Daria Pavlyuk — head of Search Optimization studio ZiMAD — in her column for readers App2Top.ru she told how she had built the ASO direction in the company in a new way, as well as how this direction works today.

Daria PavlyukAbout me

I got into the industry by accident. It happened many years ago, when I was still living in Novosibirsk. I was looking for a job and came to an interview with an IT company for the position of content manager.

That’s where it all started. In the company, I had to compile descriptions of applications for Google Play and the App Store, optimize pages for search and, of course, publish projects.

It was at this job that I learned what keywords are, how important they are and why special attention should be paid to screenshots.

I had to write a lot. The company was engaged in mass cloning of successful projects. And each required attention, design and, of course, a thorough launch.

If a project went particularly well, then we did additional work for its page. For example, the description, keywords and screenshots were localized into more languages.

Unfortunately, the company has not abandoned the strategy of cloning other people’s projects over time. This led to a drop in its indicators and problems inside. As a result, I decided to leave for the position of head of ASO at ZiMAD.

Building an ASO department in ZiMAD

At that time, the ASO department was being rebuilt in the company. So the first few months of working in a new place turned out to be “hot” for me. I had to redo the department, re-debug its work, start documentation.

I have prescribed everything that is possible:

  • who works for us (initially, who should we have);
  • what are the responsibilities of whom;
  • all activity reporting (the latter has become regularly filled in as data is received).

This may seem obvious, but, unfortunately, not everyone resorts to this. This practice is important not only when transferring cases, which inevitably happens. It is also necessary for effective work and analysis.

Today we have these things registered and are constantly updated. Each manager can come in and view all the data on his project, including the chronology of work.

Magic Jigsaw Puzzles page in the App StoreProcesses in the current department

In addition to me, the head of the department, we have four ASO specialists (one game – one specialist), one web marketer (deals with content for websites and also their advertising) and an SEO specialist subordinate to him.

We work in Jira and Confluence. Separate tasks (epics) are set for each project in Jira, each is divided into tasks and subtasks. Tasks are divided into graphic and text, additionally they are divided by platforms. We also have a material loader attached to Jira. Confluence settings look about the same. We use ASOdesk to work with keywords.

As a rule, we track the status of tasks through task trackers. It’s faster than asking personally, distracting from business. During the day, we check all available resources. If there are campaigns launched for warming up (pouring traffic on a keyword in order to raise the game in a category / in a keyword query) or testing, then this is checked with the analytics department. Every day we look at how key games behave in targeted countries. All these actions are cyclically repeated throughout the week.

Working with artists

Artists are not included in the ASO department (officially in ZiMAD it is generally called the Search Optimization department). But we did not immediately come to this decision.

When I first headed the direction, the guys responsible for the graphics were attached to me. They made icons and screenshots. As it turned out a little later, this was an unsuccessful decision.

We almost immediately encountered a large turnover of artists in the ASO department. It turned out that they, as creative people, quickly get bored of doing this.

As a result, we have formed a separate team that deals with all the promotional materials of the company. Today we call it Promo. She is responsible for all banners, videos and other graphic work.

Such a department enabled employees to move horizontally, work with graphic tasks of various nature and complexity. Thanks to this, there was less routine in their work. This had a positive effect on turnover. It has dropped significantly.

Magic Word page in the App StoreDepartment’s work with UA

We try to work as closely as possible with each other. UA is always aware of what changes and why we are making to the game pages. We, in turn, always know which countries we target and what kind of traffic is being purchased.

This is necessary for effective work and competent setup of advertising campaigns. Therefore, the UA direction never makes unexpected purchases for us, and we do not change descriptions, keywords and other ASO components without warning.

The preparation of campaigns is also impossible without the participation of project teams. They keep us up to date with the release of updates, new features and features, which we can also use to select new keywords.

Interaction is based on regular calls. Unfortunately, it is impossible to discuss all aspects of the text. Too many nuances would have to be noted. But the results of the discussions and the decisions taken are, of course, recorded.

A little bit about the specifics of the work

Doing the same keywords is a monotonous job that is not suitable for everyone. It is necessary to carefully review your keywords, study them from competitors, and see their effectiveness. Sometimes the semantic core can reach up to 1000 keys. From working with them in Excel, it can easily start to ripple in the eyes.

At the same time, such work requires thoughtfulness, constant adjustments, revision of the entire semantic core, tracking what the developers of other games have come up with in terms of promotion.

On the other hand, this is a very interesting, dynamic, full of constant choice work, where the success of the application depends on your actions. Plus, household logic very often does not work here.

For example, for our Dig Out! project, a game about digging, battles with underground kings and rebuilding a bastion, we found the key “drilo”. This is a very unusual, rarely used word in everyday speech, and not everyone knows its meaning. In general, no one in the development team liked it. They wanted us to remove him from the sub-title.

But in ASO it is impossible to proceed from the principle of “like / dislike”. The main thing is what the tests show. For Dig Out! the “drill” key worked perfectly.

Dig Out Page! in the App StoreImmediate plans

Now new games are being prepared for release in ZiMAD. On the eve of their release, we are preparing to expand the department: we have several vacancies for the position of ASO manager open at once.

We are looking for experienced specialists at the middle level or higher. It is important for us that they immediately take up the promotion of new games, help them to unwind. Among their tasks will be:

  • optimization of landing pages;
  • metadata development and testing;
  • monitoring of world ratings and features;
  • identifying trends and regularly testing new strategies;
  • and much more.

The link to the vacancy is here.


I will be glad to have any questions about the work of our department and our practices.

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