2019 app store optimisation trends and changes app publishers need to know

There are over 178 billion mobile app downloads every year.

This means that app publishers need to stay up to date on trends and changes to maximise growth.

Strategies, platforms, and everything in between are constantly changing. If you don’t stay modern, you could very well lose out on new users and revenue.

That’s why app store optimisation, or ASO for short, has become a best practice for app companies in 2019.

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App store optimisation is the process of refining your app, its user experience and how you advertise it to consistently generate better results.

Nonetheless, these things are easier said than done. Companies are having a tougher time moving the needle and executing all of these steps. Mix in more competition and you have a tough market to stand out in.

But, there’s good news, too. Taking advantage of app store optimisation tools paired with the trends we’re about to show you will solve all of these problems.

2019 ASO trends and changes you need to be aware of

App stores, platforms, and user behaviour are in a state of constant flux. It never remains the same. However, based on cumulative data and analysis, we can tell that the following four ASO trends are here to stay.

Apple Search Ads

Apple recently launched a native ad platform for publishers to use for promoting their apps.

With an average conversion rate of 50%, publishers need to greatly consider investing in Apple Search Ads for maximising acquisition.

Apple Search Ads

Their platform uses intelligent AI to maximise app performance. You simply pay for installs and there’s a $10,000 USD monthly budget limit. Publishers can kick their feet back while automation does most of the hard work and they track data through the dashboard.

However, you also have deeper control with Apple Search Ads Advanced where you manage campaigns manually. This gives publishers full control of bids, budgets, audiences, and keywords.

The data you pull from analytics can be used to enhance ROI on ads, target a better buyer persona, and ultimately boost app advertising performance.

Google Play’s feature graphic

Publishers should look at their app page like a landing page. It needs to be optimised to entice as much action as possible while minimising bounces. That means the first impression it gives is massive.

However, Google changed the size of the featured image for apps, making it much smaller. While this seems like a small detail, many brands drove huge amounts of acquisitions solely because of the featured graphic.

The top of an app’s page now mostly consists of the icon, ratings, and install button. Originally the featured graphic was an effective way to attract users, but publishers will now have to take a different approach.


What can publishers do to get around this? First, you can begin by writing exciting copy. Think calls to action, stating benefits versus features, and power words. All of these will help to increase conversion rates, potentially making up for decreases since the graphic update.

Second, publishers need to invest into producing high-quality videos since every app page features one. Acting as the new cover image, marketers who use videos believe it helps their ROI.

Google’s new rating and review system and app customer support

Did you know that 90% of users agree positive reviews heavily influence buying decisions?

This is important to understand because Google launched a new rating and review system in 2018. The design, layout, and how reviews are displayed were completely revamped as you can see below:

Google’s review and rating system.

Since negative reviews are easier to find now, app publishers need to respond to each one publicly and address the issue. This also holds companies responsible for improving customer service and user experience for avoiding bad reviews initially.

Improving upon reviews will help you climb up the app store ladders, obtaining more users and revenue.

Take reviews seriously.

Appstore marketing and optimisation tools have since evolved in order to help marketers monitor user reviews. Using AppFollow, for example, reviews can be filtered through by country, device, user, status, and more, allowing marketers and customer support teams to solve or address them on-time. By utilising semantic analysis methods, publishers can also get in-depth knowledge about how users speak which helps them craft better copy.

User acquisition on the rise

44% of companies are now putting more emphasis on user acquisition versus 18% who focus on retention.

Why is this? Simply because it’s becoming more difficult to acquire users. These new trends and changes leave many apps in the dust because they don’t keep up. Hence why having a thorough UA strategy is becoming the norm. One of the best strategies to increase users is through the use of deep linking. This coding technique pushes users to specific pages of apps, improves SEO, and improves the overall user experience.

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User acquisition can also be scaled thanks to paid ad campaigns as we saw with the new Apple Search Ads. Google Ads and social media ads work very effectively, as well.

Finally, optimising download pages to receive increased organic traffic on app stores is a mandatory practice. Keyword research and refining metadata are two things publishers can do today to align with this trend.


App stores and what works to effectively promote an app are changing frequently. Publishers need to stay up to date on what works and what doesn’t to maximise installs and performance.

One of the biggest changes to ASO in 2019 is the launch of Apple Search Ads. These can be an incredible investment to boost installs and awareness.

Google’s changes to both featured graphics and reviews were other notable tweaks we’ve noticed. Producing captivating videos, exciting copywriting, and managing reviews diligently will help publishers make the best of these changes.

User acquisition through deep linking, paid ads and SEO is on the rise, and is necessary to keep a constant stream of users flowing into an app.

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