The Worldwide Developer Conference is one of those events tech enthusiasts and app developers hardly miss. With tons of news, product releases, and updates, Apple never fails to deliver on the expectations built before the event. WWDC21 was as exciting as expected, with some interesting App Store Updates.
With iOS 15, Apple announced in fact some new features that will help app developers “build better apps”. With over 600 million visitors in a year worldwide, Apple finally announced some new product updates that affect directly the App Store, giving both developers and ASO experts some new cool toys to play with. As a matter of fact, with iOS 15 (most likely released in September 2021), we will be able to:
- Optimize product pages with A/B test of key listing’s features
- Publish up to 35 product pages to show custom content
- Promote in-app events to showcase specific occasions to drive users to the app
With iOS 15, Apple finally puts on-par its App Store to the Google Play Store A/B test capabilities. Let’s have a deeper look at what changed from an App Store Optimization perspective.
App Product Page
Product page optimization
With this new feature, app developers and marketers will be able to finally test different elements directly on the App Store product page. Although we won’t be able to test all the elements that could impact conversion, Apple confirms that we will have the chance to run up to “three different treatments” (A/B/C test) to see which one performs best. We will be able to test app icons, screenshots, and app previews and check the performance of the tests for 90 days in the App Analytics section of our App Store Connect.
Apple also suggests testing one element at a time, reinforcing in this way the message that the App Store Optimization process is iterative and not a one-time thing. On top of that, it’s important to note that any alternate metadata will need to be submitted for review, while screenshots and app previews, can be submitted for review independently of a new app version.
Custom product pages
App developers will be able to create multiple custom product pages to showcase different features or content of their app to different users, such as a particular sport, character, show, or gameplay feature. Custom product pages will be designed to have promotional text, screenshots, and app previews, different from those displayed on the default product page. There will also be the possibility to direct specific audiences to a relevant product page using its unique URL.
This new feature will allow developers to create new custom product pages in App Store Connect at any moment, publish up to 35 at a time and submit them for review independent of their app updates.
Also, in this case, developers will be able to run A/B testing with App Analytics in order to monitor the success, measure retention data, and average proceeds per paying user of each custom product page.
Product page optimization and custom product pages are without any doubts related and there are some questions/doubts that Apple might need to shed some light on in the next few months. For example, can we direct users of a specific campaign (not on the Apple network) to a specific custom page? Can we test more elements than what suggested in the Product Page Optimization features? How will the 2 features be tracked separately in the App Analytics?
Custom Product page is undoubtedly a great new feature that could help marketers redirect users to specific “landing pages”, and in this way, help us track creative effectiveness (something that now with the SKAdNetwork is not possible anymore).
Thanks to the feature “In-App events”, developers will finally have the chance to advertise the dynamic occurrences that are taking place inside their apps on an ongoing basis. As pointed out by Apple itself, apps and games are constantly rolling out new content and limited-time events, but these events were often only discoverable by those who already had the app installed and then opted in to push notifications.
Events will be showcased on the app’s product page and users will be able to learn more about these, sign up to be notified, or quickly join if it’s happening at that time. It will be also possible to discover events with personalized recommendations and through App Store search. Moreover, the new App Store widget will also present upcoming events on the users’ home screen.
In-app events appear on the App Store on the new “Event card”. The design is focused on letting the content come front and center and support either an image or a video. The event card will also display the event name, a short description and a time indicator which automatically update as the event approaches and once it starts. On the app’s product page, events will be listed in order of their start and priority. Their location on the product page varies, with events appearing above screenshots for users who have downloaded the app and below screenshots for those who haven’t.
In-App events will be showcased in:
- The product page, where also all other events will be displayed
- The Search results, when users search for the app, an event card will appear along with the app itself
- Editorial section curated by the Apple team
Developers and marketers will be able to promote those in-app events with email, advertising, and social media, with a direct link to the event detail page.
We can configure the in-app events directly in the App Store Connect, and submit them for review independently of app releases. It’s important to avoid any claim in the event that can’t be verified, such as “the #1” or “the best”. There are also different types of event badge that we can select:
- Challenge: Activities encouraging the user to achieve a goal before the event ends. Think of a fitness challenge in a workout app or beating a certain level in a game.
- Competition: Activities in which users compete against one another for the highest-ranking or simply to win rewards. For example, a tournament where players battle to win the most matches.
- Live Event: Activities that occur in real-time that all users can experience simultaneously. What better example than a sports match with the upcoming Euro cup?
- Major Update: Introducing significant new features, content, or experiences. For example, the launch of new game modes or levels.
- New Season: Introducing new content, storylines, or media libraries, such as a new season of a television show or a new battle pass in a game.
- Premiere: First-time availability of content or media. For example, newly released movies or audio.
- Special Event: Limited-time events that span multiple activities or experiences not captured by another event badge. For example, an event featuring a collaboration.
There’s no doubt that with iOS 15 we will experience a whole new level of improving the App Store Page and with the new features, Apple is giving all app developers a possibility to easily test new elements of their page without looking for 3rd party solution. App Store Optimization takes an even more important role in the overall growth strategy of any mobile app. Staying up to date is a must.