(This article originally appeared on the Mobile Action blog)
The long-anticipated iOS11 is here and is ever since the announcement earlier this year, it's development has been closed watched by everyone in the app market.
If you haven’t been able to follow the most recent developments in iOS11, we bring to you a detailed look at every important change that is bound to affect how you plan out your ASO strategy.
So, What’s Up with iOS11?
Apple announced that they have improved their machine learning capabilities for the new mobile devices and the new iPhones support Augmented Reality. Both of these developments are inclined to open great opportunities for app development.
What’s more exciting is that the new App Store launches alongside iOS11 that will change the 9-year-old App Store from its core.
We believe that the changes that are coming to the App Store are very important for developers as doing ASO is even more important than ever.
So let’s go over the changes that are coming to the App Store one by one.
One of the most recognizable change is the addition of the Today tab. This tab will replace the Featured tab of the older versions.
Each day there will be some hand-picked content displayed as in the image above.
The Today tab will show you a game of the day, an app of the day, world premieres and new releases. However, with this development, it will become harder to get featured, but getting featured will be more impactful than before.
The Today tab will share various stories from developers around the world in addition to all of the featured content.
The Today tab is a living example of the value Apple gives to User Experience.
2. Games & Apps
One of the most frequently demanded changes to the App Store has finally come with the launch of iOS11. From now on Apps and Games will have their own store. Games have historically been the biggest category under App Store with so many sub-categories while also being the most competitive one.
With this change, both categories (Apps&Games) will become less competitive. This will create some breathing space for apps, especially under the Apps category. However, the Games category can get even more competitive than before. Only time will tell.
3. The Product Page
Perhaps the greatest number of changes will come to the Product Page:
The App Title:
The most notable one is probably the new character limitation of 30 characters for the App Title.
When you have a look at how Apple has handled the character limitations, you know it used to be 255 and then 50, you can see how much value Apple gives to User Experience as they don’t want the App Store to be flooded with Apps that have messy long titles that make it confusing for the user when searching for an app.
From now on, deciding on the App title is extremely important and you should look for a simple, catchy, easily spelled title that describes your app the best.
Remember you have 30 characters, make the most of it!
While shortening the App Title, Apple is giving you them back in the Subtitle field.
Subtitles will appear below your App Title and again will be 30 characters long. This is a very good chance that will allow you to draw the attention of your potential users.
Your subtitle should be a short phrase that indicates the main function of your app. Your subtitle is a new, additional way to draw the attention of potential users and a good subtitle can help secure a good conversion rate.
Keep in mind that you can only change your subtitle with an update.
One major update is coming to the App Previews. From now on you will be able to have up to three App Previews!
That’s right, more importantly, these previews will be on autoplay with their sound muted. So your App Previews are much more effective at getting you conversions. Make sure that the first ten seconds of your preview is interesting enough to catch the attention of the user.
Your previews should show the functionality, features and the UI of your app.
Also, with iOS11 you are now able to localize your App Previews.
If the previews aren’t played for some reason it will display it’s poster frame so keeping that in mind can also be helpful.
Now, this is new. Apple is giving you a new way to easily promote your App as from now on your App Description can be changed only with an update. Instead, you can use this text space which has a 170 character limit. The Promotional Text will appear above your description.
You can use the promotional text to notify your users about upcoming changes, new features, limited time sales, events and much more. The best part is that you don’t need an update to change this text.
In the new App Store users can see some of the In-App Purchases for an app by going to the pricing tab. At this page you can show up to 20 items that can be purchased in your app.
More importantly, users can purchase those items without opening or even downloading the app. However, if they haven’t downloaded the app starting a purchase automatically redirects them to download it.
The items you highlight for the In-App Purchases have their own short description and icon. So make sure that the visual clearly indicates what they are buying and the description is descriptive enough about the product.
Keep in mind that your App should support the new SKPaymentTransactionObserver method to benefit from this feature.
Reviews & Ratings:
The Reviews & Ratings part has gone under a major overhaul.
From now on, Apple will show your Average Rating and Ratings for all versions on the App Store. If you were an app developer that got punished by regular content updates as previously Apple only showed the Rating for the Current Version, with iOS11, you have the chance to choose when to get your rating reset so that past mistakes don’t punish you in the future.
Also with the launch of iOS11, app owners will have the option to respond to user reviews. These responses will be displayed below the review. The users have the option to revise their review after a response has been made.
This development opens up the possibility to have a sort of customer support for your apps that will be vital for the longevity of the success of your app.
4. An Overall Look At the New App Store
The new App Store is promising many new opportunities for both users and app owners. By enhancing the visuality of the App Store, Apple is encouraging users to discover more in the App Store. With more curated content and hand-picked featured apps, the App Store is becoming a much different experience than before.
All of these changes will most surely affect your ASO strategy as the creatives of your App are much more comprehensive and detailed than before.
As always, Mobile Action has been quite actively following the developments regarding iOS11 and we will adjust our system according to the changes that Apple will make to its algorithm.
Keep in mind that the new App Store will still support previous versions. However, in the older versions, the old rules of the App Store will apply. For example, if you have three previews of your app only the first one will be shown. So when optimizing your app for the iOS11, don’t forget how it will appear on the older versions.
We are excited that the 9-year-old App Store is finally getting the revamp it deserved and hope that it will bare new opportunities to app developers.