Digest ASO News, October 2020
Many things happened in October: Apple raised prices in the App Store for some countries and allowed pre-orders 180 days before the release. Google released an update to the Play Console and began testing the app comparison feature. Read more about all the news in the digest.
Apple raises App Store prices in Russia, Brazil, India, South Africa, Indonesia and Colombia
On October 26, Apple announced price changes. The company links the increase in prices with changes in the exchange rate and tax legislation. Prices will increase for both apps and in-game purchases. While the cost of auto-renewing subscriptions remains the same, it is not known how long the prices will last.
At the Apple rate, $1 will now cost 99 rubles. The minimum price of a paid application will increase from 79 to 99 rubles. The company posted a table of prices, in which you can clearly see the changes.
Prices for Russia have increased by about 20%. For example, a subscription that used to cost 1200 rubles will now cost 300 rubles more. This increase in fees could lead to a fall in demand. Some users will decide to turn down purchases, and as a result, developers will lose a part of their revenue.
App Store pre-orders can now be placed 180 days prior to release
Developers can invite users to download an app 180 days before release. According to Apple, this benefit will drive more attention to the app’s features and encourage pre-orders. On the day the application is released, the user will receive a notification and the application will be automatically installed on the device within 24 hours. Before this update, developers could submit apps to the App Store 90 days prior to release.
New notifications on subscription status
The App Store notifies the developers about purchases in their applications. The information is stored in the account database on the server.
The following notifications are now available:
- DID_RENEW is displayed if the user automatically renews the subscription.
- PRICE_INCREASE_CONSENT makes it possible to know that the App Store is asking the user to agree to a new subscription price. According to Apple, it will remind users about the value of the app.
In March 2021, RENEWAL notifications and top-level objects will become unavailable: latest_receipt, latest_receipt_info, latest_expired_receipt, and latest_expired_receipt_info. Don’t forget to update your application code.
Apple has launched Apple Search Ads Certification online training program
Self-study consists of 8 lessons and a 50-question exam. The exam will be considered successful if you score more than 80%. The company notes that the course will help app marketers improve professional skills and work efficiency.
After training, specialists will be able to:
- Better understand the potential of app promotion in Apple Search Ads.
- Create and effectively manage advanced Apple Search Ads campaigns.
You can learn more and start training here.
Hamburger menu may disappear from Google Play
Google is doing an A/B test of the user interface without the hamburger menu. The new version includes an extended floating window.
The options that were previously present in the sidebar are moved to a floating window, accessible by clicking on the avatar in the upper right corner. Here you can find shortcuts for the library of applications, payments and subscriptions, as well as settings and notifications.
The hamburger menu was popular a few years ago, but smartphone screens have expanded and many of the shortcuts have moved to bottom navigation bars and tabbed interfaces. Now Google is no longer advising developers to use the hamburger menu. Moreover, it does not work well with gesture navigation introduced in Android 10.
It is not yet known whether the new menu will be accepted as a permanent feature.
Google Play is testing the function of comparing apps to each other
To compare two products, you need to click on the button under the panel with reviews on the application page. Features and characteristics such as quality, ease of use, and rating are indicated under each of the applications.
You can compare several applications from the same category at once, without leaving the page of the selected product.
The feature is currently working as part of A/B testing in the Play Store version 22.4.28. It is not yet known if there will be a release for all users.
For developers, mobile marketers and ASO specialists, comparing apps function will be another way to attract traffic. However, the competition will also increase, as other applications can take users away from your product page. The importance of the rating and the number of installs is increasing, because this directly affects the ranking of the application in this section.
Google delays adding 30% commission for India due to the fear of losing a large market share
More than 150 tech companies in India are discussing the creation of a new app store that will become an alternative to Google Play. This possibility was discussed due to the introduction of a mandatory 30% commission on Google Play. More than 50% of Indian IT entrepreneurs said they were against this proposition.
The Indian government commented: “Android has 97% of the Indian market. So we need to step in and support Indian startups”.
The new app store will have a big impact on the ASO market, so it’s worth keeping an eye on what’s happening in India.
The company’s management was frightened by the potential competition with the new app store, so Google postponed the introduction of the commission until at least April 2022. The company fears that many developers will leave Google Play, so negotiations and meetings with Indian IT entrepreneurs are underway.
For other countries, the deadlines remain unchanged, so the commission will become mandatory from September 21, 2021.
New Play Console adds app publishing overview and management features
The overview page allows you to follow the publishing process, and the management allows you to control the publication of applications on Google Play.
The updated publishing overview page displays all recent updates and versions of the app page, including those currently under moderation on Google Play. This is convenient if a large team is working on the application, since it will be possible to coordinate work and track all changes.
Unlike the developer activity log, the publishing overview only shows the changes, as well as your review comments.
In the new Play Console, temporary publishing has been changed to managed publishing. If you enable this feature, the changes will be enforced only at the time you choose, rather than automatically after review and processing.
App publishers will be able to submit changes long before the release date, establishing additional review time.
If you enable managed publishing, the page will have two sections: one showing approved and ready-to-publish changes, and the other showing pending changes. This version is already available for developers.
There are also 2 useful features:
- You can post part of the approved changes while another part is pending. Previously, a temporary publication would not allow an application update unless all changes were approved.
- You can disable and enable “managed publishing” any time, if changes are pending or about to be published. You can change the status of a managed post without waiting for review.
A new record for Google Play app installs — 28.3 billion in the quarter
Google Play has surpassed the App Store three times in terms of the number of installs. Last quarter, Google Play apps were installed 28.3 billion times, which is 31% more than during the same period last year.
This number is three times higher than the number of app installs from the App Store (8.2 billion). Over the last nine months, the total number of Google Play installs amounted to 80.6 billion, compared to 26.6 billion installs for the App Store.
Games are downloaded most often, accounting for 13.49% of the total number of installs. Games are followed by the categories “education” (9.11%) and “business” (6.95%).
Google Play also leads in the number of apps in the store: more than 2.7 million apps, versus 1.82 million for the App Store.
Despite impressive install numbers, Google Play users spend half as much — only $10.3 billion, compared to the $19 billion spent by App Store users.