Just a few days ahead of WWDC 2016, Apple has announced a few changes in the working of App Store by introducing new paid-subscription options for apps and paid search ads.
Over the years, developers often complained about the amount of time it would take for an app to get reviewed and then pushed to the App Store. The situation often becomes worse when developers want to update the existing apps.
Therefore, Apple is dedicating resources to make that process more efficient.
Apple reviews apps before they are allowed to go live to make sure that they adhere to the developer guidelines, are safe for consumers to use, and aren’t breaking any laws.
Now it has sped up the App Store review process, which used to take 5 days to complete.
Earlier Apple used to review 100,000 apps per week, but now it has figured out how to make those reviews go faster.
Now, it reviews 50% of apps in 24 hours, and 90% in 48 hours.
The company is also introducing a new business model for developers who use subscriptions to generate revenue.
Presently, Apple uses the traditional 70/30 split which was introduced back when developers were largely monetizing through app sales.
But times have changed since then. Now for the time being apps using subscriptions will still see the 70/30 split in the first year, but this will become 85/15 split in subsequent years.
Earlier, subscriptions were limited to categories like streaming media, cloud services, news, and dating services. But now they will be available to all apps across all categories, including games.
Also, if the developers have subscribers they’ve already retained for over a year, the 85/15 split starts immediately, effective from June 13.
Developers will also be able to set territory-specific pricing, and increase prices for new subscribers while keeping loyal customers at the older pricing.
App Discovery Problem and Search Ads in the App Store
The most frequent complaint of developers is that it’s quite difficult to get found in the App Store.
Therefore, Apple is going to try to help out in 2 ways.
First, it’ll revamp its “Featured” tab this fall as the apps featured in the Store are the same for all users.
And the company will filter out the apps that a user has already installed on a device to give more exposure to unseen apps.
It’ll also add a way to recommend and share apps using a simple 3D Touch gesture.
Second is the search ads and they will be a way for developers to help get in front of users and they will work the same as ads in Google search..
It’s going to be launched in beta next week and will be available for everyone in the fall.
They will be the first listing in search results and will be clearly marked as ads. The ads will be highly relevant to the search so a search for a grocery store app won’t show you the Kim Kardashian game.
Ad relevance will also be prioritized over ad spend, which simply means that developers can’t buy more ads to get a better search ad ranking.
Ads will also adhere to Apple’s security and privacy standards and users won’t be tracked and data won’t be shared with developers. Also, the ads will not be displayed to users who are under 13.
Of all the new announcements, Search Ads is the feature that is the most controversial, but has the most potential to impact sales and downloads.
All these features are announced ahead of WWDC, which is interesting, because it suggests Apple will have more time to dedicate on-stage for new consumer-facing product features.