…and Happy New Year!

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.

The Advanced App Store Optimization Conference is announced!

We started the new year with a big announcement: The first ever App Store Optimization Conference will arrive in 2019! This is the first conference series entirely dedicated to ASO, and will be held in Berlin (May 22) and New York (date TBD). More info will be available here

We are also gathering feedback and suggestions so everyone will have the best possible experience at the conference. If you are interested in attending, please take 1 minute to complete our survey. See you there!

December 1 — Google is testing another Play Store design

Android Police reported that some users have started seeing more changes in the Play Store design recently. These include a new “Account” screen and the reorganized “Preferences”, “Rewards”, “Order history”, and “Family” tabs.

Several tabs are reorganized, source: Android Police.

This new iteration is similar to the previous changes of Google Play design, but is said to be more “refined”, and to be another step towards the “full redesign state” of the store.

December 3 — Google Play’s “Best of 2018” winners are revealed

Google announced the most popular contents on the Play Store in 2018 to wrap up an exciting year. These include best apps, games, movies, TV shows, and more.

The full list of winners can be seen on Google Play’s dedicated website.

December 4 — Potential Google Play Store listing experiments flaw

Martin Mazanec, an ASO Stack slack group member, spotted a mismatch between an app’s icon on the search results page and its Store Listing counterpart. The control variant was shown in the search results and the testing variant on the store listing page. This could be a flaw in Google Play A/B testing, and could negatively impact the effectiveness of icon testing in conversion rate optimization.

Search results page shows a different icon than what the store listing shows (via Martin Mazanec).

December 13 — Apple expanded App Store localization

Apple Store now allows apps to be localized in 9 more locales, namely Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Hindi, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, and Ukrainian.

While the full impacts of this expansion still require more observations, early tests by members of the ASO Stack slack group have suggested that they could already double App Store keywords in Russia with Ukrainian localization (via Altai Zeinalov), and in Spain with Catalan (via Radomir Novkovich).

December 14 — App Store search algorithm changes for the UK, Australia and New Zealand

First reported in Adrian Popa’s tweets, Australian metadata is no longer indexed globally on the App Store, nor UK metadata in Australia and New Zealand. In addition, Ilia Kukharev, a member of the ASO Stack slack group, suggested that this has already started since November 10, and only affected iOS 10 and 11.

Keywords in UK metadata no longer rank in Australian localization, and vice versa (via Adrian Popa’s tweets).

This is the second time Apple is reported to have applied a change in localization on the App Store within a week. Further localization changes by Apple should be monitored closely.

December 14 — App Store changes algorithm for featured reviews

ASO Stack slack member Osman Kucukerdem reported that the list of featured reviews on the App Store seems to be the list of most recent ones, instead of the longest as they used to be (or the combination of longest and most helpful — according to another member, Fede Behrens). However, more observations are needed to conclude how featured reviews are decided on.

December 17 — Widespread drops in App Store ratings for an unidentified reason

According to the Apple Post, multiple developers have reported unexplained drops in app ratings, “with some apps seeing a sharp decline in star-ratings, and others claiming to see missing written reviews and developer responses”. Many have raised the question of a bug in App Store ratings & reviews system, which could have also been responsible for the previously reported changes in featured reviews, but there were no confirmations from Apple’s side.

On December 18 both the list of featured reviews and the number of app ratings returned to normal — according to several members of the ASO Stack slack community.

December 19 — Google continues to test Play Store design changes

Android Police reported more visual changes on Google Play, including a darker color accent, new app info layout, “tell us more” cards, and more.

The new layout (left) with darker color accent compared to the old one (source: Android Police).

Perhaps the most interesting change among these is the addition of 3 “Tell us more” cards at the bottom of the Reviews section, where users are asked up to 3 yes/no questions about the app. What’s more, each of these questions contains a keyword that Google could use to determine what’s relevant, or irrelevant, to an app. This proves to be one of the next steps Google could take to tighten control over metadata accuracy in the future — on top of app quality and performance.

Google using keywords to ask for more specific feedbacks from users (source: Android Police).

December 28 — Christmas spending in the US App Store surpasses 2017

According to Sensor Tower, users spent a total of $54.2 million this Christmas across the US App Store. This is a record high figure and it exceeds 2017 spending by 31%. As usual, mobile games generated the most revenue compared to other categories, followed by entertainment apps such as Netflix and YouTube.

A year-by-year growth of 31% in spending over Christmas, source: Sensor Tower

This has once again confirmed the significant role of seasonality in ASO and app growth in general. To learn more about seasonal ASO strategy, check out our article about this topic in case you missed it!

December 31 — Major App Store search algorithm update

Apple launched another change in the App Store keyword ranking algorithm just a day before the new year. The US, UK, Germany and France are among the storefronts affected.

High anomaly of App Store search rankings, source: AppTweak’s algorithm change detector.

ASO Stack slack member Ilia Kukharev also added that Australian metadata is now no longer indexed globally on iOS 12.

Notable past & upcoming events

  1. December 6th — App Promotion Summit took place in Berlin. Phiture’s design lead Stuart Miller and Senior ASO Consultant Aude Boscher hosted a workshop on a framework we use to improve the conversion rate of an app’s store listing, called the CRO loop.
  2. We have also published a list of major Mobile Conferences and Events in 2019 — check it out here!

Tool updates

Keywords 2.0 for ASO Research: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

The biggest Keywords module update since the beginning of time


Next-level App Store Optimization With the New ASO Report — Mobile Action

The ASO Report has been one of our most powerful tools for auditing your App Store Optimization and keyword research…


SearchAdsHQ Charts: Apple Search Ads Statistics Visualization

The SearchAdsHQ team is happy and proud to announce the introduction of charts within our platform for management and…


Games Sub Categories now in App Icon Color Analysis and Category keywords… — ASO Blog

If you’re working with gaming apps then this one’s for you! We’ve just added the games Sub categories to our App Icon…


Interesting reads

Top 5 ASO Updates of 2018… And Our Wishlist for 2019! — yellowHEAD

Lots of changes this past year to the App Stores! They weren’t as glamorous or groundbreaking as a new iOS version to…


2019 predictions for mobile marketing — Mobile Dev Memo

Previous predictions: 2018 predictions for mobile marketing, 2017 predictions for mobile marketing, 2016 predictions…


Apple’s App Store Is the Monopoly You Want

It’s not perfect, but neither is the case against it


Worldwide App Store Optimization — AppManager

Hi there! I’m Ilia Kukharev and I started doing App Store Optimization (ASO) in early 2015 for Aviasales, a leading…


How and why to reply to reviews in App Store an Google Play

Replying to apps and games reviews is a valuable channel of communicating with your users. Answering their questions…


In reviews we trust — Making Google Play ratings and reviews more trustworthy

Google Play ratings and reviews are extremely important in helping users decide which apps to install. Unfortunately…


Build awareness for your apps with pre-registration

With pre-registration, you can build excitement and awareness for your apps and games in countries that you select…


App Preview Poster Frame — Examples and Best Practices

When Apple first introduced iOS App Store videos (called “App Previews”), those videos did not autoplay. This means…


The Latest Trends in App Store Optimization — Gabe Kwakyi and Steve Young | Incipia

Incipia’s Gabe Kwakyi and App Master’s Steve Young share their thoughts on the latest trends in app store optimization…


Your first success: a burden or a new opportunity?

Discover the different strategies to manage your old game titles


Thanks, that’s it from us for December!

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