App Store Optimization in 2018: Google Play vs. App Store Differences, Strategies, Action Items

Play Store Vs Apple Store | AppManager

App store optimization is a constant battle. Right now, let’s explore some recent changes made in both the Google Play store and App Store’s policies, and the biggest differences between the two to help developers like you continue to thrive.

Recent Changes

Both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store are in a constant state of change, and that’s something most developers have grown accustomed to.


Google Play Store

A few interesting changes have recently taken place in the Google Play Store. First and foremost, the “billboard” for Play Store apps has just changed. No longer are you able to display a featured graphic with a short call-to-action text at the top of your app’s page, and that means you need to find a new strategy to entice visitors to download.

Another change to take note of is that apps that are in one of the top positions of certain categories are going to soon be badged as such. This is great news for developers of high-performing apps because it could help you score an authority boost.

Finally, the Play Store is helping users make good choices by showing a relevant “features ranking” section for every app in the store. For instance, an app may be rated based on “search”, “good deals”, “selling items”, or other key factors that reviewers of the app have noted.


Apple App Store

One of the biggest changes that recently hit the app store directly pertains to how developers use the data they collect through their applications.

It’s worth briefing yourself on the updates because Apple has now cracked down on data usage, removing one loophole that previously allowed developers to use some users’ data without their explicit permission. Starting October 3, 2018, developers will be required to submit a link to their privacy policy on App Store Connect to help Apple enforce these new rules.

Now, developers will find it more difficult to use information about an iPhone owner’s friends or contacts [5.1.1]. This change is also going to be accompanied by some other security and privacy updates as the company comes under ridicule, along with countless others, as consumers continue to fume over Facebook’s data misusage [5.1.2].

In the App Store itself, new rules will limit how developers and their apps can track web browser usage. Guideline changes will also entirely prevent developers from creating databases from address book information. Additionally, developers now face stricter rules as to what they can write in the “What’s New In This Version” section for updates [2.3.12].


Play Store vs. App Store

There are some major differences between how the Google Play Store and Apple App Store must be approached by developers. In general, most developers will find using both platforms is essential to their success.

While both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store feature a 70/30 revenue split, the App Store has long been known to generate more sales overall and that’s why many developers opt for the iOS-first (or even iOS-only) mentality if they are solely looking to generate revenue.

In the Google Play Store, however, the app description is known to get double the taps on the “Read More” button than any description in the App Store will. However, in the Play Store, a user is about 27% less likely to scroll through the whole gallery of screenshots whereas most every App Store user is going to view every screenshot available thanks to the gallery’s prominent location in the App Store’s design.

A Google Play Store user is about 20% likely to interact with a video on the app page, but not likely to finish them. An App Store user is about 30% more likely to watch the entire video, which is likely because the App Store strictly enforces a 15-second to 30-second rule for videos.

When thinking about factors like security, most people believe that the App Store is safer than the Google Play Store, which has to do with the heightened quality standards and review criteria that Apple enforces before a developer can even have their app published on the platform. With that in mind, the Google Play Store is generally more developer friendly.

When it comes to searching, both the App Store and Play Store are fairly easy to navigate. However, the Play Store’s categorization system is considered more advanced than that of the App Store.


Top 5 Areas to Work On

As a developer, here are five areas you should set your focus on to continue optimizing your apps.

  1. Be descriptive. Stay in-the-know about the store’s latest requirements and recommendations for description length. Consider that a Play Store user is more likely to read the entire thing.
  2. Give visuals. Always use the gallery to your advantage, especially in the App Store where it is much more likely to be viewed all the way through.
  3. Engage. Videos can be powerful on either platform, and it’s highly suggested that you feature one. Follow the App Store’s best practices by keeping it 30 seconds or less in length.
  4. Compete. Always examine the top performing apps in any category and pay attention to their color scheme, logo, and what reviewers want to see improved. Use that info to your advantage and highlight the pain points that your app addresses.
  5. Diversify. Both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store can play a vital role in your business strategy. Get your app onto both for the best results and the most sales.


Figure Out What Works

Even apps that were previously performing very well are likely to see a drop in traffic if the developer fails to adapt and keep them aligned with the latest best practices–and those “best practices” are rarely the same across the board.

Optimizing for the app store has never been an easy task, and with them growing more and more competitive with each passing day, many developers are struggling to come out on top.

The key is the stay abreast of the latest policy changes, like those we’ve described here, and understand how new updates will affect you as a developer. If you keep yourself in the loop, you can definitely put in the effort and pull ahead.

If we can help you, please feel free to contact us today!