It was all over the news, the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2014 took place on 2 – 6 June in San Francisco. Among many other announcements, Apple unveiled its new Operating Systems iOS8 and OSX10.10. New tools for developers were also introduced. We will review the major changes that will actually have an impact on App Store Optimization. Are you ready? Let’s do this!
iOS8: the big change?
It’s official; the Apple App Store counts more than 1.2 million apps today. Getting an app found on iTunes is therefore becoming increasingly difficult. Developers struggle to push their app in the front seat of the App Store while users are overwhelmed with tons and tons of apps.
With iOS8, Apple shows its will to enhance both app developers and users’ experience on the App Store. It seems that the two main objectives were to facilitate the apps search as well as making life easier for developers. App marketers will have to capitalize on these new features if they want to succeed.
These changes will affect the way apps are searched, found and displayed in the App Store. Let’s review the most important changes that were made in this massive App Store overhaul…
1. Video Previews
Many had predicted it… Well, it finally happened. Apple now enables developers to upload a video preview of their app on the App Store! Although Google Play had it for a while, this new feature is considered to be a huge improvement in the Apple App Store. Actually, maybe one of the most important in the App Marketing field. Descriptions, which are already not very read, might end up not being read at all…
Videos will benefit users who will have a stronger overview of the app before downloading it. They will whether be reassured and seduced or they will simply find out that the app is not matching their expectations.
From another perspective, app promo videos give developers one more chance to convince users to click on the beloved “download” button. They have the possibility to showcase their awesome features in an original and exciting way. It has been proven that videos are much more convincing than written content as they simply reflect more the reality and demand less work to comprehend. In this case, the video player will fill the whole screen and therefore give users the impression to try the app for real. Videos are also powerful attention-grabbers.
You got it; video previews are extremely powerful and important. Don’t bother uploading a low-quality video because it will certainly dissuade people to download your app. Take the time to craft a high-quality video and if you really want to increase your chances, why not hire a professional like 87seconds, an agency specialized in animated explanation videos. Of course, the video quality goes hand in hand with the quality of your app… so be sure to have a great app before working on anything else!
2. 2 Screenshots instead of 1
With the new “Video Preview” feature, Apple is taking into account the increasing importance of visual material in marketing. In the same vein, another interesting change is the addition of one screenshot on the 1st page of an app, the one displayed in the search results.
We already covered the importance of screenshots, and especially the one on this 1st page because it is actually making the app first impression. Again, this change is killing two birds with one stone as it benefits both users and developers.
So be careful… Now that video previews are available, it does not mean that screenshots have less importance. They of course keep their powerful persuasive potential. Moreover, as stated, they convey the app first impression. Don’t forget that users will not necessarily watch your video but might only scroll your screenshots.
Screenshots and video preview should therefore be combined together to create a powerful marketing strategy.
3. Search & Discoverability improvements
- Discover Apps with “Explore”
In order to improve discoverability, the “Near Me” tab will be replaced by the “Explore” tab being much more easy-to-use and intuitive. It will actually allow users to browse categories and sub-categories. This will make their App Store exploration easier and much more precise.
- Discover hot stuff with “Trending Searches”
A brand new section called “Trending Searches” will give users the ability to look for the most popular searches of the moment. It basically gives a list of the top trending keywords searches on the App Store. This new feature seems to be a nice new way of exploring the App Store, with new interesting possibilities for developers.
- Related Search Suggestion
Apple now offers users related search suggestions. This concretely means that a once a search has been done, a list of related searches will appear above the search results. This list will be based on what other users searched in relation with the keyword or search actually entered.
This is all about suggestion. This new features comes in addition to the “Suggested Search” feature, appearing below the search box as users are typing in the search box. It will help users to sharpen their search and come up with more accurate results responding to what they’re looking for.
- Continuous Scrolling, Continuous Scrolling, Continuous Scrolling, Continuous Scro….
With iOS8, users will be able to scroll down the apps search results. This is a huge change as we’re shifting from a right-to-left swiping movement to a much more smooth and fastest navigation movement thanks to continuous scrolling.
This will certainly improve users searches experience, as they will be able to make them quicker and easier. Users will be able to explore more apps and delve deeper the App Store. Apps discoverability will therefore increase and that’s good news for developers.
All these changes in searches and App Store exploration will certainly give new opportunity to app makers, as they will have other keywords to focus on. They will have more insights on what users are often looking for, as well as the most popular keywords combination.
4. "App Bundles"
Finally, this new feature called “App Bundles” will be very helpful to app developers and publishers owning more than one app, especially a group of apps targeting the same audience. This feature will allow users to buy multiple apps in one click for a discounted group price.
It will certainly help developers to get their other apps known. Selling them at discount will reassure users in their purchase decision process. Indeed, it will give them a strong stimulation to hit the download button.
So we’ve seen that several important changes will actually impact the way App Store Optimization has to be done. App developers and marketers need to take these changes into account and re-think their strategy in order to maximize their chances of success.
If you missed the keynote on iOS8 (June 2th), you can review it here. Other videos and official announcements are available on Apple’s website. And if you’d like to read more about WWDC14, here’s a collection of articles covering the event.
What do you think about these changes? Do you have others in mind that will impact ASO? Share your thoughts in the comment section below…
By Laurie Galazzo