Notice anything different in Apple’s App Store? Some changes have come about that you should be aware of. These updates, announced just last month ahead of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, are likely the biggest housecleaning of the platform by the tech giant since the App Store’s rollout in 2008.

And it’s a much needed remodeling. Consider how app marketing has evolved in the last two years. Today, one of your biggest challenges as a mobile marketer is to make your app discoverable, and retain users among the 2 million apps that already call the App Store their home. After all, most apps aren’t even retained for a full day.

But don’t fret. We’ll break down the App Store updates that matter most to you, and offer up some advice.

Subscriptions for Everyone


To combat against dead-end apps, Apple is opening up its auto-renewable subscription feature to all app categories this fall. For instance, Games, which represents the biggest App Store category, will now be able to join the subscription roster with others like news and music.

Up until now, marketers who sold on the App Store received 70% of the revenue from an app, and Apple got the rest. The good news about opening up the subscription offering to all categories is that the brands that do decide to take up a subscription fee will likely see more profit in the second year. Now when a subscriber renews for a second year, your revenue will increase to 85% of the subscription price.

The new subscription model is open to everyone. But is it right for you?

Mobile marketers that plan to offer their app for a subscription will need to double down on engagement and retention efforts. Just acquiring users is no longer enough.

With this App Store update, Apple is looking to simplify its user interface, but what comes along with it will lend more work for the marketer and developer side of things. For example, when a subscription is going to be renewed, Apple will alert the user with a notification. And that renewal will be opt-in.

What this means is there will be even more of a need for subscription apps to deliver on-going value, as well as regularly updated features and content to retain users.

Taking on the subscription model means it’s crucial for you as a mobile marketer to come up with a strong value proposition for your app, one that reflects a service and is important to a user’s daily life. And if users are paying for your app, they expect the highly personalized and seamless experience they’ve grown accustomed to from subscription apps like Spotify and Kindle.

While the ability for all apps to become subscription based is a great opportunity, taking the necessary steps to prepare for the change is crucial. Do your research on what’s working for current best-in-class subscription apps, and make sure to optimize accordingly before making the change.

Introducing Paid Search Ads

Speaking of change, adjustments are also coming to app search and discovery. Apple has already rolled out a more intuitive “Featured” tab, and brought back the “Categories” tab. But first, let’s talk about one of the biggest App Store updates: paid search ads. This offering was first rumored to be in the works back in April.

With the introduction of search ads (in beta now until the fall), it’ll be even more important to ensure you’re optimized for the App Store. As Apple releases its new search algorithm, there’s bound to be a learning curve to understanding the ins and outs of it, and mobile marketers won’t want to miss out on attracting new users to their apps.

While it will cost you, placing ads that appear during app searches will improve discoverability and downloads because the users are seeing it right at the moment they’re ready to take action.

According to Phil Schiller, Apple’s SVP of worldwide marketing, two-thirds of app downloads come from searches within the App Store.

And once you’ve hooked a user, it’s up to you to retain them with a solid onboarding process and user experience.

More Intuitive Tabs for Discoverability


Now let’s get back to that newer, enhanced “Featured” tab. It’s available now and includes collections like New Apps We Love, curated by Apple’s App Store editors.

What’s the benefit here? The apps chosen are not required to have a high rating, and there’s no paid placement.

Apps are picked for this section if they’re new or have had a recent major update. But your app can also be highlighted if it reflects local, cultural or seasonal trends. This is where a relevancy approach would be a great add-on to your app marketing plan. Take note of a major event (i.e. Rio Olympics) and authentically tie it to your app.

To earn placement within the “Featured” tab, create a strategy that includes a big push toward targeted, relevant and valuable content to give your app the added advantage in the revamped App Store.


As mobile marketers, we strive to be ready to retrace and reexamine our strategies in a constantly changing digital world. Use the App Store to determine the right opportunities for your goals.

  • The new subscription model offers more potential for profit., but be sure that you are offering your users a service where they are willing to come back to your app again and again.
  • Paid search ads are coming this fall. Take the time now to grasp the new algorithm, consider your budget and be fully optimized at rollout.
  • Relevant apps can become much more discoverable.. Now that the “Featured” tab is more instinctual to local, cultural and seasonal happenings, consider your user base and create unique, timely content.