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


January 5

AI-generated FAQs on Play Store coming soon?

Following a series of AI-focused milestones, another step from Google is the introduction of AI-generated FAQs on the Play Store. As reported by AssembleDebug on TheSpAndroid, an FAQ section seems to be appearing for a limited number of apps and games. Once activated, an FAQ card appears on an app’s listing page, featuring three predetermined questions: “What do people like most about this app?”, “Why is this app popular?”, and “What is this app about?” The answers, generated by AI, can be accessed by clicking on the dropdown arrow. Users have the option to collapse the section by selecting “Hide”.
This might impact how many people read the long description, as the FAQs would already be answering the most common questions about the app.


January 11

Algorithmic anomalies reported in the Google Play Store

As reported in previous ASO Monthlies, we saw numerous Algorithmic changes in both the App Store and the Google Play Store recently. Another algorithmic anomaly on the Google Play Store in multiple countries was reported, with a notable high on January 11 in the USA. We also noticed higher anomalies in China, Australia, Brazil, the UK, and more countries. Some members of Phiture’s ASO Stack Slack channel also reported anomalous metrics behavior in the Play Store.

We recommend keeping a check on your metrics to understand how the algorithmic change may have impacted your app or game.


January 15

Apple is ready (reportedly) to enable Sideloading for iOS users in the EU

Under the DMA, Apple is obligated to allow developers to distribute their iOS apps beyond the App Store, while also permitting third-party payment platforms for in-app purchases. Apple’s VP of Software, Craig Federighi, acknowledged last year the company’s need to comply with EU legislation, with the deadline for DMA compliance set for March 7. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is poised to introduce an update enabling sideloading for iPhone and iPad users in Europe “in the coming weeks.” Notably, Gurman indicates that this change will split the App Store into two versions: One for EU countries and another for the rest of the world. For ASO practitioners, this presents both new opportunities and increased competition for user attention, as users gain greater access to third-party apps, a trend long prevalent on Android. However, the reaction of iOS users to this change will decide the future of this change.


January 16

VisionOS-ready apps now rolling out on the App Store

As reported by 9to5Mac, developers who submitted their visionOS apps for App Store Review earlier in the month are now receiving confirmation emails from Apple, indicating that their apps have been approved and are ready for download on the visionOS App Store. Although iOS App Store screenshots showcasing compatibility with Apple Vision Pro are yet to surface, it’s evident that progress is underway.

While not every app may be suitable to be used with VisionOS, those that are should prioritize optimizing their app for the new device. Doing so could potentially lead to increased user engagement and early successes in this evolving App Store.


January 25

Apple allows game streaming apps and services on the App Store

Apple has announced a significant update to its App Store policy, allowing game streaming apps like Xbox Cloud Streaming and GeForce Now to offer full-featured apps, rather than being restricted to web browsers. Developers can now submit one app containing their entire game catalog, streamlining the process. However, all content must adhere to App Store guidelines, including age ratings. Moreover, developers can now enhance discovery features for streaming games, mini-apps, chatbots, and plugins, which can also utilize Apple’s In-App Purchase system. These changes coincide with broader shifts in the App Store following an antitrust investigation by the European Commission, including allowing alternative app stores and browser engines in the EU.

Consolidating multiple games under one Product Page streamlines management efforts, saving valuable resources previously allocated to managing multiple pages.


January 26

Google Play Store New Search Tab is finally here (At least for some)

Noticed by Phiture’s Raad Kawar, Google Play Store’s new Search Tab is here. The updated tab showcases popular keywords, sponsored app results, and explore sections, providing users with more focused and streamlined search experiences. Notably, the emphasis on popular keyword tags suggests that apps optimized for these keywords will enjoy increased visibility. This means potentially higher traffic for advertisers, as the new section on the Search Tab enhances awareness and visibility. Additionally, the Explore section facilitates quicker navigation through categories, potentially driving more traffic through exploration. These updates reflect Google’s ongoing efforts to enhance the Play Store’s user experience and app discoverability. It should be noted that this new Search Tab still seems to be rolled out in phases as it is not available on every device as of now.


Tool updates

AppTweak: ASO Trends to look out for in 2024
AppFollow: Why Privacy-focused App Marketing is the Buzzword of 2024


Interesting reads / listens / watches

A thorough guide to Deep linking and Strategic Marketing | SEMNEXUS
ASA + ASO. Capitalizing on Valentine’s Day and the Holiday Season | AppFollow
10 key differences in ASO between App Store & Google Play | AppTweak
Top 10 Health & Fitness Apps on the US App Store by User Acquisition Performance | MobileAction


Before you go

As the App Store adapts to comply with DMA regulations (sideloading and allowing third-party payments), algorithm adjustments occur in both App Stores and VisionOS being launched, the upcoming months are expected to witness significant shifts in the App Store. For ASO practitioners, now more than ever, it’s crucial to delve deep into app metrics and maintain a vigilant watch on how these metrics evolve. This proactive approach enables timely adjustments and optimizations, positioning practitioners ahead of the competition in this dynamic and evolving landscape. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and stay ahead.