The new App Store layout

The iOS 11 App Store is becoming more of an app discovery platform and less a traditional store. The App Store has now a new layout with important changes affecting both the Discovery Pages and the App Store Product Pages. As mobile marketers, we need to be aware of these changes and modify our ASO strategy accordingly and boost visibility in the new App Store.

iOS11 new app store layout

Discovery Pages

Now games are separated from other types of apps. The new navigation tabs for better discovery are: “Today”, “Games”, “Apps”, “Updates” and “Search”.

“Today” Tab

Only a selected few apps are featured on the “Today” tab. It is designed like a daily news source featuring exclusive premiers, new features, favorites, interviews, and how to guides. When you click a story on the “Today” page, you are directed to an in-depth and content-rich editor’s piece that may include preview images, videos, and the possibility to download the app.

Games Tab

iOS 11 Games Page is designed as a news feed. The top of the page has a carousel of new and featured games with titles and more visually appealing previews.

Below that, there are several editor-picked subcategories in which three or four corresponding featured apps are presented in a carousel with an icon, title, and subtitle. This allows you to describe your app in greater detail and utilize keywords.

Further down you have the “Top Paid” and the “Top Free” categories.

Apps Tab

iOS 11 Apps Page is identical to the Games page, it’s designed as a news feed. Users have to scroll through featured apps in order to be able to browse Top Categories. The purpose of this is to encourage users to explore more and discover new apps.

Search Results Page

Apps appear in search results with subtitles and a single rating prominently displayed. In addition to apps, search results now include developers, in-app purchases, categories, editorial stories, tips and tricks, and collections.

The app icon is smaller and the title is shorter. You can’t rely on the title to describe your app’s utility. The subtitle has been replaced by the app category.

If developers choose the landscape format, then only one App Preview video or screenshot will appear on the Search Results Pages. If they choose the portrait format, up to three App Preview videos or screenshots will appear on the Search Results Page.

Keywords are limited to 100 characters, with words separated by commas and no spaces.

App Store Product Pages

The App Store Product Page is now one scrollable page. The app name is shortened from 50 characters to 30 characters.

There is a new subtitle field (30 characters) below the app name and it’s intended to summarize your app. Use it to highlight features or typical uses of your app. Subtitles rank for keyword searches. This field can help drive downloads. A/B test this field to find out which subtitle works best for your app.

Note: For existing apps that are using the 50 characters in the name field, only the first 30 characters will be indexed by the App Store search.

iOS11 App Store Product Page

Promotional text and description

At the top of the description, you have a new promotional text field limited to 170 characters. You can use this field to share the news with users, like sales, features, or events. You can update the promotional text without having to submit a new version of your app.

The first sentence of your description is the most important since it’s the one users can see without tapping to read more. Focus your description on explaining your app’s unique features. Avoid including specific product prices and unnecessary keywords to your description.

In the new App Store, you will only be able to change the description when you are submitting a new version of your app.

App previews

You can submit up to 3 video app previews (duration up to 30 seconds) and 5 screenshots localized.

The videos will autoplay with muted audio in search results and product pages. The autoplay erases the friction point created by having to tap to play the video and this can help increase conversions.

You can’t rewind or go forward: the video plays in a loop.

When dealing with autoplay videos, it’s critical to catch the viewer’s attention, so start the video with something very visual like text animation or your best app’s features.

Since it autoplays with muted audio, it is important to optimize for silence using short and easy to read copy to make sure your video can be understood and engaging even without sound.

Autoplay diminishes the importance of the poster frame. The poster frame is the image that covers your video on the App Store Product Page. It’s like a screenshot with a play button in the center. You can choose any frame from your video.  App preview poster frames appear whenever videos do not autoplay. It shows up in the following cases:

  • For split second before the App Preview video starts playing in Search Results and App Store page.
  • While the App Preview of the app above in the search results is playing, visitors see the poster frame.
  • Before the App Preview is put “in focus” and starts playing on the App Store listing.
  • In India and China.

With iOS11, you can now upload different App Previews for different localizations of your App Store page. You can create separated videos based on the locale (country/language).

Apple now encourages the use of copy in App Previews to give context to the footage. Ensure the text is legible and keep it timeless, avoiding references to specific events or seasons.

Some interesting data 

According to StoreMaven,  the uplift one can get by having a video on the app store page can go up to 20-35%. The visitors who watch the video are 3X more likely to install. Data based on analyzing 120 M sessions. 

According to Splitmetrics, the average increase in conversion with videos for iOS is around 16%.

There are some things in iOS 11 App Previews that stay the same:

  • App previews are still device-specific (you need a different video for each device) and app preview resolutions stay the same.
  • The minimum length is still 15s and up to 30s.
  • To update your App Previews you need to submit a new version (update) of the app
  • App Previews remain mostly based on capture footage.
  • You can’t show UI outside of your app.
  • You need to include an in-app purchase disclaimer when showing features only available via in-app purchases.
  • It’s still not possible to know how many people watch the videos or for how long.
  • No A/B testing in iTunes Connect. To measure the impact of your App Previews, you have to use third-party tools to A/B test your app store creatives and video. Tools like: Storemaven, SplitMetrics, Test Nest

Screenshots

Screenshots are about 33% smaller (180×100 pixels vs 180×150) and you can have 3 screenshots instead of two.

If you are using preview video, you need to think about how your screenshots can deliver additional value to users that have already watched the video.

App ratings and reviews

In iOS 10 and prior, when an update is published, the average rating of the app is reset. In iOS 11, the overall average rating will be displayed and you will be able to determine when you reset the average rating of your app. This is an important change that allows developers to erase bad ratings.

If you want users to provide feedback on the App Store without leaving your app, you can use the SKStoreReviewController in Apple’s API. You can choose when to prompt users to rate your app but it’s limited to three prompts a year. Since there is this limitation, it’s a good idea to use a custom survey first to find the users that really love your app and then target the review prompts only to them.

Chart Rank

The app’s top chart rank now appears on the product page. It can be more difficult for your app to get downloads if it is not a top charter app.

In-app purchases (IAP)

iOS11 introduces an easier way to browse in-app purchases. Customers can browse in-app purchases directly from the App Store and make a purchase even before downloading the app.

Optimize your IAP for visibility and conversions. You can customize which promoted in-app purchases a user sees on a specific device by hiding items the user already have or showing relevant levels in a game based on the user’s gameplay. IAP now rank for broader keyword searches than the exact match of iOS 10.

On your product page, you can promote up to 20 in-app purchases at a time. Your app needs to support a delegate method in SKPaymentTransactionObserver. You can promote In-app purchases in order to encourage downloads of your app. If the user does not have the app installed when he/she starts an in-app purchase, they’ll receive a prompt to download the app first. Once the app is installed, they can continue the purchase inside the app.

In order to ensure a seamless purchase flow, it is important to present the payment sheet as soon as the user is in the app.

Each promoted in-app purchase requires a unique promotional image. Don’t use screenshots and don’t overlay text on the image. Create a name for every in-app purchase (up to 30 characters), avoiding generic names, and create a description highlighting the benefits of each offering (up to 45 characters).

Interesting articles about iOS11 changes

The Visual Guide to iOS 11 for App Store Optimization
3 ASO Tests You Should Start With on iOS 11
iOS 11: The Ultimate App Store Guide
App Store 2.0 Changes in App Store Optimization
iOS 11 App Previews – The Complete Guide to Video on the App Store
iOS 11 ASO Screenshot Examples
How does iOS 11 influence ASO? We’ve analyzed 250K users
Promoting Your In-App Purchases – Apple developers

iOS 11 and marketing

What Does iOS 11 Mean for Marketers?
IOS 11: What Intelligent Tracking Prevention Means For Marketers
What the iOS 11 App Store Redesign Means for Publishers
How Mobile Marketers Should Prepare for iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iOS11