One in five apps are installed after consumers search for them in the App Store, underscoring the importance of search visibility. However, only 19% of retail brands with apps control all the above-the-fold results served against their own branded search terms, according to L2’s report on retail-focused mobile app adoption and visibility.

The situation becomes even more precarious when considering reviews and ratings. Nearly 60% of users check reviews before downloading; brands whose apps don’t have high ratings or large review counts risk having their downloads hijacked by competitors. As many as 65% of brand apps in L2’s report have fewer reviews than the sponsored apps placed above them, while almost 59% have a lower rating. Brands need to be encourage reviews and be vigilant about their overall rating by listening to user feedback and pushing a steady cadence of app updates.

Nordstrom provides a successful template for brands seeking to boost their app visibility. The retailer doesn’t actively place ads against competitors’ apps, which would be time-consuming and costly. Instead, it organically optimizes against competitors’ branded keywords by matching the subtitles of competitors, taking advantage of the fact that app subtitles constitute part of the App Store search rankings.


For example, Nordstrom appears organically against department store competitor terms “Saks Fifth Avenue” and” Bloomingdales” by using similar keywords including “shopping,” “fashion,” and “designer.” By following this strategy, the retailer ensures that its app shows up when consumers search for similar offerings. 

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