18 Tips for Coming Up with the Right Name for Your App

Get the best tips for coming up with a compelling name for your new mobile app.
The Google Play Store has over 3.5 million apps, while the Apple App Store features almost 2.2 million. How can you stand out and attract the right audience? It all starts with the right name.

But naming an app isn't easy. How do you say it all in just a handful of letters? Here are the top tips to nail your app name.

18 Ways to Create a Killer App Name

Here's how to name your app to reach more people and get more downloads:

1. Represent the Core Features

While we try not to judge a book by its cover, we do believe an app's name should create a first impression that says it all. Think WeChat or Netflix — the name says what the app does. Instead of being too clever, opt for a name that's easy to remember and reflects the app's core functions.

2. Differentiate With Word Play

One way to be witty without being too obscure is to try a play on words. Waze is a good example — it's a play on how the app helps users find their way around. A clever wordplay can give your app's name a memorable twist while still communicating what it does.

3. Keep It Short and Sweet

App Store title has a 30-character limit, while the home screen only shows 11 characters. A long and convoluted name is the recipe for getting people to forget your app. Make sure your app's name is unique and easy to pronounce and spell.

4. Create the Potential of Becoming an Action Word

Nobody wants to keep saying a name that's a mouthful. Your app's name should sound natural in speech and easy for consumers to incorporate into their everyday language or turn into an action word (e.g., to Google something.)

5. Add Contextual Hints

If you land on a name that isn't representative of the app's core features, you aren't doomed! Add a few descriptive words after the name on the app title to make it self-explanatory. For example, "Lemonaid Health — Online Doctor Visit" clearly indicates the app's function.

6. Prioritize App Store Optimization (ASO) Keywords

63% of smartphone users discover apps by searching the app store. Incorporating ASO keywords that your ideal audience uses in their search is a sound marketing and customer acquisition strategy to improve your app's discoverability and get in front of the right people.

7. Don't Be Spammy

ASO keywords are great but don't overdo it! Otherwise, even if your app appears on search results, it wouldn't project the credibility you need to attract downloads. Excessive use of words like "free," "best," "fun," etc., is a red flag for users and search engines alike.

8. Align With Your Brand

Marketing an app involves more than your app store listing. The app's name should be consistent with your domain URL, social media profiles, and other online and offline channels to reinforce your brand image, improve brand recognition, and build trust with your audience.

9. Make It Self-explanatory

When in doubt, keep it obvious. App names like Tasker (for managing tasks) and theScore (for keeping sports scores) work well because they do exactly what they say on the tin: The names state what the apps do and are searchable, short, memorable, and easy to pronounce.

10. Tap Into the Audience's Emotions

Highlight what's important for your target market to connect with them emotionally. For example, MyFitnessPal taps into users' need for companionship on their fitness journey, while Family Locator speaks to people's desire to keep their loved ones safe.

11. Don't Be a Copycat

Google Play store won't approve app names that start with another product's branding or app title without permission. Plus, imitation communicates the lack of originality — positioning your brand as a follower, not a leader that people can trust.

12. Avoid All Caps and Special Characters

Don't turn your app name into a password :) Using all caps is like shouting very loudly to get attention, while special characters will cause the App Store to refer to your app’s numeric ID when scanning for keywords — which won't help with your ASO and searchability.

13. Localize Your App Name

Ready to enter the lucrative global market? Localize the title, keywords, and description in your app listing with each locale's native language to get found on local searches. Don't just translate the English search terms. Instead, do your homework and find out how local users search for apps like yours.

14. Use Prefixes or Suffixes

Turn a common word into a memorable and descriptive app name by adding words like "snag," "go," "net," etc. to motivate users to act — e.g., Snagajob, Netspend, etc. These word combos describe the app's functionality, include keywords, and inspire action.

15. Experiment with Portmanteaus

Portmanteaus is a fancy way of referring to a word that blends the sounds and meanings of two others (e.g., motel, Pinterest, Instagram.) Combining two common words to create a new one helps you tap into the familiarity of those terms while giving your app's name a memorable twist.

16. Amplify with Emotional Words

Another way to jazz up your app's name without losing the audience is to start with an obvious word and then add emotional ones to strengthen the appeal. You can also experiment with the emotional connotations of how the name sounds to trigger a specific feeling.

17. Use Synonyms of Words That Work

What if all the usual-suspect keywords and combos are taken? It's time to whip out the thesaurus to explore your options. Start with words that have proven to work for your competitors, and see if you can combine others with similar meanings to create an original app name.

18. Mix and Match the Tactics

Now it's time to have some fun and get creative! Mix and match the tips we shared here to create an app name you're proud to call your own. Remember to keep it simple, memorable, and searchable.

Your App's Name Should Be Part of Your Product Strategy

Your app's name must be consistent with its core functionalities, your brand image, and the user experience. Having a great name can help you attract more eyeballs, but the proof is in the pudding — you need an app that's as good as its name to gain traction, get stellar reviews, and acquire more users.

That's why our naming approach is always grounded in a sound product strategy and a robust audience and revenue model to ensure the app's name not only appeals to your ideal customers but also has staying power. Get in touch to see how we can help you dot the i's and cross the t's.


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