— 6 Jun 2017

Apple Redesigns the App Store: Here’s What You Need to Know

Alexandra Lamachenka

Apple has introduced a complete redesign of the App Store during the opening of the WWDC 2017 conference. This is the biggest update since the launch in 2008 that features a fresh look as well as new tabs and page elements.

Since the key aim of the update is to help users discover and explore apps easier, app developers are to pay a close attention to app store optimization in a new reality.

Although app store optimization basics won’t be affected by the autumn release, new thrilling opportunities will be opened up for app developers.

App Store Redesign Features Today, Apps and Games Tabs

The App Store will be helping users to find out what’s happening right now on its landing page which is now called Today. The Today tab will be featuring trending and the most important apps on the store.

apple app store redesign today splitmetrics

Taking into account that the App Store is visited by 500 million people weekly and the page becomes app-focused, it can be already predicted that the traffic that comes to these apps from the main page will be several times higher than it is now.

TechCrunch suggests that with renewed App Store’s main page launch browsing it will feel like visiting a favorite news site for recent updates. In addition to this, when users click a featured app, they’ll no longer land on the app page. Instead, they will see an app review with key quotes, images and videos with the Get button at the bottom.

app store redesign app review splitmetrics
Source: Techcrunch.com

To give more exposure to apps and games and eliminate competition between them in the new design, Apple separates them in two different tabs. This also adds a kind of personalization: if a user is interested in Games only, they simply turn to the appropriate tab.

apple app store redesign games splitmetircs

App Store Redesign Affects App Pages

Apple has also improved individual app pages by adding new elements and optimizing their look.

new design app store page splitmetrics

The key changes are:

  • App name is limited to 30 characters, 50 characters are available before the update. Update: Google Play extends the app name to 50 characters.
  • To compensate a name shortening, Apple adds a subtitle for which app developers also have 30 characters. This can be used to describe an app in details and add keywords – unlike keywords in description, subtitle optimization will influence rankings.
app store redesign subtitle splitmetrics
  • An app page can feature up to 3 videos and 5 screenshots. The first video will start playing automatically once a user enters a page. It is noteworthy that autoplay’s been disabled in Safari (eat your heart out, Facebook!).
  • Like a short description on Google Play, the 170-character promotional text now heads long app descriptions. Keep in mind that neither a promo text nor a description influence app’s search ranking. An advantage of the promo text over a description is that you can update it instantly without releasing a new version of the app.
  • App Store reviews now play an important role as they are highlighted alongside app’s ratings and popularity. The most recent reviews and developers’ responses are shown to potential users.
app store redesign reviews splitmetrics 1

New Feature: In-App Purchases

With this update, Apple encourages developers to make in-app purchases clearer to users and rethink their place in the marketing strategy.

Up to 20 in-app purchases can now be featured on the individual app page. Every in-app purchase appears in the form of a card that speaks to users through an icon, name, description and price. They are aimed at improving understanding of what a developer sells and helps to overcome users’ install-barriers.

app store redesign in-app purchases splitmetrics 1

Even though it is yet another page element that gives more information about the app, it is already clear that in-app purchases featured on an app page will have a strong influence on the app conversion rate, positive or negative. App A/B testing is a tool that will help to develop winning in-app purchases combinations that will be introduced to potential users.

Enhanced Search

With the update, Apple makes search more unified – its results now include:

  • developers,
  • in-app purchases,
  • categories,
  • editorial stories,
  • tips and tricks,
  • collections.

This makes developers’ content more discoverable and helps customers easily find the content they’re looking for.

The new search will start a new era in App Store Optimization and ultimately will lead to new user acquisition techniques. App developers are to hunt for new keywords and make most of the elements appear in search results, not just a page.

The App Store Allows Rolling Out Stable Releases

Another important feature that is already available for developers is phased releases.

With this feature, app developers will be able to roll out app updates to small groups of people before making a global launch. Presumably, it’ll help with making improvements on time to deliver a stabilized version to the wide audience.

The App Store update will arrive with the launch of iOS 11, which is expected this late fall. It’s available to iOS developers today.

SplitMetrics users are already able to run experiments using a new design!

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Alexandra Lamachenka
Alexandra Lamachenka
ex-CMO at SplitMetrics, Senior Marketing Technology Specialist at Depop
As a marketing leader with over 7 years of experience, Alexandra is passionate about showing app teams how to go beyond what's possible in growth and marketing.
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