Tips for naming your mobile app or game

Your app or game name is one of the most difficult, but also most important, decisions you will make.

Back in the middle of 2014 I looked into what made a successful App Store name. 18 months is a long time on the App Store so I thought it was time to follow up, see what’s changed and have a more in-depth look.

The Stats

I analyzed 8000 apps in the US App Store top charts.

Word CountCharacter Count
Max38254
Min12
Avg5.536.0
Median427

 

The results varied greatly.

From names with 1 word and 2 letters like “QQ” to the crazy with 38 words and 254 characters – “Voice Translator with speech recognition – Does translate understand and speak 29 languages like Spanish English Russian French Czech or German – Dictate and hear the app read its translation to study or exchange with foreign speakers like an interpreter

Word Count

Looking at the distribution of the number of words used.

Words in App Name

Most apps clustered towards using less words. With 2 & 3 words being the most popular.

Words Pie

Over 50% of apps use 4 words or less.

Character Count

Similarly looking at the distribution of the number of characters used.

Character Count in App Name

Peaking 12 characters, the majority of apps use less than 30 characters in their app name.

Common Words

The top 10 words used were:

WordCount
and1291
for1172
free638
pro485
the472
with355
to341
your307
app299

 

Ignoring stop words like “and”, “for”, “the” etc gives:

WordCount
free638
pro485
tracker266
weather253
music219
photo213
video203
mobile199
news189
iphone155

The top 50 words were:

“free, pro, tracker, weather, music, photo, video, mobile, news, iphone, calculator, gps, guide, manager, player, instagram, editor, best, edition, live, new, map, text, radio, maker, daily, videos, camera, bible, hd, voice, game, photos, get, plus, phone, emoji, maps, scanner, english, dictionary, games, google, keyboard, calendar, baby, sleep, audio, reader, world”

Plotting it on a word cloud:

App Store Name Words

Separators

Many apps use a separator, e.g. “Flipboard: Your Social News Magazine” and “Pandora – Free Music & Radio“.

So I dug into what is used.

Has a – separator2622
Has a : separator578

 

32% of apps use – in their app name.

Categories

Almost 20% of apps used the name of the category in their app name.

And when you look at a category like Music 50% of the top 200 apps had music in the name, or Weather where 62% have weather in their name.

It pays to be descriptive and clear.

The Tips

When naming your mobile app think about:

  • Choose a name that is 2-6 words long.
  • Be descriptive and include your main keyword / category (photo, music, video, news etc)
  • Consider using a – to seperate your name and pitch.
  • If you have a longer name consider how it will wrap on different devices.
  • Call your app “Free Weather Tracker Pro” (just kidding)

Names I Love

 

 

You may also like: