We all know that iOS 8 is set to release this Fall. Every body is excited about the great new features which Apple is offering users like the Health Kit Or Family sharing of Apps, Music etc. But the part which interests Indie developers or App owners is the glimpse of Search changes on the App Store. Yes, Apple has finally woken up to the App discovery problem in the App Store. So what are iOS 8 Features App Store Optimization
So what is Apple changing in its search functionality:
The explore tab is more of whats hot on the App store or think of it as the Top of the charts in the categories. So what apple has done is give a easy interface for users to explore great apps in the App Store. It will be wonderful if Apple uses this explore feature to showcase new Apps when realised to get user feedback & give new Apps a fighting chance against the deep pockets of the likes of Candy Crush Saga.
This is more like Twitter trending tweets. In this feature you will see search queries which are trending on the App Store. So if a lot of people are searching for say a Time Tracker App then this phrase will start floating or trending on the this list.
The advantage of this feature is that the whole bunch of Apps related to Time tracking & productivity get a strong push in front of the users. This kinda reduces the gaming of the rankings on the App Store, as now the search term related to the App starts trending for example: If people start finding the Fantastical App which has “Schedule Reminder” as one of its keyword phrase & people are finding this app by typing this phrase, this keyword starts trending. Once people click on “Schedule Reminder” other Apps which are Scheduler apps show up in the search results. So this leads to exposure & downloads of other Apps
This looks like a throw back to the vertical scrolling which the initial App store had, it used to work great for discovery of new Apps. However, Apple changed the scrolling to horizontal & one App at a time view. The problem with horizontal – One App at a time scrolling is that it puts too much weight on the Top 1 or 2 spots. Meaning Apps which rank say Top 1 or 2 for a search query will have disproportionately more downloads than those ranking rank 3 or 4 or below
Now you can scroll vertically with a added awesome feature, you now can see the other Apps screenshots as well. You do not have to click on the App name & then go into the app listing like in the initial versions of the App Store. This is really great for discoverability. Users free scroll vertically & stop when they say a App with great icon & screenshot which meets their needs. This in turn reduces the need for your App to Rank no 1 or 2 in search results in order to get downloads.
This is something which I had written about earlier in my blog post named App Store Search Optimization. At the current moment we have something called the Search Suggest. So if you are typing recipe you will see a whole bunch of listing pop out listed one below the other. The problem with the current method of listing is that the listing are not exactly related. As you can see from the below screenshot search for recipe gives – recipes, recipes App Free, recipe for kids. The results are all over the place.
As you can see from the more refined Realted searches, the App store algorithm now recognises you are more likely searching for recipe books or food recipes. So there is more contextual understanding like Google search does. Added to that it has horizontal scrolling which increases the no. of related searches shown from the current Search Suggest 10 to infinite.
What this means is more opportunities for your App to be found. You don’t necessarily have to target the search suggest keywords anymore to get hits. You can optimize your keywords to go after the Related keywords & be found. So more ways for your App to get found & broadens the list of keywords for everyone
This is something everybody has been waiting for forever. This has been part of the Google Play store for the longest time. Now you get to showcase your Apps great features & game play by making engaging videos. This about it would you rather look at the static screenshot images or sit back relax & watch a video. A video done well could potentially increase your App downloads by many fold.
These are my thoughts on iOS 8 & the impending changes in the App Store Optimization industry with the iOS 8 Features App Store Optimization