Apple to announce Search Ads and much more…

ASO Monthly #2- June 2016

This is the second post in the “App Store Optimization Monthly” publication series. The idea behind the publication is to offer a monthly digest in the ever changing landscape of App Store Optimization and will cover tools for both CRO and App Store SEO, algorithm changes, and more.

June 1: Play Store now suggests which apps to uninstall

AndroidPolice reports that the Google Play Store now suggests which apps to uninstall if you don’t have enough space on your device.

google play store now suggests which apps to uninstall if you don't have enough space on your device

June 2: App Store changes the search layout, tvOS charts hide installed apps

SplitMetrics spotted a change in the App Store layout that deals with trying to mix a landscape screenshot / app preview, with a portrait one. By just displaying the first landscape screenshot or app preview, developers now have a better chance at grabbing the attention of the user:

Apple is now hiding apps that you have already installed in the tvOS top charts

Also, it seems that Apple is now hiding apps that you have already installed in the tvOS top charts (via ThomasBCN): is the App Store to follow?

June 3: Two ASO tools updates today

AppTweak adds a feature that auto-suggests competitors (see their blog post). Tune adds a feature with auto-suggested keywords to track.

June 7: update

You can now also generate Android screenshots with

June 9: Pre-WWDC interview with Schiller announces search ads and more

The Verge just published an interview with Phil Schiller announcing some major changes to app store discovery in the Apple App Store, just a few days before WWDC. A sexy topic like displaying ads on search, is probably not going to woo all the developers at WWDC, so I think they’ll either leave it out or just briefly touch on it. For app store discovery and ASO, this, and the other announcements, are big, however.

These are the highlights for App Store Optimization:

  1. photo filters search app storeApple will now serve ads on searches. The beta is starting next Monday, June 13. It’s likely that they give some kind of keyword volume estimation before targeting a specific keyword, making it highly relevant for ASO, even without running the actual campaigns. And even if they don’t give you that upfront, I’m pretty sure you can infer which keyword is more effective by analyzing your campaign data.
  2. “Two-thirds of all downloads in the App Store are generated from searches within the store’s search tab.” (this includes branded searches). This is a lot, even when “in” the App Store means that the discovery also needs to happen in the App Store, and not via paid search, or other organic links to your app store page.
  3. The categories tab will come back (will it replace ‘Explore’?).
  4. Apps you already downloaded, will be indeed filtered out from the “Featured” tab, as already written in our June 2 update on tvOS.

lightright launch

June 12: 65% of total iOS downloads comes from search, ads free during beta

TechCrunch clarified the question I had as well on June 9, that it’s 65% of the total iOS downloads (!) that happens from search and not only of the discovery that happens in the store.

Also, during the beta, search ads are entirely free ! But they will only be shown to developers and beta testers.

June 13: WWDC

At WWDC Apple announced there are now 2M apps in the store and a cumulative 130BN downloads.

Also, Apple now unbundles its native apps, such as Mail, Maps, etc., by putting them in the store and making them removable.

June 16: App Impressions & Keyword Popularity in the App Store!

If one thing is clear, it’s that search ads are good news for data-driven ASO as it forces Apple to give out more data.

Reader Krzychu Wolski pointed out via a tweet to us that iTunes Connect App Analytics now show App Impressions. It also allows you to toggle Unique Devices on and off.

app analytics now includes app store impressions

That is a great metric for ASO as it allows you to map the funnel from impression to page view to download. A quick look at several entirely different apps, showed an average Impressions: Product Page Views: App Units ratio of 100:5:3.

Optimizing for search, or switching from category to achieve a higher ranking, should show you more Impressions. Optimizing your icon and the first two screenshot should make your Impressions > Product Page Views ratio stronger. And finally, optimizing the rest of your page, should increase the last step of the funnel. A welcomed new feature.

Also today, Francisco Lopez posted this screenshot which appears to be from Apple search ads. It shows you the popularity of certain product features based on search, and will come in extremely for ASO search.

product features popularity

And there’s more things that we could derive from the Search Ads keynote.

Apple also stated that description is, or will be, taken into account in app store search:

Apple: “Thoughtfully crafting your app title, description, and metadata with the most relevant keywords will not only improve your presence for organic search it will also help your relevance for sponsored ads as well…”

Whilst I speculated before that this change would be happening at some point, this is the first time that Apple says that your description is also relevant for search.

June 17th: iMessage has an App Store

Admittedly, I missed this in the WWDC, but iMessage seems to have an App Store, as reported by Randy Nelson from SensorTower.

imessage has an app store

June 22nd/23rd: Tool announcements

AppTweak’s Apple App Store API was officially announced although it’s been around for a while. Also, Eugeny Krouglov from AppFollow, the new ASO kid on the block that hosts Slack integration for reviews/keyword changes, announced they raised a $200k round against a $3M valuation.

Thanks, that’s it from us for this month!

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Let’s discuss in the comments, and like always: if you have noticed anything related to ASO, please let me know on Twitter or reach out to [email protected].

Previous ASO Monthly editions:

  1. May 2016: App Store broken + 5 localized store listing experiments…