This month’s ASO Monthly edition outlines the most relevant December developments. Here, we shed light on trends in App Store Optimization, algorithm changes, insights into conversion rate optimization, and tool updates.


December 2

Google Play 2023 at a glance

In last month’s edition of Notes from Google Play, Google delved into the many enhancements that shaped the Google Play experience throughout 2023. Some of the noteworthy improvements featured in the update encompassed “enhanced discoverability for Promotional Content cards,” an “optimized Play Store experience tailored for large-screen devices,” the integration of “A.I.-generated descriptions directly into Custom Store Listings,” “Pricing A/B tests within Google Play Console,” and an increased emphasis on “user privacy and data safety.” These transformative changes have proven instrumental for numerous ASO practitioners, allowing them to save time, elevate app visibility, and conduct effective tests on their monetization flows.


December 5

Algorithm anomaly reported in the App Store

AppTweak’s Algorithm Change Detector showing a spike in December

On December 5, the AppTweak algorithm change detector identified an anomaly score of 6 within the App Store, deviating significantly from the usual range, which typically hovers around 0 (e.g., 0.234 or 0.356). This observation suggests a recent algorithm change within the App Store, consequently impacting app indexing. Insights shared by members of the ASO Stack community on Slack highlight instances of sudden declines in keyword ranks, accompanied by reports of unexpected spikes in download metrics. If your app has encountered sudden setbacks in keyword rankings or download figures over the previous month, it may be due to this algorithmic shift.


December 6

Google introduces Gemini

Image: Google

On December 6th, Google unveiled Gemini, its most extensive and powerful AI model to date. The inaugural release of Gemini has been fine-tuned for three distinct sizes: Gemini Ultra, Gemini Pro, and Gemini Nano. As an increasing number of Mobile Growth Marketers embrace the fusion of AI with their expertise to address daily growth challenges and tasks, Gemini emerges as a valuable asset. Users seeking to streamline their operations and automate repetitive tasks—ranging from description writing and trend analysis from KPIs to caption generation and summarizing group app reviews—will find Gemini to be an indispensable tool.


December 11

Apple introduces new layout for easier category navigation

Image: MacRumors

With the release of iOS 17.2, the App Store revamped the “Apps” and “Games” pages, introducing a top bar for easier category navigation. This addresses the previous challenge of locating categories at the bottom of the Apps page. Additionally, Apple redesigned category tags at the page bottom, enhancing their visual appeal with larger icons and background colors. This update, mainly available on newer devices in the USA, improves the App Store experience but is not yet universally available across all regions.


December 12

Apple highlights the top Apps and Games of 2023

As the year concluded, Apple highlighted the top apps and games of 2023 on the App Store, recognized through year-end charts tailored for users across 35 countries and regions. The 2023 App Store Awards celebrated outstanding apps and games chosen by the App Store Editorial team for delivering meaningful experiences and fostering cultural transformation. ASO practitioners can learn valuable lessons from these exceptional apps, understanding their commitment to quality and optimized user journeys, as well as gain valuable knowledge about Apple’s selection process. This knowledge is crucial for all developers aiming to enhance user experiences and streamline the journey from page optimization to user conversion.


Tool updates

AppTweak: 2023 Product Recap
MobileAction: 2023 Product Recap


Interesting reads / listens / watches

Top 10 Travel Apps on the USA App Store by User Acquisition Performance | MobileAction
The most popular App Store keywords of 2023 | AppTweak
5 ASO Tips to Optimise Your Fintech App | AppFollow
Leveraging In-App Events for Enhanced iOS Ranking | App Guardians


Before you go

With the App Store’s improved category layout, featured apps and games can expect more traffic, starting in the USA and expanding globally. This shift emphasizes the need for ASO Consultants to pitch for featuring and run engaging In-App events for a stronger category presence. Games, in particular, may benefit more from increased discoverability as more users actively explore the Stores for new gaming experiences, unlike most app categories where brand searches dominate.