By: Joseph Vito DeLuca, Mobile Marketing Specialist, Trademob
Apple revealed the newest version of its iOS operating system. iOS 7, which will launch to the public this fall, is the most dramatic redesign of iOS since its inception in 2007. Five years later, the operating system has gotten a face lift and includes a number of new features that app marketers must not only be privy to, but also must understand how to leverage to their advantage. We’ll reveal how app marketers will be affected by the changes within iOS 7.
The first significant change to iOS 7 is the App Store. Unlike previous versions, the App Store in the new operating system has a location dependent new app discovery service. Additionally, apps will now be updated automatically, like they are on the Android platform.
For app marketers, the automatic update change means that more users will have the most up-to-date version of the app at their fingertips. As a result, advertisers and publishers may be tempted to update their apps more frequently than before, meaning the IDFA transition process may occur more quickly. Now that Apple will eliminate the MAC Address as a tracking option, it is imperative for app developers and advertisers to adopt IDFA tracking. Without this, users cannot be tracked and therefore targeted properly.
Another piece that Apple has borrowed from Android is its app charts. The App Store now has a very similar look to the Google Play charts, as users scroll down a vertical list of apps with the top 5 appearing “above the fold.” This new design makes it more likely for users to scroll through more apps, increasing discoverability. This, in theory, would also make boost campaigns more effective. With boost campaigns, a large amount of marketing budget is allocated during a short timespan to “boost” an app to the top of the charts. Once an app is there, a number of organic installs occur due to the fact of the exposure of being listed in the top 10 or so.
Additionally, the app discovery service will likely have an effect on App Store rankings and discovery methods, but also make location-centric campaigns more effective. This will be particularly useful for travel apps, hotel apps, etc. that are used by users in varying locations.
Another change coming with the new iOS 7 is the introduction of a completely new product: iTunes Radio. Similar to Pandora or Spotify, Apple’s iTunes Radio, which will launch in the U.S., will adopt the freemium payment model and will be financially supported with ads.
Given that iTunes Radio is a brand new advertising vertical for app marketers, it will be interesting to see how Apple operates moving forward. For example, will Apple create advertising integrations with the App Store? It’d be great to see listeners of certain types of music matched with certain types of apps. This could also open up the possibility for labels and musicians to promote their new music by developing corresponding apps, similar to what Jay-Z did to promote his new album Magna Carta Holy Grail. Samsung users who downloaded an app from Google Play had the opportunity to get the record for free 72 hours before it was released to the public.
Safari is another example of an existing feature that will be revamped on iOS 7. In addition to a new full-screen look, the web browser will also have a smart search function that unifies Google search with a user’s prior search history. Safari’s updates will impact both mobile search and display advertising. The new full-screen look, for example, could increase click-through rates.
Another new feature is Multitasking. With iOS 7, double-tapping the home screen will bring up a tall preview of a user’s open apps, instead of the smaller, thumbnail icons currently on iOS. Multitasking allows users to switch between apps more freely and thus may impact how much time he or she spends within a certain app. By tracking these changes in user behavior, app marketers can gather research that will again be beneficial for retargeting purposes.
Finally, the notification feature will see a change on the new iOS 7. The expansion of the current notifications pull-down will include three tabs: one with all of user’s alerts, one for missed calls and messages, and a new “today” pane with the day’s happenings. Additionally, notifications will now be available on the lock screen, giving apps increased visibility for messages sent to users.
These changes will impact the primary tools used by app discovery platforms: push notifications. Since push notifications are the main lifeline between apps and an app’s user base, changes to this feature will be important to track when iOS 7 is finally released.
While these iOS changes are significant, and will undoubtedly take some getting used to, they are also exciting for app marketers. The app landscape is always shifting, always changing. The most important thing an app marketer can do is be aware of upcoming changes and adapt accordingly. So get ready, iOS 7 will be here soon!