How to Pick the Right Name for Your App

04 Nov 2020

After your icon, your app name is the first thing users see when browsing your app… In fact, most app store users don’t read any more than an app’s name before deciding whether to download it, so choosing a name that’s relevant and showcases your app’s functionality is your best chance of creating a positive first impression.


Coming up with the perfect app name is a technique in itself, so don’t worry if you don’t know where to start, because we’re here to present to you seven things you need to consider when naming your mobile app.



1. Research Your Competitors
2. Consider Your App’s Core Function
3. Remember Your Audience
4. Keep It Simple
5. Make It Searchable
6. Keep With the Stores’ Guidelines
7. Align With Other Verticals



1. Research Your Competitors


We can’t stress this enough, but research is paramount at every stage of your mobile app development process. There’s nothing worse than spending countless hours creating an app and submitting to the app stores only to find out later on that the name has already been trademarked by another app.


Taking a look at what similar top-performing apps are doing should be one of the first steps of naming your app. Analysing your competitors will give you a better idea of what names are successful and what names are less so.


Remember that imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery, so whatever you find on the app stores should serve as inspiration. You shouldn’t name your app too closely to an existing app because it can confuse potential users, get your app removed from the stores (Google Play Store has policies in place to deter impersonation), or even worse, it can land you in legal hot water!


Pro tip: If you’re stuck for ideas, try using an online app name generator. You probably won’t find anything that’s readily usable, but it’s a good start point for generating ideas for words that you can use.



2. Consider Your App’s Core Function


Many successful apps have names that reflect the purposes they serve – you can tell straight away just by hearing the name that MyFitnessPal is a fitness app that you can depend on or that Headspace is an app designed for your, well, headspace.


Since many app store users don’t read much more about an app beyond its name, having a name that pinpoints the core function of your app can give you a huge advantage.


If your app name doesn’t inherently hint at its core function, you need to at least make sure it’s creative enough to override the need for association. Having said that, the name of your app doesn’t need to be too clever. It just needs to highlight the true value of your app, from its core function to how it can help users.



3. Remember Your Audience


Knowing your audience inside and out is absolutely critical when building an app – if you want to read more about that, take a look at our blog on the most important things you need to know before developing an app.


Remember to put yourself in your user’s shoes when choosing a name for your app. It will lay the groundwork for crafting the perfect name, message, and tone that you want to convey to your users. If your goal is to create the app that everyone talks about (of course it is!), then you need to make sure that whatever you decide to name your app will roll off the tongue and leave a positive impression on those who hear it.



4. Keep It Simple


Long app names are not only hard to read and difficult to remember, it’s also arduous to spell correctly, which in turn makes it tricky to search for, so it’s best to keep it short and sweet.


Names with one to three syllables are generally the best and easiest to remember. However, you may struggle to find a suitable, short name that hasn't already been used. In which case you can always think of a couple of words that describe your app and smash them together to create a new word. Some of the most popular apps on the market actually have names like that – think Instagram, Snapchat, etc.


It’s also worth noting that while you do have more room to play with on the app stores, when your app lands on a user’s homescreen, you only have around 11 characters (depending on the platform). That means you need to make sure that your app name is fit for these parameters if you don’t want it to be truncated into a sad-looking ellipsis.



5. Make It Searchable


App store optimisation (ASO) is an important part of your marketing strategy and it starts with picking the right name for your app. That means you need to have search results in mind when naming your app.


The most successful apps owe part of their success to names that are easy to pronounce and spell, which makes them better for word-of-mouth spreading and highly searchable.


According to a report by Forrester, 63% of smartphone users discover apps through searching specific keywords on the app stores. To get a slice of this organic traffic, your app name needs to align with the keywords that your users are likely to search for.


Don’t fret if you can’t fit all the keywords you want into the name, you can still improve your search rankings by using the desired keyword(s) in the metadata field when submitting your app to the stores.


Pro tip: If you don’t know what the best keywords for your app are, you can find out by using one of the many ASO tools available on the internet, or Google Keyword Planner – yes, it’s not only good for SEO; it can be very handy for researching keyword ideas for your app too.



6. Keep With the Stores’ Guidelines


It can be tempting to use every keyword you can think of, but going ham on the keywords can make your app look spammy and even get it rejected by the app stores! To avoid that, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with both the Apple App Store guidelines and the Google Play Store guidelines.


TL;DR: Pick the most applicable keywords that get substantial search traffic to place in your app name and description, but do so sparingly. Your aim is to use relevant keywords to boost your ranking in search results, not to cram a keyword in at every opportunity – find the balance.


Once you’ve researched other apps in your niche (see point one), make a note of the common keywords they use in their names to get a better understanding of which ASO keywords are relevant to your industry and audience. From this data you want to identify up to three keywords that perform well with little competition then really focus your efforts on them – limiting yourself to just three keywords will spare you from getting rejected by the app stores.



7. Align With Other Verticals


Finally, to make the range of available names even narrower, remember that you don’t only need to claim your name on the app stores… You’ll most likely also need to have a landing page that corresponds with your app and a consistent social media handle across most if not all channels.


Finding a name that is not only available but looks good on the relevant app store(s) as well as other verticals can be a real challenge, but succeeding in doing so can establish your app’s identity and set yourself apart from the competition in a crowded marketplace.


Pro tip: Make clever use of prefixes and suffixes to differentiate your app from apps with similar names. In the app world, a prefix is an action word like ‘go’ and ‘get’ which acts as a CTA, whilst a suffix is used to communicate what your app does.



Create an App Worth Talking About!


No one will remember your app’s name if they’re not taken by the product! Your primary focus should always remain to create an app that understands its users, offers them great user experience, and solves their problem.


Speak to us to find out how we can help you build the app that gets everyone talking. Drop us an email at hello@digitalworkroom.co.uk or connect with us on socials, we’re on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Speak soon!