your lunch and sometimes, everyone needs someone to help them squeeze the most from their budget.

We’re here for you.  Our teams are constantly looking at how keyword popularity is affected by user trends, creative enhancements, external influences, and algorithms on the app stores, across a wide range of verticals.  Our people understand that even on a budget, it’s important to have an evolving and dynamic keyword strategy - it lies at the heart of app growth success. So if you’re feeling like your keyword strategy needs a little (or a lot) more love in order to do better, swipe right on Redbox.

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