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Apple’s iOS 15 Custom Product Pages & Their Impact on ASO

by ,  Head of ASO at AppTweak Advanced ASO

On December 8, 2021, Apple released highly anticipated and significant new features for App Store Optimization (ASO), including in-app events, product page optimization (native A/B testing on the App Store), and custom product pages (CPP).

In this blog, we will take an in-depth look at custom product pages and their impact on ASO. In particular, we will answer the following questions:

  • What are custom product pages?
  • When should you use custom product pages?
  • How do custom product pages impact ASO?
  • Tips to set custom product pages up
  • How to leverage custom product pages on the App Store

What are custom product pages?

Custom product pages are alternate versions of an App Store product page that app marketers can create to highlight different functionalities, content, or offers than those shown on their default page. As a result, marketers can leverage these page variations to target different segments of their target audience. With custom product pages, developers can:

  • Create up to 35 customized variants of their default product page per language
  • Change their promotional text, screenshots, and/or app preview video with each variant

Custom product pages are accessible via a unique URL (not via app store organic search). As a result, traffic driven to the custom product page comes from direct and referral traffic, helping app marketers better adapt their message to audiences coming from different channels (and thus improve the performance of efforts, such as paid ad campaigns, influencer marketing, or other marketing initiatives).

Apple's custom product pages will allow app marketers to customize their app preview videos, screenshots, and/or promotional text on the App Store. They will be localizable and accessible via a unique URL.Apple’s custom product pages allow app marketers to customize their app preview videos, screenshots, and/or promotional text on the App Store. They are localizable and accessible via a unique URL (source: developer.apple.com).

Custom product pages are also compatible with Apple Search Ads. As Apple retired its Creative Sets functionality towards the beginning of 2022, instead, you can now link to custom product pages to create different ad variants. When using custom product pages with Apple Search Ads, you can create more relevant ads for a varied audience.

Custom product pages, a game-changer for UA managers, are compatible with all ad networks that support a unique URL. But on Facebook, for example, you don’t have the option to provide a unique URL when creating app campaigns just yet.

When should you use custom product pages?

With CPP, Apple provides developers with many opportunities to target specific user personas on different channels with unique messaging. As a result, developers can implement custom product pages for the following use cases:

To streamline your app page with your campaign messaging or target audience

Custom product pages are fundamental to advertising managers looking to promote certain features, new content, or special discounts and promotions. With this new function, advertisers can align what users see on the app page with the advertising message they see on promotional campaigns. The following examples help us understand this better:

Highlight features and functionalities

The social networking app Bumble is divided into three main functionalities: Bumble Date, Bumble BFF, and Bumble Bizz. When Bumble runs an advertising campaign targeted to users most interested in Bumble Bizz, they could create a custom product page highlighting Bumble Bizz’s main benefits rather than Bumble Date’s features. They could then direct traffic from Bumble Bizz marketing campaigns to the Bumble Bizz custom product page.

Take advantage of content preferences

The ESPN sports app could create a variety of custom product pages when setting up different types of advertising campaigns that target football fans, baseball fans, or basketball fans. When relevant fans engage with the advertising, they will land on an app page that showcases their sport of interest or favorite team.

Showcase deals and promotions

The music streaming app Deezer could create a custom product page to highlight a “3-month free” offer exclusively for consumers buying a sound device in a partner electronics store. Deezer could then have their partner link to this custom product page. In such a case, a custom product page would communicate the offer, thus maximizing downloads while avoiding frustrating ineligible users.

Make use of the traffic source/medium

Similar to content preferences, users may react better to a custom product page that showcases creatives linked to the specific channel that drove them to the App Store. For instance, the game Dragon City may want to create a custom product page highlighting the role of a popular influencer that was asked to drive awareness around their app. This technique would aim to extend the impact of the influencer campaign and increase conversion. Harmonizing creatives and messages with custom product pages could therefore drive downloads without confusing users coming from other traffic sources.

Advertisers could also use custom product pages to dynamically optimize campaign performance. For instance, you may want to use one custom product page on weekdays and another on the weekend as part of the same campaign.

To A/B test different store assets

Custom product pages could be used as an alternative to product page optimization (Apple’s A/B testing feature). You could create two or more custom product pages for the same campaign and test which page converts better. This is a very interesting use case for developers looking to A/B test on the App Store despite the many challenges they currently face with Apple’s newly released product page optimization feature.

A guide to App Store product page optimization

To get detailed insights on reporting and attribution

The Analytics section of App Store Connect allows developers to measure impressions, downloads, conversion rate as well as proceeds and retention per custom product page. In particular, these metrics aggregated in App Store Connect will not be subject to the same type of user consent required by the App Tracking Transparency framework.

While Apple does require user consent to collect user data, this process is independent of the ATT consent prompt that any app must display before sharing data with third-party attribution tools or advertising networks. Consequently, data observed in App Store Connect might be based on larger volumes than in third-party tools if users consent more easily to Apple’s data collection than to app tracking.

How do custom product pages impact ASO?

Custom product pages are only accessible via a unique URL and are not indexed in the App Store. However, marketers should understand that the feature could still impact ASO, since custom product pages help to boost the download velocity and conversion rates of apps and games that implement them well. As a result, the most successful apps in custom product page implementation could, in fact, see organic rankings increase as the aforementioned criteria may act as signals for Apple’s ranking algorithms.

Furthermore, as custom product pages are compatible with Apple Search Ads, they are beneficial to keyword-specific conversion rates that play a major role in organic keyword rankings. Overall, while much of the challenge lies in the hands of the referrer and the efficient segmentation of consumers, ASO teams can play an important role in understanding the potential of different sources of referral traffic and accurately creating store-appropriate assets for these custom product pages to match the relevant user personae.

An example of Apple’s custom product pages on the App Store.An example of Apple’s custom product pages on the App Store (Source: developer.apple.com)

Tips to set up custom product pages

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when setting up custom product pages on App Store Connect:

  • In their dedicated session at WWDC 2021, Apple shared that all developers will be able to set up custom product pages from their App Store Connect consoles.
  • Since developers do not need to submit a new app build to upload assets for custom product pages, they are able to set up CPP independent of their iOS developers’ submission schedule. However, it does not exempt custom product pages assets from being reviewed by Apple, so make sure that all your custom product page creatives are compliant with the App Store guidelines, and that you upload them for review at least a few days before their associated referrer campaign goes live.
  • Apple has yet to release specific information regarding the localizability of custom product pages, so keep an eye out for announcements as to whether a single custom product page can be created in multiple languages, or if every language will require one dedicated custom product page out of the 35 maximum announced.

Takeaways

Tailored to target different groups of people by creating different product pages, custom product pages are revolutionary in the app marketing world on iOS. Let’s see the key takeaways of this powerful feature:

  • Custom product pages are the first customizable store landing pages on the App Store, allowing developers to showcase different promotional text, screenshots, and/or app preview videos than on their default product page to maximize the performance of specific referrer traffic segments.
  • These pages are invaluable when running ads from multiple paid UA channels or other efforts, such as social media contests, influencer campaigns, or email marketing. Messaging can match many different sources by driving traffic directly via a unique App Store URL.
  • While they do not directly impact organic rankings, custom product pages can still benefit the ASO of best-in-class apps that do improve their overall conversion and download velocity.
  • Setting up custom product pages does not require a new app submission but is still subject to Apple’s creatives’ review.

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by ,  Head of ASO at AppTweak

Simon is Head of ASO at AppTweak, helping apps boost their visibility and downloads. He's passionate about new technologies, growth organizations, and inline speed skating.