Locked In: Why AppStore Marketing Has Just Gotten Tougher

By Thomas Sommer | January 11th, 2013
AppStore marketing is a challenging sport.

In our last article we highlighted the importance of having all your AppStore visual assets ready as early as possible. This requisite has just been made all the more stringent by Apple who announced that, as of January 10 2013, screenshots will be locked once the app has been approved. This change in policy seems justified by their efforts to thwart a common scamming tactic employed by fake apps, which resides in swapping out approved screenshots with new ones stolen from popular iOS titles, in order to lure users in.

AppStore marketing is a challenging sport.

In our last article we highlighted the importance of having all your AppStore visual assets ready as early as possible. This requisite has just been made all the more stringent by Apple who announced that, as of January 10 2013, screenshots will be locked once the app has been approved. This change in policy seems justified by their efforts to thwart a common scamming tactic employed by fake apps, which resides in swapping out approved screenshots with new ones stolen from popular iOS titles, in order to lure users in.

AppStore marketing is a challenging sport.

In our last article we highlighted the importance of having all your AppStore visual assets ready as early as possible. This requisite has just been made all the more stringent by Apple who announced that, as of January 10 2013, screenshots will be locked once the app has been approved. This change in policy seems justified by their efforts to thwart a common scamming tactic employed by fake apps, which resides in swapping out approved screenshots with new ones stolen from popular iOS titles, in order to lure users in.

AppStore marketing is a challenging sport.

In our last article we highlighted the importance of having all your AppStore visual assets ready as early as possible. This requisite has just been made all the more stringent by Apple who announced that, as of January 10 2013, screenshots will be locked once the app has been approved. This change in policy seems justified by their efforts to thwart a common scamming tactic employed by fake apps, which resides in swapping out approved screenshots with new ones stolen from popular iOS titles, in order to lure users in.

This new rule means that, from now on, it will require a full update to modify an app's screenshots, as was already the case with the icon, title and keywords. For now, the description can still be changed at any time, without the need for review.

This seems like a very drastic measure in an otherwise laudable attempt to protect customers from scam, especially since no warning was given, and severely penalizes the vast majority of legitimate publishers who used this flexibility to test their marketing assets. It's a big hurdle to all content-heavy apps in particular, which often relied on this feature to reflect and market their changing content.

A more amenable solution would have been to create a specific, lighter review process for meta-data (marketing assets) or simply to let users report scams after approval.

For app developers and marketers, the main consequences are:

    • Screenshots must be spot-on by the time your game goes into review. Actually, they should be when you submit the app, as you never know how long it will take for Apple to start the process. Therefore you need to reorganize your marketing plan in order to get everything finished in time.
    • Screenshots become more a part of the product itself and less of a flexible marketing variable for A/B testing. Pay attention to their consistency with the rest of your product marketing.
    • With the release of iOS 6, screenshots have become the main visual asset for AppStore optimization and user acquisition marketing (especially the first one, which appears in search). The fact that they need to be finalized by the time of the submission means that the marketing and tech teams should work closer together than ever before, in order to sync up for the app's release and update calendar. Of course, you can submit a marketing update without any significant changes to the app's binary, but given the time it might take for the approval to go through, you'd rather do it in one shot.

IMG_0966

    • If you do go for a marketing-only update (note that you still need to submit a binary), take this opportunity to revamp all your other assets (icon, title, keywords).
Good luck to all app devs, publishers and marketers out there!PS: if you've got any specific question, or if you would like to suggest us a topic for a future post, please drop us a line at blog-at-www.applift.com!

This new rule means that, from now on, it will require a full update to modify an app's screenshots, as was already the case with the icon, title and keywords. For now, the description can still be changed at any time, without the need for review.

This seems like a very drastic measure in an otherwise laudable attempt to protect customers from scam, especially since no warning was given, and severely penalizes the vast majority of legitimate publishers who used this flexibility to test their marketing assets. It's a big hurdle to all content-heavy apps in particular, which often relied on this feature to reflect and market their changing content.

A more amenable solution would have been to create a specific, lighter review process for meta-data (marketing assets) or simply to let users report scams after approval.

For app developers and marketers, the main consequences are:

    • Screenshots must be spot-on by the time your game goes into review. Actually, they should be when you submit the app, as you never know how long it will take for Apple to start the process. Therefore you need to reorganize your marketing plan in order to get everything finished in time.
    • Screenshots become more a part of the product itself and less of a flexible marketing variable for A/B testing. Pay attention to their consistency with the rest of your product marketing.
    • With the release of iOS 6, screenshots have become the main visual asset for AppStore optimization and user acquisition marketing (especially the first one, which appears in search). The fact that they need to be finalized by the time of the submission means that the marketing and tech teams should work closer together than ever before, in order to sync up for the app's release and update calendar. Of course, you can submit a marketing update without any significant changes to the app's binary, but given the time it might take for the approval to go through, you'd rather do it in one shot.

IMG_0966

    • If you do go for a marketing-only update (note that you still need to submit a binary), take this opportunity to revamp all your other assets (icon, title, keywords).
Good luck to all app devs, publishers and marketers out there!PS: if you've got any specific question, or if you would like to suggest us a topic for a future post, please drop us a line at blog-at-www.applift.com!

This new rule means that, from now on, it will require a full update to modify an app's screenshots, as was already the case with the icon, title and keywords. For now, the description can still be changed at any time, without the need for review.

This seems like a very drastic measure in an otherwise laudable attempt to protect customers from scam, especially since no warning was given, and severely penalizes the vast majority of legitimate publishers who used this flexibility to test their marketing assets. It's a big hurdle to all content-heavy apps in particular, which often relied on this feature to reflect and market their changing content.

A more amenable solution would have been to create a specific, lighter review process for meta-data (marketing assets) or simply to let users report scams after approval.

For app developers and marketers, the main consequences are:

    • Screenshots must be spot-on by the time your game goes into review. Actually, they should be when you submit the app, as you never know how long it will take for Apple to start the process. Therefore you need to reorganize your marketing plan in order to get everything finished in time.
    • Screenshots become more a part of the product itself and less of a flexible marketing variable for A/B testing. Pay attention to their consistency with the rest of your product marketing.
    • With the release of iOS 6, screenshots have become the main visual asset for AppStore optimization and user acquisition marketing (especially the first one, which appears in search). The fact that they need to be finalized by the time of the submission means that the marketing and tech teams should work closer together than ever before, in order to sync up for the app's release and update calendar. Of course, you can submit a marketing update without any significant changes to the app's binary, but given the time it might take for the approval to go through, you'd rather do it in one shot.

IMG_0966

    • If you do go for a marketing-only update (note that you still need to submit a binary), take this opportunity to revamp all your other assets (icon, title, keywords).
Good luck to all app devs, publishers and marketers out there!PS: if you've got any specific question, or if you would like to suggest us a topic for a future post, please drop us a line at blog-at-www.applift.com!

This new rule means that, from now on, it will require a full update to modify an app's screenshots, as was already the case with the icon, title and keywords. For now, the description can still be changed at any time, without the need for review.

This seems like a very drastic measure in an otherwise laudable attempt to protect customers from scam, especially since no warning was given, and severely penalizes the vast majority of legitimate publishers who used this flexibility to test their marketing assets. It's a big hurdle to all content-heavy apps in particular, which often relied on this feature to reflect and market their changing content.

A more amenable solution would have been to create a specific, lighter review process for meta-data (marketing assets) or simply to let users report scams after approval.

For app developers and marketers, the main consequences are:

    • Screenshots must be spot-on by the time your game goes into review. Actually, they should be when you submit the app, as you never know how long it will take for Apple to start the process. Therefore you need to reorganize your marketing plan in order to get everything finished in time.
    • Screenshots become more a part of the product itself and less of a flexible marketing variable for A/B testing. Pay attention to their consistency with the rest of your product marketing.
    • With the release of iOS 6, screenshots have become the main visual asset for AppStore optimization and user acquisition marketing (especially the first one, which appears in search). The fact that they need to be finalized by the time of the submission means that the marketing and tech teams should work closer together than ever before, in order to sync up for the app's release and update calendar. Of course, you can submit a marketing update without any significant changes to the app's binary, but given the time it might take for the approval to go through, you'd rather do it in one shot.

IMG_0966

    • If you do go for a marketing-only update (note that you still need to submit a binary), take this opportunity to revamp all your other assets (icon, title, keywords).
Good luck to all app devs, publishers and marketers out there!PS: if you've got any specific question, or if you would like to suggest us a topic for a future post, please drop us a line at blog-at-www.applift.com!

Thomas Sommer
Thomas heads up content marketing at AppLift. As such he’s in charge of sourcing, curating, creating and distributing insightful content to increase visibility and thought leadership for the company. Thomas loves to scrutinize the relentless and trilling developments of the mobile industry. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thomas