Yesterday, Apple held the keynote presentation of its annual WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) in San Francisco. The company announced a myriad of new products and features, including iOS 8, the latest edition of the mobile operating system, which will be available to the public later this fall.Overall, Apple's announcements are quite strong, especially for app developers; for app marketers, Business of Apps nicely summed up the main improvements included in the release.Here, we would like to focus on just a few which we believe will directly impact the life of mobile marketers. Then, as it has also been noted that many of these new features effectively close gaps between iOS and Android (widgets and third-party keyboard integrations in particular), we would like cast a light on a few things that we would like Apple to catch up on in terms of app store marketing.
What we likedIn a previous post, we highlighted that App Store Optimization (ASO) is essentially about two things: discovery and conversion. Here's how Apple's new features help both of these:Discovery:
- "Explore" Tab": this new page in the App Store will improve discovery through a couple features:
- "Trending Searches": this feature will help discover apps which are popular at a particular time and independently from the top charts (similar to Twitter).
- Then, the new "Explore" tab will also allow users to go through categories and sub-categories seamlessly, via a continuous-scrolling interface.
- "Spotlight Searches": system-level searches will now return results from the App Store and not only from the apps installed on the user's device, thereby improving discovery and additional downloads.
- The search navigation system is back to vertical scrolling. That's also a good thing.
- "App Bundles": publishers will have the possibility to bundle several apps together and offer them at a discount, in an effort to facilitate and increase sales. Whether this will somewhat readjust the balance in the revenue between paid apps and in-app purchases is left to see.
- "Video Clips": this is by far the biggest improvement to help conversion in the App Store, as publishers will from now on be able to showcase their app through a short, "vine style" video on their app's page. As reported in an earlier post, this feature had been predicted by Stefan Bielau at the App Promotion Summit Berlin back in November 2013. As for all other App Store assets (except for the description), it is likely that these video clips will have to go through Apple's scrutiny and require to go through the update process.
What we would have liked to see
- More transparency in iTunes Connect: between the click and the download, the App Store remains a black box. It would be great for Apple to allow developers and publishers, beyond the mere install rate (or conversion rate) to really understand what goes on with their users: did the users find the app through search, top charts, or recommended apps? Did they read the whole description before downloading it? Ideally, Apple would make this data available to third-party tracking solutions so as to associate it with other metrics and parameters, such as click-through rate and the acquisition channel.
- A/B testing: Apple should enable publishers to A/B test as many app store assets as possible (e.g. logo, screenshots, description, and even app name), instead of having to rely on work-around solutions, such as spending advertising money on displaying test creatives.
- Intra-app searches: allowing Spotlight to look for apps both on the device and the App Store is a good first step, but it would be good for Apple to enable users to look for content within 3rd party apps as well (as is the case on Android). This would increase engagement levels for apps which have the content that users are looking for.