How to Choose the Best Strategy for Naming a Mobile App

Picking a title is a substantial part of your app’s marketing success, as it weighs greatly on search results. There are two main strategies to app naming. The first one is to use a simple title that does not have any extra keywords. The second is to use extra keywords in addition to the title. Each strategy has its pros and cons. This article, based on practice and real cases, provides tips on how to decide on your app naming strategy.

What Is the Difference Between the Two Strategies?

With the first strategy, the app title will usually consist of 1 to 3 words. An example is “Clash of Clans”.


With the second naming strategy, that the app title will include extra relevant keywords in addition to the main title. An example is “App in the Air: Flight Tracker and Airport Guide”. Here, the extra keywords have two functions: a description of the title and an opportunity to drive extra organic app installs from the store’s search function. If an app publisher is going to use keywords in an app title, they’ll put either a colon or a dash after the main part of a title. There is no significant difference between the two options, but a colon gives a chance to use one character fewer.


Available Capacity for an App Title

Let’s now take a look at the two major directories, the App Store and Google Play, where there are now 1.4 and 1.5 billion apps, respectively. The App Store allows you to use 255 characters, while Google Play limits you to only 30 characters.

Advantage of Using Keywords

The main advantage and direct benefit for app publishers in the strategy of using keywords in the app title is getting free and relevant organic traffic. This might be the key factor in deciding which strategy to employ. Given that CPIs are increasing, this is a good way to save money and improve traction. On iOS, if a keyword is in the title rather than used for the keywords metadata field, it can result in 10 times better search ranking. In this context, it really makes sense if it is a major and relevant keyword with huge traffic volume. Therefore, using two or three major keywords in an app title can give a remarkable boost in app downloads.

Disadvantages and Risks of Using Keywords

It is essential to point out that there are risks of using keywords in an app title, especially if done improperly. The first risk regards to rejection probability. If an app title uses keywords, the probability of rejection is much higher than that of a simple app title. This risk is manageable though. Nobody can give the exact formula of how many words and which words an app title needs to have in order to get approved without rejection, but a common sense approach works. Some app marketers recommend only using up to 70 characters on the iOS platform. For Android, it is better to use all 30 characters while paying attention to the words themselves. What definitely increases this risk of rejection is the excessive use of words such as “fun, addictive, best, free,” or copying titles of other apps – the more famous the app, the higher the risk.Using too many keywords in the title could also potentially jeopardize a featuring opportunity, although the featuring process remains a black box for app publishers. In any case, a clean and simple app title consisting of 1 to 3 words can be more appropriate in terms of brand recognition and user perception.

Extra Tips for Using Keywords in an App Title

Another point in app naming is how to pick the name that appears on a home screen of the device (which needs to be shorter). If it differs too much from the official title, it can be a reason for rejection. The best way to avoid this is for app publishers who use extra keywords in a title to ensure that the main part of the entire title is displayed on the screen. As an example, if the title in the App Store is “App in the Air: Flight Tracker and Airport Guide,” on the phone screen it could be displayed as “App in the Air”.On iOS, there is another aspect that concerns visible and invisible parts of a title. When an end user is searching for an app in a store, the amount of the title that is displayed is limited by the device. Most will not show many more than 3 words of the title. Be sure that the visible part of a title has the main idea of the app in it so that your customers have an easier time identifying your app’s main functionality.

Timur Taepov is Founder of App Marketing Agency. He is an expert in mobile app marketing and provides services for app publishers who need organic app downloads, helping them to optimize apps in app stores, go viral and employ new traffic sources. He is also well-known as the host of the App Marketing – Growth Hacking Podcast. You can connect with him via e-mail