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Aug 6 2021
Apple's new iOS 15 feature, Product Page Optimization, will allow developers to test different icons, screenshots and app preview videos on their product pages. How can you harness this to help your mobile growth strategy?
Product Page Optimization for iOS 14 is a brand new feature where you can test your Product Page App Creatives in the App Store with three different treatments (variations) and your control App Store page.
In each PPO treatment, you'll be able to choose a different icon, screenshots, and app preview video. According to Apple's statement, all creative assets will need to go through the normal App Store review process before you can use them. For each test, you will be able to decide the portion of traffic which should be allocated to each treatment. For example, 90% Control, 10% for each of the three treatments.
Once your test is live, you'll be able to compare the performance of each variant by examining the impression volume and the install volume (and see the conversion rate of each App Store page). Each PPO test can run within a specific localization. Meaning, you can test specific treatments for specific countries.
Apple makes it clear that the intention is for developers to use this new mechanism to optimize for Search and Browse traffic (aka "Organic"), while Paid UA (referral traffic) has a dedicated solution in Custom Product Pages – CPP (For more information, check out our full guide to iOS 15 Custom Product Pages).
You'll also have the ability to run tests in only specific localizations.
For example, if your product page is currently localized in English, Japanese and Korean, you can choose to run your tests in Japanese only.
This means that any users that see the English or Korean localized versions of your product page will not be included in the test. This gives you the flexibility to focus your test if your treatment is only relevant for a subset of your localizations.
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Only Organic. If you are fully adopting Apple's new features and using custom store pages for all your paid UA traffic, the only traffic that will reach your default App Store product page is organic traffic, composed of search and browse traffic.
This means that setting up three variations on your default App Store product page and comparing their performance vs. the control variation will actually allow you to optimize your conversion rates for real organic traffic.
A testing tool alone isn't enough, you need a decision-making protocol.
In-Depth Analysis: Apple doesn't seem to provide any real testing functionality. Yes, they're about to provide you with a way to compare the performance of each variation but they're not going to provide you with statistical insights regarding which variation is really performing better.
In other words, the fact you have access to run a basic test doesn't mean you are going to be able to positively increase your conversion rates.
Google Experiments – Google's own tool that helps developers A/B test its app store – have been available for years. But, from heavy research we did into the platform, scanning all global Google Experiments and detecting those that concluded with a winner that's not the control, we found that less than 15% of such experiments/tests end with a winner.
Why? There are a few reasons. One is that most test owners under-invest in the research & hypothesizing phase, the creative design phase, and the analysis phase. Whether it's lack of time, resources, or understanding, this is the norm.
Another issue is called "Peeking". Let's explain: Within Apple's new iOS 15 app A/B testing feature, you have the ability to run a test for up to 90 days. During this time you will be able to compare the performance of each variant and you're supposed to decide when to stop the test and implement the winner so that all your (organic) traffic will go to it.
This opens up a huge issue that Evan Miller, one of the world's top experts on A/B testing & statistics, wrote extensively about. "Peeking". What does it mean? Essentially, someone will start a test, look at the result every few hours or every day and once they see the results they want to see (one of the variants beat the control) they'll conclude and stop the test.
But once the "winner" is called and applied to all 100% of the traffic, our "peeker" is usually disappointed to find that at best, no real improvement in conversion rates occurred, and at worst, conversion rates dropped. This is due to the fact that the test results had very low statistical significance.
If there's a single important takeaway from this launch – it's this: Apple just split the App Store in two. An App Store for organic traffic and an App Store for paid traffic – unlocking the power of delivering different messages to different audiences.
To highlight the magnitude of the opportunity, our tests show that audiences can have vastly different conversion rates from 0.05% to 80% CVR, and furthermore, winning variations will likely vary by audience and acquisition channels.
iOS 15's Product Page Optimization will allow you to compare the performance of your default (control) App Store product page against three different treatments (variations). Apple makes it clear that the intention is for developers to use this new mechanism to optimize for Search and Browse traffic (aka "Organic"), while Paid UA (referral traffic) has a dedicated solution in Custom Product Pages (which we will discuss further below).
In each PPO treatment, you'll be able to choose a different icon, screenshots, and app preview video. All creative assets will need to go through the standard App Store review process before you can use them within the PPO test, but luckily it won't require a new version release (with the exception of icon changes).
For each test, you will be able to decide the portion of traffic which should be allocated to each treatment. For example, 70% Control, 10% for each of the three treatments.
Once your test is live, you’ll be able to monitor the performance of each treatment by examining impressions, installs, and the conversion rate of each App Store treatment. You’ll also be able to see the relative CVR performance for each treatment in comparison to the Control.
CPP is a breakthrough for App Store Optimization and Paid UA. Finally, you have the potential to deliver an optimized and data-proofed experience to your paid audiences.
With CPP, you will be able to create up to 35 custom product pages. In each, you can change anything from your app preview video, screenshots, and promotional text while the icon will remain consistent with your default product page. These 35 custom product pages will be accessible through a unique Apple App Store URL that you can drive specific audiences to.
Unlike the testing mechanism in PPO, Apple hasn’t enabled a mechanism for testing different Custom Product Pages, and finding the optimal Custom Product Page for your various audiences is now more important than ever.
UA leaders, let this sink in for a moment. For years you’ve been creating campaigns driving audiences with different intent to a single page. Now, there’s an opportunity to show the right message to the right audiences. It’s as if you and a friend stood in front of a shop, and the window display showed the relevant items for each of you.
Our data shows that a customized message on the App Store that matches the intent-driven by your ad, can potentially multiply your conversion rates.
In a nutshell, CPPs will allow you to create up to 35 custom product pages with different app preview videos, screenshots, and promotional text. Use them through a dedicated App Store URL with your different UA campaigns in order to maximize conversion rates.
Essentially, gone are the days where you have one messaging in your UA campaign creatives then send paid users to your default App Store product page which has different messaging.
In a nutshell, PPOs will allow you to have a dedicated product page (where you drive all your paid UA to custom product pages links) for your organic traffic coming in from browsing or searching the App Store.
Similar to the impact CPPs can have, customizing your messaging on the App Store for search and browse traffic can significantly boost your organic install conversion rates, and therefore your organic growth rates too.
In a nutshell, you’ll have a new entity on your App Store product page: Events.
Leveraging in-app events will allow you to create up to five concurrent events that would appear on your product page, in featured placements around the App Store, as well as in personalized lists in the Games and Apps tabs. They’ll be discoverable from search results too.
In-App Events will have their own dedicated Events Details Page which will have a title, video/image, and long & short descriptions. Users will be able to install straight from the event details page and as you’ll be able to configure a deep link in App Store Connect, you can ensure their first-time user experience is customized and relevant to the in-app event.
Moreover, you’ll be able to send users to an event details page using a dedicated link.
As an ASO, marketing, or UA person, this allows you to customize even more the user journey for lapsed, existing, and new users, and significantly increase your App Store install conversion rates by utilizing these events. Basically, any event your LiveOps team is creating can be leveraged to increase growth by building a holistic event-to-install funnel.
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