Each element of your Apple’s app store product page has power to get you millions of downloads for your iPhone app. And with new iOS 11 update, the product pages are offering more and more opportunities to maximize app’s visibility on the Apple App Store.
App Store Optimization, as all app owners might already know, is an essential strategy for mobile app startups as well as mobile businesses to improve their positions in search result and drive organic traffic.
So, if you think that by creating an iOS app based on a unique idea you’ll automatically get downloads for it easily, then you’re completely mistaken.
Creating an app is just the first step. And in order to attract users and convince them to try your app, you’ll need to put in a lot of efforts. And even if you do have a unique idea, a compelling UI, and better functionalities, the success of your app will still remain in the hands of your targeted audience.
So, to attract your targeted audience and convince them to download your app, it’s necessary to use your app store product page effectively. And since Apple has completely changed App Store, we’ve decided to share a complete app store optimization guide for iOS 11 to help fellow app owners stay up-to-date.
The new Apple App Store was first announced in June 2017 and finally arrived in September 2017, together with all new iOS 11. This time, Apple users have a completely redesigned, new App Store, with new tricks and elements.
But how will these changes affect my current ASO strategy?
Do I really need to make changes in it?
Short answer: Yes.
In this App Store Optimization guide, we’ve collected everything you need to know about ASO for the new iOS 11 updated App Store. But first, let’s quickly go through main concept of ASO process.
Keyword research is first and an essential step of ASO strategy. And to rank in search results, you need to find and put right keywords.
How to find and choose right keywords?
In order to maximize your search visibility, first you need to think of all the possible search queries that one generally would use to find your type of apps.
For example, if you’ve developed Health & Fitness app, then you might want to note keywords such as best fitness app, meal planning app, fitness tracker app, free fitness app, and so on.
Brainstorm the initial list of all the keywords related to your app, including all the functionalities your app performs, main features, and write them all down.
Next step – Amplify this list of keywords with suggestions.
Where to find suggested keywords?
To find more keywords, you can just simply check the suggestions in the Apple App Store search bar, or you can also use advanced tools like Sensor Tower or App Annie.
Another way to find new keywords is to check your competitor’s product pages and note down all keywords you can find.
How to identify best keywords?
Once you’ve a list of possible keywords for your app to work on, it’s time to see analyze them and see which ones are worth targeting to improve search results.
If your app is new to the app store or you’re about to launch your first app, the best practice is to target mid and long-tail keywords. In simple words, keyword combinations that have high enough traffic size and lower competition.
Where to put these keywords on Product Page?
On the Apple App Store, there are basically 5 text fields that impact search.
The next important step of ASO strategy is working directly on your App Store listing. This means, working on your on-metadata. The on-metadata are those elements which fall under the direct control of developers and easily be optimized. We’ll talk about these elements later in detail.
To ensure that the optimizations of your app store product page is optimal, you need to track the improvement in conversion rate. And the best way to measure it is with A/B Testing.
A/B Testing, in simple words, is an experiment during which, one element of your product page is changed and the difference in driven traffic is noticed.
A/B Testing is an essential part of ASO strategy and it’s the best way to find out if the icon, screenshot, and preview really attracts and convinces your targeted audience or not.
So…Stop assuming and start A/B Testing!
Once you apply and make all changes, it’s time to track and monitor the results. You can monitor your results in terms of keywords rankings, conversion rate, organic downloads, and reviews & ratings. Once you’ve this data, you can analyze and optimize again where it requires improvements.
So now that you’re aware about the ASO process, let’s get to the main part.
As discussed that with all big updates and all new App Store, you need to understand how the updates will influence app store optimization strategy. Here’s what you need to do to maximize your app’s visibility.
Remember the time when you could have 255 characters just in your App’s name?
Well, that time has now gone. In iOS 11, the opportunity to put important keywords in your App’s name has become restricted. Why? It’s because Apple has now reduced the maximum characters limit between 30-50 characters in the new App Store.
This means, it has now become even more important to pick right primary targeted keyword in App Name.
Since the maximum characters limit has been reduced in the App Name, the Apple has decided to add the new app subtitle section field to make up for that loss.
App owners…utilize this field to communicate the value of your app. And remember, the keyword in your subtitle will be indexed, so make sure you add the best keyword or keywords in it.
Don’t use generic keywords such as “Most Fun App” or “Exciting Game”. Instead, use the new subtitle field to explain your app in short few words or highlight its main feature by using your best keyword.
One more thing: if the keyword in your subtitle proves not to work well, you can update the subtitle when releasing your App’s new version.
The App Preview video gets an upgrade in iOS 11. And with new features, it has become more important than ever to have an App Preview video on your app store product page.
Important Upgrade of App Preview App Owners Should Know About:
Use screenshots effectively to show user experience of your app visually. In the iOS 11 update, you’re allowed to feature maximum 5 screenshots on your app store product page.
Screenshots are visible in the search results, so the important functionalities of your app must be highlighted in the your screenshots. In fact, they are the third visual element, after Icon and App Preview, that the users find in their app discovery process. Thus, your app screenshots must be aimed to convince users into installing your app.
Tips to Create The Best Compelling Screenshots:
While writing description of your app, keep in mind these important points:
Lastly, remember that the first sentence of your app description is the most important one. It will be the first thing your audience will read without having to tap on “Read More”. That means, every word of the first sentence will count. And this is why the first sentence of your app description must be compelling enough to make users read the second one.
When you’re writing app description, don’t try and add unnecessary keywords in an attempt to increase or improve search results.
And remember, you’re allowed to update app description only at the time of submitting your app for the first time or when submitting a new version. Therefore, you need to be very careful about the description, and what you convey to your targeted audience in it.
This is another new field added by Apple that appears above the app description section. This new field allows app owners to use a maximum of 170 characters to further communicate the value of their apps, after subtitles.
But do you know the best part?
The best part about this new field is that changing it does not require a complete app update.
You can use the promotional text to update your users about the latest news of your app, which can be either upcoming features, new content, in-app purchases, app store promotions, or any other events within your iPhone app.
Another new element to the new Apple App Store is the ability to promote your in-app purchases directly on your app store product page. Each IAP (In-app purchase) will have its own title, description, and promotional image.
In the new iOS 11 update, you can display 20 In-app purchases on your app store product page.
Important note: Since your in-app purchases will also be shown in the search results, it’s necessary to give them a descriptive name and your targeted keywords you want to rank for.
This will ultimately give you a larger search footprint.
Now, keep in mind that to make your in-app purchases available on your App Store product page, your app must support SKPaymentTransferObserver method.
One more thing: If your users have not installed your app while making an in-app purchase, then they would automatically be prompted to download your app to complete their transaction.
You’re now allowed to assign two categories to your app: Primary and Secondary.
Primary category is the one which is responsible for the discoverability of your App. Therefore, be sure to select the primary category which best describes your app’s main functionality.
In iOS 10, the average rating of the current version was used to display in App Store listings and whenever an app update was published, the average rating of the app would reset.
This was a huge drawback for app owners like you as even if you update your regularly with bug fixes and new features/content, the number of ratings was always used to show low.
But in iOS 11 update, only the overall average rating will be displayed. In fact, you’ll also be able to determine when to reset the average ratings of your app.
Besides this, you are now also able to respond to the reviews of your users by directly addressing their feedbacks, questions, and concerns. Furthermore, if you respond to the review with iTunes Connect, then users will also get notified of the response, and they’ll have an option to remove or update their review.
In short, this feature will allow app owners to erase mistakes that you might have made in the past, so that your ratings could reflect only the current quality of your app.
When you update your app, you can use the ‘What’s New’ feature to communicate about the changes you made in your app. This text will appear on your App Store product page, and your users will see two-line preview of it just below your app icon and name.
So now when you’ve fixed a bug or solved user’s problem based on his feedback, then you can use ‘What’s New’ feature to let all your users know about your new app update. Not only that, but you can also list all new features or add call-to-action text that would excite your users about the updates.
We’ve talked about Augmented Reality app development in our previous blogs and looks like Apple has chosen a side. iOS 11 has launched a new ARKit for iPhone app developers to create immersive app experiences.
If this is something you can implement in your next app update, it will really help you stand out from crowd. And if you have an idea for creating AR experience in your app, you can hire ARKit developers to implement them in your app.
So that’s everything you need to know about new App Store optimization updates you need to do for the new iOS 11. And having in mind these new elements of the new iOS 11 App Store and how to optimize them, you can improve your rankings and drive more organic installs.
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