ASO news for November 2023
Google introduced stricter app testing requirements and extended review time for new apps. EU iPhone users may gain access to apps outside the App Store next year. Open AI announced customizable GPTs and a store for them. Read all the latest ASO news from the app stores in our digest.
1. Google introduced stricter app testing requirements and extended review time for new apps
2. Google added new features for creating Custom Store Listings and analyzing results
3. Google expanded monetization opportunities for Android app developers
4. Google announced new features in Android Vitals
5. Google announced several major updates to Play Integrity API
6. EU iPhone users may gain access to apps outside the App Store next year
7. Apple announced the Swift Student Challenge
8. Apple announced over 30 new developer activities
9. Open AI announced customizable GPTs and a store for them
Google Play news
Google introduced stricter app testing requirements and extended review time for new apps
Google unveiled enhanced safeguards for Android developers who release their apps on the Google Play. These adjustments align with Google’s overarching initiatives aimed at preventing subpar and potentially harmful apps from infiltrating the Play Store and users’ devices.
1. Google has made app testing for new personal developer accounts mandatory. According to the company, apps that use Google’s testing tools gain, on average, three times the number of installs and user engagement compared to those that do not.
To help developers make the most of these benefits, those creating new personal Play Console accounts are now required to conduct app testing involving a minimum of 20 people for a minimum duration of two weeks before applying for production access.
2. Google increased the time their global review teams spend checking new apps to make sure they’re safe, honest, and compliant. While they don’t expect big changes in the time it takes to review most apps, some, especially those for kids or with special device permissions, might take longer to review because they will be checked more thoroughly.
3. In the upcoming year, Google will introduce new indicators on app listings to aid users in finding precisely what they are looking for, commencing with a badge designating official government apps.
4. Google has given developers the option to choose their own deadline for account verification.
From November 9, you can select your preferred deadline directly in Play Console. These deadlines are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s advisable to choose early to secure a timeline that suits your needs. If no deadline is selected by February 29, 2024, one will be assigned automatically.
Google added new features for creating Custom Store Listings and analyzing results
Custom store listings empower you to optimize your conversion rates and user acquisitions by tailoring your messaging to different user segments. Google added new features to simplify the process of creating and analyzing results of Custom Store Listings. You can now:
1. Save your listings as drafts for future editing.
2. Schedule your listings for publication at your preferred time and for the duration you choose.
3. Test your listings with a segment of your audience before a full rollout. You can choose a percentage of the audience on which you want to test your listings.
Google expanded monetization opportunities for Android app developers
Google introduced new features to make it easier to generate revenue from your audiences. To achieve this, you can optimize your pricing, expand your reach, and manage user transactions more effectively.
During this year’s I/O, Google unveiled price experiments for in-app products, enabling you to experiment with various price points and adjust them according to local purchasing power on a large scale. Starting next month, you will be able to:
- Save your price experiments as drafts for future editing.
- Remove underperforming variants during the experiment.
- Receive warning notifications for potential price configuration issues.
- Apply the best-performing price to any or all products within the experiment.
Furthermore, Google has initiated automatic updates to their minimum and maximum price ranges to account for currency fluctuations relative to the US dollar. You will also receive Play Console Inbox notifications whenever Google recommends a price adjustment for your in-app products.
Google has introduced new tools to display available products and offers based on regional availability. With the introduction of the fresh getBillingConfigAsync API, you can now effectively showcase accessible products and promotions to users, taking into account the specific regional availability of each product. This API conveniently provides a user’s registered country on Google Play.
Google has also expanded its payment method library to include popular methods such as PayPay, eWallet, and cash top-ups at thousands of stores in various regions.
In the near future, real-time developer notifications will include notifications for one-time purchases and voided purchases such as cancellations, revocations, and chargebacks. This includes the option to make quick eligibility adjustments and address potential fraud and abuse cases.
Google is steadfast in its commitment to user choice billing, granting you more flexibility and options for monetizing on Google Play. Developers enrolled in user choice billing can offer alternative billing systems alongside Google Play’s in over 35 markets. Google is now making alternative billing APIs accessible to participating developers with users in these markets, streamlining the process:
- User choice screens rendered by Google Play: eliminating the need to create and maintain information and choice screens as per UX guidelines.
- Alternative billing settings in Play Console: manage alternative billing settings for eligible apps, including market enrollment, payment method logos, and more.
- Simplified transaction reporting: removing manual touchpoints.
- Google Play Top Charts: reflecting transactions reported via API.
- Improved reporting: providing more detailed developer reporting, including exchange rates, associated app package ID, service fee rates, and more.
Google announced new features in Android Vitals
Google has introduced a range of new features within Android Vitals to assist you in enhancing your app’s technical quality. These additions enable you to monitor your app against per-device bad behavior thresholds, effectively debug issues, and manage your performance. Here’s what’s new:
- Real-time release rollout monitoring: you can now track and identify issues with release rollouts using hourly vitals data.
- Extended historical data: analyze long-term trends in technical performance with access to three years of Android vitals data.
- Device prioritization: prioritize devices based on their business impact using per-device business metrics such as store listing impressions, average rating, and daily active-device metrics.
- Threshold notifications: receive emails and Play Console Inbox notifications when your per-device bad behavior threshold exceeds 8%.
- Integration with Android Studio: analyze Android vitals crash event data and explore potential fixes right within Android Studio via App Quality Insights.
- Controlled access for Play Console teammates: grant limited access to app quality data for your Play Console teammates.
Additionally, for convenient on-the-go app management and monitoring, explore the updated Play Console app. With this app, you can:
- Monitor the metrics that are most important to you.
- View and respond to user reviews.
- Monitor and manage your apps across different tracks and releases.
- Handle your app’s orders and process refunds.
- Receive messages and updates from Google Play, ensuring you provide the best user experience.
Google announced several major updates to Play Integrity API
Google is rolling out significant updates to the Play Integrity API, including the following improvements:
1. Rapid Integrity Verdicts: low-latency Play Integrity API standard requests, which were in beta, are now available for all developers. This advancement ensures that integrity verdicts are delivered with a speed improvement of 10X.
2. Play Protect Signal: a new opt-in feature has been introduced to gauge whether Play Protect is activated or deactivated, along with the detection of any known malware.
3. Enhanced Reporting and Controls: developers can now benefit from a new Play Integrity API report and improved controls in Play Console. This allows developers to identify issues and refine their anti-abuse strategies by providing a comprehensive analysis and breakdown of API responses across their user bases.
4. SDK Integration Management: SDK providers now have the flexibility to establish and oversee their Play Integrity API integration using the Google Play SDK Console. This feature grants them control over their quota allocation and allows for customization of API responses to meet their specific needs.
App Store news
EU iPhone users may gain access to apps outside the App Store next year
At some point in the first half of 2024, iPhone users in the EU will be able to download apps from sources outside of Apple’s official App Store to comply with European regulations, allowing for sideloading. This change eliminates the need to use the App Store and the associated fees for developers. Apple plans to implement a controlled system for EU users to install apps from external sources, and adjustments to Messages and payment apps are expected as part of a localized iOS 17 update.
This updated timeline contradicts a previous report that suggested sideloading would be introduced with iOS 17.2, which was expected to be released in December 2023. The confusion arose from new code related to an upcoming framework for organizations to distribute apps to employees, not sideloading.
The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) mandates that “gatekeeper” companies open their services and platforms to other companies and developers. The DMA will have significant implications for Apple’s platforms, potentially leading to major changes in the App Store, Messages, FaceTime, Siri, and more.
Apple expressed concerns that sideloading could compromise user privacy and security, exposing users to malware, scams, data tracking, and other risks. However, Apple must comply with the DMA or face fines of up to 20 percent of its global revenue if the EU laws are violated.
In December 2022, it was reported that Apple was considering implementing security requirements like verification, which could entail a fee instead of collecting revenue from app sales. Apple has a verification system on Mac that ensures user safety while allowing access to apps outside of the Mac App Store.
If other countries enact similar legislation, alternate app stores could potentially expand beyond the European Union, as the United States is also considering legislation that would mandate sideloading on Apple devices.
Apple announced the Swift Student Challenge
According to Apple, the Swift Student Challenge has provided countless students with a platform to showcase their creativity and coding prowess through app playgrounds. It has empowered them to cultivate real-world skills that extend well beyond the boundaries of their academic careers.
Apple is unveiling fresh coding resources, starting collaborations with community partners, and announcing the Challenge’s commencement earlier than in previous years. This proactive approach allows students to immerse themselves in Swift and the app development process, while educators gain a head start in providing guidance and assistance.
The application window for the Swift Student Challenge will open in February 2024 and will run for three weeks.
In a new development for 2024, among the 350 winners, Apple will announce on 50 Distinguished Winners. These exceptional individuals will be honored for their outstanding submissions and will receive an exclusive invitation to join Apple’s Cupertino headquarters for a unique three-day experience next summer.
Apple announced over 30 new developer activities
Apple invited developers to join a new set of developer labs, consultations, sessions, and workshops, available both in-person and online, scheduled for November and December.
Here’s what you can explore:
1. App Store activities: gain valuable insights into discovery, engagement strategies, in-app events, Custom Product Pages, subscription optimization, and more.
2. Apple Vision Pro developer labs: apply for a chance to participate in developer labs held in key locations including Cupertino, London, Munich, New York City, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo.
3. Apple Vision Pro Activities: learn how to create innovative apps and games designed specifically for visionOS.
4. Design and technology consultations: secure personalized one-on-one sessions offering expert guidance on app design, technology implementation, and other relevant topics.
These offerings are available across different time zones and languages, ensuring accessibility to developers worldwide. See the full schedule.
Open AI announced customizable GPTs and a store for them
Open AI introduced customized versions of ChatGPT known as GPTs. GPTs allow anyone to create personalized versions of ChatGPT for specific purposes — whether it’s for daily life, specific tasks, work, or home use, and share them with others. For example, GPTs can assist in learning board game rules, teaching math to kids, or creating stickers.
Creating your own GPT doesn’t require coding. You can make GPTs for personal use, within your company, or for broader sharing. The process involves starting a conversation, providing instructions and additional knowledge, and specifying its capabilities, such as web searching, image creation, or data analysis. Try it out at chat.openai.com/create.
Open AI announced that The GPT Store will be launched in November and will feature creations by verified builders, making GPTs searchable and allowing them to gain recognition on leaderboards. This platform will highlight the most valuable and enjoyable GPTs in categories such as productivity, education, and leisure. In the coming months, creators will be able to earn based on the usage of their GPTs.
Developers can connect GPTs to the real world by defining custom actions that integrate external data or interact with real-world applications, similar to plugins but with more control.
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