… nearly 40% of Submissions to App Store being rejected!

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.

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This update was prepared by Maggie Ngai, an ASO consultant at Phiture. She helps companies to optimize visibility and conversion of their apps in both App Store and Play Store through ASO experimentation & keyword optimization processes.

ASO Monthly #28 August 2018- New Acquisition Insights on Google Play Console, Upcoming Apple Special Event -min

August 2 — Apple Closes iTunes Affiliate Program

From Oct 1, Apple will no longer include apps for iOS or macOS in its iTunes Affiliate Program, that used to generate affiliate links for individuals, allowing them to earn 7 percent of any app purchase through the link. The commission rate dropped to 2.5 percent in April, 2017 and now Apple decided to discontinue the program.

“Thank you for participating in the affiliate program for apps. With the launch of the new App Store on both iOS and macOS and their increased methods of app discovery, we will be removing apps from the affiliate program. Starting on October 1st, 2018, commissions for iOS and Mac apps and in-app content will be removed from the program. All other content types (music, movies, books, and TV) remain in the affiliate program,” from Apple’s Blog.

August 3 — Potential Algorithm Change on App Store

Mithun Jhawar, from the ASO stack channel first reported sudden drop in rankings, which might be the impact of another algorithm change for Top Charts Ranking in the App Store. It’s unsure if Apple is testing a new algorithm for keyword rankings.

Source: Mithun Jhawar in ASO Slack group

August 6 — The Search Results Loop on Google Play is Over

the search results loop on google play is over-minThere was a glitch in Google Play search results last month: Google Play had not been showing Similar Apps, which led to a decrease in installs for many apps. The issue has been fixed now, numbers back to normal.

August 6 — Android 9 Pie Launched to the World

Google officially rolled out Android 9 Pie on August 6 and is leveraging the power of machine learning to give users a better experience. Android Pie learns about your preferences as you use it and adjusts automatically.

Android 9 Pie has been optimized for less powerful hardware and limited data connectivity. Apparently, Google is improving the Android experience on the entry-level devices often bought by first-time smartphone users in developing countries.

App Actions is supported by machine learning to predict what you want to do at the moment and surface the apps you might want to open. You can register your apps to handle one or more user intents such that users can see and interact with your apps across multiple Google and Android surfaces. This is a new way to raise the visibility of your apps and drive engagement.


Android developers blog

Source: Android Developers Blog

August 7 — Delay of Ratings Reset on iTunes

As confirmed by Apple, there currently is an issue on iTunes Connect, where ratings aren’t always being reset when developers request a reset with an app update (via Steven, ASO slack group member).

August 8 — The App Review Team Rejects Nearly 40 Percent of Submissions to App Store

Apple revealed its data collection practices to the House Republicans on the Energy and Commerce committee last month. For the very first time, the company said that nearly 40 percent of submissions were rejected as those apps failed to comply with the App Store’s policies.

“The App Review team reviews more than 100,000 submissions per week, and reject approximately 36,000 of those submissions,” Apple’s director of federal government affairs, Timothy Powderly, told the committee.

August 9 — Apple Removes ‘Wrong Apps’ in Gambling Purge

Apple has been accused of accidentally removing apps from the App Store in a crackdown on gambling content.

Several developers complained about the removal of their apps which are not related to gambling, including a Polish magazine app, a gif-sharing service, and a platform for sending clips of Xbox games to friends. Apple said that the removal of gambling-related apps was to “reduce fraudulent activity… and comply with government requests to address illegal online gambling activity”.

Apple banned all gambling apps from its App Store in Norway upon the country’s request but it now appears to be taking effect worldwide.

“Apple says these apps contain gambling but they don’t reveal how they have detected this,” said Simon Stovring, a Copenhagen-based developer behind a gif-sharing app called Gifferent.

Some of the non-gambling apps removed have returned to the app store.

August 14 — Google’s New Warning Algorithm against Fraudulent Apps

There are loads of fraudulent apps created by scammers trying to steal personal information from unattended users. Criticised by users, Google initiated a warning algorithm to prevent users from downloading a similar but fraudulent or duplicate app.

Take Fortnite as an example. When you search for “Fortnite” on the Google Play Store, you will get a message stating that “Fortnite Battle Royale by Epic Games, Inc is not available on Google Play”.

fortnite search result

Source: H2S Media

This move might reduce the chances of data breach but, still, Google needs to pay lots of efforts to fight against those fraudulent apps on the Play Store.

August 24 — New Organic Acquisition Insights available on the Google Play Console

Google updated the Play Console acquisition reports so developers can now understand how people discover their app in terms of organic traffic, either through search or browse. This change was first reported on by Phiture in January 2018.

Organic traffic through search and browse was always bundled together. Developers have been struggling to understand whether people discover the app through exploring (or browsing) the Play Store or searching a certain keyword. The data breakdown, starting from July 30, is now available in the acquisition reports.

acquisition reports

Source: Android Developers Blog

What’s even better is that by clicking into the search view, you can see the aggregate number of people using different search terms to get to the app listing. This provides developers with accurate conversion data for some of the top keywords. Unfortunately, a country breakdown for Search / Explore data and keyword install data is still not possible.

acquisition reports 2

Source: Android Developers Blog

August 30 — Play Store Search Algorithm Includes Movie Published in Streaming Apps

Android Police reports that the Play Store started displaying streaming services which contain any show or movie that a user searches for in Google Play Movies.

When you search for a TV show or movie on the Play Store, you’ll first see the cards related to it on Google Play Movies or Books (if it’s available there), then among the top results will be the different Android apps where you can stream this content. On the app’s card, below the title and developer, is a line in italics indicating that the movie/show are available to stream on this app.

downton abbey and parks and recreations results on google play

August 31 — Upcoming Apple Special Event in September

Apple has just announced its next Special Event will be 12th September, 10 am PDT in Cupertino, California. Of course, you can watch the live stream from anywhere in the world.

Apple will unveil the next iPhone, possibly with different resolutions and therefore implications for ASO and, potentially, talk about the next version of the Mac and iOS operating systems. We look forward to the announcements of when the latest version of iOS and macOS will become available for download.

apple special event

August 31 — AppOnBoard powers Google Play’s ‘try now’ button with playable demos

AppOnboard and Google are pulling the playable demos into the Google Play store with a “try now” button. You can see that button right next to the purchase or download button, allowing users to instantly try out the games before the actual install.

cookie jam blast match and crush puzzle try now feature

Source: AppOnBoard

“We were able to launch Cookie Jam Blast as a Google Play Instant app in a fraction of the time thanks to AppOnboard” said Vanessa Rouhani, vice president of publishing at Jam City, in a statement. “Using AppOnboard’s technology, we also found that Cookie Jam Blast Instant viewers outperformed organic installs by over +29–32 percent across day 1 to 7 retention.”

AppOnBoard can also optimize creative results and provide user behavior analytics. Developers can test a game concept and revise it through a playable demo before a full launch. AppOnboard is offering a 30-day free trial for any App Store Demo. After 30 days, the developer pays a monthly flat fee.

Tools Updates:

SearchAdsHQ supports Apple Search Ads Creative Sets

AppTweak auto-translates followed keywords to English in just a click

AppTweak publishes Apple Search Popularity for new ASA markets

Interesting Posts:

  1. Calculating true ROAS:
  2. The lowdown on driving app downloads with Universal App campaigns
  3. How Do Ad Attribution Conversion Windows Work?
  4. Streamlining the developer experience for instant games
  5. App Store pre-orders explained by AppTamin

Thanks, that’s it from us for August!

If you like the ASO Monthly series, please click the 👏button. Also make sure to follow the ASO Monthly-series.

If you would like to get the ASO Monthly delivered directly to your inbox via email, please sign up above.Previous ASO Monthly editions:

  • July 2018: : Google Play bugs, iOS 12 news and more
  • June 2018: Google Play algorithm change, Search Ads attribution API broken
  • May 2018: App Store Creative Testing, Google I/O 2018 impact…
  • 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…

Thanks to Oksana Iarosevych.