Apple made some critical announcements about iOS 15 at the WWDC 2021 (Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference) on June 7th that will affect important aspects of mobile apps and the Apple App Store.
Most importantly, from an app marketing strategy and ASO perspective, the post-iOS15 App Store will be customizable according to organic and paid search—which opens a whole new world of opportunities!
Privacy changes coming with iOS15 may also affect your customer engagement strategies, so be sure you’re getting prepared for what’s ahead.
In case you missed what these updates are (and their implications) we’ll highlight what you need to know here!
App Store changes coming with iOS15
Product Pages Updates
App Store Connect will soon be offering exciting new capabilities for App Store’s app product pages. These are two that we find especially intriguing because they really up the game for making product pages more relevant and engaging for potential new users.
Product Page Optimization
A cool new App Store product page capability is the ability to try and test different app icons, screenshots, and app preview versions against your default product page to see what performs the best. This is huge for organic UA efforts!
For example, you may test two different treatments of an app icon to see which one results in better conversion. Or, you can localize screenshots by country highlighting different features in the app screenshots.
The rules of PPO are as follows:
- Test up to 3 different treatments against your default product page
- Any alternate metadata treatments must be submitted for review
- If treatments only include alternate app previews and screenshots, they can be submitted for review independently from a new app version.
Product Page Customization
With iOS 15, you have the chance to create additional versions of an app’s product page that you can direct different audiences to. The versions can feature different promo text, app previews, screenshots—each with its unique URLs for that you can then track in App Analytics to see how they perform. This is a huge breakthrough for paid UA!
The main aspects of product page customization are as follows:
- Create and submit new pages in App Store Connect for review at any time, independent of app updates
- Publish anywhere from one to 35 custom product pages at a time for varying audiences
- Monitor performance of each custom page in App Analytics by viewing each page’s impressions, conversion rate, and other key metrics.
- Measure performance over time by analyzing retention data per paying user for every individual custom product page
Discoverability of In-app events
In-app events are important for app developers because they represent timely events within apps. For games, this could be a competition or tournament, while for other apps it could be a user challenge, live-streamed event or other occasion.
With iOS 15, in-app events will be discoverable directly on the App Store, providing apps a new vehicle for showcasing these events and expanding their potential reach. Events can be highlighted in the app’s product page—plus appear as personalized recommendations or curated editorial content in the Today, Apps Tabs or Games section on the App Store. App developers will be able to easily manage these events in App Store Connect.
Changes in iOS 15 User Notifications
There are also updates in user-facing notifications that are well worth mentioning.
Almost all mobile phone users are used to receiving app notifications. They can range anywhere from reminding users of an upcoming event, to when a new message is received, or when it’s time to do a meditation session based on the app user’s chosen meditation alert time.
The tricky thing about notifications is that most people want to see and respond to certain types right away—like an incoming personal message—while they prefer not to be interrupted by others that are deemed less important by the user.
Every mobile user can now choose and customize this through Settings > Focus where they can customize how, when, and how many notifications they wish to receive throughout their day.
Focus Mode is a new iOS 15 feature that can filter notifications and apps based on device hardware intelligence gathered from the mobile user’s interactions with their device that determines how relevant certain notifications are to that user. If a user wants to stay focused, they can create a custom focus mode or a suggested focus mode that’s powered by this device-side intelligence.
Focus mode promises to reduce distraction by collecting non-urgent messages and sending a “Notification Summary” and sending at certain times of the day—which is determined based on the user’s work hours, bedtime, etc.
Notifications will also be redesigned to be more easily identified by users with larger app icons and by adding contact photos to message notifications.
Updated iOS 15 Privacy Guidelines
Beefed up Privacy with iCloud+
Apple introduced the next generation of iCloud with iCloud+ that will add new privacy and security features to its subscription-based cloud hosting service.
Hide My Email
For iOS mobile device users who choose to use this new function, handing out real email addresses to companies—when signing up for an app or website—could be a thing of the past. The Hide My Email feature automatically generates a random, unique email address that allows users to block email or forward to their real address.
If you’re using email as part of your overall mobile app marketing strategy, then this feature is significant. For any user that opts to activate this privacy function, emails face a tougher challenge. Providing users value and engaging content that they want to receive becomes even more important.
iCloud Private Relay
Private Relay is a new iOS15 service that allows Safari users to browse the web with utmost privacy. It routes all browsing traffic through proxy servers that encrypts user’s IP address, browsing activity and location, blocking data collection sites from collecting detailed user profiles.
The impact here will be felt most by brands that rely on purchased third-party data to get user information. The takeaway here is that collecting first-party data should be the focus. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Focusing on first-party data collection means building a trusted rapport and two-way communication directly with your users that will pay off in retention and loyalty in the long run.
App Privacy Report
The release of App Tracking Transparency with iOS 14.5–which allows users to turn off app tracking—created its fair share of buzz in the mobile app industry. As an extension of this, Apple announced the release of Privacy Report with iOS15 which really turns the table and puts third-party companies under the microscope. With this report, users can see a detailed overview of which apps asked for your personal information—like access to your location and photos—and if and how they’re actually using this info.
This opt-in feature is a reminder that full transparency between your brand and your users is vital. Conscientious marketers are upfront about the use of private information and clearly communicate how the use of this data circles back to provide value to the user. If this is the case, seeing a report about how such information is used should be too shocking. With this transparency tool, app brands need to make sure they’re educating users about how data is used and establishing that trust.
New App Analytics Metrics
For users that have agreed to share their data with apps, app developers will be able to track new metrics using App Analytics in App Store Connect. These new metrics include:
- total downloads
- proceeds data
- average revenue per paying user
These metrics will all be viewable by device, territory, and source type to help app developers and app marketers easily determine what drives an app’s growth and success.
If you haven’t kept close track of the iOS 15 update announcements made at WWDC 2021, you may be surprised at just how significant these changes are from an app developer, app marketer and app user perspective.
These changes offer many opportunities from all parties to enchanted the user experience which will benefit everyone in the long term. These include:
- Highlighting and expanding the reach of special in-app events
- Testing capabilities for more customized product pages
- Notification configuration to help increase user focus and productivity
- New privacy features with iCloud+
- New metrics to determine app performance
For more information regarding enhancing your app for the maximum performance and optimized app user experience, please contact us. We’d love to chat!