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How Will iOS 12 Affect App Store Impressions and Conversions?

3 min read



Apple has recently released iOS 12, the upgraded operating system for iOS devices! It came with some minor tweaks compared to the iOS 11. As we have previously discussed in our iOS11 post in the App Store comprehensively, we prepared this new post to discuss the potential effects of the updates that Apple made on the iOS 12 App Store experience of its users.

With the release of iOS 11, the Today Tab, the separation of Games and Apps into almost-distinct stores and some other content marketing approaches had came to the App Store. iOS 12 App Store update is not that revolutionary, however there is a significantly potential game-changer: App Store adopted a much more personalized approach. Actually iOS 12 update is almost all about personalization, in which Apple offers its users a much more targeted experience all through their devices with analyzing usage patterns, previous downloads and with the help of machine learning-based estimates.

Although Apple adopted these tweaks primarily for the better experience of users, some questions raised for the app publishers and marketers: How this personalized App Store experience will affect the impressions and the conversions that the apps get in mid-to-long terms? We cannot have a clear answer for that, however we still can discuss about the expected changes with our past experience on the impression and conversion mechanisms. Let’s move on with the exact changes in the App Store and their potential outcomes one by one…

The Today Page


Introduced within the iOS 11 App Store, Today page is the main welcoming screen of the App Store. As we explained in detail within our iOS 11 post, this page has already tweaked the impression mechanisms in a serious manner with its daily content of selected Apps, Games and updates. With iOS12, the Today page remains almost same but it gains a new “You May Have Missed” section. In iOS 11, Today page featured the content of the last seven days. In iOS 12 App Store, content that was previously published will be found under the new “You May Have Missed” section.

What’s more important than the availability of the older content is the personalization of the Today page. In line with the overall behavior patterns of a user, the App Store Today page will be populated by slightly different content for each individual user. This means that we will not be seeing a uniform Today page anymore, each user will be served by their potentially favorable content based on their past experience in the apps universe.

Games and App Pages


The Games page will be tailored to meet personalization as well. As a result of this, the chronological order of the games will be converted into a more personalized recommendation list of games. The Apps page, on the other hand, does not seem to be personalized currently.

Product Page


The dedicated product page of your app stays highly same in the iOS 12 App Store, only now you can include emojis into your app description. The success of emojis in mobile marketing is the driving force behind this new opportunity and you should try them out immediately!

One other update is about the What’s New section, which is a highly undiscovered conversion optimization field for your app, as Storemaven suggests. As seen in the beta tests, the What’s New section is being cleared from generic updates about bug fixes or performance improvements. Actually, you need to write down detailed reports about your updates or new features.


The Implications of Personalization in iOS 12 App Store

As we said before, the main keyword of the new iOS update is “personalization”. Given that the featured placements throughout the App Store has been playing a very important role in the conversion mechanisms, now it’s crystal clear that the personalization-backed-placement will increase the quality of the conversions. In other words, we can say that users will be presented with their favorable content at an earlier level in the App Store, namely at the Today Page. Before that, say, for a regular gamer, it was expected to dive into the Games page and scroll around a bit to reach at their favorite content. Now, the possibly converting content will be presented them at the Today page, but this will eventually have a negative effect on the quantity of impressions. How? Let’s examine this scenario:

Suppose your app or game is at the beginning of its lifecycle. Therefore, before it gets featured at certain places to certain users’ appetite, it should get impressions first. However, the new way of curating the featured lists is making this harder for the beginners. Of course it’s all up to Apple about how they will curate the content, but given that the competition is getting harder in each category and service, chances get lower for the impression rates of the beginners or naive players of the market.

Changing dynamics in Featured Content

This new personalized approach will also change the dynamics of getting featured and using it as a tool of growth by the app publishers. Before that, getting featured was seen as winning a lottery in the App Store. However, the featured content will be getting more blurry and changing across user behaviors now. Especially the importance of extracting benchmarking decisions based on the featured content will probably leave its priority to more user-centered strategies on the app market.

To summarize…

We should again say that it will take time to see which specific parts of the App Store are redesigned with personalized content and we will see their precise effects in mid-to-long terms. The main decision maker is Apple here, as always has been; from which apps to feature even in the personalized settings. One other rising driving force of the App Store is SearchAds, which has become a huge business now and it is highly possible that this personalization trend will be cross-applied into the new App Store experience by Apple.

We are expecting these new mechanisms to bring much more exciting & actionable practices into the App Store Optimization field. Stay tuned for more ideas, and have happy experiences with iOS 12 App Store!


Mobile Action Team



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