Posted: 06 Jul 2016 Contributor: Therese Palmere
How Apple App Store Search Ads will affect Developer & End Users
The Apple App Store just exceeded over 2 million apps available for download in June and marked an astonishing 130 billion apps downloaded since its inception. But over the years, numerous apps have been sent to the graveyard without so much as a click. With hopes to stir up the game, Apple announced a new advertising system for iOS App Development at its Worldwide Developer’s Conference. Ads will now begin appearing at the top of search results through an auctioning system, changing the way developers market their apps.
What are the changes?
Hoping to spread the love, VentureBeat has noted that Apple will stop advertisements for already downloaded apps. Creating an encouraging environment for lesser known brands to get their name noticed by consumers. This means popular apps won’t be continuously broadcasted across the App Store, sorry Angry Birds but you’ll need to move over.
Apple has also protected small companies from the budget of larger groups by ensuring more money will not equate to direct placement in front of favored audiences. Ads will be displayed based on user searches. This means Apple will filter out all irrelevant content and promote only directly related programs despite the high bids placed by companies for spots.
Money isn’t leverage in the new Apple App Store, the user is.
Apple has prioritized the user with the new search ads. They have made clear that customer engagement is paramount, if people aren’t clicking on an advertisement for an app, it will get bumped down.
Since larger developers won’t be able to buy out top spots, this advancement is a great way to increase visibility for indie app creators. With no exclusives or minimums and an alternating ad structure, Apple has made entering their auction accessible for everyone. This structure is highly beneficial for small developers because they can focus on Mobile App Design within their categories instead of worrying about big companies buying them out or increasing prices.
Cross platform app development teams understand the importance of keywords but Apple has included another element to level the playing field between small and large developers because their system automatically recommends them. For teams with limited resources, consulting an agency or hiring a marketing professional won’t be necessary. You will no longer need to spend time evaluating which words fit best for iOS App Development, unless you choose to.
New app discovery has been a hot button issue for quite some time. “Conquesting” is one of Apple’s new solutions to that problem, and although not everyone agrees this idea will lead to a desired outcome, for tight budgeted groups, taking advantage of this new practice is free of charge and could potentially help gain major traction. Conquesting means companies can use other brand names in their adwords.
Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing explained to TechCrunch, this feature “Is more likely to benefit the small developer than the big developer. Because the big developer isn’t going to pick on a a lot of small developer terms, but a small developer can try to latch onto a big developer’s name.” For small groups, latching on to big name traffic may not guarantee engagement, but it will increase the opportunity for it.
It’s no secret skeptics believe smaller companies will still struggle gaining visibility but the rules help even out the odds.
But does this mean you should relax?
With the new system in place, we all know one sure fire way big companies will overshadow the little guys is if they proceed without a plan. The auction forces app developers of all sizes to pay attention to user behavior and strategize. In order to optimize an app with the new guidelines developers will need to apply the same thought process to Apple Store Search Ads as they do to search engines, create a strategy. Optimization for apps won’t be exactly the same since the weight doesn’t come from keywords but from icons and descriptions instead.
So what should you do?
This summer Apple has already launched a beta testing period to work out premature issues with their new system. Some of these problems include clones (which the App Store has a ton of) or stolen traffic from established names, but the summer will show the true nature of how well Apple’s search ads perform. It’s a crucial research period for Apple and for companies seeking to expand onto this platform because understanding how to navigate these ads early on could lead to positive results in the future.
Experiencing how users react to these newly placed ads could prove beneficial to your company because it will help determine what kind of approach to take when the new iOS App Development stage is live in the fall. Get your company ahead of the competition by participating in the beta testing period. Your involvement will provide insight and could be the difference between 15 minutes of fame and an Oscar.