In the ASO Monthly-series by ASO Consultancy 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 Binh Dang, an ASO consultant at Phiture. He helps companies with optimizing their apps for both the App Store and Play Store through ASO experimentation & keyword optimization processes.

ASO Monthly #31 November 2018- App Store Connect API, Play Store Reviews Section Redesign & More

November 1st — The Slack community celebrates its 1000th member

The ASO Stack Slack group has now grown to 1000 members — and still counting!

slack notification badge

As the name suggests, this Slack group is mostly dedicated to ASO discussion, which helps to keep the community’s purpose clear, focused, and of high-value for all members.

If you’re an ASO practitioner wanting to join, please send an email with a one-liner about why you would like to join the community to [email protected] and receive an invite.

November 2nd — Apple releases App Store Connect APIApp Store Connect API is released

App Store Connect API is released

First reported by Ilia Kukharev on the ASO Stack Slack group, App Store Connect API is now available to its users. The availability of this API is expected to help app developers, publishers and third parties automate their workflows on the platform, thus increasing overall efficiency.

However, the usefulness of this API for ASO (documentation) is still debatable, as the only areas users can use to automate their workflows are TestFlight, user and access management, and reporting of sales and financial trends.

Areas that can be automated with App Store Connect API

Areas that can be automated with App Store Connect API

November 5th — Newsstand section is removed from Play Store

Android Police reports that the Newsstand section has been removed from the Google Play Store. Its removal was foreseen in May when Google integrated this section into the News app.

This means news apps are now only visible and installable on the Play Store via the News & Magazines category.

The Newsstand tab in Google News

The Newsstand tab in Google News

November 5th — Google releases new code shrinker to improve APK size reduction efficiency

According to Android Developers Blog, the next generation of code shrinker, R8, is now available for preview in Android 3.3 beta.

Faster code shrinking speed and more significant reductions in APK size are among the major advantages that R8 has over Proguard, the current generation of code shrinker. This proves to be of great help for app growth as “smaller APK sizes correlate with higher install conversion rates”.

shrinking and dexing time apk size

Data from test results after R8’s performance was benchmarked against Proguard on Google Santa Tracker (GitHub)

November 7th — Google is testing in-app update API with early access partners

It is reported that Google is letting certain developers push in-app updates with a new API. With this feature, users can update their apps while using them. For devices with automatic update options off, this can save considerable time compared to visiting the Play Store .

In-app updates can be done in two ways: A full-screen immediate update flow that requires users to wait for it to complete, and a flexible update flow that lets users continue using the app throughout the duration.

immediate in-app update and flexible in-app update

Immediate vs. Flexible in-app update flows. Source: Android Developers Blog

The in-app update API is currently being tested with a number of early access partners, and will hopefully be rolled out on scale soon.

While direct impacts on ASO may seem insignificant, the fact that less users will visit the Play Store for app updates could passively affect apps’ growth via ASO efforts. Also, publishers who use a lot of pre-installs can use the in-app update API to force these pre-installs (counted only after an update) to be counted towards their play store installs.

November 12th — Apple reportedly launches bid strength and suggested bid range features on Search Ads

Apple launched a new feature that reveals the bid strength and suggested bid range for certain Ad Group Keywords in your Search Ads campaigns.

bid strength

(via: Osman Kucukerdem, ASO Stack Slack)

Not all keywords show yet these new metrics, likely due to insufficient data collected by Apple, but they already help Search Ads campaigns runners in making better-informed decisions. Further information about the new metrics is available on the Apple Search Ads Advanced site.

November 14th — Google Play console adds 30 days rolling average to reports

Google Play console reports can now be filtered by 30 days rolling average for most metrics viewed in Statistics section. Possibly this was a highly requested feature via Google’s Play Console feedback/survey form.

 installs by user and installs by user 30 days rolling average

(via: Catherine Sibirko, ASO Stack Slack)

November 20th — Google Play is testing a new feature that reminds users to install or reinstall previously used apps

Android Police reports a new test on Google Play around a new feature in the Updates tab in “My apps & Games” that offers users to install apps they have used before.

New “reminders” feature on Google Play

New “reminders” feature on Google Play

There are two ways this feature can be used:

  • Reinstalling apps previously uninstalled on the same device, or
  • Installing apps that are also installed on other devices with the same user IDs

While this feature may be less helpful in measuring some ASO metrics like First Time Installers, other metrics such as Install Events could be affected.

November 26th — Yet another new design is being tested on Google Play, this time for ratings & reviews

According to Android Police, Google seems to be testing a new design for the ratings and reviews section on the Play Store. This allows user reviews to be filtered by the rating star accompanying it.

New design for Ratings & Reviews section overview

New design for Ratings & Reviews section overview.

new design for ratings and reviews section with filters

New design for Ratings & Reviews section with filters.

From only 3 simple filters by “Most helpful first”, “Newest first”, and “Highest rating first”, the new design now shows which reviews users write about an app when they give it a specific star rating. However, this still seems to be a test as not all devices can show the new design.

On a related note, the overall functionality of Google Play’s ratings & reviews section appears to be unstable. Olivier Bernal and Ilia Kukharev, ASO Stack Slack group members, report on November 27th that it is not possible to rate certain apps on the store, despite having them installed and not previously rated.

8fit, facebook and gmail screenshots

Not all installed apps allow users to rate (via Olivier Bernal, ASO Stack Slack).

November 29th — iOS 12 adoption rate reaches 75%.

Apple Insider just published data from Mixpanel, showing that the adoption rate of iOS 12 on all active devices arrived at 75% on November 26th, 2 months and 10 days after its release. This is much faster than the iOS 11 adoption rate in 2017, which did not reach the 75% mark after 3 months.

iOS 12 adoptioniOS 11 adoption

iOS 12 adoption rates over time (left) vs. iOS 11

This adoption rate, which also seems to continue to rise, means the majority of active devices are now showing the iOS 12 App Store, with several changes in user experience from its iOS 11 counterpart.

today page, games page and product page on app store

Source: StoreMaven

Notable past & upcoming events

  1. November 26th — Apple launches an app development program called Apple Entrepreneur Camp.
  2. December 6thApp Promotion Summit takes place in Berlin, where Phiture’s experts Aude Boscher and Stuart Miller will be hosting the Conversion Optimization Loop workshop.

Tool Updates

  • AppTweak — App stores algorithm change detector.

New Free ASO Tool: App Store – Play Store Algorithm Change Detector – ASO Blog

We’ve just released an amazing new free ASO tool that can detect keywords algorithm changes in the Apple App Store and…

  • AppTweak — Language filter and exports for Google Play Install Keywords.

Exports and Language Detector for Google Install Keywords now on Ap… – ASO Blog

We’ve just added a couple of helpful features on the Google Install Keywords interface. You can now export your data on…

  • AppTweak — Keyword ranking movements detector.

New Keyword Movement Detector: Discover your biggest keyword rankin… – ASO Blog

Our new Keyword Movement Detector can detect the keywords on which your app has had the highest ranking movements…

  • Mobile Action — New UI designs and keyword explorer feature.

Keyword Explorer and Major UI Updates – Mobile Action

App Store Optimization is nothing without knowing where you stand in the crowd. This isn’t something new, but we have…

  • AppFollow — Latest 4.1 update.

AppFollow 4.1: reply to reviews wherever you want 👌

TL;DR: reviews, monitoring and features in Discord; replies in Microsoft Teams; response templates; replies for…

  • App Annie — App Annie Labs

Introducing App Annie Labs | App Annie Blog

We’re excited to announce the launch of App Annie Labs

Interesting posts

  • Managing A/B testing more effectively with 3 key considerations.

3 Considerations for Managing ASO A/B Testing | Incipia

The field of A/B testing (both the testing-first thought process and the actual statistic implementation of test…

  • How the App Store is being exploited by developers.

How to Game the App Store

I’ve been pestering Apple for years publicly and privately about the manipulation and outright scams going on in the…

  • How to design and run better screenshot experiments.

ASO Best Practices: Screenshot Tests

Your Screenshot is one of the most important assets that visitors see, and it can make (or break) your overall app…

  • Category rankings and volatility.

Category rankings and volatility: useful insights for app marketers – ASO Blog

Useful insights on the volatility of the top 10 apps in various categories on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store…

  • Mobile gaming trends to look out for in 2019.

Mishka Katkoff Shares 2019 Predictions in Mobile Gaming

The Mobile Gaming Industry Report At ironSource Gamefest 2018, Mishka Katkoff, who is the Head of Studio at Rovio and…

  • App Retention Benchmarks for 2018.

2018 App Retention Benchmarks [Full Report] – AppsFlyer

Introduction Arguably one of the most significant of all mobile marketing metrics, retention is the basis of…


Thanks, that’s it from us for November!

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