ASO news digest for August
Apple will allow developers to inform users about their in-app purchase options outside of the App Store. Google will change the ranking system in Google Play. Asodesk now has 15 new settings for working with reviews and keyword translation. Read on for the top 9 news stories from the industry in our digest.
1. Apple adopts agreements that will support developers’ businesses
2. Apple received a warning from the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia
3. You can halve commission when publishing in Apple News
4. Developers need to supplement their banking information in App Store Connect
5. App Store taxes have changed for some regions
6. South Korea limits Apple and Google’s control over payments in app stores
7. The Google Play rating system will change and new settings for analysis will be added to the Play Store Console
8. Google has already removed 115,000 apps in six months
9. 15 new settings for working with reviews and new feature for keyword translation in Asodesk
App Store news
Apple adopts agreements that will support developers’ businesses
Apple has announced several changes to the App Store in response to the US developers’ class-action lawsuit on the grounds of monopoly.
It is now possible to share purchase options with users outside of the app, while subscription pricing will be more varied, and a new fund to help US developers will be established.
Key points of the Apple agreement:
1. Developers can tell users about alternative payment solutions outside of their iOS apps. For example, with users’ permission, a company or developer can send users emails to inform them of a subscription outside of the App Store.
2. Apple and developers have agreed to keep the App Store Small Business program in its current structure for at least the next three years.
3. At the request of the developers, Apple agreed that search results will continue to be based on objective metrics such as downloads, ratings, text relevance, and user behavior. The agreement means the current App Store search engine will remain for at least the next three years.
4. Apple will also increase the number of price categories available to developers for subscriptions, in-app purchases, and paid apps from under 100 to over 500. Developers will continue to set their own prices.
5. Apple will retain the ability to appeal the rejection of an app if its rejection seemed to be unfair according to the developer. Apple agreed to add content to the App Review website to help developers understand how the appeal process works.
6. Apple is also announcing a Small Developers Assistance Fund, which will pay $250 – $30,000 to US developers. You need to earn up to $1 million inclusive through the US App Store for all your apps. The amount is calculated for each calendar year during which the account was valid, starting from June 4, 2015 to April 26, 2021.
Apple received a warning from the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia
Currently, App Store developers cannot inform users about alternative payment methods in App Store applications (App Store Review Guidelines, paragraph 3.1).
The FAS Russia saw this as a violation of the law and issued a warning. The FAS believes that this policy may negatively affect competition and lead to higher prices. Apple must remedy these violations no later than September 30.
Let us recall that due to an antitrust lawsuit from American companies, Apple will allow developers to inform users about payment methods outside of the app. Perhaps, under pressure from the Russian authorities, Apple will soften the rules even more.
You can halve commission when publishing in Apple News
Apple News, a paid new aggregator, aims to provide customers with reliable news and information from the world’s leading publishers. Developers who work with Apple News can now reduce their fees from 30% to 15%.
To receive a discount, you must apply to participate in the News Partner Program. The main function of the app must be to provide original and professionally created news content.
Read about other requirements for participants in the official Apple press release.
Developers need to supplement their banking information in App Store Connect
Due to a change in local regulations, developers will be required to provide the address of the bank account holder if the account information is in App Store Connect.
Account-holders, administrators, and financiers now need to specify a valid address in the Agreements, Tax, and Banking section. It is important to provide this information by October 22, 2021, to avoid possible interruption of your payments.
App Store taxes have changed for some regions
Apple announced tax changes. App Store app prices and in-app purchases (excluding auto-renewable subscriptions) in the App Store have dropped in:
- South Africa
- The United Kingdom
- All other territories using the euro
Prices will rise by 18% in Georgia and Tajikistan. In Tajikistan, this tax will apply to those outside the country.
Publishers’ revenue will be adjusted and calculated based on the price without taxes.
Italy’s App Store revenue will increase following a change in the country’s current digital services tax rate. App prices will remain unchanged, however, this will change the amount that developers will receive from a purchase.
As soon as the changes take effect, the “Pricing and Availability” section in “My apps” will be updated in the App Store. Developers can change the price of apps and in-app purchases (including auto-renewable subscriptions) at any time in App Store Connect. You can save prices for existing subscribers.
South Korea limits Apple and Google’s control over payments in app stores
On August 31, the South Korean parliament approved a bill that bans the App Store and Google Play from exclusively using their own payment systems. The law will come into force following the signature of President Moon Jae-in, whose party actively supports this initiative.
Developers can now avoid Google Play and Apple Store fees in South Korea and move users to third-party payment platforms. Other countries may follow South Korea, and, as a result, app publishers will not pay commissions to app stores.
A similar bill has also been introduced to the US Senate. Under the Open App Markets Act, developers will be able to use third-party payment systems besides Apple and Google. What’s more, developers will not be penalized for offering lower prices in other stores or through their own payment options.
Google Play news
The Google Play rating system will change and new settings for analysis will be added to the Play Store Console
Google announced that starting in November, Play Store ratings will be region-specific, so users will only see ratings for their own country.
In their blog, the company noted that sometimes an app’s rating can decrease all around the world due to a bug in one country. Or, tablet app improvements are being ignored due to a high volume of reviews from smartphone users.
This is why Google is launching a program that will help make personalized ratings for different user groups:
- Starting from November, smartphone users will see the app rating for their region only.
- At the beginning of 2022, users with other devices — tablets and Chromebooks — will see ratings only from other users with the same devices.
The Google Play console now also has statistics on device types, flexible date and period selection, and options for easier data uploading.
You can now choose more detailed data aggregation methods: per day, week, or 28 days. This will help you get detailed statistics.
Google will also send notifications to companies that are likely to drop more than 0.2 stars in a given country.
Google has already removed 115,000 apps in six months
SafeBettingSites reviewed data from Google and analyst companies Statista, App Annie, and AppBrain. It turned out that 58,000 applications were removed from the Play Store from January to April, but only 4,500 of them are fraudulent. In March, 65,000 apps were removed, followed by 4,300 apps in June. Analysts noted that this is the largest app purge since 2018.
To prevent you from being sanctioned by Google Play, let’s remind you of the new metadata requirements:
1. You cannot use repeated special characters in the title, on the icon, and in the developer’s name.
2. You can’t capitalize the title unless it’s part of your brand.
3. You shouldn’t add misleading text and symbols to the icon. These include the new message indicator and install symbols. Misleading content is also prohibited in the metadata.
4. The app title can contain up to 30 characters.
From September 1, new rules for the section “Inappropriate content” come into force. In particular, the promotion of sexually explicit content and paid sexual relations will be prohibited.
Read about all upcoming changes to Google Play requirements.
15 new settings for working with reviews and new feature for keyword translation
We continue to improve Asodesk, so we added 15 features for easy work with reviews and a new feature for keyword translation.
With the new features in the Review & Replies Board, you can:
- Exclude unnecessary reviews from the list.
- Search for reviews with specific words and phrases.
- Check reviews that are currently being responded to or have been responded to with an error.
- View the number of unresponded reviews compared to the total number of reviews.
- Create a tag while working with reviews without switching to other tools.
Read about 10 more new features for working with reviews in this article.
ASO for other countries is now easier, since the tools Keyword Charts, Top Keywords, Organic Report, ASO Comparative Report, and Competitors now have a feature for translating queries from a foreign language into English.
Try new features for your apps in Asodesk.
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