With the announcement of iOS8 at WWDC on Monday (June 2nd 2014), Apple covered some of the coming changes in the App Store application. This section was brief (only few minutes) but a lot was said and this will affect how our apps are presented in the store.
Below, I’ve listed the biggest changes that I saw coming in the App Store app in iOS8 and how it will change the way we do App Store Optimization (ASO).
#1 – Continuous Scrolling to let users see more apps after a search
With iOS6, Apple changed the App Store application on the iPhone to display only one application at a time. It was very good for the users as they see more details for each app and for the apps that are showing up first in the search but not so much for the other ones down the list. Forcing the users to swipe from right to left to see each app is a drag and is limiting the number of app impressions.
With the introduction of the vertical scrolling, users will be able to see more apps and stop on the one they like. It doesn’t look like a big change but I believe that it will allow users to go deeper in the search results.
#2 – 2 Screenshots instead of 1
Until now, I was always saying that our first screenshot was the most important. Why? Because it was the only one seen when your app is part of the search result on the iPhone. With the app icon, it was the only other image that could convince or not someone to download your app.
Things are now changing. I’m not sure if you caught it in the keynote but it looks like 2 screenshots will be displayed instead of 1. That’s a great change and all app publishers should review their apps and make sure that the top 2 screenshots are the best at telling what their app is about and why someone should download it.
Not sure how to create great looking screenshots? Then check my blog post that also contains a video tutorial.
#3 – Related Searches to easily do a more accurate search
In addition to suggested search (words suggested in the search field as you’re typing), Apple introduced “Related Searches” which appear after the search is done. As you can see on the photo above, these are “phrases” related to the searched word already entered.
Here for the search “Recipes” the following phrases were suggested: “Cooking Recipes”, “Food Recipes”, “Recipe Books”. From a user’s perspective, it is a very convenient way to do a more accurate search based on keywords that are often combined.
As an app developer, I see this an opportunity to rank for highly searched keywords. Assuming that I have a recipe application, then my goal should be to at least add the words “cooking”, “food” and “books”, to my keyword list or app name to be listed for those searches as I know that they’ll drive traffic.
#4 – App Previews to see short videos on how the app works before downloading it
I’m glad that we’ll be finally able to add short videos to our app metadata. This feature was long due knowing that Android stores like Google Play or Amazon Store (for Kindle Fire) had it for a while.
Creating short engaging videos is not something that is easy to do alone and some developer instead hire services to do it (Apptamin is one).
Apple will probably use Quicktime instead of Youtube to play the video but once my app videos will be ready, I’ll upload them to Youtube too with a link to my app in iTunes to drive more downloads.
In any case, providing a video will be a way to stand out against your competition and convince iPhone and iPad users that your app is worth downloading.
#5 – App Bundle to sell several apps at a discount price
App bundles is an interesting idea. When you create apps that are targeted for the same audience and complement each other then it makes sense to sell them together at a discount.
Until now, the closest way we could do this was to cross-promote our apps between each other. Now, let’s say that someone downloads few of your apps (maybe the free version) and start trusting your brand, then they’ll be more motivated to buy a bundle of apps from you. This will give you a way to get a higher sales price per customer I believe.
As you can see on the photo above, the app bundle also has its own name (here “Toca Toy Box”). I bet that this bundle name (like the regular app name) will be indexed by the Apple search and will give us an new way to be found in the store.
#6 – Trending Searches to see what’s hot in app search
I often use Google Trends to see what trends on the web as it sometimes gives me ideas to create new apps. I also browse the top 200 of each app store category to see what kind of app are trending right now.
With the introduction of “trending searches”, Apple gives us the keywords that are highly searched at the moment. Is this for the current hour, day, week, …? We don’t know yet but it will give us some keywords to consider for our apps and ideas of apps to create to satisfy the search (especially if the searched keyword doesn’t return many apps already).
That’s it for the main impact on ASO from my perspective. What do you think? Do you see other ones or feel different about the one listed above? Let me know in the comments below.