… GDPR, downloads from Browse on the App Store etc.

In the ASO Monthly-series by ASO Agency Phiture, we reflect on the previous month and shed a light on trends in app store optimization, algorithm changes, insights in conversion rate optimization and tool updates.

ASO Monthly #25 May 2018- App Store Creative Testing, Google I:O 2018 impact

May 1 — Google opens registration for .app domains

Google now allows registering .app domains. Continuing on the encouraging safety in mobile web and adoption of HTTPS, Google is requiring HTTPS for all .app websites.

The participants of Google early access program were able to register the .app domain exclusively between 1 and 7 of May, public access to the registration has been available since May 8, as reported by TechCrunch.

May 5 — Apple rejects apps sharing location to 3rd party services

As 9to5Mac report Apple starts rejecting apps sharing location with 3rd party services.


apple email-minApple claims, that developers sharing location with 3rd parties, is a violation of several App Store Developers’ Guidelines sections, namely:

Legal — 5.1.1 and Legal 5.1.2

The app transmits user location data to third parties without explicit consent from the user and for unapproved purposes.

Rejected applications can be re-instated by removing the SDKs, frameworks and other third parties with possible access to users’ location.

May 9— Google I/O 2018: highlights for ASO

One of the most important topics of the Google’s I/O 2018 were the changes in Google Play Developer Console. Some of them affected the ASO marketers’ routine:

  • The console’s dashboard has been updated, now displaying a more detailed overview of the app’s main metrics.
  • Enhanced crash rate reporting in Android Vitals section is expected to help developers work on the application’s stability and decrease their crash and ANR rates. Some new info on permission denials has also been included in the report, possibly interesting for optimizing the CVR. Developers are also given benchmarks so that you can compare your app’s performance to that of similar apps. As mentioned again at this year’s I/O, app performance will have a greater impact on Play Store discoverability.
  • The feature of breaking down downloads via Search and Browse, that is currently in closed beta, was discussed and announced for release soon: acquisition report
  • Some tips around metrics and reporting in the User Acquisition tab:

The visualized direct correlation between the conversion rate and the APK size was an important ASO highlight of the talk:

conversion rate decreases as apps get larger

Screen by Thomas Petit

This I/O did not bring any breaking news, but a number of actionable tips, that ASO practitioners together with product teams can apply to improve their CVRs.

The Google Play award winners were also announced:

Google Play Award winners

Google Play Award winners

May 15 — iOS 11: Search and Browse analyzed

As expected, after the release of iOS 11 in September last year, Apple took control in terms of curated content that App Store visitors find on the store through featured apps in the Today tab, subcategories, hero banners etc. According to Sensor Tower, downloads worldwide from browsing increased from 10% to 15% with the adoption of the iOS 11 and thus enhanced featuring by Apple.

Installs from browse timeline by SensorTower

Installs from browse timeline by SensorTower

Search still remains a crucial part of for apps, with 69% of downloads, followed by Browse (9%) and App Referral (12%) sources. Also, 56% of App Store visitors find and download games through the Search, whereas Browse is higher of 24%.

App Store Installs by Source, SensorTower

App Store Installs by Source, SensorTower

Here you can also find some tips on how to increase your chances to get featured on the App Store (also included into our advanced ASO ebook).

Being an indie or middle size app developer, one gets more chances to get featured on the App Store, where 61% of featured apps had under 100k downloads (via Thomas Petit).

Google Play favors big publishers in its featuring. According to SensorTower, 78% of publishers featured on Google Play had more than 1 mln downloads.

featured google play publishers by downloads united states-min

May 25 — GDPR day

We could not but mention the hot topic of this month the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) that has been enforced on May 25. Ed Burrows from our retention team has already touched on the topic in his blog post, go have a look to check for your app’s GDPR compliance!

May 27 — Google Play Dev console bug

Several ASO Slack Community members reported on a bug in their Play Console User Acquisition section, with data not displaying correctly. So, don’t panic when you see this in your console, data will eventually appear.

User acquisition tab bug, reported by Mônica De Lima

User acquisition tab bug, reported by Mônica De Lima

May 28 — Google Play Black Hat tactics

Lucas Stefanko has spotted a fresh Google Play black hat ASO technique of deluding users of an app’s download numbers by … just including them into the developer name.

Lukas Stefanko’s tweet

Lukas Stefanko’s tweet

May 29 — Apple launches Creative testing for Search Ads

This month’s last moment sensation: Apple launched Creative testing for Search Ads.

As first published and discussed by Phiture, testing on Apple Search Ads with a new Creative Set is straightforward:

  • In iTunesConnect you can upload up to 3 different app previews and up to 10 different screenshots that need to be pre-approved by Apple in the review process
  • In the Apple Search Ads interface, you can then select which app previews and screenshots are shown in the Creative Set for your Ad Group or on a Campaign level
  • No additional assets can be uploaded directly to the Search Ads console.

Adding Creative Sets on Search Ads

Adding Creative Sets on Search Ads

Creative Sets could not only help the app marketer to optimize their paid Search Ads presence, but also affect the impact on ASO when the learnings can be systematically applied to the organic store listing. Apple has published detailed guidelines for Creative Sets.

May 31 — New featuring on the App Store

via ilia K

Via Ilia K.

A new type of featuring on the App Store has been spotted by ASO Slack community member Illia Kukharev.

Three apps icons featured in a story of the App Store Today tab. Possibly, more changes into the current App Store will be announced at the WWDC on June 4–8. We’ll keen an eye on the changes!

Events in June:

  • June 1: The Applause conference in Barcelona, where Moritz is speaking about “The State of Search Volume Estimates for the App Stores”.
  • June 26: App Promotion Summit, New York, June 26

Tools Updates:

  1. Storemaven toolbox for checking out the new Google Play layout
  2. TheTool is now officially integrated with Slack
  3. SearchAdsHQ Update: Automated CPA Bidder for Apple Search Ads
  4. Market Insights from App Annie

Interesting blog posts:

  1. Insights on the Google Play organic search data by Incipia and TheTool
  2. Facebook Ad creatives testing by Apptamin
  3. How To Make Influencer Marketing a Crucial Part of Your Apps Growth Strategy
  4. Algorithmic Marketing Introduces a New Era of Mobile Ad Targeting by Incipia and MobileDevMemo
  5. Ratings and Reviews Pt.1 by AppFollow
  6. Search Ads Creatives Testing by Incipia

Thanks, that’s it from us for May!

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Previous ASO Monthly editions:

  • April 2018: ASO Monthly #24 April 2018: New Play Store design in detail, Web apps for iOS…
  • March 2018: New features — redesigned Play Store listings, App Video Trailers, Google Play Instant…
  • February 2018: New Play Store beta search interface, keyword dances happening.
  • January 2018: Installs via Keywords on Google Play, new design of App Store web.
  • December 2017: Search Ads Basic, Introductory pricing and pre-orders on App Store etc.
  • November 2017: Black Friday in the Stores, APK size vs. Play Store conversion rate
  • October 2017: New Search Ads countries, Play Store installs per search term coming (?)
  • September 2017: The launch of the ASO book, the launch of iOS 11…