App Store Trends for Growth

App Store Trends for Growth

App Store Optimization (ASO) is a strategy available to app marketers that can often reap rewards and drive business growth. To cover ASO trends, Lauren Park, Global head of ASO at M&C Saatchi Performance, joined Tamara Barack, Head of Customer Success at Mobile Action, and Chen Ofir, Senior ASO Manager 365Scores to discuss ASO trends app marketers need to be aware of in a recent webinar hosted by Mobile Action. You can watch the full recording here.

In the webinar, the panel covered topics such as:

  • Leveraging visual real estate to improve organic visibility
  • The role of AI in ASO
  • The latest app store updates
  • Key takeaways and tips to improve and scale ASO strategies

Here is a summary of some of the key discussion points made during the event. The panel also covered questions from the audience, such as;

  • Is it good to bid on brand keywords? If they are already ranked higher on ASO?
  • Recommendations for gaining visibility in search results for new apps?
  • How can the impact of user acquisition and ASO store changes on performance be isolated?

What ASO trends are exciting for the rest of 2024?

Opportunities presented by Custom Product Pages (CPPs) should not be overlooked because they also allow an extra layer of personalization. Marketers can tie the experiences together so that what customers see on an ad is replicated on a Custom Product Page. One thing to note is that this will become the norm as more brands start utilizing CPP, leading to advancing customer expectations. Therefore, brands not using custom product pages may fall behind their competitors. Google also has similar features for Android users, which should be investigated.

Finally, introducing promotional content and increasingly advanced new placements around the app stores offer brands more opportunities to harness search.

How does ASO align with other channels to maximize impact?

ASO can significantly support other marketing channels, and a consistent strategy should be in place to ensure a seamless customer experience. For example, with Apple, brands should avoid repeating keywords and instead maximize the title and subtitle within the App Store because the algorithms prioritize the keywords in those placements. Often, making small, strategic tweaks can yield significant results. 

Advertisers should test CPPs or Custom Store Listings (CSLs), where marketing channels direct customers directly to app store pages. Not optimizing this journey can reduce paid media efficiency, as customers may drop out. 

There are a maximum of 35 CPPs available. Depending on the brand, they can be used in very different ways. For example, a retailer might test having a CPP for key clothing categories such as ‘women’s clothes, ‘women’s shoes,’ or ‘back to school,’ whereas a travel app might have specific CPPs for popular holiday destinations. 

CPPs are also useful where there is a specific audience segment or product feature to highlight and to ensure the customer journey is as seamless as possible from the ad to the correct product page.

At M&C Saatchi Performance, the ASO team recommends A/B testing on the storefront using Product Page Optimization and Google Play Experiments to identify opportunities to improve conversion. Remember that each brand is unique, and the team should carefully consider what suits its specific product and customer.

What A/B testing practices are recommended for ASO?

“We recommend a thorough A/B testing strategy and perseverance with the plan. Often, brands run one test and don’t see the expected results, so they give up on testing. Or they run one A/B test, see huge success, and stop testing. Instead, we work with clients to continue iterating and building on testing with the goal of ongoing conversion rate optimization, “

Lauren Park, Global Head of ASO, M&C Saatchi Performance

Lauren continues, “Remember, both Apple and Google’s algorithms consider historical performance, so it is important to continue feeding the models. Make sure there is a comprehensive test plan in place for each app store. Don’t be tempted to apply Apple’s learnings to Google’s and vice versa, which is not best practice.”

For example, Apple’s Product Page Optimization is much newer than Google’s, so there are many differences to consider. Tests on Apple often take much longer to reach a significant result than on Google.

How do you see the impact of creative on ASO performance?

Creative can have a significant impact. For example, In-App events are displayed differently for new vs. existing customers. Therefore, it is important to consider UX when developing creative to utilize the real estate of the storefronts. With Apple, you can target existing customers as well as lapsed and non-lapsed customer segments. Therefore, aligning the creative with targeting, such as changing the messaging and creative to reengage customers who have lapsed vs. those who are new, can make a significant difference in performance.

What is the role of AI in App Store Optimization?

The platforms are leaning towards generative AI; for example, in Google, there is the option to create custom store listings with AI. You simply give Google a theme, a tone and an audience and then have a custom store listing created. AI can also be useful for ideation and analyzing ratings and reviews to understand common themes for future development. Of course, like all AI, having experienced people to oversee and understand the results is important.

Apple also recently announced that they’re switching thousands of employees from their electric car department to their generative AI department, so the direction is clear: AI is here to stay.

How can advertisers factor App Store changes and policy updates into plans?

Apple and Google constantly tweak their algorithms, and while we don’t know exactly what these changes are, we can often see trends in keyword behavior. Therefore, the team at M&C Saatchi Performance continually evaluates trends for clients, apps, competitors, etc., to gain insights. There is speculation that there was a shift in the iOS algorithm around December 2023, which has led to significant shifts in keyword performance across markets and apps.

Advertisers need to respond to algorithm shifts to avoid falling behind their competitors. Remember, any keyword updates are a signal to the algorithms, which helps the model identify that an app is relevant and will help surface your product from a keyword perspective in the app store.

App Store Optimization Tips

  • Test the customization available through features such as In-App Events and Custom Product Pages.

  • Really understand your audience’s needs, pain points, what they are looking for, and how your product helps them. Customer expectations will change as new features are released, so ensure you stay on top of new app store releases.

  • Don’t be afraid to explore new avenues, but ensure rigorous testing is in place.

  • Understand all the opportunities App Store Optimization offers, for example, those brought about by AI

Do you have any questions about App Store Optimization, or would you like to hear how we can help your brand grow?

Further Reading

Five ways to improve your App Store Optimization

How to boost user engagement: Leveraging paid ads for app re-engagement