8 App Store Changes & What to Make of Them

July 26, 2017

Apple's widespread changes to its App Store and app product pages could signal a shift in ASO strategies for app marketers.

At its Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5, 2017, Apple announced the overhaul of its App Store, which has remained almost unchanged since its launch in July 2008.

Apple revealed large-scale changes not only to the way the App Store looks but also to the app’s product page.

These announcements bring new implications for app marketers and app store optimization (ASO) experts, who will have to adapt and transform their strategy to cater to App Store 2.0.

The new face of the App Store coupled with changes in the product page marks a new chapter in the history of ASO, the process of improving the organic visibility of an app in the App Store and increasing the chances of receiving more downloads.

This article explains these new changes and their impact on your app’s ASO strategy.

1. Card Format

Apple redesigned app listings in the App Store as cards. The change allows Apple to group apps under different categories, like “Today,” “Games,” and “Apps.”

New App Store card format

Source: Apple App Store

The design and organization allows Apple to curate how apps are grouped in its store. This extra step signals that Apple wants its App Store not only to feature apps but also to share information that informs readers about the world of apps.

For example, the “Today” tab will share app news and trends that show how apps impact everyday interactions.

2. App Name Limited to 30 Characters

On app product pages, Apple reduced the title character limit from 50 to 30 characters.

The change should dissuade businesses from using excessive keywords in the title. Short and concise labels will help users navigate throughout the App Store easily.

3. Subtitle Field Added Below Title

Subtitles will appear below the app title, and businesses can use them to summarize their app’s purpose, features, or value in a compelling way.

App Store subtitle field

Source: Apple App Store

For example, the app TypeShift uses the subtitle field to describe its function: “mesmerizing word game.”

4. App Description in Product Page Locked

Apple will not allow businesses to change the description of their app unless they are uploading a new version.

App Description

Source: Apple App Store

Previously, businesses could change app descriptions at any time because the App Store did not index the text.

5. Updates to Promotional Text Allowed

An app’s promotional text appears above the description and is limited to 170 characters.

You can update promotional text anytime without having to submit a new version of your app.

Consider using promotional text to share the latest news about your app, including new promotions for your app or in-app purchases, upcoming features or content, or limited-time sales.

6. Video Previews

Businesses can feature up to three preview videos on their app’s product page.

App Store video previews

Source: Apple App Store

Tripling the amount of video content on the product page allows businesses to demonstrate how their app works. This feature will help users determine whether the app fits their needs, before downloading it.

7. In-App Purchases Available in App Store

Users can view and make in-app purchases from the product page. In-app purchases are searchable in the App Store and can also be featured in the Today, Games, and Apps tabs.

App Store in-app purchases

Source: Apple App Store Product Page

Each in-app purchase has its own display name, promotional image, and description, an added opportunity to include keywords.

8. Ratings Featured More Prominently

App product pages feature user ratings that span all versions of your app.

App Store Ratings & Reviews

Source: Apple App Store

If a developer responds to a user question or complaint, everyone can see the interaction.

This change increases the importance of having high-quality customer reviews.

App Store Changes Call Businesses to Rethink ASO

Upcoming changes to Apple’s App Store signal a shift in strategy for app marketers.

Here are three observations to keep in mind to prepare for the updates.

More Opportunities to Add Keywords

Businesses can target specific keywords in three updated fields in the App Store: app title, subtitle, and description fields.

The structure is similar to app product pages on Google Play. Until this year, however, Apple advised businesses that mentioning a keyword more than once did not increase chances of improving visibility in the store.

The impact of keywords on product page rank in the App Store will be interesting to track this fall.

Quality of App Throughout Life Cycle Matters

New product pages will display customer reviews written throughout an app’s life cycle, emphasizing the importance of customer feedback in the app selection process.

Emphasis on Curation

Introducing tabs that share news stories about apps or offer daily tips adds an editorial element to the App Store.

This content may keep app users browsing while educating them about the role apps play in the world.

Prepare for App Store 2.0

Changes to Apple’s App Store may affect businesses' ASO strategies throughout 2017.

It’s important to become familiar with the updates beforehand and adjust app marketing plans accordingly.

Some topics to consider include the role of keywords, customer reviews, and curation.

About the Author

Akhil Chandra is founder and CEO of Studio Mosaic.

Akhil Chandra is a mobile app expert and evangelist and Founder and CEO of Studio Mosaic, a full-service mobile app studio that offers app development and marketing services to clients across the world. Apart from his own portfolio of five apps, Akhil, through Studio Mosaic, is credited with creating and marketing 300+ apps for more than 150 clients, many of which have clocked more than a million downloads, been ranked No. 1 for their chosen keywords, and been featured by Apple. At Studio Mosaic, Akhil oversees the business development and app store marketing and consulting practices and regularly consults app entrepreneurs, and large enterprises on their app promotion and app store strategies.

Connect with Akhil on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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