iOS 15, Data Privacy & App Store Updates: Everything the App Marketing Industry Needs to Know

Apple is set to release iOS 15 in the fall 2021 and – as with iOS 14 – app marketers are scrambling to understand how this will impact data tracking and app growth. The main updates are geared towards increased user privacy and data protection, but there are some additional updates that need to be considered in your app marketing strategy ahead of time too.

As it currently stands, Apple is leading the way with data protection and tracking prevention, following the deprecation of Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) and reliance on AppTrackingTransparency on iOS 14. iOS 15 is yet another example that Apple has a much bigger plan in place.

iOS 15: What To Expect

We’re going to run you through the key changes and how your app may be affected.

1. App Privacy Report

Think; better transparency and awareness over your own data and how it’s used. The App Privacy Report allows you to request your own data and view how it has been used by apps over the last week… pretty cool, right?

The implication stands that users are given the opportunity to hold brands accountable for how they’re using their data. Any previously granted permissions – location, photos, camera, microphone and contacts during the past 7 days can be viewed by the user.

If you want to build a close relationship with your user, data transparency is vital. This release doesn’t necessarily give users full control over their own data, but it does allow them to have far better insight into the operations of your app. Requesting this permission is an art in itself; the language, timing and value exchange is key to combating what may be considered as intrusive tracking. If a user can recall the value of opting in, they are more likely to accept the tracking requests. Once they have accomplished something in the app, they are much more likely to consider allowing certain permissions – timing is the answer here!

2. iOS 15 Focus Mode

Initially, the Focus feature may not strike you as being all that vital for app marketers. Revealed as a productivity feature, it allows users to set notifications, calls and messages to auto-reply, or to put in place filters. Sound a little familiar to the ‘Do Not Disturb’ function? It functions in a very similar way, but with more personalised options.

In Focus mode, you are able to select specific apps, alerts and notifications that you don’t want to be distracted by during that period of time.

Now, imagine your own newsletter, with a summary of the deferred messages you missed. The messages will not appear in a systematic, chronological order. Instead, they will be subject to a machine learning based algorithm that prioritises certain content over others, e.g. depending on the visuals of the media. Sounds interesting, but how will that affect mobile app marketers?

Mobile marketers will now be in constant competition with a list of ‘allowed’ apps chosen directly by their user. It was already hard enough to earn a user’s engagement with push notifications but now you’re up against a very personalised algorithm. The key here will be to ensure you continue to build up a relationship with your users through empathetic messaging and authenticity. Only sending relevant and highly optimised push notifications and messages will also become increasingly important!

3. Product Page Optimisation

It’s finally here: A/B testing on the App Store! Now we’re talking. The app store will be divided into two categories; Paid and Organic. But what does this mean for you?

Based on your target audience, you will be able to tailor the content on your product pages, allowing for a much more optimised product page. Essentially, marketers have more freedom and ability to determine how their pages engage with users through A/B testing. Similar to the Play Store, app icons, screenshots and highlighted features are amongst some of the changeable variables!

On top of your default product page you are actually able to create an additional three different variants – ideal for comparisons and finding which drives the best results. For up to 90 days, there are comprehensive App Analytics from App Store Connect where you can monitor the varying conversions for each variant. (Performance of impressions, page views, installs, and conversions per variant).

Our favourite part… each test carried out can be localised for different audiences. Just think of the insights! You can collect user behaviour learnings originating from varying countries, cultures and backgrounds.

What does product page optimisation help with?

Product page optimisation allows you to effectively target a range of audiences by enabling you to provide each audience with a specifically optimised page catered towards them. It’s one more step in helping you better communicate with your users and build strong user loyalty from early on.

4. Custom Product Pages

Custom Product Pages were amongst the biggest announcements to come from the new iOS 15 update (and it’s really no surprise as to why!). You will now be able to create a whopping 35 versions of your App Product Pages.

Marketers will have the ability to target specific audiences by highlighting a variety of different app features. App marketers will be able to make changes to different app store listing features such as the app preview video, screenshots and even promo text to drive audiences to unique URLs.

The introduction of custom product pages means we will witness a fundamental change in the way that user acquisition marketers target their audiences and drive conversions. The new update allows marketers to align their unique messaging with the intent of their audiences, and subsequently result in more valuable and engaged users. Similarly to the product page optimisation, each page can be monitored, tracked and reviewed in App Analytics to gather the average revenue generated per user. Not only does this enhance individuality in the app marketing space, but it also gives insights on how to optimise product pages.

5. In-App Events will be Searchable on iOS 15

An interactive events calendar in your app store? Say hello to in-app events. Whether it’s an exclusive online game or a movie premiere, these limited-time events will be visible on product pages, versus just being in the app themselves. Users will be able to simply tap on the details of the event to find out more and can even be directed to download the app if they haven’t done so already. Additionally, there is now the option to share the event directly from the product page via social media or messages. 

So how can you utilise in-app events for your app?

Creatives are able to display attention grabbing, upcoming events to draw the user into the app and encourage conversions. Previously, in-app events were only really relevant for driving engagement for existing users and hence limited any outside discovery and downloads of the app. Each and every developer will be competing for a way to get their events featured!

6. SKAdNetwork Enhancements

SKAdNetwork is now the primary solution for ad attribution on iOS, following the AppTrackingTransparency policy announced last year. In iOS 15, SKAdNetwork will support sending a copy of the winning postback directly to the advertiser (or their MMP!) in addition to the ad network that received credit.

This addresses one of the most common requests for SKAdNetwork improvements, and will enhance transparency and reduce complexity.

7. App Clip Updates

App Clips are now present in many more places, e.g. Siri Suggestions and Spotlight Search. However, they still haven’t seen widespread adoption, yet. Apple is hoping that these new updated changes, following iOS 14, will change this.

Apple is now making it easier for app marketers to test their App Clips locally and is introducing new ways to discover App Clips through ARKit within apps.

The Top Takeaways

Phew, that felt like a lot!

Here are the top three takeaways you should prioritise as you prepare your app ahead of the launch of iOS 15:

  • Custom product pages allow for a much greater amount of freedom and creativity. By planning for your custom product pages ahead of time you will be able to hit the ground running and speed up the rate at which you are able to collect further insights on your users as well as improve conversion rates!
  • The focus feature means you may have to rethink your push notification strategy. The more optimised your push notifications are for your users and the more engaged users are with them, the more likely you will be able to stand out in a crowd of apps vying for that same user attention.
  • Last but not least (drum roll please… 🥁), data remains key. Users now are not only able to better control how much data of theirs you are able to access, they will also be able to see how exactly you are utilising it. A push towards greater transparency as well as responsible tracking and use of data ahead of time will only help to further strengthen your relationship with your users.

If you want to find out more about the upcoming launch of iOS 15 or you have any app marketing questions feel free to reach out to the Yodel Mobile Growth Team. Additionally you sign up to our newsletter for exclusive industry updates and app marketing insights. Want to find out more about optimising your app? Make sure to subscribe to our Mastering Mobile Marketing video series. Follow us on LinkedIn, chat with us on Twitter @yodelmobile, and join our #AppMarketingUK LinkedIn group.

About the Author:

Jessica is the Marketing Intern at Yodel Mobile, she supports the business through content creation and adding a creative flair to marketing initiatives.

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