App Store Optimization 2023: News & App Store Updates
In the ever-changing app store landscape – algorithm changes, tool updates, and new store guidelines – keeping up with the most important changes can be difficult.
To help you stay up to date with the main developments occurring in the ASO community, we’ve created this blog. Each month, we will provide a recap of the most important ASO and app store updates we have taken note of in a succinct and digestible way.
ASO updates for May 2023
Google I/O Announcements for ASO
Google announced the most important updates to be expected soon on the Play Store and Android during Google I/O!
The most important updates for ASO pertain to:
- Custom store listings: Marketers will soon be able to target inactive users in their CSLs, as well as leverage CSLs for Google Ads.
- AI: Google teased the release of an AI-powered translation tool (available for 10 languages at launch) to localize store listings and a second tool named AI helper that will help generate long descriptions with one sentence prompt.
- Promotional content: Promotional content will be soon featured in the Games/Apps tab and search results. Google also announced promotional content reports.
- Monetization: Google will release featured products, a new promotional content type to advertise in-app products on Google Play, and price experiments, a tool that will allow developers to A/B test price changes for their in-app items.
Get a detailed summary of the main updates announced at I/O with our videos!
ASO updates for April 2023
Upcoming policies announced by Google Play
Google has announced a new policy against deceptive behaviors and tactics taking effect on May 31, 2023. Three different items are targeted by the policy: ads (deceptive or sexually explicit), metadata, and reviews and ratings.
- Regarding metadata specifically, Google is being very broad in going after “misleading, improperly formatted, non-descriptive, irrelevant, excessive, or inappropriate metadata.” This includes the use of emojis, emoticons, repeated special characters, or ALL CAPS unless it is part of a brand name. Google also specified, “developers must provide a clear and well-written description of their app. We also don’t allow unattributed or anonymous user testimonials in the app’s description.”
- On the subject of ratings & reviews, Google has restated the risk of being banned for apps that engage in “fraudulent or incentivized, reviews and ratings” and/or similar practices.
Apple’s IAP pricing change
Starting May 9th, all paid apps and IAPs uploaded to the store console before March 8 (except subscriptions) will see their prices updated across App Store storefronts using current US prices as the basis. Developers can opt out of the update by either selecting another country as their price basis or by manually adjusting prices.
An alert around ANRs
We’ve received an alert from a member of the mobile marketing community: Jukka Hilvonen from Nitro Games shared recently that SDKs have been behind ANRs for several of their Google Play games, naming the Admob and Firebase SDKs as SDKs that can sometimes cause issues.
As a reminder, ANRs (or App Not Responding incidents) are deemed a “product vital” on Google Play, and having an excessive amount of them causes Google Play to decrease the visibility of your app.
Meta & Google finally embracing SKAdNetwork
All marketers leveraging paid UA should know that Meta and Google have recently released documentation on SKAdNetwork, and therefore embracing the alternative to ATT-consent for their ad campaigns.
How Epic Games vs. Apple trial can impact ASO & monetization
The appeal trial of Epic Games vs. Apple in the US ended with a win for Apple on all but one count. However, that one count confirms Apple will have to allow developers to lead users outside of their app and to the web to make purchases. This means that in the coming months, more app developers may get tempted to display a message along the lines of “purchase on the web and get 30% off” on their paywalls to avoid paying Apple’s 30% commission. This may lead to an increase in the number of in-app purchases, as app developers might have a way to decrease the cost of IAP and drive competition to IAPs.
ASO updates for March 2023
Google Play console update
In February, many Google Play marketers were surprised by inconsistencies in their Google Play console data. In fact (as reported by members of the ASO Stack Slack), Google just announced the reattribution of installs coming from “categorical searches” (e.g. racing games) as Explore traffic – rather than “search” – in the console.
While no official announcement has been made, Google has updated the description of Google Play search to specify: “Users who visited your store listing by performing a search […] for your app’s name or closely associated brand.” However, the definition of Google Play Explore has not yet changed.
App Store Connect features peer group benchmarks
Peer group benchmarks are now available in App Store Connect. Under App Analytics, Apple now shows benchmark data (for your acquisition, usage, monetization, etc.) based on the performance of similar apps on the App Store.
ASO updates for February 2023
Google Play policy changes
In November 2022, Google announced a policy change to help support high-quality apps & games. Starting with the “Top Free” charts, apps worldwide will need at least 3.0 stars to reach the top charts – starting from February 2023.
Manage campaigns efficiently with ASA Campaign Management API
iOS marketers are now able to measure & report on impression share through the Apple Search Ads Campaign Management API 4.7. Leverage this to find new opportunities to optimize your bids & budgets for your search results campaigns.
Google Play A/B testing short descriptions in search results
As reported by members of the ASO Stack Slack community, Google has been A/B testingshort descriptions in Play Store search results (replacing the app’s category & tags). This is your chance to update any outdated Android short descriptions!
ASO updates for January 2023
Using ChatGPT to boost mobile marketing
The internet is buzzing with different ChatGPT use cases. ASO practitioners have also been turning to the AI tool to find new ways to automate their ASO work. Though the AI tool is not explicitly intended for App Store Optimization, ChatGPT can help you uncover insights to drive app visibility and downloads.
Updates to Android vitals
Are you keeping a close eye on your Android vitals? In November 2022, Google announced it is raising the bar on technical quality. Android vitals are playing an increasingly significant role in improving your app’s visibility.
At AppTweak, we will continue to monitor ASO news and trends and report them here. Make sure to check out this monthly blog to stay up to date on the recent developments in the App Store Optimization landscape. Subscribe to our newsletter to make sure don’t miss out on the latest updates. See you next month!