App Store Optimization Blog – Metrikal

The App Store Optimization Trends in 2021

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You need to take note of app store optimization trends in 2021 if you want to stay on top of the competition. However, it is tough to track these trends and even know them by yourself. Thankfully, in this post, we have gathered some of the most important ASO trends in 2021 that you should not just know about, but act upon.

So, without any further delay, let us go through five trends in app store optimization and see how you should respond to them.

ASO trend no. 1: Data privacy is getting more important

We all know how important privacy is for many of us. Nonetheless, in the past years, it has been neglected and ignored by many tech companies. As consumers, since we need their services, we reluctantly give them permission to intrude on some parts of our private life.

Facebook faced a lot of criticism in the past years because of its controversial use of data.

However, things have changed especially in 2021. There is now a growing awareness of how tech companies are using personal information. This has been fueled by the 2019 Facebook scandal where it was alleged that they were selling the personal data of millions of their users to Cambridge Analytica.

That’s not the only privacy intrusion people are facing. Since the advent of the Internet, it has been expected that sooner or later, our privacy would be compromised to the digital nature of the web.

Now, that effect is being felt in the world of mobile applications. Because more and more people are getting concerned for their privacy, app stores such as Apple App Store and Google Play Store are taking more strict steps to protect consumers.

Thus, we now have the most significant ASO trends for 2021. App stores would now pay closer attention to how apps are gathering, storing, and using the personal details of their users.

Apple App Store privacy protection changes

Early this year, Apple decided to ramp up its privacy protection for its users. Thus, there are some important changes they have made.

Apple’s privacy policy have changed significantly since the public became more aware of its online privacy importance. (Source: Apple)
  • If you use the Safari browser on your mobile phone, you can use the Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature to prevent the internet from tracking your activities in your browser.
  • Apple News can now recommend content based on a person’s interest and not on a person’s identity.
  • Apple Maps use random identifiers, which are constantly changing.
  • iPhone devices remind users which apps are accessing their location in the background.
  • iPad devices come with the App Tracking Transparency feature.
  • Photo editing apps can’t automatically access your albums, but only the photo you’re trying to edit.
  • IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) deprecation, which would dramatically affect how apps and ads work.

For more details about how your data is being tracked, stored, and used by Apple, you can read their article, “A Day in the Life of Your Data.”

Google Play Store privacy protection changes

Google Play Store is probably more lenient compared to Apple App Store when it comes to privacy. One reason is that Google needs a lot of data to provide a personalized experience to each of its users. However, things are also changing in Google Play Store as more and more people are gravitating towards heightened and more secured data privacy.

Google privacy policy has been improved throughout the years to comply with public and government demands. (Source: Google)

Google took tougher steps in ensuring app developers being transparent in handling user data. In recent years, Google Play Store requires apps to disclose how they collect and share personal data.

Aside from disclosing data usage, Google Play Store demands apps to send permission requests as necessary. Google has also put in place its Google Play Protect to keep devices safe and secure. Misrepresentation and deceptive behaviors are strongly discouraged and whoever breaches the data privacy regulations of Google is penalized and removed from Play Store.

How data privacy trend affects App Store Optimization

Successful app store optimization (ASO) campaigns heavily rely on data. So, you can imagine how increased data privacy regulations would affect ASO.

Just to give you an example, the IDFA is used to track installs and app usage. Before, IDFA was automatically turned on in many iOS devices. Just recently, Apple disabled it by default and users need to opt-in for the IDFA.

Using the Internet makes a person vulnerable to privacy intrusion.

Because of this, it is more difficult for marketers and app developers to acquire important data to help them understand users’ behavior and modify their marketing strategies as necessary.

In the coming months and years, privacy would stay a huge issue among tech companies. With this in mind, you would need to start planning your ASO efforts. Look for alternative ways to collect data and not overly rely on traditional tools that may still be using outdated research methods.

ASO trend no. 2: The pandemic is still an issue

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down. It has affected every area of our lives and that includes how people use mobile apps.

While recent improvement in the medical field brings hope in ending the pandemic, we can still see a lot of countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and other developed countries struggle managing the huge number of Covid-19 cases.

The pandemic continues to be a global threat.

For this reason, you still need to consider how the pandemic affects user behavior and what it means to your app’s success.

Just to give you an example, a fitness app called 30 Day Fitness Challenge recently changed its main selling point from simply saying “exercises,” to “home workouts.” This is a response to people’s need to get in shape during the lockdown.

Check out their app name. Pre-COVID, their app is simply called 30 Day Fitness Challenge. Yet, because of COVID and the demand working at home, they have included in their app title, “Workout from Home.”

Screenshot of 30 day fitness challenge app. (Source: Google Play Store)

With this in mind, you need to see how you can change your metadata to cope with changes in users’ behavior due to the pandemic. You can change keywords, descriptions, screenshots, and other elements of your app.

You can capitalize on world events and trends. Creativity is the key. You simply need to look into your app and see how it can become more relevant in relation to what’s happening in the world.

ASO trend no. 3: Keyword optimization

Targeting important keywords stays as an ASO trend in 2021. Keywords have been and will continue to be an integral part of ASO in the foreseeable future.

How search looks like in Google Play Store (Source: Google Play Store)

With this in mind, you need to continue taking crucial steps to improve your keyword ranking. Check your competitors. See how well you are ranking with your chosen keywords. Make sure as well that you track your performance with the right ASO tools.

Keyword optimization can increase your app’s visibility and discoverability. Thus, it shouldn’t be neglected, but instead, seriously be taken into consideration when running your ASO campaign.

Be sure to read, “The Most Important Factors on App Keyword Rankings” to learn how you can better optimize your keywords.

ASO trend no. 4: App stores become more customer-centric

While it is true that app stores claim that they have always been thinking about their customers, it is just at the start of 2021 that they made more steps to prove that.

The latest updates made in App Store Connect and Google Play Console revolve around the needs of customers, and you need to understand that the core value of app stores today is to establish a strong connection with their users. Thus, you need to make this your guiding principle in making decisions for your app.

People lining up in one of Apple’s Store.

Always keep your users in mind. Personalize your app as much as possible. For instance, ensure you address your users by name. A simple greeting based on the time of the day would also help. Things like this allow you to show emotions and make your app feel like more human.

In the future, no matter what changes may happen in app stores, you know you won’t be affected that much because app stores are going in the same direction as you. Taking care of your users should be the utmost priority.

Once you put your customers first, everything should follow.

ASO trend no. 5: More and more people are on the Internet

We have seen how societies are slowly moving towards a digital lifestyle. Notwithstanding, because of the pandemic, that shift has tremendously accelerated. More and more people are now working online because of the pandemic.

People using their smartphones.

Schools have been closed and forced students to take classes online. Even businesses perform their transaction on the web and minimize in-person interaction as much as possible. Instead of people going to supermarkets and groceries, they now shop online.

As a result, the demand for mobile apps has increased. More and more businesses would flock together to find the right apps for their needs. However, with more apps being launched in app stores, you expect competitions to be more intense too. This calls for more serious and aggressive ASO campaigns if you want to stay on top or climb on top of the chart.

Expect the unexpected

If there’s one thing that 2020 has taught us, everything can easily change in just few months or even weeks. We have seen how the pandemic forced businesses to reconsider their marketing strategies as they navigate through the effects of COVID-19.

The same thing applies also for the app stores. We have seen popular apps losing the majority of their users while the most unlikely apps begin to dominate the charts.

So, if there’s anything that you must keep in mind when understanding app store optimization trends, it should be always expecting the unexpected. This means that you must design your app in such a way that it would be ready for a sudden increase and decrease of users.

With that being said, trends are good indicators of what to expect in 2021. The ASO trends listed in this guide should give you a better idea of how you should improve your ASO strategies. 

To be able to understand any unexpected change and act accordingly on time, you need data. To have all the metrics you should keep a close eye on, start a free trial on our website to see how Metrikal can help you.

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