What you need to know about ASO for iOS 11
Along with the new iPhone X, one of Apple’s biggest updates is the new App Store. Apple hasn’t made this big of a change to their app store since 2008. A lot of their changes seem to benefit the developers, and make it a much more interesting and competitive landscape for people doing ASO.
New App Store UX / UI
One of the biggest changes is a “today” tab. Now apps can be featured as apps of the day much more often than they were in the individual category pages of the last version.
The today tab is a great way to get a lot of downloads for your app very quickly. It’s a bit reminiscent of how product hunt works by featuring new apps for a day so they can get a lot of traffic quickly. How an app can be featured on this tab is still relatively unknown.
Games & apps are separated
Another big change is that now games and apps are separated out. This seems to make a lot of sense considering how different the intent is when searching for a game vs an app.
This could be good news for games specifically. Before they only occupied one category out of 29 and now they occupy one out of two sections. This also may be good for apps. The top charts page of the old version of the app store typically had many of their spots devoted to games. With less competition now it may be easier to rank higher in the charts.
Up to three videos, first one is autoplayed
Videos are becoming a much bigger part of your app store listing. Now you can have up to three videos (per language) instead of just one. In the search results, the first video will automatically play on mute. Similar to how videos work on Facebook.
Shorter title & subtitle
For a long time ASOs have been gaming apple’s algorithm by stuffing more keywords to the end of their title. The title was the biggest factor in their search rankings. Now we will start to see much shorter titles and a longer subtitle where keywords will be placed. It is still unknown when these changes will be required by.
App category is shown in the search results
Another way people will be able to learn more about the apps they search is the now visible category. The primary category will show up in the search results for each app.
App position in category
Apple has added more social proof to the product page by showing what position the app is in their designated category. This will make high rankings in your category even more important, and will likely skew downloads to the more popular apps.
Last update text
The “what’s new” section is now displayed at the top of the app page for any app that has been previously downloaded, whether it was deleted or not. This seems like a pretty good mechanism to get more people to re-download apps that they have forgotten about, because they can now see what has changed about the app.
Ratings and reviews
Apple significantly transformed the review section. There will be no need to go to a separated tab anymore to check rating or to read reviews. All is on one page. Replies to reviews are also here.
Average app rating is now much more noticeable as well. This social proof will likely have a bigger impact on downloads. This is backed up by the fact that developers can set this rating to zero when updating the app, so last versions bugs won’t affect new users decision to install app or not.