iOS 11 App Store Challenges, Google Play Strikes Back
We are starting a tradition of publishing an ASO news digest every two weeks. Lately much has happened in the world of ASO, first with Google I/O in May and now with WWDC in June. So there couldn’t be better timing for this idea to come up. Besides, today ASOdesk is officially 1 year old! (Read the digest up to the end and discover some pleasant incentive).
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What’s new with App Store
To cut a long story short? Plenty!
New Review Guidelines
With the new iOS 11 coming out this autumn many changes are introduced within App Store as well. And these changes start at the stage of submitting your app to iTunes Connect, as Apple has updated its Review Guidelines. Some paragraphs were rewritten, some removed.
- Rules for responding to users’ reviews have been set (spoiler: developers should be respectful). Besides, no custom begging for reviews within the app will be allowed — only through the use of Apple-provided API: users of iOS 11 will have the option to easily turn off these prompts.
- 32-bit apps will be removed from App Store (at the moment they are already hidden from search results). And this counts to 200,000 apps altogether. So make sure to transfer your app to a 64-bit processor. Old and abandoned apps will be removed.
- Other apps that are at risk of deletion and won’t be approved on App Store anymore are binary options trading apps, and apps created from templates or with the help of generating tools.
- One of the essential changes will be the ability to implement a Phased Release of your app. This means that you can set the number of devices that should receive your app when you submit an update to test infrastructure and ensure a positive rollout.
- Other restrictions of the guidelines presume that app description should provide info on the types of access requested by your app (location, contacts, calendar, etc.) and name the features that won’t work without permitted access; also for reading apps info on in-apps and purchasing methods should be given in the description.
New App Store Design
New App Store outlooks affect greatly the familiar patterns of app promotion. The current redesign has altered the structure of App Store. Only “Search” and “Updates” tabs are left of the previous design.
- Games get their own tab and are separated from other apps. This is actually good because each section gets its own top charts and the apps now won’t have to compete with hyped and overhyped games.
- Much emphasis is given to the stories format in the “Today” tab, so editorial marketing will enhance its significance.
- The top grossing chart is most likely removed from App Store, totally undermining the idea of Marketing Research and Intelligence for developers. Though Apple does provide an RSS feed for this feature, it’s not for sure that it will provide this feed after the final iOS 11 launch.
Product page new version sets the ground for numerous experiments with ASO.
- The title is now limited to 30 characters, but there appears a subtitle, also of 30 characters, — so together it is 10 characters longer than in the old times.
- Two more video previews are added to demonstrate app features thoroughly.
- Promotional text up to 170 characters are added. It’s very possible that its contents will be taken into account in search results.
- Subscriptions and in-app purchases can be bought directly from the product page.
- And finally, the ratings and reviews will be given for the whole app’s existence in App Store, not just for the latest version. Now it’s up to a developer to decide what rating model he prefers.
Also worthy of note is the fact that iOS 11 will automatically remove apps from users’ phones when there’s lack of storage space. The feature is called Offload Unused Apps and is turned on manually by users in their iTunes settings. The binary of the less frequently app is removed, but documents and data remain intact.
And to finish with the topic of App Store, there is a fascinating investigation by Johnny Lin on how fake apps appear next to top ones (like Microsoft OneDrive) and easily make 80,000 dollars per month. Intrigued?
What’s New With Google Play
Google Play had its share of limelight earlier in May after Google I/O, but nevertheless, it continues to keep up with Apple as if not letting the latter steal its thunder.
- After new limits to app name in App Store were introduced, many developers discovered that Google Play, on the contrary, increased its app name field to 50 characters. It hasn’t been officially announced and could be just Google picking on Apple, but still can be used in optimization purposes.
- Can’t be a direct response (because there would have been no time to prepare), but a couple of days ago Google presented “Android Excellence” collections which mirror’s both Apple’s idea of a division between games and apps and its focus on editorial content.
- Continuing to concern about the authenticity of its reviews and ratings, Google Play has updated its Developer Program Policies on incentivized ratings, reviews, and installs. Good news: apps with fake reviews won’t be removed from the store. The not-so-good news: apps will be removed from top charts, developers will be monitored.
- In the coming months, Android O will have the consumer launch, so developers are encouraged to make their apps compatible with the new platform as soon as possible. Google promises that new features of Android O will do developers only good, as they will get more tools for user engagement like notification channels and badges and even picture-in-picture mode.
- Among other important Android, O novelties are adaptive icons. Here is a step-by-step manual on how to create one.
- Enough with art 😉 Don’t forget about money! Because Google hasn’t forgotten and this week has introduced Play Billing Library which will help to easily integrate Android apps with the In-app Billing API.