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A Bright New Day for the App Store

This week Apple delivered its annual keynote at WWDC in front of 5,000 developers at the San Jose Convention Center. Tim Cook and Co. shared the latest developments and innovations to come out of the Cupertino-based behemoth. Along with news of the long-awaited Siri Speaker (or HomePod as they will be calling it) and the most powerful Mac, which had the CUBE developers drooling as they tuned in, we heard about all the latest updates to the App Store...

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app-store

As someone who works closely with clients to ensure the apps we deliver have the best chance of reaching users, I thought I would round up these changes and how it will affect apps owners going forward.

The App Store revamped:

Probably the biggest highlight for us is the App Store redesign that at first glance offers a much more minimalist experience. When you open the App Store, instead of being presented with a densely packed screen of app icons and banners, you’re now presented with the ‘Today Tab’ which shows one content card and the peak of one below. The focus here isn’t on quantity anymore, it’s on quality curated content. Beyond this, Games and Apps have their own tabs now, with their own categories and featured sections. So what does this all mean for apps? Read on to find out.

Today tab:

app store before and after

From Apple:

“The Today tab features exclusive premieres, new releases, and fresh looks at our all-time favourites. It offers tips and how-to guides to help customers use apps in innovative ways, showcases interviews with inspiring developers, and gives influencers and celebrities a place to share their favourite apps and games. Stories on Today can also include a Game of the Day and an App of the Day. Customers can scroll through the Today tab to see several days of stories”.

This is a drastic improvement in the curation and editorial content the App Store offers and creates a whole new way to engage with potential users. Having your app featured on the ‘Today tab’ means you’re sharing the spotlight with very few other apps and presents an amazing opportunity to inspire new users with the stories behind your app, and it’s users.

How to get featured

The App Store editors look for engaging stories that are either captivating or informative, and there’s no clear cut way of getting featured and importantly, you can’t pay for the privilege! Apple does, however, provide some guidelines on things their editors look out for. It’s worth highlighting that they have a particular focus on new apps or apps with significant updates. Factors editors consider include:

  • User interface design: the usability, appeal, and overall quality of the app
  • User experience: the efficiency and functionality of the app
  • Innovation: apps that solve a unique problem for customers
  • Localisations: high-quality and relevant
  • Accessibility: well-integrated features
  • App Store product page: compelling screenshots, app previews, and descriptions
  • Uniqueness.

For any content feature request, Apple expects six to eight weeks notice of the app release.
For more information on how to get featured in the App Store Today Tab, check out the official docs.

Updated product page:

app product page update

From Apple:

“Apple has redesigned the experience so that all developers can spotlight their apps with more engaging content, putting the most important information front and centre for the customer making a download decision. Developers can submit up to three video app previews and five screenshots, which can now be localised so a customer in any country can have a customised version of the video. Accolades including Editors’ Choice and chart position will be highlighted, as will in-app purchases and customer ratings and reviews”.

There’s so much to unpack here! Not content with drastic improvements to app discovery, Apple has updated the product page to present new opportunities to make your app more compelling. So let’s cover those quickly:

Subtitles allow you briefly summarise your app and draw users in to view your product page and download your app.
App Previews which you can now boast 3 of, means you can showcase even more app functionality.
Promotional Text appears above the app description and can be updated at anytime without an app update!
In-app Purchases are now displayed and can be purchased directly from the product page, each with their own name, image and description.
Ratings & Reviews can be responded too and you can choose to wipe your ratings with each release, useful if you’ve addressed negative feedback!
Accolades the app has earned are now displayed front and center so users know just how awesome your app is.

For more information on the changes to the App Store Product Pages, check out the official docs.

And that’s a wrap on the changes to the App Store, stay tuned for more news on WWDC from the rest of the team throughout the week, Greg over and out!

Published on June 6, 2017, last updated on April 9, 2019

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