iOS 15 & its impact on app store optimisation

Early in June 2021, Apple announced a list of changes to be launched for iOS 15 in September. Bolser share the view within the app store optimisation industry, that these changes could have a huge impact for App marketers, looking to improve their organic visibility and acquisition.

A/B Testing

The Google Play A/B testing feature first launched in 2015, so to some extent Apple are playing catch up when it comes to introducing their own testing tools. According to Apple’s announcement, developers will be able to test up to 3 different types of metadata to understand which version works best for visibility, conversion and acquisition. Creative testing (icons, screenshots and app previews), will also be included, with tests able to run for up to 90 days. App owners will be able to conduct A/B tests globally or in specified locations depending on the download numbers for their app.

In terms of what this means for app store optimisation, Apple has an opportunity to move ahead of Google Play, especially if they can offer more reliable results. Since its launch, Google has often been criticised for their variable results and unreliable confidence rating. If Apple can take advantage of this, it will mean a change in strategy for App Marketers, who may now favour iOS as the platform to conduct regular testing.

Custom Product Pages

A further, interesting announcement from Apple was custom product pages, an opportunity for App marketers to “create additional versions of your App Store product page that showcase different features or content within your app, which will reach users who might be most interested in them”. These custom built pages will only be accessible via a unique URL. According to Apple’s announcement, the custom product pages will specifically enhance an app marketing ad campaign. Apple’s analytics section will also be updated further to allow developers to measure impressions, downloads, conversion rate as well as revenue and retention per custom product page.

Again, this is a significant announcement and will undoubtedly have an impact on how Bolser works with app store optimisation clients, it is now vital that we optimise the primary app store listing as well as any custom pages that may help to drive conversions and visibility.

In-App events

The final significant iOS 15 update from Apple will offer app marketers the functionality to promote their events in the App Store. Event cards can be created in the App Store Connect console, along with uploads of specific metadata, promotional text or creative assets to allow users to find an event card on the app’s product page and/or in App Store Search and Browse. Uploading events will require app managers to specify regional availability, whether access to an event is conditional upon an in-app purchase or subscription, and fill in specific metadata for an event, such as:

  • An event reference name, only visible in App Store Connect and not displayed in the App Store.
  • An event badge chosen from the following list: challenge, competition, live event, major update, new season, premiere, special event
  • An event name, short description & long description. These all follow the same guidelines as a normal app store listing in relation to character limit
  • An image or video no longer than 30 seconds with a poster frame

In-app events are viewed as a great opportunity for developers to connect with new and existing users. Similar to their other updates, there remains some questions, firstly how users can search for these events and whether there’ll be an opportunity for ‘featured events’ similar to the way the current app features operate within the store.

What’s Next ?

The Apple App Store continues to evolve and there is little doubt that iOS 15 will have a bigger impact on app store optimisation than any of the 4 previous updates. We will have to wait until the official iOS 15 launch to see, analyse and test all of these new features, as there are many questions that still remain unanswered. As for all the new features they present, Apple will offer developers new growth opportunities for apps and games on the store, that are quite different from Google Play’s offering. What is certain, is that there is no doubt app store optimisation is going to be taken a lot more seriously within the digital industry in the coming months.

Alex Zervakos


Senior Digital Analyst