Any objective list of visionary tech companies would include Apple. Yet during its most behavior-changing period – think 2007 when the iPhone came out – Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs and other senior executives failed to see all that was possible.
During a WWDC presentation detailing the massive changes coming to the App Store with iOS 11 this fall, it was revealed by product manager Pedraum Pardehpoosh that 20 years ago, Apple predicted 1,000 total apps eventually being created – just double what was available at launch in July 2008.
Instead, there are now 2.2 million apps in the App Store and WWDC was an opportunity to introduce efforts to not only enable more app development, but more discovery by visitors to a store that has overwhelmed even its creators.
Apple admitted that its first massive redesign has clear intentions – to make the App Store a daily destination, give voice to Apple’s growing editorial staff that is charged with presenting interesting apps, and to provide a focus on games and their significance. Overall, clarity and simplification are other goals for Apple’s redesign.
It is important for marketers to know how the revamped App Store will be affecting them, so I have outlined six important areas to consider.
1. Mobile users have an ever-increasing appetite to watch videos. Apple says that customers download more apps when videos are present. To that end, app makers will be able to feature up to three videos and enable autoplay. If you don’t have video assets, I suggest begin creating them before iOS11 launches.
2. Those creative sessions to deliver just the right app icon will still be important, but there will be additional opportunity to drive awareness and downloads with a new subtitle feature. Apple says more information about individual apps will help users “make the right decision” on which to download.
3. Apple says that 50 percent of consumers who click on ads that they see in the App Store go a step further and download the app. The average cost per install of a Search Ad has been $1 since the option was made available last October. The clickthrough numbers are higher than expected which may be because beta advertisers are targeting highly specific phrases. Also, users are not yet accustomed to “ads” being shown and are treating the results as they do organic app store search click-throughs. For iOS 11, editorial content will be searchable, which will give marketers more incentive to get their apps featured.
4. In-app purchase options will be more discoverable on the App Store and they will be searchable, providing a way for app makers to make a run at additional monetization.
5. Marketers and developers will also see what was presented as a simplified app ratings and reviews program. No longer will ratings be hidden following an app update. Also, App Store visitors will be presented with other apps and/or games by the same developer. This is double-edged. While more discovery is a good thing, app makers will need to keep all of their apps fresh and be even more on top of ratings and reviews since the profile of one app will likely affect how visitors feel about others.
6. Apple encouraged developers and marketers to reach out via www.appstore.com/promote to get apps in front of the editorial team. Selected apps may appear as part of a Meet The Developer column, App of the Day or Game of the Day tabs, and also via curated collections and lists.
Of course, for many, it will still be challenging to get seen in a store of 2.2 million apps and growing. However, the direction Apple is heading in offers more hope to those making apps and those looking to find ones that would interest them.