With 2019 approaching, we’re seeing the App Store Optimization landscape change rapidly. Here are Gummicube’s predictions on some of the biggest ASO changes coming in 2019.

Increased Siri Shortcut Integration

Siri Shortcuts began with iOS 12, enabling apps to launch certain functions and commands directly from a voice command on Siri. For instance, a navigation app can instantly open and load directions when a user says, “Hey Siri, let’s go home,” or a coffee app can place an order for pickup when a user says, “Hey Siri, I need caffeine.”

As virtual assistants and artificial intelligence continue to grow, they’ll integrate more and more with the apps we use. The ease and convenience of launching apps and their specific functions from voice commands will be beneficial for users, while presenting big opportunities for developers for discoverability, usage and retention.

Developers can utilize Siri Shortcuts to improve their retention rates. The convenience that comes with Siri Shortcuts will help integrate their apps into users’ daily routines, helping to ensure continued use and convenience. 

Additionally, Siri Shortcuts can play a factor in helping users discover an app. The Apple App Store often calls out which apps have Siri Shortcuts enabled, so integrating Shortcuts will provide developers with a new outlet for users to discover them. As users learn the ease and convenience of shortcuts, they’ll be more likely to seek apps that integrate it. Therefore, apps using Siri Shortcuts can call it out in their descriptions to increase discoverability and appeal to users who enjoy using Shortcuts.

Increased Demand for Mobile Data

App Store Optimization agencies are being held more accountable for their ASO strategies, as the need for accurate mobile data increases. The App Store environment has grown even more competitive in 2018, especially with the release of new Search Ads territories, the end of the affiliate program and the slew of new features released with iOS 12. As such, ASO strategies will need to be refined to keep up with the ever-changing ASO landscape going into 2019. This will require more (and correct) data to ensure proper execution.

It is never acceptable to guess or go off hunches for an optimized keyword or screenshot format. To survive in 2019, ASO experts must research and test every aspect of the app listing and have solid data to accompany their findings. As the competition on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store grows, so does the amount of data required to compete and excel.

Need for Search Ads

Apple has stated that 70% of app discover comes from searches, so the higher up in search results an app can get, the better it is for its discoverability. That’s what makes Search Ads so important – it puts an app right at the top of Search Results for the keyword it bids on.

As category rankings become less important and organic grows more, more demand will be placed on Search Ads to boost organic discovery. Search Ads has the added effect of improving rankings and discoverability within a keyword after the paid campaign has ended, due to the campaign increasing the clicks it gets for the targeted keywords. That in turn builds relevance, making its next campaign for those keywords even stronger. It’s part of what makes Search Ads so vital to ASO.

Additionally, Search Ads became even more valuable this year with the closure of Apple’s affiliate program. The program proved a useful avenue for finding new users, but in an effort to reduce costs, Apple sunset the program in October 2018. With the affiliate program severed, discoverability within the App Store became even more vital. With the added disadvantage of the App Store no longer being available on the iTunes Desktop app, the only way to be discovered within the App Store is on mobile devices, which is where Search Ads can prove extremely useful.

However, more demand does not necessarily mean more expenses – apps only pay per click for Search Ads, and with the increased competition, they’ll still be battling to win bids on keywords.

As such, agencies will need to maximize their organic potential to meet their cost-per-installation (CPI) key performance indicators (KPI). Optimizing metadata and descriptions for Search Ads campaigns will be essential to both getting the most out of Search Ads and improving organic visibility through it. Furthermore, optimized creatives, such as videos and screenshots, can also potentially improve conversion, leading to lower CPI bids. Should you start to convert better on bid-listings, Apple will essentially reward you with lower bids as you are being found more relevant for the given keyword, as well as related ones. Search Ads also recently added creative sets, making it possible to declare different creative variants designed to target specific groups and search terms for optimal results.

What the Future Holds

Technology continues to improve, and new innovations rock the app world all the time, but one thing remains constant: App Store Optimization is essential to succeeding on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The trends and demands we predict for 2019 will require developers and marketers alike to make the most of the growth and developments within the app economy, and those that are prepared and put in the effort may find success in the coming year.