aso monthly june 2021

In this ASO Monthly series, the Phiture team reflects on the previous month and sheds light on trends in app store optimization, algorithm changes, privacy changes, insights into conversion rate optimization, and tool updates.

This update was prepared by ASO Consultants Anton Tatarinovich and Peiyi Lin at Phiture. 

June 1 – Google Play algorithm anomaly in India and Saudi Arabia

According to Apptweak, on June 1st a one-day anomaly affected Google Play users in Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser extent, India. Algorithm anomalies may have an impact on keyword rankings as well as data attribution. If your app has a substantial presence in one of the aforementioned markets, consider the impact the anomaly may have on your reporting.

Google Play algorithm anomaly in India and Saudi Arabia

June 7 – Apple’s WWDC: native App Store A/B testing, and custom product pages announced

During its Worldwide Developers Conference Apple announced, among other things, groundbreaking changes coming to the App Store later this year. The changes include:

  • Native App Store A/B testing
  • Custom product pages
  • In-app events
  • New App Store Connect metrics

The new functionality will have a profound impact on conversion optimization for the App Store. 

With native in-store A/B testing, ASO managers will now have a separate test track for iOS, instead of using a mix of Google Play Console experiments, ASA Creative Sets, and 3rd party A/B testing tools as a workaround for years.

With custom product pages, publishers will be able to optimize their store listing pages with specific traffic sources, personalizing screenshots, video, and promo text.

wwdc 2021If you missed the WWDC – check out our article summarizing all ASO updates from WWDC.

Apple also updated App Store review guidelines, which address developer trust and safety issues, as well as align the policies with newly released versions of the OS. You can find a recap of what’s new on Macrumors and in Apple’s official guidelines.

webinar ios15

Get your UA and ASO strategy ready for iOS 15: Phiture is hosting an online webinar on July 7, 3:30 PM CEST (9:30 am ET, 6:30 AM PT) to share with you more about ASO strategy and expert insights on the upcoming iOS 15 update. Learn more and book your seat here.

June 7 – Apple starts testing no screenshots for installed apps in App Store search

Members of the ASO Stack community noticed that the App Store suddenly stopped showing screenshots for apps that are already downloaded on a device in search results. For now, the change appears to be a test; on June 25th, the screenshots were back.

If the feature is rolled out (e.g. with the release of iOS 15), this will impact impressions and conversion rates for apps with lower rankings because users will need to scroll down less to see an app, meaning impressions should increase and users will not see screenshots for already installed apps. This will give more prominence to other apps’ screenshots, potentially increasing conversion rate.

(Credit: Ilia Kukharev)

(Credit: Ilia Kukharev)

June 11 – Investigation finds Apple prioritizes its own apps in the App Store

An investigation by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times revealed that Apple has ranked its own apps ahead of competitors in the App Store in 2019, while Apple claimed that it didn’t manually boost Files over competitors. Apple commented, “we do not advantage our apps over those of any developer or competitor,” as a general rule.

Apple said they “are removing the manual boost and the search results should be more relevant now.” Despite their statement, competitors and developers still doubt its validity because Apple always has the power to tweak its algorithm. (Reference: The Verge)

June 23 – Apple Search Ads are available in mainland China 

Starting from July 20th, Apple Search Ads will start serving ads in mainland China. If your app has a presence in China, being one of the first to leverage the rollout would mean potentially lower CPMs for the time being before competition gets hot. 

For ASO managers, this also means further indicators to evaluate keyword popularity in mainland China.

mainland china apple
Source: Apple

Running ASA in China will be different from other markets due to local regulations. Publishers will need to submit additional documentation to make sure the app is approved. For more details about Apple Search Ads in China check out the official overview page from Apple.

June 25 – GP data unavailable from June 20 (Fixed)

Another gem from ASO Stack: starting from June 20 there was a delay in data attribution for the Google Play Store Analysis section. The delay was always present on Google Play, but the bug increased it further. 

Although we have data available until June 23, if you are doing any time-sensitive reporting for the Android version of your app, this might have impacted your data in late June, so be aware.


July 15 – MGS Expand (Online)

July 19-23 – Game Developers Conference (Online)

July 21-22 – Ecommerce Expo Osaka – Osaka, Japan

Tool updates

AppTweak: Updated Ratings & Reviews Section

AppFollow: Improved Semantic Analysis and Increased Free Limits

SearchAdsHQ: Automation Rules 2.0

ASOdesk: New Corporate Identity

Interesting reads

Meet the 2021 Apple Design Award Winners

Apple admits why its own Files app was ranked first when users searched for competitor Dropbox

iOS 15 brings new ways to stay connected and powerful features that help users focus, explore, and do more with on-device intelligence

Wallstreetbets Effect on the App Stores Charts

Before you go

Hack: Showing a Facebook ad with a search suggestion (e.g. “Play 21”) increases search popularity for the brand name or the generic keyword on an ad banner for the time when the ad is live.

Credit: @philgrowth93 on Twitter
Credit: @philgrowth93 on Twitter

Not getting installs for the Google Play experiment? Check your “Managed publishing” setting. 

Credit: Marek Pasieczny on ASO Stack

Credit: Marek Pasieczny on ASO Stack

Find more ASO hacks & insights in the ASO Stack community