App Store Optimization Trends Of 2022
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App Store Optimization Trends Of 2022

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Buse Kanal

2021 was a year of considerable flux and change for App Store Optimization. Privacy, 5G, and pandemic-related trends will continue to be significant factors throughout 2022. Let’s look at the big ASO trends that will shape the mobile marketing space this year.

Many of the ASO trends that will impact the market were present last year. Apple’s SKAdNetwork and ATT will continue to have a considerable bearing on how companies do App Store Optimization. While these privacy-centric frameworks will blow up many apps’ business models, they also present an opportunity for growth and change.

The Consequences of iOS 15

Mobile marketing will feel the consequences of iOS 15 strongly this year. Three intriguing new features have come to the Apple App Store alongside the upgrade. They are:

  • Product Page Optimization
  • In-app Events
  • Custom Product Pages

Apple made these new features to help with user acquisition (UA) and Apple App Store Optimization. Let’s explore how they will affect mobile marketing throughout 2022.

Product Page Optimization

 

Product Page Optimization

 

In effect, Apple’s Product Page Optimization brings long-desired A/B testing to the App Store. A/B testing is relatively standard across most marketing software and provides an excellent way to determine which marketing elements have the most impact.

Developers can use different versions of their product pages, which Apple calls “treatments.” App Store Optimization teams can find out which configuration resonates with users by using different app icons, features, value propositions, or seasonal content.

Additionally, developers can more tightly target users based on regions and tailor their approach to local cultural norms and preferences. You can use three “treatments” alongside your existing product page.

Product Page Optimization will surely be one of the significant ASO trends of 2022, as developers feel pressure to increase conversion rates and capitalize on a global audience without targeting users on an individual level.

In-app Events

 

In-app Events

 

Apple launched In-app events in October 2021. This UA tool will become one of the more significant ASO trends this year.

In-app events, like livestream experiences, game competitions, updates, new features, movie premiers, and more, can be created in App Store Connect. Then, they can be scheduled to appear in the App Store.

Expect developers to use in-app events to acquire new users and entice back previous users with a compelling reason to return. This new feature is an excellent tool for increasing conversions in the App Store and should be widely adopted throughout 2022.

Custom Product Pages

 

Custom Product Pages

 

Custom Product Pages are another great feature that will help developers target a wider audience. Marketing teams can add 35 extra product pages to showcase screenshots, promo texts, and app previews.

Interestingly, each product page comes with a unique URL. Developers can set each URL to have a different look to target different demographics or regions. Apple Search Ads will also support Custom Product Pages.

Custom Product Pages offer some intriguing possibilities for App Store Optimization. Marketing teams can target different keywords and link them to a particular product page. In other words, they will work as a unique landing page that will enable developers to highlight various aspects of their product, which could be an advantageous way to target specific demographics in the post-SKAdNetwork and ATT world.

Data Collection and Transparency

As of January 31st, 2022, Apple will insist that any app that allows account creation must also allow for account deletion. Additionally, Apple wants all App Store products to allow users more control over their personal data.

Developers will be forced to explain, at a minimum:

  • what data their app collects
  • precisely how the data is collected
  • any use of the data
  • an overview of data retention and deletion policies

Anyone who has dealt with GDPR and similar directives will understand how this can affect their business model. For example, many free apps have a business model supported by user data. How these products respond will be interesting to observe throughout 2022.

ATT and SKAdNetwork

The marketing team’s response to the new ATT and SKAdNetwork will be a massive driver in 2022. These new privacy features pose some serious challenges to user acquisition for apps. However, they could spark a new era of creativity.

Not having as much user data will affect how marketing teams can find and target buyer personas. The best companies will respond by focusing on what’s important: a great product and UX.

The fundamentals of a product will need to cut through the noise. However, it won’t be the end of marketing. Removing the reliance on user data should spur companies to produce more compelling narratives, content, and creatives to win and retain customers.

New Business Models May Emerge as a result of ATT

Many apps have a business model that is supported by ads. Statistics suggest at least 25% of US apps are monetized through ads.

Before ATT, the companies that pay for these generally feel it is a good deal because they could target a tight and relevant demographic. Without user data, advertisements become far less surgical and potentially less effective.

Free apps that survive via ads will need to find new ways to make money. While some users may consent to ads, the danger is that ad revenues will drop if apps blindly spam their users with irrelevant ads.

Less Reliance on Third-Party Data and Tracking

One of the biggest ASO trends in 2022 will be what happens when apps break their reliance on third-party data and tracking. This challenge might prove to be too difficult to surmount for some marketing teams. For the overall industry, it may be a blessing in disguise.

These restrictions could result in a burst of creativity. A range of new strategies is required, and whoever is the best at App Store Optimization will survive.

Personalization is a growing trend across all forms of digital marketing. 90% of consumers find it somewhat or very appealing. ASO marketing teams will need to find new ways to attain first-party data and perform marketing measurements.

The Impact of 5G

5G will have a big impact on the market this year. More and more internet providers are building the infrastructure to support fifth-gen wireless technologies. GlobalData forecasts there will be over 4 billion 5G subscriptions worldwide by 2026.

As more 5G devices hit the market, several possibilities will open up. High-definition images, video, and audio will become supported by increased bandwidth. Video game graphics will improve, and applications that offer VR will increase. Additionally, IoT devices will be improved.

What all this means for App Store Optimization and marketing is that 5G will push customers’ expectations higher. App developers will need to embrace these new capabilities to stay competitive.

To stay competitive, apps will need to embrace the new capabilities. Of course, while 5G will be at the forefront of mobile technology, it won’t be the standard across all devices. So support for 4G devices will still be an important part of a successful marketing strategy.

The Best Method for UA in 2022

As mentioned, ATT will shut off many of the more precise, data-driven approaches to advertising. These restrictions will see app install ad spend rise considerably. So, it’s fair to ask whether organic or paid marketing will be the most effective option in 2022?

As always, the answer to this question depends largely on what growth phase each app is in. Organic marketing will still be a very effective tool for newer apps, especially in light of increased app install costs.

And, of course, with data governance becoming tighter, first-party data sources will be integral to overcoming these restrictions. CRM platforms could become a crucial channel for generating data.

Other channels that could become big ASO trends in 2022 are an increased use in Apple Search Ads and TikTok marketing.

Apple Search Ads

Apple Search Ads have a comparatively high cost per install (CPI). In fact, some estimates suggest CPI is around $3.60 per install. However, user retention and revenue from this channel outperform other channels.

TikTok

TikTok is the fastest-growing social media platform. In 2021, TikTok users surpassed 1 billion people. While the demographics typically skew young, TikTok is a good source of organic and paid app installs that will increase throughout 2022.

More Competition Will Increase the Importance of ASO in 2022.

As mobile apps become a more significant part of everyone’s lives, this increased opportunity will lead to increased competition. So, which new trends will marketing teams use to do better ASO?

While coming up with new strategies has appeal, if last year proved anything, it’s that things can change quickly in the app store. So, anyone who wants to do App Store Optimization will need to concentrate on strong fundamentals first.

To succeed in ASO in 2022, developers will need a blended approach that relies on collaboration between UA, product teams, and ASO. So expect marketing teams to take a more holistic approach that concentrates on the quality of the app and its value to the user.

What’s for sure is that there will be changes on the App Store at some point, so the companies that work quickly while having a solid, consistent foundation will be in the best position to outwork their competitors.

What App Monetization Streams Will Be Big in 2022?

In recent years, subscriptions have been a great way to build a solid, reliable source of revenue. As such, their importance will increase throughout 2022, but not only because of their stability.

Because developers can’t target individuals anymore, subscriptions have become more valuable. Subscribers are a good source of data that will help marketing teams define and target lookalike audiences.

As such, expect more teams to use short-term trials to capture user information.

Otherwise, upselling and cross-selling will continue to be big trends throughout 2022. For example, many teams are waking up to the fact that the chances of upselling to an existing customer are something around 60% – 70%. By comparison, selling to a new customer has a probability of between 5% – 20%.

Finally, partnerships might emerge as a credible revenue stream in 2022. So keep an eye out for sponsorships, affiliate links, and partnerships as a revenue model that is adopted more frequently throughout next year.

The pandemic exacerbated our reliance on mobile phones. One of the sectors that benefited greatly from our increased time on phones was gaming applications. Gaming apps are the biggest App Store category and produce the most revenue. Between App Store and Google Play, revenues were almost $80 billion. There is no reason to believe that this trend will halt throughout 2022.

With so many rewards available, competition in the gaming category will be intense this year. So what are the best ways to increase visibility?

As mentioned earlier, Custom Product Pages and Product Page Optimization have huge potential for helping apps get discovered by new users. Likewise, TikTok seems to be where younger kids find games now, rather than App Search. So, expect the market to adjust.

The pandemic was a huge factor in accelerating the growth of mobile commerce. Now that people have gotten used to doing things that way, it’s set to continue.

Facebook (or Meta) and Instagram have been at the forefront of mobile commerce. Despite ATT troubles, the social media giant still has a significant amount of first-party data they can utilize.

Of course, as more customers transition to online and smartphone transactions, consumer expectations have increased. This new generation wants a more personalized type of communication.

Social selling through apps like WhatsApp will continue to rise. Additionally, automated selling via AI bots will provide a great option for e-Commerce stores that need to scale quickly.

AI isn’t the only way that advanced technology will be used to support commerce. VR and AR will be used to show products and services. One of the biggest ASO trends to expect is rampant experimentation. The market is crowded, there are lots of options, so companies that embrace the possibilities offered by technology may come out ahead.

However, that said, replacing brick-and-mortar sales with digital options sacrifices that warm, human touch that consumers crave. So finding a way to drive brand loyalty and create connections will still be necessary.

Due to ATT and the aforementioned competitiveness, one area where apps can stand out is through excellent customer experience. A large part of delivering a great experience is through understanding customers and what they want.

Customer experience involves far more than the user experience with the app. So one of the biggest ASO trends in 2022 will involve more synergy between customer success departments and UX.

More intelligent understanding of the customer journey has been breaking down the walls between these teams in recent years. Well, in 2022, expect these walls to crumble to create a seamless experience that uses customer experience to inform and give feedback to each area.

2022 should see apps drift towards a blend of automation and personalization. Together, these elements will create an excellent, always-on customer experience.

Automated customer service that uses email or chatbots to answer common questions will provide a swift resolution in most cases. This information can be populated with personalized information so that the user isn’t treated to a “cold” experience.

For cases that developers can’t solve through email, bot, or knowledge base, more personalized attention or care can be on hand.

Digital Adoption Platforms

With 5G offering more bandwidth and devices increasing in power, consumers will expect more complex applications. However, apps with more features and functionality can often alienate users. So, expect digital adoption platforms (DAPs) to be used to help with user onboarding, product tours, product walkthroughs, smart tips, and so on.

DAPs can be simple or complex, depending on the complexity of the app. App install costs are so high that onboarding and retaining users have taken on increased importance.

Additionally, there are some DAPs, like Ustiful, that have been set up to capture the bare minimum of customer data, making it a perfect solution for these data-privacy-conscious times.

Just like the last few years, marketing and development teams will be met with lots of opportunities and challenges throughout 2022. The App Store has dropped plenty of surprises over the last few years, and there is a good chance they will do it all again this year.

To acquire users in 2022, developers will be required to use a mix of old and new tricks. Keeping an eye on App Store guidelines will be essential to ensure an app doesn’t get penalized or removed from the store. This rule includes strict adherence to the data privacy that is expected of apps as of the end of January.

5G will be important for improving products and staying competitive in a crowded marketplace. Likewise, a mix of organic and paid advertisement, plus making use of the new App Store features that allow 35 product pages and 3 A/B testing “treatments,” will be vital for success.

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