App Store Optimization – App Store Events

Dave Bell, Co-founder and CEO of Gummicube, takes a closer look at Apples launch of In-app Events and how app marketers can leverage them.  

One of the features announced by Apple at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference is new In-app Events, set to roll out with the iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 update. In-app Events will allow users to view upcoming timely events within the iOS App Store, and will be visible in search results, on an app’s Product Page, and on the editorial tabs. Recently, the first In-app Event card debuted on select devices running iPadOS 15 on the App Store’s Today Tab, highlighting TikTok’s “Summer Camp” event.

In-app Events will provide a means for developers to connect with their users in a meaningful way through scheduled events. There is opportunity to boost new user conversion, as well improve retention and re-engagement for existing users. Useful performance metrics will be available to developers in App Analytics on App Store Connect. 

Creation and appearance
In-app Event Cards will appear across the iOS and iPadOS App Stores in a few different places. The first In-app Event for TikTok’s “Summer Camp” was recently noticed by select users running iPadOS 15 on the Today Tab. Apple provides an example of more styles of Events to expect in the mockup using “Mountain Climber” below.

These Event Cards will also appear in the search results as well as an app’s default product page. Existing users will see the event card in place of an app’s screenshots in search results, while new users will see it below the screenshots. On an app’s product page, up to five currently published events will be visible to users, sorted first by priority, then by start date.

In-app Events will be easy to configure in App Store Connect, where developers can submit up to ten events for approval. New event-specific metadata fields include an event’s 30 character name, 50 character short description, and 120 character long description. Here, the event’s start and end time will need to be set, as well as priority, cost, and a deep link that will direct users to a relevant destination within the app.

Additionally, an Event Badge must be selected to best represent the type of event being offered.

Event Badges include:

  • Challenge
  • Competition
  • Live Event
  • Major Update
  • New Season
  • Premiere
  • Special Event

Similarly, developers will need to indicate the event’s purpose, which will impact Apple’s personalized recommendations but not be visible to users on the store front. Purposes include “Suitable for All Users,” “Attract New Users,” “Bring Back Lapsed Users,” and “Keep Active Users Informed.”

User retention and acquisition
In-app Events will allow developers to retain and engage existing users, as well as bring in new users. An event can be promoted up to two weeks in advance to build anticipation, and users can request to be notified when the event starts by tapping the “Notify Me” button on the event card. These notifications will launch an active user directly into the event within the app, and users who do not yet have the app installed will be directed to the event’s details page.

Users will also be able to specifically search for events on the App Store. Upon searching for the event, all users will be shown the event card alongside the app regardless of whether they have installed the app yet.

On the editorial tabs, Apple will provide personalized recommendations for events that the algorithm has deemed relevant for that user. Recommendations will include events occurring for apps that the user is already active in, new apps that align with the user’s interests, and previously installed apps. Additionally, the Apple editorial team will curate a list of popular, large events on the Today, Games, and Apps tabs.

Performance metrics
App Store Analytics in App Store connect will provide developers with detailed performance metrics surrounding events. These metrics can be used to monitor performance leading up to, during, and upon conclusion of an event.

Data available will include view impressions and event page views, which can provide insight into how well the event card’s metadata and creative is driving users to the event’s page to learn more. Furthermore, engagement and conversion metrics will be available, alongside the number of users who opted in to be notified when the event starts.

This data will provide valuable performance metrics measuring the success of different events. Developers will be able to see which events attracted the most new users resulting in more first time installs. Additionally, the detailed information will show which events brought back the most lapsed users. Learnings from these events could be extrapolated and applied to the app’s product page- or even future updates to the app itself- to increase overall conversion potential.

Apple’s new “In-app Event” cards have made their first debut on devices running iPadOS 15, and are slated to start reaching all users this fall. These events will provide a means for developers to connect with users through timely events on the App Store.

Along with enticing new users to download an app to experience these limited time events, there exists the possibility of engaging and retaining active or lapsed users as well. New KPIs will be visible in App Analytics to measure the success of different events, and the findings have the potential to provide necessary insight into what is most driving conversion and how developers can best optimize their app’s events and listings moving forward.

About the Author
Dave Bell is Co-founder and CEO of Gummicube, a global leader in App Store Optimization with more than 11 years of experience optimizing and marketing apps. We offer the leading enterprise ASO technology and agency services, providing support to clients around the world. Our company is trusted by thousands of enterprise brands and leading startups including Microsoft, LinkedIn, Bethesda, SWEAT, GrubHub, McAfee and many others.