Gary Yentin, CEO and Founder of App Promo, sits down with Mike Schwartz, Alliance Associate Director of Membership, to offer early stage startups advice on marketing strategy and user acquisition.
Apple announced a significant overhaul to the iTunes App Store on iOS this morning at WWDC in response to the challenges developers have faced as the store became increasingly crowded over the years. Today, there are 1.2 million iOS applications, meaning that the traditional means of finding “what’s hot” like the App Store’s Top Charts or Editor’s Picks, for example, are no longer enough. To address this problem, Apple is giving App Store search a serious makeover, with new features like “trending applications,” continuous scrolling, App Bundles, video previews and more.
“I do read your emails,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook with a chuckle, when detailing the App Store update.
In the iOS 8 App Store, which comes as a part of the forthcoming new version of Apple’s mobile operating system, users will have a new “Explore” tab that lets them delve deeper into the App Store’s offerings, including by category and subcategory.
Also new is a continuous scroll, which is more of a performance improvement related to moving through the App Store search results, which was not always the fastest way to navigate through a set of applications.
App Bundles, Video Previews, And More
Developers will also be able to create “App Bundles,” which help them better market and sell groupings of their applications to App Store shoppers. This would be helpful to those developers who specialize in certain types of applications, like a suite of apps for photo editing, for example.
Consumers will now have the option to buy these apps in bundles, which could potentially increase developers’ App Store sales.
A prominent children’s app developer, Toca Boca, was shown as an example of the App Store bundle with a grouping of apps called “Toca Toy Box,” which allows users to download a whole set of apps from the developer at a discount, when compared with buying the applications one-by-one.
Meanwhile, a feature for video previews of apps – something that, we should point out, arrived on Android first – allows consumers to view the app in action before they make the decision to purchase. These short App Store videos are perfect for tweeting or sharing on Vine, and help to give a better idea about how an app looks and feels versus a screenshot, which can be misleading.
When played, the videos fill the screen, giving users an experience that’s as close as possible to what it’s like to use the actual application, without having to download it.
For developers who take the time to craft high-quality apps with elegant transitions and animations, videos will also help them better showcase those efforts. And for gamers, video previews will let them get a taste the gameplay before committing to a download.
Another feature involving related search suggestions that prompt you with other possible searches to try, also got a brief mention during the keynote, but this had already launched earlier this year.
And top apps that Apple likes will now get an Editor’s Choice logo to help with app recommendations.
A handy feature for multi-iOS device families is the new “family sharing” option, which will allow users to buy apps one time then share with others. This feature extends to other media as well, including photos, videos, calendars and reminders. Users will need to have the same payment card details on file for this to work, however, so no – you can’t “family share” with a just a bunch of friends.
The Family Share feature also lets parents approve children’s app purchases, which is a great addition that saves the grown-ups from constantly having to type in their App Store password. The feature will alert the parent via an approval notification, which is handy.
The “Trending Searches” section in the App Store is very interesting, and possibly one of the more important features of the new release, as it gives developers another way to get their apps found.
You can think of this section as something like Twitter’s trends, as it will give a look at what’s currently hot on the App Store, without the reliance on App Store chart rankings, which have been repeatedly gamed by unsavory developers who know how to hack the algorithm. Apple didn’t clarify how ‘trending searches’ works, or how real-time it is, but it does appear that this, along with the other “Explore” features will replace the “Apps Near Me” section which debuted in iOS 7, and nearly really gained mainstream adoption as a way to find new apps, due to its limited use cases.
Not entirely unexpected was the announcement that recent Apple acquisition TestFlight, an app beta testing service, would now be integrated into the the developer center, giving developers native (and public!) app beta testing. You can read more about that changehere.
Related to the App Store changes, developers are also getting a new software development kit, with 4,000 new APIs to hook into. As a part of this change, developers can now build their own widgets for the Notification Center, but not the homescreen.
@Apppromo follows the App Annie Market Index and found the results for Q1 2014 very significant in terms of revenue in both the US and China markets. Please review and enjoy the following excerpts from the latest Market Index.
The information contained in this report was compiled using App Annie Intelligence, the industry-leading market data solution for identifying opportunities in the app store economy. It provides the most accurate market estimates for global app downloads and revenues – to learn more, take the tour or request a demo today.
iOS App Store vs. Google Play App Downloads & Revenue
Google Play led the iOS App Store in downloads by approximately 45% in Q1 2014, up from 35% in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, the iOS App Store maintained its comfortable advantage in revenue, leading Google Play by 85%. However, Google Play continued to narrow this revenue gap. The gains for Google Play come as Android devices extended their lead in worldwide device installed base.
Growth in Google Play downloads was driven by explosive growth in emerging markets, with Mexico and Turkey showing themselves as markets to watch. According to IDC, smartphone adoption has grown rapidly in Mexico, increasing around 75% in 2013 and expected to grow by approximately 40% in 2014. Over 65% of these devices used the Android OS, and this proportion is expected to increase in 2014. In Turkey, significant investment in IT and prominent technology projects as part of Vision 2023 and the FATIH education project are contributing to rapid device growth. According to IDC, IT spending is expected to increase around 9% in Turkey this year, driven primarily by the adoption of smartphones and tablets.
iOS App Store revenue growth was driven largely by China and the United States. However, impressive growth extended to smaller markets such as Vietnam and South Africa. Games remained the key category for revenue growth, but Finance apps also gained markedly, with worldwide category revenue growing around 45% quarter-over-quarter. This was boosted by the performance of TurboTax 2013 during tax season in the United States.
Games also topped growth in Google Play revenue, but other categories also saw notable revenue growth. In particular, Communication saw huge gains, and News & Magazines made a significant contribution. While emerging markets drove Google Play download growth, it was established markets such as the United States and United Kingdom that contributed the most to narrowing the revenue gap with the iOS App Store.
@Apppromo would like to share with you a recent email we received from @Apple, enclosed below:
|Dear iTunes account owner,|
|Apple is committed to providing parents and kids with a great experience on the App Store. We
review all app content before allowing it on our store, provide a wide range of age-appropriate
content, and include parental controls in iOS to make it easy for parents to restrict or disable
access to content.
|We’ve heard from some customers that it was too easy for their kids to make in-app purchases.
As a result, we’ve improved controls for parents so they can better manage their children’s
purchases, or restrict them entirely. Additionally, we are offering refunds in certain cases.
|Our records show that you made some in-app purchases, and if any of these were unauthorized purchases by a minor, you might be eligible for a refund from Apple.|
|Please follow the steps below to submit a refund request:|
|Apple will review your request and contact you via email about your refund status. All refundrequests must be submitted no later than April 15, 2015.|
|If you have any questions or need further assistance with your refund request, please contact Apple.|
|To learn more about parental controls in iOS, please see this article.|
@Appromo would like to share with our clients and readers a recent update in the Google Play Developer Program. Please find enclosed the updated policies:
The policies listed below play an important role in maintaining a positive experience for everyone using Google Play. Defined terms used here have the same meaning as in the Developer Distribution Agreement. Be sure to check back from time to time, as these policies may change.
Our content policies apply to any content your app displays or links to, including any ads it shows to users and any user-generated content it hosts or links to. Further, they apply to any content from your developer account which is publicly displayed in Google Play, including your developer name and the landing page of your listed developer website. In addition to complying with these policies, the content of your app must be rated in accordance with our Content Rating Guidelines.
Network Usage and Terms
Apps must not create unpredictable network usage that has an adverse impact on a user’s service charges or an Authorized Carrier’s network. Apps also may not knowingly violate an Authorized Carrier’s terms of service for allowed usage or any Google terms of service.
Spam and Placement in the Store
Developers are important partners in maintaining a great user experience on Google Play.
Apps published on Google Play may not directly or indirectly engage in or benefit from the following behavior:
It is your responsibility to ensure that no ad network or affiliate uses such methods to direct users to pages that make your app available for download.
Paid and Free Apps
Subscriptions and Cancellations
Google’s subscription cancellation policy is that a user will not receive a refund for the current billing period when canceling a subscription, but will continue to receive issues and updates of the relevant subscription content (if any) for the remainder of the billing period, regardless of the cancellation.
You (as the content or access provider) may implement a more flexible refund policy with your users directly, and it is your responsibility to notify your users of those policies and ensure that the policies comply with applicable law.
The policy below covers all ads that are implemented in and bundled with apps. These rules are important in maintaining a positive experience for everyone using Android apps from Google Play. Be sure to check back from time to time, as these policies may change.
Ads must not simulate or impersonate the user interface of any app, or notification and warning elements of an operating system. It must be clear to the user which app each ad is associated with or implemented in.
Ad Walls and Interstitial Ads
Interstitial ads may only be displayed inside of the app they came with. Forcing the user to click on ads or submit personal information for advertising purposes in order to fully use an app is prohibited. A prominent and accessible target must be made available to users in any interstitial ad so they may dismiss the ad without penalty or inadvertent click-through.
Interfering with Apps and Third-party Ads
Ads associated with your app must not interfere with other apps or their ads.
Usage of Android advertising ID
Google Play Services version 4.0 introduced new APIs and an ID for use by advertising and analytics providers. Terms for the use of these APIs and ID are below.
In the event that your app is removed from Google Play, you will receive an email notification to that effect. If you have any questions or concerns regarding a removal or a rating/comment from a user, you may contact us at http://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer. Serious or repeated violations of the Developer Distribution Agreement or this Content Policy will result in account termination. Repeated infringement of intellectual property rights, including copyright, will also result in account termination. For more information on Google’s copyright policies, please seehere.
Millennial internet users in Canada are well armed with smartphones—77% have one—and becoming a robust set of tablet users as well (33% penetration), according to research from App Promo and Tapped Mobile conducted by BrandSpark.
For more information on the survey, please check out www.mobilepersonas.com or tweet us @Mobilepersonas