Sensor Tower Review

I wanted to take some time to write up a review about a service I’ve been using called Sensor Tower. It’s a website that have several tools to help optimize your game in the App Store.

What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?

Simply put, it’s a way to get more downloads. Marketing is a crucial component to a successful game on the App Store, and for many indie game developers like me, it’s more of an afterthought. If you’ve done much research into buying ads for your game, unless you’ve got the budget to compete with the likes of Candy Crush, it’s probably not going to make much of a difference. The same goes for paid reviews.

So what’s an indie developer to do? That’s where Sensor Tower comes in. It’s a way to research what keywords will best serve your game, so that when players are searching, you’re game is more likely to come up on their list of results. If you’ve ever done any SEO it’s a very similar concept. You want players to be able to find your game as easily as possible, without having a massive marketing budget.

What’s Sensor Tower do?

Sensor Tower will help you narrow down your list of possible keywords to those that are most likely to result in more downloads. Once you have a list of keywords, Sensor Tower will give you a traffic rating and difficulty rating, from 1 – 10.

sensor tower traffic difficulty

If you find keywords with a high traffic and low difficulty, then you can set yourself up to capture more downloads. It’s recommended that the traffic score be at least 4, but with scores less than 4 with a low difficulty that are relevant to your game, you could find success in that niche as well.

My Process

The game I’m currently working on is a free version of one of my previous paid apps, Sushi Go Yobi. I start with the Keyword Research Tool and just type ‘sushi’. This gives me the following list:

sensor tower research

This basically gives me a list of my competition. I can go through my best competitors and use the Keyword Spy tool to see what kind of keywords they are using. This way I can generate a list of initial keywords to research.

There’s also a Suggest Keyword feature. You can ‘seed’ this with a list of keywords, and it will generate additional, relevant words to research.

Once you’ve done some research and you’ve come up with a large list of keywords, the next took I use is the Keyword Optimization. I’ll just copy/paste my list and it will do a quick analysis and point out some helpful tips about the keywords.

sensor tower keyword list

This is my initial keyword list for my previous game, Sushi Go Yobi.

Like most areas in game development, it’s an iterative process. You start with something small (a single keyword), and start building your list, researching, optimizing, refining, and iterating through the process again.

If you’re like me, you would rather spend time actually making games. But to ignore this aspect of game development can really limit getting your game into the hands of players. I would recommend Sensor Tower to someone in my same position – it’s fairly intuitive (although I do think it would help if they provided a ‘Getting Starting’ guide), and it really speeds up the process of ASO. For me, that’s the largest benefit; it gives me more time to focus on making games, and does a lot of the heavy lifting of ASO for me.

Check out the Sensor Tower home page, and the Sensor Tower blog for a lot of really good suggestions or sign up for their free trial and check it out yourself.

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May Update

No major updates this month. I’ve had a few non gamedev projects take up some of my time. It’s always a struggle for spending my limited time away from my day job. I want to primarily make games but I need to spend my time doing the things that are most profitable. It’s a strange balance that doesn’t seem to have much of an equilibrium.

Anyways, I’ve had two projects I’ve been working on. I started Sushi Go Yobi Free. I’m planning a lot of upgrades, bug fixes, and reworking a lot of the core concepts. I’m really excited to see how this one does. I’m taking a short break from the initial work on Sushi to work on a iOS port of CivClicker. It’ s a game that plays off the recent popularity of Cookie Clicker and really expands on it with a Civilization theme. I really enjoyed playing it and contacted the original creator, asking if he would be okay with me porting it to iOS, and he didn’t have any problems with it.

So I’d like to finish that up, then release Sushi Go Yobi Free. After that, maybe it will be time for a desktop game?

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