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WWDC 2020 (Apple’s annual developer conference) was held in mid-June. Lots of updates were announced, from new, unique capabilities on iPad (one of the fun ones: you can now turn your handwriting from the Apple Pencil into typed text via a new feature called “Scribble”) to sleep tracking with the Apple Watch. In this post, we’ll focus on key app and App Store updates related to iOS 14 and how they will impact app marketing. (We tackle the big IDFA announcement and its fallout in another post.)
The iOS 14 release date has not yet been announced, but the industry expects it to come mid-late September, 2020. In the meantime, here are a few of the main updates and what they will mean.
App and App Store Updates
Redesigned widgets on the home screen: This has been a mainstay feature on Google’s Android that finally made its way to Apple. Widgets (currently available only in the Today view) display more information than just the app icon, and now give users an opportunity to personalize their home screen.
- What does this mean for apps? This is an opportunity to improve organic retention by showcasing dynamic content and engaging users immediately on the home screen, the most utilized and viewed area of a phone. It’s also an opportunity to take space from competitors – full-sized widgets are able to take space from up to 8 (potential competitor) icons.
App Clips: App clips will allow users to open and gain access to key features of apps, without having to fully download them. Purchases in App Clips will be available via Apple Pay.
- What does this mean for apps and app marketers? Developers will have to rethink app flow for critical, clip-specific capabilities (for example, ordering and paying for a coffee), and marketers will have to think through attribution and promotion. App Clips could be viewed as a more functional version of playable ad units where users will be able to demo an app before deciding to fully download.
App Store Search Updates (refers to organic search in the app store and is not to be confused with Apple Search Ads):
- Search will autocorrect typos (at least for branded keywords). Misspelled keywords will direct to the intended keyword automatically. This means no more “brand fishing” (e.g. writing “Sptify” to promote your podcast platform)
- Suggestions will be autocorrected, driving more traffic to the most popular searched terms
- Search will also now feature app lists that are scrollable and will be prioritized over organic search results. This is another reason to get featured by the App Store, as featured apps are gaining more placements, leading to higher visibility and discoverability.
These updates, while overshadowed by the privacy-first IDFA announcement, give advertisers and app developers more options to stand out in a crowd. We recommend digging into the new capabilities aggressively over the next couple of months to be ready to maximize them when iOS 14 launches later in the year.