This year’s WWDC saw many interesting announcements, including iOS 15 and other operating system updates on the wide range of Apple platforms. The new iOS and other software updates are available for developers immediately and for the general public later this year.
With the new versions, Apple really wants to push the App Store forward as a more versatile platform. It gained many new useful features, and the whole new Xcode Cloud ecosystem makes app creation and publishing much easier.
There are three new big features in the App Store that all expand its possibilities for marketing, optimization and user targeting. These are A/B testing, custom product pages and in-app events. In addition to these, the new user analytics in App Store Connect give more insight into customer behavior, including the new metrics brought in by the new App Store features.
Optimize with A/B Testing
Apple is finally giving us developers a way to A/B test our applications’ product pages. It’s a welcome addition, but unfortunately quite restricted. You are only able to A/B test the icon, screenshots and app preview videos. You are also limited to running your experiment with a maximum of three different treatments.
The A/B testing does not cover other metadata, titles or the build itself. You should also know that the content must go through a review process before being available for testing.
Still, this feature greatly improves App Store optimization. The test can run for up to 90 days and developers can view impressions and conversion rates and compare how they are performing against the original product page.
Target with Custom Product Pages
You can now create unique landing pages for your application and showcase different features depending on where your audience is coming from. A custom product page with its own unique URL can be part of an ad that links to the page with adapted content.
You can have up to 35 different product pages that each have their own promotional text, screenshots, and app previews. And like A/B tested content, also the custom pages must be reviewed by Apple before publishing. Developers can then measure user retention data and other analytics like impressions, downloads and conversion rates.
Boost Your Marketing with In-App Events
In-app events within your application or game can be any kind of event with a specified time and type. It could be anything from a movie premiere for a streaming service to a game competition or major update.
This is a great way to promote your application and what’s happening in it and in your community. You can get personalized recommendations for events or search for them inside the App Store. Apple will also curate a list of the best events and feature upcoming events in the new App Store widget.
In-app events are managed through App Store Connect. From there, you can set up an event by giving it a name, short and long description, image or a video and an event badge that you select from these options: Challenge, Competition, Live Event, Major Update, New Season, Premiere or Special Event. You can also include additional metadata, such as event availability, deep link, priority, cost and purpose.
A configured event must also go through a review process before it goes live in the App Store. You can then evaluate the event’s performance by checking the App Analytics page with many different metrics.
On top of the improved App Store, Apple did unveil some other interesting updates for developers as well, such as the improvements on Swift Playgrounds for iPad and the new Xcode Cloud.
Another aspect of these App Store improvements is that they have all been available in Google Play Store for years already. A/B product page testing and the other features have of course been requested for a long time, and it seems that more resources are now being used for implementing familiar features from different platforms.
The whole event was kind of missing the bigger, more radical changes in software we have become used to in the past years. This can be a good thing though, as iOS developers are well aware, since the breaking changes Apple has announced in the past have not always been welcome. Less is more, as the old adage goes.
Illustration: Joel Pöllänen