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Beyond ASO: How Paid Promotions in the SERPs Boost Organic Traffic Growth

Mobile App Marketing
November 1, 2023
15 mins

Today, mobile app ecosystem is at its best. Consumer spending has reached an all-time record-high $67.5 b., while the global cost of app downloads on iOS and Google Play is close to $76.8 b.

According to a recent study by, the global app market has recovered from the macroeconomic crisis* of 2022. The revival over the first half of 2023 marks a positive sign.

All anticipated 2022 to come as a period of full recovery from the pandemic crisis, though the year turned out extremely difficult due to the "permacrisis." It is the abbreviation of "permanent crisis" and the most popular word of 2022 according to the British Collins dictionary. The word accurately reflects how we smoothly passed from one crisis to another.

Statista forecasts that by 2025, mobile app revenues will increase in most niches and will make some $613 b. And by 2027, user spending in the App Store and Google Play will reach $186 b. These numbers have outnumbered total consumer spending recorded in 2022  by over 50%.

The numbers and growth prospects are staggering. The big question here is: How to develop and scale right now? Together with Victoria Loshak and Yana Afanasieva, Mobile App Marketing experts at Promodo, we figured out the best-fit approaches for the effective promotion of mobile applications.

Our new article captures paid promotions, optimization, and non-obvious integrated solutions leading to organic traffic growth.

Ads and Organic Reach in Stores: Where’s the Connection?   

ASO* increases the organic visibility of the app. Google Ads UAC* provides instant user engagement. Interaction of ASO and paid promotion results in maximum effect of app development.

ASO* (App Store Optimization) stands for optimizing various elements of a mobile application to improve its visibility and ranking in the stores to attract more organic users and increase the number of app downloads.

*Google Ads UAC(Universal App Campaigns)  is an advertising platform to promote mobile applications: an effective way to increase the number of views and installs across devices and platforms.

Promodo case studies prove that the integrated use of ASO and Google Ads UAC considerably affects the stable growth of organic traffic. ASO improves the app's positioning in organic search, while UAC provides instant user engagement. Owing to this interaction, the app gets users through advertising and benefits from sustainable organic growth.

Case Study #1: An App for Photo Processing and Editing

How do our experts generate insights? Sometimes we use brainstorming sessions, while oftentimes small talk is enough to feel the trend.

Once over a break, we were sitting and discussing work issues with Yana Afanasyeva, User Acquisition | ASO manager at Promodo. I told her that my project was a hit - the app showed sound performance and significant growth over a short period. It turned out that Yana had a similar situation with her project. We started digging deeper and found out that these apps had previously been promoted through ASO only, while since the launch of paid advertising campaigns, there has been an instant growth in indexing and queries. An interesting tendency for index growth for all queries was observed on both ends; in the case of Google Play, we’ve spotted a clear correlation between the purchase of high-quality paid traffic and growth. Victoria Loshak, Mobile App Expert at Promodo.

The main task faced by experts was to scale the growth of organic and paid channels to increase the number of app downloads.

Initially, the client was interested in motivated traffic, though we offered a more effective "white hat" method - the promotion in paid channels: Google, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitter among others. The promotion approach was new to the client, so we started testing it with the basic platforms - Google and Facebook. Victoria Loshak, Mobile App Expert at Promodo.

What's wrong with the motivated traffic? There is a serious risk of being blacklisted by algorithms. Once SEO pessimization is the case, there’s no way of getting rid of it easily. This is exactly what happened to our client - for about a year, the app was not ranked at all. Before working with Promodo, the client used motivated traffic that led to the algorithm's detection and banning. At that time, the major client requests concerned Body, Face Editor, Photoshop Body, Photoshop Face, Face Up, and Face Editor, though they were not in the index, the store did not offer them.

The situation improved, though,  when we launched ad campaigns.

We started on May 18, 2023. On May 30, we received a message from the client: "Hey, we started growing nichewide." At the time of launch, the app was in the top 150 in its niche. They started moving up quite rapidly: in the 70s and 60s, and now they are among the top 50. Major takeaway: the store saw that we started purchasing qualified audiences and began to index us, which enabled recent growth. Victoria Loshak, Mobile App Expert at Promodo.

ASO statistics example

The growth started after May 18 when the procurement commenced

Here, we’ve observed a direct correlation: the launch of a UAC campaign on Google leads to the growth of indexed queries. Plus, there’s been a positive impact on the ranking across the niche - from the top 150 to the top 50, respectively.

ASO statistics example

ASO statistics example

What is the value of launching paid channels? It is to get a relevant audience and boost organic traffic with the addition of search queries. Eventually, the app becomes more visible across the stores.

Is this to say that there is no organic traffic without launching paid channels? Of course, there will be organic traffic, though we are prioritizing the final numbers here. The photo editing app has over 5 million downloads so far. ASO and paid channels boosted the app substantially - it grew strongly in the rankings and across the niche. The app got featured, and that’s cool when the stores are advertising an app. The paid channel has been launched: +2127 indexed requests, organic growth, and the client is satisfied. Currently, the app embraces active events and campaigns.

This is not Promodo's first successful experience of penetrating the US AppStore. Read more about the AI app featuring here.

Why is it important to buy advertising alongside ASO? Paid advertising allows you to attract the target audience. This directly affects the app's revenue. It is also important to account for other factors that affect app downloads and, consequently, the company's revenue: 

  • Installation base
  • App quality
  • Usability. 

One of the most important factors is CR: if a user visits an app but does not download it, the outcome is negative.

Everything is set up in line with certain events. We tell the algorithm that we want to bring a user who is most likely to buy something in the app. The machine-learning-based algorithm then searches for the audience we need. Once we’ve brought in a new user, we continue with monetization and retention. For us, the final business development is the key. More users mean higher income. With that, we emphasize monetization within the app. Victoria Loshak, Mobile App Expert at Promodo.

The case proves that even the best ASO (text/visual) does not guarantee organic growth. Therefore, promotion should be approached comprehensively. While it sounds well to rely on ASO alone and get 10-20 installs a month steadily, though what about scaling up?

Case Study #2: International Delivery of Goods and Parcels

The main point of the case is that when Google Ads UAC paid advertising was launched in the Android app, the number of indexed queries and in-store visibility increased significantly. The difference between this case and the former one is the number of indexed queries at the beginning.

Victoria had zero indexed queries at the start. Since the app is relatively new, we saw a rapid increase. Instead, my project had been posted on the page for some time with rather low visibility and an insufficient number of indexed queries. After the launch of paid campaigns, the number increased to 500. Yana Afanasieva, User Acquisition and ASO Manager at Promodo.

ASO statistics example
Before and After the Launch 

While the app in the previous case got an immediate boost from advertising, this case started with ASO. 

We started ASO in December 2022. We conducted a full iteration, worked on texts, localization, collected semantics, etc. Further, we saw a small increase in organic traffic. At the end of May 2023, we launched paid Google Ads traffic on Android. Over the period of 19.06 to 16.08, we gradually added about 500 indexed queries. There was no ASO effect at all, while the whole outcome was due to a paid traffic launch. Yana Afanasieva, User Acquisition and ASO Manager at Promodo.

ASO statistics example
Visibility Growth after the d launch

ASO statistics example
In-store Organic Page Visits


*Google Play viewers are non-search-generated users. They might have visited a page from store recommendations, picks, or similar apps. This signals the app’s increased visibility.

ASO statistics example
Increase in Organic Settings

Well-designed textual and visual ASO helps ads optimize and find the most relevant users. Suchlike, advertising during the launch raises in-store demand for the app, which leads to the promotion of positions and the increase in the number of indexed queries. Therefore, if you want your app to reach the top, the symbiosis of ASO and Google App Campaigns is a win-win solution.

ASO and Google App Campaigns - Mutually Beneficial Boost for Mobile Apps

So, we have two cases that prove that the use of ASO and Google Ads UAC is complementary in promoting mobile apps:

  • ASO lays the groundwork for long-term organic visibility by making the app available for display without permanent ad costs. 
  • UAC ensures a constant flow of new users. 
  • Together, they make a quintessential combination that maximizes the visibility, engagement, and cost-effectiveness of app promotion. 

By leveraging the strengths of both strategies, you can achieve sustainable growth and optimal return on marketing investments (ROMI) in a highly competitive market.

With that, you may expect immediate benefits: an increase in the number of users, as well as long-term advantages: lower CAC, improved monetization, and stable growth.

Written by
Maria Kashina

Content Marketing Manager at Promodo

November 1, 2023
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