ASO Changes in iOS11

It has been almost a month that Apple introduced us with new iOS version: 11. There are lot of big changes, new fields and completely new App Store design to make App Store experience to users simple better.

App Store is now more editorial features than ever! And they intend to improve editorial content more and more.

Anyways let’s quickly take a look to what changed and what’s gonna come to App Store with the final version of iOS11 (It’ll be published in September most likely)

App Store changes in iOS11:

Front Page – Today Page

Completely new front page. It used to be a 9 app showcase page welcomed users. But in iOS11, there will be a two app shown “Today” front page. “Featured” page is being replaced with “Today” page now and editor picked apps is gonna be shown there daily.

Before continue, I should say that they changed how to apply for “featured” apps with iOS11. It used to be a simple email contact to apply for it but now there is a proper application form! It takes 6-8 weeks in advance (as usual)

This is the link to apply for “Featured” app section.

Apple wants the best experience for users and to do that, they are aiming less algorithmic more human-affect approach now. Every day new hand picked, related to your behaviours, apps will welcome you to the App Store.

Main Menu changes in iOS11

As I wrote earlier, “featured” is now “today” on main menu.

Second biggest change is there are now two completely different tabs for apps and games! Apple separates apps and games now completely!

“Categories” and “Top Charts” are no longer in the top menu but they are still accessible. Aiming for category ranking still matters!

“Search” and “Updates” tabs are changed positions. “Search” is now the last tab on menu. Like Apple trying to say: “We know what you want, no need to search!” well not exactly but still 🙂 UX-wise “Search” tab is now more accessible.

Card layout in iOS11

 

Getting selected as a “Featured app” is now more important than ever. It used to be a 9 app selection page but now it shows only 2 apps.

Control, control, more control!

Apple is now creating daily stories for selected apps. How tos, tips, tricks or other content for selected apps means that Apple is now basicly a content publisher instead of store owner.

Two different tabs for apps and games allows Apple to push featured apps separately.

Featured apps also being pushed into the search results to improve the editorial side of search tab.
Also they are removing the trending searches section to push more editorial curated and less-algorithm relied today tab.

App Store Optimization changes in iOS11 App Store:

There are two new fields to input more data now for app developers in App Store. Also some big changes coming to existing metadata fields.

Title changes

Apple has lowered the character limit for app titles. They reduced the 50 character limit to 30. Which means less keywords on title! Better experience for users but bad for app developers?

New field: Subtitles

While they are reducing the title character limit, Apple adds new field called Subtitle to App Store. It has 30 character limit and it is getting indexed by algorithm! With this change, Apple actually allowing more accessibility via keywords to your app. (Additional 10 more character: 30 to title + 30 to subtitle)

Important tip:

According to Gabe Kwakyi from incipia.co, when you are updating your app title and adding your optional subtitle to your apps new version, you should only use 30 characters on your title and 30 characters on your subtitle field or you must only use your 50 character title field without using your subtitle. Otherwise, Apple won’t include your 31 to 50 characters on your title to their index algorithm. So you have to choose between these two options until full release of iOS11. 

In-App Purchase names

Before iOS11, in-app purchase bundle names were getting indexed by algorithm but if only they matched perfectly. Now, (without official confirmation) Apple indexes IAP names fully.

Promotional text

Your app’s promotional text appears at the top of the description and is limited to 170 characters. You can update it at any time without having to submit a new version of your app. Consider using promotional text to share the latest news about your app, which can include new promotions for your app or in-app purchases, upcoming features or content, limited- time sales, or other events within your app.

Description

With adding the Promo Text to App Store, Apple still cares about descriptions. Actually they care descriptions now more than ever, since they are only allowing description changes with new versions.

Don’t add unnecessary keywords to your description in an attempt to improve search results. Also avoid including specific prices in your app description. Pricing is already shown on the product page, and references within the description may not be accurate in all countries and territories.
You can update your app’s description only when submitting a new version of your app. Think carefully about what you want to convey to your customers and the features you highlight in your app description. If you want to share important updates more frequently than your submission schedule, consider updating your promotional text instead.

Even though they are saying “adding unnecessary keywords to your description won’t matter”, they are forcing description updates in version updates now.

ASO experts still unsure about Apple’s approach to descriptions with this change if it’s gonna be included to indexing algorithm. But start using your keywords in description now, it is always good for SEO and they might include descriptions to their indexing algorithm soon!

What’s New

When you update your app, you can use What’s New to communicate changes to customers. This text appears on your product page, and users can view a two-line preview below your app name and icon on the Updates tab.

If you added a feature or fixed a bug based on feedback, use What’s New to let customers know that you’ve listened to them. List new features, content, or functionality in order of importance, and add call-to-action messaging that gets users excited about the update.

 

 

 

App Preview

You can add 3 app preview videos now and they can be up to 30 secnds.

You can feature up to three previews on your product page in any order and here it comes: You can localise them into all available regions now!

App preview demonstrates the features, functionality, and UI of your app in a short video that customers watch directly on the App Store. Previews can be up to 30 seconds long and use footage captured on the device to show the experience of using your app.

You can feature up to three app previews on your product page in any order, and localize them for all available App Store languages. Your app previews appear as the first images on your product page. Screenshots appear after your app previews and description.

App previews autoplay with muted audio when customers view your product page, so make sure the first few seconds of your video are visually compelling. App preview poster frames appear whenever videos do not autoplay.

To learn more about creating great app previews, click here.

 

Search Results

Expanded results and new user interface make your content more discoverable and help customers easily find the content they’re looking for. Search results now include developers, in-app purchases, categories, editorial stories, tips and tricks, and collections.

Keywords

There are no changes in keyword field.

Keywords help determine where your app displays in search results. Carefully choose your keywords to ensure your app is easily discoverable. Think about the specific words your audience might use to search for an app like yours, and use those words when entering your keyword metadata. Broad or less-relevant terms can make it hard for users to find your app.

Keywords are limited to 100 characters total, with words separated by commas. Maximize the number of words that fit in this character limit by avoiding the following:

plurals of words that you’ve already included in singular form
the names of categories or the word “app”
duplicate words
Improper use of keywords is a common reason for App Store rejections. Do not use the following in your keywords:
unauthorized use of trademarked terms, celebrity names, and other protected words and phrases
terms that are not relevant to the app
competing app names
irrelevant, inappropriate, offensive, or objectionable terms

Learn more about ASO

Ratings & Reviews

Developers are now allowed to reset their ratings! This is the biggest change about ratings so far but the only one.

Now Apple shows overall rating score of your app instead of latest version’s rating.

You can respond to customers’ reviews of your app to directly address their feedback, questions, and concerns. When you respond to a review using iTunes Connect, the customer will be notified of your response and will have the option to update their review. Reviews and responses can be updated at any time, but only the latest review and response for each customer will display on your product page.

Your app’s rating includes ratings for all versions of your app. You have the option to reset your rating when you submit a new version of your app for review. Consider using this feature sparingly. While it can ensure that user ratings are only for the most current version of your app — useful if you just launched a major update that addresses users’ previous concerns — having few reviews can discourage customers from downloading your app.

To know more about reviews and rating changes click here.

 

Top Charts

Top Chartes are removed from navigation menus. But they are still exist. Apps rankings in their categories are now visible on their pages.

Apple reduces the focus on top charts with this changes but still make them available to access via Games or Apps tab and scroll down and tap “See All”.

Also, Top Grossing chart is now gone. According to Luca Giacomel, Top Grossing Chart is still accessible via API but not visible on App Store from now on.

Only available charts are Top Paid and Top Free Charts.

 

 

 

 

 

App Icon

According to Moritz Daan from Phiture, Apple has started openly about A/B testing of App Icons.

And this is what Apple has wrote on their iOS11 App Store page:

Your app icon is one of the first elements of your app that users see, so it’s essential to make a strong first impression that communicates your app’s quality and purpose. Work with a graphic designer to create an icon that is simple and recognizable. Try testing different options to determine which icon is the most recognizable and meaningful to your target audience.

To ensure the icon is legible in all sizes, avoid adding unnecessary visual details. For information about creating a beautiful and memorable icon, see the Human Interface Guidelines.

 

There are a lot of changes to come with the newest iOS version. ASO experts still researching about the upcoming changes to the indexing algorithm. And preparing themselves to the newest era of App Store Optimization.

With all these changes, Apple is taking a more human approach to their store and as I said earlier they are now becoming more of a publisher instead of a store owner. If they decide to include app descriptions to their algorithm, it won’t surprise. More human approach and more control over the store is the way they go. Which is actually on user perspective really good. But app developers needs to be ready to the upcoming changes!

Always good to mention: Lingulise can help you to get ready 🙂

Awesome sources and articles for this blog post:

App Store Begins Indexing App Subtitles

https://www.apptweak.com/aso-blog/new-app-store-ios-11-why-aso-is-more-important-than-ever

https://www.apple.com/lae/ios/app-store/

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