iOS 11 Is Here, and So Are Big App Store Changes
iOS 11 ushered in many changes, one of the biggest being a completely redesigned App Store. Although the impact the changes will have on discoverability and downloads is still to be determined, it’s clear Apple has placed priority on helping a greater number of app publishers gain exposure to larger audiences.
While many developers have played with the iOS 11 beta for a few months, yesterday was the first day the general public was able to access the new features and functionalities. We’ve had a ton of fun experiencing the new OS, and want to share the biggest changes to the App Store, along with what they’ll do for consumers and app publishers, with you in today’s post.
The new “Today” tab is the most noticeable change in the iOS 11 App Store. This news-esque tab is now the first screen consumers see when they open the App Store. Today helps bring a bit of humanity back to the App Store though featuring stories behind featured apps, new releases, exclusive offerings, and more, all curated by Apple’s editorial team.
Apple has leveraged multiple content channels to help deliver Today’s stories, including unique artwork, stories straight from app developers and customers, and video. Refreshingly, the Today tab is not pay-to-play, which means a broader range of stories from apps big and small can be told—a big win for consumers.
Ratings and reviews
There are big changes for app publishers around the cadence of asking for ratings and reviews. App publishers now have a choice to reset your ratings between app versions. Similar to the Google Play Store, an app’s rating won’t reset with each new version, but will instead reflect the overall rating.
Additionally, Apple now limits rating prompts to three times per year, which means consumers will be less bombarded with prompts at poor times within their in-app sessions. (For more on how to prepare your app and time your ratings prompts at the right time and place, check out our recent post.) App publishers also now have the ability to respond directly to consumer reviews, and their responses are public to potential customers, which provides more transparency for potential customers.
The top charts are now separated into two categories: gaming apps and non-game apps. Popular games have always crowded the top charts, making discoverability difficult for up-and-coming apps. Now, Apple separates the traditional top charts into Games and Apps, which will (hopefully) result in better search results for consumers and wider reach for new apps.
Side note: I used iOS 11’s new screenshot markup tool (more about it here) to edit the image below. Super powerful and fun!
The new Top Charts also includes more in-depth content highlighting stories about apps that have interesting updates, suggestions for new apps to try, and more. The end result will (again, hopefully) be happier consumers that aren’t bombarded by the same apps over and over again, and happier app publishers due to expanded discoverability.
iOS 11 includes various enhancements to apps’ description pages that gives consumers a more holistic view of an app before they download. The newly designed product page is more streamlined, with clearer calls to important information.
App publishers can now do more with:
- App preview through images and video
- Localization to help personalize a consumer’s preview experience
- Clearer details around in-app purchases
- Age appropriateness of the app’s content
- New text fields for promoting limited-time events and time-sensitive messages
Here’s a quick peek into what a new description page looks like. Side note: I used iOS 11’s new screen recording functionality (more about it here) to take the below video.
In-app purchase promotion
Consumers are now able to start an in-app purchase before they even finish downloading an app. According to Apple, app publishers can promote up to 20 in-app purchases, including subscriptions, on their description pages, or in-app purchases can appear in search results.
This update helps app publishers encourage downloads, and helps set consumer expectations by helping people understand what’s available for purchase within your app before they take the time to download. It will be interesting to see which side of the table, consumers or app publishers, this change to the App Store helps more.
iOS 11 brings plenty of changes to the App Store, and from what we’ve seen so far, Apple is putting the consumer at the center of their new updates. We’ll continue to work with consumers and app publishers alike to understand how these changes affect App Store search and discoverability, and to gauge whether or not they meet their intended positive impact.
What other features have you enjoyed in iOS 11? Any big changes to the App Store that weren’t covered? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!