November 21, 2022 0 257

10 ASO Mistakes that You Can Make When Optimizing Games in The Google Play Store: a Game Producer Explains

Evgeny Grishakov, the CEO of Garden of Dreams, a game studio based out of Moscow, recently published a video on Youtube analyzing the design of games published by his subscribers in the Google Play Store. The expert set his goal to find a working model for scaling earnings for each analyzed game. Evgeny commented on the apps' visual components, titles, pictures, text descriptions, and more.

In this article, we have collected the most exciting data from his analysis which he presented in his video on Youtube.

Game #1: Dr Meteor: Mind Relaxing Games

In the visual design of the first game, Evgeny drew attention to the poorly designed icon. It contains many small details which dramatically limit its visual perception against competitors in the search. Ideally, there should be a logical connection between the application’s title and the icon, which, in this case, is not visible.

The structure of placing screenshots in the application should follow the principle “from general to particular.” In the game in question, it is generally impossible to determine what it is about from the screenshots.

Also, the descriptions of the app screenshots demonstrate a violation of the logical structure. One of them characterizes the game as "relaxing," while the other invites the user to accept the challenge.

Eugene emphasized that if the game has complex gameplay, then it would be wise to add a trailer.

The game has a broad description that’s about 2 500 characters. The report contains a sufficient number of repetitions of the keywords. The phrase "relax games" occurs about 7-8 times.

Evgeny advised the game creator to make other sets of screenshots and icons and then conduct A/B tests. At the same time, he emphasized that there are few downloads of the application in the store, so A/B tests will take at least two weeks (until relevant results are obtained).

Game #2: Success Story — Tycoon Games

Evgeny heavily criticized this game’s icon. Unlike the previous game, this one has one large drawing. The icon depicts a character in 2D, and on the game screenshots, you can see that it has 3D graphics. Evgeny said that their tests showed a sharp decrease in conversion when the icon used a picture in graphics that did not match the one in which the game was created.

The following note was about application screenshots. The images are very high quality, and the text part is well thought out on them. The downside is that none of the pictures show actual gameplay, meaning the user doesn't see how the game looks in reality.

Eugene advised to leave the first screenshot colorful and on the second, which, with the text "Choose a career", shows what the career choice looks like inside the game itself.

In the same way, you should alternate the rest of the screenshots in the game. This mobile application has only 50 downloads. Evgeny suggested that the reason why the game is unsuccessful is the poor selection of keywords in the description. He recommended that the game creator should start by searching for similar games in the app store and copying their keywords.  

According to Eugene, there have been many instances whereby he had to brainstorm and rewrite the descriptions of apps multiple times until a "hook" on a relevant keyword came up.

Game #3: Snake Worms io: Cobra Passing

This game uses the word "io" in its title, but in fact, it's not an io game. Therefore, adding this keyword is impractical since it refers to a totally different game model. Io games are browser-based multiplayer action games in which many users simultaneously play.

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The trailer demonstrates that this is a single-player game; therefore, the word "io" in this case, will negatively affect the conversion rate of the page.

In the screenshots, Evgeny noted the presence of a large amount of text located on half of the picture. This should not be done — the text should be no more than 20% of the screenshot. In addition, some of the text blends into the background, making it difficult to read.

Among other things, the game has a very short description. Evgeny says that your game’s description is less than 2 500 characters, you should not count on organic traffic.

Game #4: Crash Test Simulator

The theme of this game is now trending. A beautifully traced breakdown of cars is in-demand among gamers.

In the game's design, well-chosen screenshots and an icon are visible. Eugene noticed that the creator didn’t use the entire amount of available characters in the title. He suggests using the available number of characters to the maximum. Even if there are two of them left, you can add a word like “3D”.

In the design of the icon, Evgeny recommended using brighter and more contrasting colors so that it stands out more from competitors in the store search.

This game is paid, so there must be a trailer of the game with gameplay so that the user can see what he has to pay money for. Evgeny says that, when it comes to paid games, the trailer is the most important thing.

Game #5: English Learning: Words Games

This game’s icon doesn’t logically connect with the name and theme of the game. Evgeny recommended that icons of language games and apps should be designed with the colors of the flag of the language(s) being taught.

The situation is similar to the screenshots. They are made in a game style, but a language learning app, even with game dev elements, still belongs to the educational ones. For this reason, the design of screenshots should use elements that demonstrate the learning process and all the features of this application. For example, on the first screenshot, write "collect pairs of words" and place a picture that displays this action, on the second — "choose words for animals", and so on.

Game #6: PC Tycoon — Computers & Laptop

The trailer for this mobile app is very long. For the first 6 seconds, almost nothing happens on the screen. Evgeny says that during this time, it is necessary to reveal the features of the app to the maximum since few people will watch the trailer for a long time in order to delve into the essence of the game.

Game #7: Dinosaur Game Online — T Rex

Unlike the previous game, here, the trailer is very dynamic and colorful. It demonstrates a significant part of the gameplay in a few seconds, and it catches the user.

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Evgeny advised that the creator should correct the app name. At the moment, it is the online game that is very popular, so it is better to put the word "online" in the title in the first place. He is confident that this will definitely have a positive effect on the conversion rate.

Regarding application screenshots: it is better to place text on the picture in such a way that it fits on one line — this will free up more space for visual design.

Game #8: Home Design Match 3

The design of this game is excellent. The only problem is that it has its own screenshots. Yes, they are bright and colorful, but they have been taken from another popular game.

This is unacceptable because it can reduce conversion rates. However, Evgeny says Indian developers use this approach, and oddly enough, it works in their games.

Game #9: Monsters Waves: Roguelike RPG

The name of this game immediately reveals the features of the gameplay, which speaks of a perfectly matched title. The trailer of the game is also quite dynamic, but Evgeny made a number of comments on it:

  • The gameplay periodically jumps — on a short video, it confuses a potential user;
  • There are game freezes in the trailer — this is unacceptable as it can push the user away from installing the game;
  • The character goes to the edge of the playing field, and a black, non-game background opens up, which spoils the entire visual effect.

Evgeny also gave the following recommendations for the structure of the trailer:

"It’s better to cut the trailer down to 30 seconds and make a change every 10 seconds: gameplay/skills/characters."

In the screenshots of the game, Eugene recommended fixing the following:

  • Reduce the size and length of the text;
  • Make the font more readable;
  • Replace abstract words with clearer ones, or remove unnecessary ones. For example, the screenshot below says "Fight many bosses". The blogger suggested replacing such text with "Fight the bosses." If you need clarification on their number, then you can write "Fight ten bosses." A/B tests of Evgeny's studio showed that the specific wording in the screenshots is better perceived by users and has a positive effect on the installation.

Game #10

The main remark about this game is that it is only available in Russia. You should not count on making money from the game because Google has now disabled monetization in Russian-made apps and games. Evgeny recommends that Russian developers translate their apps and games into at least English, preferably also Spanish and some other languages.


At the end of the stream, Evgeny gave out a guide on how to beat the algorithms for app store rankings, ad it goes as follows:

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  • The most relevant search queries should be indicated in the title and duplicated in the short description;
  • The optimal size of your long description should be approximately 2 500 characters;
  • The main keywords in your title should be duplicated in the long description 8 - 9 times;
  • The rest of the words appearing in your title should be used 5-6 times in the text of the long description;

For beginners, he recommended the following steps to start making money on mobile games:

  • Find a low-competitive niche;
  • Create a game;
  • Put it on several platforms — Yandex.Games, Google Play, App Store and others.
  • At a minimum, earn at least some income from the game; achieve sustainable organic growth as a maximum.
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