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 tools updates.

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This update was prepared by Alessandra Izzo, an ASO Consultant at Phiture.

ASO Monthly #37 May 2019- Insights from Google I:O 2019, Trump blacklist effects and more

7th May — Google has revealed its Google Play Awards 2019 winners.

On the eve of the Google I/O developer conference, Google has announced the best apps on Google Play. The awards cover nine categories, including some new additions such as Most Inventive, Best Living Room Experience, and Most Beautiful Game.

google play award winners 2019


You can check out all the 2019 Google Play Awards winners in the classic celebratory page, reachable from here or read the list of all the applications awarded here:

8th May — Google I/O 2019: New features coming to the Google Play Console

In case you missed it, we have shared the main updates in the Google Play Store and Play Console announced during Google’s annual developer conference held May 7–9, 2019.

Here are some of the biggest highlights that we’ve covered and that every ASO specialist and marketer should know:

  • App performance benchmark (Peer Groups): it’s now possible to monitor and compare your app metrics with similar apps (available in the tabs “Android Vitals” and in “Reviews”).
  • New Google Play rating system: more recent ratings will be weighted more heavily (this update will be seen in August only, but it’s already available to you as a developer today.)
    Meanwhile on Reddit, you can find recent posts debating the effect of the new Google Play Rating System and guessing how it is calculated.
  • Suggested replies based on the review’s content: 3 suggested answers, based on artificial intelligence, will be available to be used, or customized, by developers to incentivize replies to user feedback.
  • Custom Store Listings, new metrics and much more: the news unveiled are not over.
    Make sure to check out our article to find out more Google I/O highlights and their impact on the Android app industry.

9th May — Google Play Store now notifies users to remove unused apps

A new alert, first spotted by Android World, from the Google Play Store suggests that users should, “remove unused apps for extra storage.”

Tapping on the notification will bring up a list of apps that have not been opened in a while.

Each app has a description as well as information on when it was last launched.

app has a description and information when it was launched

Source Android World

By selecting an app (or multiple apps) to uninstall them, the Play Store shows how much space will be freed up on the Android phone in the process. It is still unknown if the new feature has started rolling out worldwide and it is also unclear for how long an app must go unused before it appears in the list of suggestions.

19th May — Top U.S. tech suppliers, including Google, will suspend business with Huawei after Trump blacklist

The Trump administration has added Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to a trade blacklist, immediately enacting restrictions that will bar American firms from selling components and software to the company. Reuters first reported the news about Google’s suspension of business with Huawei and the immediate cut off of Huawei’s Android license.

What are the implications for existing Huawei users?

They will still get security updates and have access to Google Play, but newly produced smartphones will lose access to applications such as Youtube, Gmail, and Maps in the near future. Huawei has stated that it was already preparing for this, and they’ve had their own OS in the works for a while now.

Meanwhile, Ron Amadeo shared on Twitter the implications of the US ban on Huawei in terms of top free apps that won’t be able to be downloaded from the app store using future Huawei devices.

US ban on Huawei on top free apps

Source: Twitter

21st May — Apple To Rename ‘arcade’ Games Category To ‘casual’

As highlighted by Paul Conrad and David Barnard, members of the ASO Stack slack, starting from May 15 the Games subcategory “Arcade” has been renamed “Casual” on the App Store and in App Store Connect.

app store connect

Source David Barnard via the ASO Stack slack

Apparently, the reason behind this change is not to ‘confuse’ people with their new Arcade Subscription service.

22nd May — Celebrating the first edition of the ASO Conference Berlin 2019

The first ASO Conference wrapped up last week in Berlin and it was a smash success!

We couldn’t be more pleased to have had the best ASO experts joining our conference and sharing their ASO experiences, challenges and strategies.

As for the presentations, we covered topics ranging from app store personalization, past/present and future of ASO, measuring Organic Uplift, API & Scrapers for internal reporting or analysis tools. Some slides have already been shared on the ASO Slack channel and more content is heading your way soon.

For those who were unable to attend our conference, all the presentations are available here.

We also announced the winners of the ASO AWARDS 2019 for best screenshots.

aso awards 2019 best screenshots


Ship, Lime, and Pure have demonstrated exemplary screenshot design and won respectively “The overall winner” award, the “Crowd favorite” award and the “Most Innovative” award.

And last but not least, here is the ASO conference in numbers 🚀:

  • Organized in 113 day
  • Sold out 1 month before the event
  • Trending #1 in Berlin on Twitter
  • Reached 151.4k people on social media
  • 200+ attendees
  • 25+ speakers
  • 8+ hours of knowledge sharing

29th May — Google updates Play Store policies to safeguard kids from inappropriate app downloads

Google announced via its official Android Developers blog a series of new rules and regulations for the Play Store to make it more family friendly.

This update includes a new form in the Google Play Console where developers must specify which age groups the app is aimed at, and, if it is aimed at children, additional questions will have to be answered to ensure that personal information is handled correctly.

target audience and content

Source: Android Developers blog

If kids aren’t the intended audience, the developer still has to take steps to make sure they don’t allow their app to appeal to children anyway. All existing apps on Google Play must meet this requirement by Sept 1, 2019.

30th May — Apple releases a new web page titled ‘App Store, Principles and Practices’ to answer critics of App Store Policies

Apple’s newest move to defend itself against anti-trust and anti-competition accusations is the launch of a ‘Principles and Practices’ web page which states that the App Store is a “safe and trusted place” to discover and download apps, and a “great business opportunity” for app producers.

app store


The tech giant provides an explanation of its commission rate (30%) for in-app purchases, drawing attention to how the platform provides 20 million developers an opportunity to do business.

From more than 1 billion users worldwide, developers have earned over $120 billion to date.

30th May — Another bug in the App Store algorithm?

Spotted by Ilia Kukharev, who promptly shared it on Twitter and on the ASO Stack Slack channel, the new bug (if it is a bug) is affecting only the apps that have exactly 30 characters in the Subtitle.

What has been noticed is that the word at the end of a 30-characters subtitle is not indexed anymore and apps that fall within this particular case are not ranking for the last word.

ilia kukharev tweet

The story of the weight-loss tracker app Happy Scale, reported by its maker Russ Shanahan in this Twitter thread too, shows how the change to the App Store search algorithm caused Happy Scale downloads to drop by 44%.

happy scale

Source Twitter

31st May — A new major refresh comes to the Google Play Store with Material design changes and navigation bottom bar

Google has started the rollout of the new look for its Play Store and these are the major improvements:

  1. The navigation bar is now positioned at the bottom of the screen and the dedicated music tab has been moved to the main menu available on the left.

google play store

Source: Android Police

2) The app page has been given a fresh restyling to put more focus on the rating and screenshots along with the changelog for apps have already been installed.

3) The progress bar has been removed in favor of circle animation engulfing the app icon that progress with the app download.

app download in google play store

Source: Android Police

Check out the Android Police’s article for more details about the rollout of the new Play Store in Material Theme and make sure to update to the latest 15.1.24 version to see all the changes.

30th May — Subscriptions insights tab will be removed from the Acquisition section in the Google Play Console

A new alert on the Google Play Console advises developers that, starting from July 3rd, the Subscriptions tab and User acquisition CSVs won’t be available anymore.

As an alternative, data on subscriptions conversion can be monitored using the Subscriptions Retention report in the Financial reports section.

subscription acquisition

31st May — Apple increases cellular download limit on the App Store to 200MB

As reported by 9to5Mac, Apple has raised the size limit of individual apps that can be downloaded from its App Store while on a cell network from 150 MB (set back in September 2017) to 200 MB. To download apps bigger than 200 MB in size, users will need to use WiFi.

The file size limit is designed to prevent iOS users from accidentally downloading a large app over cellular and using up all their data allowance or running up data charges.

Upcoming events in June

Apple WWDC 2019 (San Jose, US, June 3–7)

Applause 2019 (Barcelona, Spain, June 7th )

We Are Developers world congress (Berlin, Germany, June 10 -12)

Mobile Connect (Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, US, June 10–12)

ISRAEL MOBILE SUMMIT 2019 (Tel Aviv, Israel, June 12th)

App Design & Development Conference (Barcelona, Spain, June 26–28)

App Promotion Summit (NYC, US, June 27th)

More Mobile Growth events can be found in our list here!

Tool updates

See the keywords a Story ranks for in Apple Search – ASO Blog

You can now see all the keywords for which a story appears in the Apple App Store Search Results. Discover the keywords…

4.7 May Update

Google Play scoring; improved keyword grouping; new conversion rate graphs in ASO Analytics; reviews semantics in email…

ASA Keywords Popularity

Get all keywords popularity

Interesting Reads

2019 App Store and Google Play Screenshot Guidelines

Explore the nuances of working with iOS, iPad, and Android app store screenshots. Even when following official…

Boost your app reviews with Firebase Predictions!

Are you wondering when to show ‘rate app’ dialog? After 10th app opening? After using all app functions? Both? How…

Infographic: Apple App Store Pre-Order Apps & Games Blast in Search!

Pre-order apps are becoming popular on the App Store. We’ve checked how important they are in terms of search…

Thanks to Aude Boscher.