How will iOS 12 impact App Store Optimization?

With the release of iOS 12 in September, Apple surprised us with some changes on the AppStore. We didn’t realize anything game changing; yet some promising new features and adjustments for your ASO game. The hot question that all our clients asked us right after: how would it affect your ASO?

Personalized content

In this new version of the AppStore, the focus has been made on the customer experiences. Indeed, personalization became the first priority of this new release.

Machine learning is not an innovation. However it’s the first time that Apple makes use out of it within the AppStore. This customization is based on several data point such as previous app downloaded, in-app purchases, browsing behavior. The app displayed will then fit users‘ preferences.

Moreover, the privacy policies haven’t changed: the personalized information won’t be shared with Apple’s servers and will take place directly on the device.


Today tab

The first step in personalization happened in the Today tab. Indeed, so far, the Today tab was uniform for every user and is now slightly different based on user preferences. The apps displayed in the “Today” tab will be changed everyday. It contains personalized stories and promote various amount of apps within each card. Each card covers a certain topic that will be based on users‘ data points and preferences.

On Today’s tab, Apple keeps a balance between Free apps (46%), Free apps with in-app purchases (30%) and Paid apps (24%). It is also important to keep in mind that 79% featured apps are universal and run on both iPhone and iPad.

Therefore, it might be more difficult to have your app featured in the store. Or at least to have the same amount of reach as the previous featured app.

You may have missed section

A new section has been created: You may have missed. This section shows few highlighted apps over the last seven days. However, not all the apps featured are displayed there; indeed, only a few apps remain for a longer period in the section. It allows Apple to show its best pieces.

What’s new section

So far, most of the apps used to write super generic release notes in the what’s new section. Very common examples would be “bugs fixed”, “We update the app regularly so that we make it better for you” and leaving the same text for each new release.

From now on Apple wants users to actually know the changes you did and force you to change this text for every update with the details of the major changes. A good example here are the detailed release notes by Slack. Moreover, the what’s new section now appears as the first section for users who already downloaded your app.




Everyone tried, everyone got its app rejected. We heard that there are amazing news on the AppStore: Apparently Apple now allows app developers to use emoji in in their app and app metadata 👍🏻. It is time to bring colors and emotions 😁 to your app description: your app will not be rejected anymore but gladly approved by the Appstore team. That’s what we thought. However we couldn’t find a single app in the store yet that makes use of rich formatting. We tried to verify this new feature with one of our clients, however their app update with rich formatting in the metadata got rejected. Have you successfully tried rich formatting on the App Store? Shoot us a note, we’d be happy to hear from you!

Free trials

Until now, only apps with a subscription model were allowed to use a free trial. Once the free trial id done, users would automatically get their paid subscription if it was not cancelled before the trial period. From now on, app with in-app purchase are also allowed to use a free trial period for its users to try the feature before to pay for it.

It is probably one of the opportunities that Apple offers to app owners. All user have the possibility to test different features and might most likely become paying customers. As they now have the possibility to test a feature before buying it.


Support/Marketing URL

Apple will from now on review the link provided as Support/Marketing URL in order to avoid URLs to redirect users to malicious websites. The URL can be changed at every update of the app before the review submission in the AppStore. Several links can also be included within the app’s long description.

ASO is still a challenge for many marketers. We promise it’s more straightforward than you think: May we help you take your app’s ranking in either the App Store or Google Play Store to the next level? Don’t hesitate to get in touch to learn more via [email protected]

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