Apple’s App Store is about to undergo several major changes that mobile marketers utilizing ASO tactics need to be prepared for. Apple unveiled iOS 8 at the annual Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco on Monday. The early previews make it clear: Apple is trying to improve the way users discover apps, and all content, for that matter. That means changes to iOS 8 app store optimization strategy.
Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi demoed the new iOS 8 features on stage, including the ability to “family share” music, movies and more — a potential revenue loss for publishers? He also revealed integrated product synergy with TestFlight, an app sharing testing tool the company purchased earlier this year.
However, it was when Federighi spoke about the changes to the App Store that my ears really perked up. Apple’s search algorithm is already complex and, to some degree, difficult to figure out. I’ve spent a lot of time dissecting the ways app store optimization helps improve search ranking in the Store. New discovery options certainly could complicate the landscape for marketers, but also appears to present exciting new opportunities.
Here are six iOS 8 App Store features that marketers need to be aware of:
Related Terms – When you search “winery” in the App Store, no longer will you get just Winery Passport as the top search result. You’ll also find a suggested list of two or three related keywords (one-word or longtail) that may get you even closer to your desired app. Related terms will be useful for keyword optimization as marketers use them as potential options towards their 100-character allotment.
Trending – Twitter has trending. Now so does the App Store. Apple will pool together the Top 10 trending search terms in the Store to show what people are looking for. There will be some obvious keyword piggybacking from developers on this front. Where I see trending as extremely valuable is for determining how users are searching. For instance, if a slew of users are looking for “word game fun” instead of “word game,” that shows precise keywords aren’t always the best route to go. Related terms and trending certainly work towards all of our advantage when trying to determine an app store optimization strategy.
Vertical Scrolling – There was some debate when iOS 7 came out regarding screenshots being included in search results. It meant not as many apps could appear on the screen at one time — only one could. The upside was the screenshot served as a more prominent storefront for developers. Something I also noticed as Federighi scrolled through the App Store was that he did so vertically instead of horizontally. Since Apple’s vertical scrolling is extremely fluid, I suspect users will be able to fly through search results at a much quicker pace than currently.
Dual Screenshots – It’s widely known that the first screenshot has the best opportunity to make a positive first impression on potential downloaders. Something not many people noticed in the presentation, however, was the App Store displayed two screenshots. While that means smaller scale screenshots in search results, it also offers another “sales” opportunity to get someone to download your app.
Video – There was some chatter last month about video trailers coming to the App Store. They’re here. Developers and marketers will now be able to show a short video trailer highlighting their apps features, similar to how Google Play allows it. This is a great exposure opportunity to highlight app features. We know video ads perform better than static ads. Maybe this is what the App Store could use to help boost downloads. With new features like video trailers making their way into iTunes Connect, I have to imagine Apple will weight apps that use all marketing opportunities slightly higher in search results.
Bundling – Developers can now offer package deals on their apps through a bundling option. This presents a great chance for additional revenue in the Store. While bundling will be available for paid apps, it’s unclear whether apps that utilize in-app purchases will be able to partake.
What are your thoughts on the new iOS 8 and how it will impact your app store optimization strategy? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.