iOS 15: A Game Changer for App Store Product Pages

At WWDC 2021, Apple showed just how important they feel an app's Product Page is with the announcement of three new features that are designed to help developers acquire more customers through the App Store. The three additions are: Custom Product Pages; Product Page Optimisation; and In-App Events. In support of these new marketing tools, Apple is launching a brand-new App Analytics dashboard that promises to show all the necessary metrics required to make optimisations to your app's Product Page.

Custom Product Pages via Unique URLs

Later this year, Apple are launching a feature that allows you to customise your Product Page to showcase different features and content of your app for different users. So, does this mean you should be busily designing different versions of your Product Page?

4 App Store Screenshots showing different Product Page Variants

The first thing you need to know is, which items are customisable - and these are the App Preview Videos, Screenshots and Promotional Text. The second thing is that each version is sharable using a unique URL; this means that this feature is most useful for the marketing of your app that takes place outside the App Store, notably App Referrer campaigns. Say you're promoting your new line of dresses within another app, and you have the opportunity to direct users to your app's Product Page; instead of sending users to your standard Product Page (with no mention or images of your new dresses), you can seamlessly continue the experience with a customised page, for the relevant localisations.

3 screenshots showing different ad listings

So, in short, if you direct users to your app from outside the App Store and you have time-sensitive features or too many features to highlight on one Product Page then yes, you should get busy designing customisable Product pages; though perhaps not all the 35 pages allowed but just a few to start you off!

What is Product Page Optimisation?

Product Page Optimisation – or A/B Testing to you and me – will finally be available from Apple for iOS apps in the App Store. A/B Testing has long been available for Android developers within the Google Play Console with iOS developers requiring Third-Party tools to run similar experiments.

In a few months' time, you'll be able to test variations of your App Icon, App Preview Videos and Screenshots for users searching the App Store with each test having up to three variations. You can pick which localisations to run the tests in and decide the audience split for the different variations or 'treatments' – Apple's name for them. The example they gave is if you select that 30% of your traffic goes to the test and you have three treatments, each treatment will get 10% of the traffic. Apple will then use Bayesian statistical analysis to monitor the test over time.

And ever-focused on the customer, Apple will provide a consistent experience for users by showing the App Icon they saw before downloading the app on their home screen, even if it is one of the treatment icons. For this to happen, developers will need to include the treatment icon assets in their app binaries for all the applicable device sizes and the 1024x1024 version. To test App Preview and Screenshot variations, the assets will need to be approved by App Review but they do not require you to create a new app version.

In-App Events – no, not the post-install kind.

Often the term 'In-App Events' refers to activity completed by users in your app after they have downloaded it, but Apple have redefined what an In-App Events is. Apple have described them as “timely events within apps and games – such as game competitions, movie premieres, live-streamed experiences, and more”. Later this year, you'll be able to promote your In-App Events live on your app's Product Page, in the Events card. From here, App Store users can opt in to be notified when the event is due to start, download your app or open it. The events card will also show in the Search Results for users who have already downloaded your app.

App Event Card, App Event in App Store, App Event Card Expanded in App Store

You don't need to create a new app version to submit events for review and you can have up to ten events approved at one time with up to five visible in the App Store. For each event, you'll need to supply an image or video, event name, descriptions and select the best-fitting 'Event Badge'.

Show me the Results!

If you're going to the effort of designing new Product Page assets, running tests, and promoting In-App Events, you are going to want to know which variations are working best, so you can make the treatments the default and guide future event planning. Apple anticipated this and we will see a few additions to the App Analytics dashboard that will help.

Custom Product Page performance will be measured for each URL in terms of impressions, downloads, the conversion rate, retention data and the average proceeds per paying user, and will be shown in the App Analytics section of App Store Connect. Similarly, you will see impressions, downloads, the conversion rate, and the improvement each treatment gets against your baseline for Product Page Optimisation experiments. App Analytics will also report on the performance of your In-App Events so you can understand which events are capturing your users' attention; detailing impressions, how many users asked to be notified, and how many downloads and opens were generated from the events card.

Apple say that the goal of App Analytics is to provide insights – which only Apple can offer – that help you to maximise the opportunities for your apps on the App Store. The coming updates to App Analytics are in keeping with Apple's balancing act of protecting user privacy and providing advertisers enough data to evaluate the performance of optimisations. Remember, to get the most out of the testing and the data provided in App Analytics, have one clear goal by hypothesising what you expect to see prior to starting the test and by changing one thing at a time.

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