How Privacy Changes Impact Your App Store Optimisation Strategy

How Privacy Changes Impact Your App Store Optimisation Strategy

With the increasing use of mobile phones, business owners and marketers have found it almost unavoidable to not have an app or mobile version of their site. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that there’s a mobile app for everything under the sun these days.

Targeting prospective customers through mobile apps is vastly different from typical SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Therefore, marketers must focus on App Store Optimisation (ASO) to maximise user awareness and acquisition.

When customers download a mobile app, they are asked to provide permissions to their camera, files, contact list, etc. These settings regulate the privacy of an app. 

Privacy has become an increasing concern for mobile users. This calls for the need to make privacy regulations a core part of product development, rather than just an afterthought. Countries have introduced legislation like COPPA (US) and GDPR (EU) to regulate privacy in mobile apps. 

Similarly, app stores in Google and Apple have their own privacy policies that are often updated over time. Such policy changes may impact your app store optimisation results.

In this article, we’ll discuss the impacts of app store optimisation privacy changes.

Privacy Changes and How They Impact App Store Optimisation

#1 App Submission Guidelines

Apple and Google have reinforced user privacy guidelines in their app submission criteria. For instance: some of these guidelines focus on children’s apps and how they are approved for the app store. Developers must now disclose their target age, ad networks, and other privacy specifications before being approved by Apple.

Furthermore, app developers are required to put a parental guidance logo on Google Play if the target audience is minors. This is to ensure that developers are being transparent with the information they provide to the app store. While these changes don’t affect the customer, they do impact your ASO strategy.

#2 Privacy-Related Keywords

Keywords play a key role in app store optimisation privacy changes, just like any other form of digital marketing. Some apps have been known to gain traffic from privacy-related keywords and screenshots with privacy benefits.

You will find that more browser and file manager apps have started using the word “private” or “privacy” in their app name or description to leverage these privacy benefits.

#3 Apple’s New Privacy Opt-In

Apple has changed its in-app advertising system by including App Tracking Transparency. This means that users must now opt-in if they want to be tracked by advertisers. This is a benefit for end users and lets them have more control over their data.

All versions subsequent to iOS14 have this prompt for users to opt in or out of receiving ads. This greatly impacts paid advertising efforts as it blocks companies from accessing user-specific data to promote their products. 

A customer who has opted out of ads cannot be served targeted content. They must instead see generalised ads and ads with lower targeting abilities. This means brands cannot send them personalised communication or offers based on their personal interests.

This creates a need for marketers to focus more on App Store Optimisation as a means to improve visibility and conversions.

#4 Google’s Privacy Changes

Google has updated its privacy policy to limit the amount of customer data that is shared on Android devices. These changes affect the tracking abilities of companies as they cannot store or use extensive user data any more for their marketing campaigns.

On Google Play, app owners are now required to remove intrusive Software Development Kits (SDKs) from apps. This helps in boosting the app’s visibility by reducing its size. Google’s algorithm prefers smaller apps over large and slow ones. So, by removing additional tracking code from the app, developers can enhance the app’s performance and visibility.

#5 Cookies, IDFA, and GAID

Cookies store first-party and third-party user data to track browsing activity, preferences, and behaviour. Similarly, Apple and Google use IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) and GAID (Google Advertising ID for Android), respectively, to track in-app user activity and also third-party data on mobile devices. 

With new privacy updates, companies can still track first-party data. However, users may get the option to block third-party cookies. Soon, this update will be rolled out across Google and Apple.

Apple and Google now offer users a privacy dashboard, which tracks app access and requests. Developers will not be able to bypass tracking opt-outs any more, and marketers will not be able to track IP addresses. Apple also has the option to hide users’ email IDs from marketing campaigns.

With a complete block on identifiable information for users who have opted out of tracking, marketers now have to create generalised campaigns devoid of any specific user data to engage with such users. Therefore, ramping up your app store optimisation efforts will play a crucial role in improving user awareness and acquisition.

Key Takeaways

Privacy changes rolled out and announced by Apple and Google aim to give users more control over their data and how much of it is shared with marketers. Consequently, marketers will now have limited access to identifiable user data.

  • Privacy policy must be shared transparently while submitting an app for approval.
  • Privacy-related keywords can be used to gain more traction for some app categories such as FinTech Apps, Browsers, and File Managers.
  • Apple will let users opt out of receiving ads and sharing their data.
  • Google offers similar choices, in terms of storing and using customer data.
  • Privacy dashboards now display app behaviour, access requests, and tracking history. By viewing recent activity, users can revoke access permissions from apps.
  • With the limits of data sharing, app marketers will need to lean more towards ASO to achieve optimal results, targeting customers based using a robust organic ASO strategy.

Work With M&C Saatchi Performance

Our team of experts can help you navigate the complexities associated with app store optimisation privacy changes. M&C Saatchi Performance helps you drive organic traffic through a robust ASO Strategy, optimising your storefront based on platform best practices.

With our unique scoring methodology, you can track your app performance, get ahead of your competitors, and make informed improvements to generate high-quality traffic from the app stores.