Browse Traffic: How to Use iTunes Connect to Measure the Impact of iOS 11 on Your App Store

[Part 2] Browse Traffic: How to Use iTunes Connect to Measure the Impact of iOS 11 on Your App Store

With iOS 11 now available for everyone, you’re probably wondering how the redesigned Apple App Store is affecting your app marketing performance. Okay, okay, “wondering” is likely an understatement.

Well, stop losing sleep!

Let us be the first to show you how to use iTunes Connect to collect and analyze your app store data and know when and how to pivot your app store marketing efforts accordingly.

First things first…

The only way to know the impact the new iOS 11 App Store is having on your app marketing performance is by using iTunes Connect to segment your traffic into three distinct sources for analysis: search traffic, browse traffic, and referral traffic. After segmenting your traffic sources, there are three metrics that should be analyzed in order to identify the impact of iOS 11 on each traffic source. These metrics include impressions, click-through rate (CTR), and conversion rate (CVR).

In this 3-part post series, we provide a step-by-step guide that will help you segment and analyze your traffic sources so that you can optimize your app store accordingly.

 

What is Browse Traffic?

Browse traffic includes all visitors that viewed your app while browsing through any of the following iOS 11 App Store navigation tabs: Today, Apps, and Games.

iOS 11 Apple App Store Browse Pages

As opposed to search traffic visitors, these users are not coming with a specific need they are looking to meet. Instead, they are looking to get inspired and discover new, cool apps to download.

There are two possible browsing journeys that can lead users to your app.

 

1. Browse Traffic via Featured Placements

iOS 11 App Store Featured Placements

Featured placements include: Banner Featured Placements and List Featured Placements.

While browsing through the Today, Games, or Apps pages, a user can see (aka impression) a featured app in any of the featured placements and either download (aka CVR) directly from the featured placement or click through (aka CTR) to the Product Page to download the app (aka CVR) there.

Notice how users can also see (impression) an app in a List Featured Placement and download (CVR) directly from there instead of clicking through (CTR) to the Product Page to download (CVR) there.

 

2. Browse Traffic via Top Charts and Categories

iOS 11 App Store Top Charts

“Top Paid,” “Top Free,” and “Top Categories,” which were located under the “Top Charts” and “Categories” tabs in iOS 10, are now located below the fold on both the Games and Apps pages. If a user clicks the “See All” to the right of any of those respective list names, they will be directed to the new “Top Charts” page.

Hence, the second browse journey that can leads users to your app is via “Top Charts.” There are a number of paths users can take within this browse journey.

A user can see (aka impression) an app under the “Top Paid,” “Top Free,” or “Top Categories” lists on either the Games or Apps pages and install (aka CVR) directly from that page by tapping the “Get” button or click through (aka CTR) to the Product Page and download the app there (aka CVR).

 iOS 11 Top Charts Browse Journey

As depicted above, a user can also click “See All” next to either the “Top Paid,” “Top Free,” or “Top Categories” lists on either the Games or Apps pages, which will direct the user to the “Top Charts” Page. The user can then see (aka impression) an app and install (aka CVR) directly from the Top Charts page by tapping the “Get” button or they can click through (aka CTR) to the Product Page and install (aka CVR) there.

 

Analyzing Browse Traffic

In order to analyze your browse traffic, you have to understand the significance behind three important metrics that we have alluded to above. These metrics include impressions, click-through rate (CTR), and conversion rate (CVR). You will also need to know how to collect respective data for analysis.

 

1) Impressions

An impression, within the context of browse traffic analysis, is an indicator of your brand’s presence within the App Store. There are two factors that affect your impression rate within browse and include being featured in any of the browse pages and ranking high within Top Charts listings.

 

Why Do We Predict Your Impressions Will Be Affected by the New iOS 11 App Store?

Well, if iOS 11 doesn’t change browse traffic then boy did Phil Schiller play his cards wrong!

If you’ve been following our latest resources (this, this, this, and this), you know by now that iOS 11 is all about improving app discovery.

And while the new App Store is meant to “make discovering apps and games easier than ever before,” we also know that App Store search functionality is… well, for lack of a better word emoji… 💩

No offense Apple—we still love you!!!

But yes, good luck finding the best apps out there through search, unless of course you’re searching for a specific brand that you already know!

Since fixing the app search engine is a highly complex and long-term process (that is underway), Apple sought to provide a more immediate solution in the interim by redefining the browse discovery journey.

These changes ultimately sway away from algorithm-based app listings / featuring toward human-curated lists and editorial content of apps Apple wants to push.

For a comprehensive guide that details all changes made to the iOS 11 App Store, read this! If you fancy webinars over reading materials, you’ll want to also check this out.

 

How to Collect Relevant Data in iTunes Connect to Determine if Your Impressions Volume was Affected by the new iOS 11 App Store

iTunes Connect: Browse Results Impression Data

  1. Go to iTunes Connect App Analytics
  2. Click on “Metrics” tab
  3. Choose “Impressions” tab
  4. Select “View By” as “Platform Version”
  5. Select “Filter” as “Source Type” and choose “App Store Browse” in the dropdown menu
  6. For the “Date” select “Jul 18” (the month before iOS 11 was release) until “Today”

*For the purpose of staying consistent with Part 1, we chose the same dates as our first example, “Jul 18” until “Oct 15”

 

How to Analyze Data in iTunes Connect to Determine if Your Impressions Volume was Affected by the New iOS 11 App Store

iTunes Connect: Browse Results by Platform Version

The first step in analyzing your App Store analytics is to look at the trend of your total browse traffic (all bars in the graph). Then identify the time period when you first received iOS 11 user traffic. Compare browse traffic before iOS 11 to browse traffic including iOS11.

In the example provided above, we can see a descending trend since iOS 11 was released.

 

2) Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The click-through rate (CTR), within the context of browse traffic analysis, is the ratio of users who click on your app in the Today, Apps, or Games pages to the number of total users who view your app in theses tabs.

 

Why Do We Predict Your CTR Will Be Affected by the New iOS 11 App Store?

Since users have to jump through more hoops in order to find an app through Top Charts, users who do so are considered highly-motivated and more likely to click through to the Product Page and even convert.

 

How to Collect Relevant Data on iTunes Connect to Determine If Your CTR Was Affected by the New iOS 11 App Store

iTunes Connect: Browse Results CTR Data

  1. iTunes Connect App Analytics
  2. “Metrics” tab
  3. Leave “Impressions” tab marked
  4. Under the section called: “Compare To” choose “Product Page Views” and select “Unique Devices” from drop down menu
  5. Keep “View By” as “Platform Version”
  6. Keep “Filter” as “Source Type” and select “App Store browse” in the dropdown menu
  7. For the “Date” select “Custom Range” from the dropdown menu and select the start date in which you began to receive a consistent amount of iOS 11 traffic

 

How to Analyze Data on iTunes Connect to Determine If Your CTR was Affected by the New iOS 11 App Store

Browse Results CTR Data

Below the line graph that shows CTR per iOS version, there is a table that details Impressions, Product Page Views, and Ratio. Use these figures to create your own table like the one below.

Browse Results CTR Data

In the example above, we can see that iOS 11 caused a major increase in the CTR, which is directly related to the fact that while browse volume decreased, user intent has increased.

 

3) Conversion Rate (CVR)

Conversion rate, within the context of browse traffic analysis, is the total number of users that downloaded your app either from Top Charts/Featured Placements or from the Product Page itself.

Why Do We Predict Your CVR Will Be Affected by the New iOS 11 App Store?

First off, and as previously mentioned, users have to go through more steps in order to find your app through Top Charts, making those visitors highly-motivated and easier to convert.

Second, significant changes have been made to the Product Page that all have the potential to impact CVR.

  • The Subtitle now serves as an additional marketing asset
  • Developers can choose to reset ratings
  • Product Pages that rank among the top apps in their category/subcategory are stamped with ranking number
  • Option to include up to three App Preview videos, videos play automatically, and videos can be localized
  • Editors’ Notes are now situated below the Ratings & Reviews section
  • If customers have already installed your app, the What’s New” section appears at the top of your Product Page

 

How to Collect Relevant Data on iTunes Connect to Determine if Your CVR was Affected by the New iOS 11 App Store

 iTunes Connect: Browse Results CVR Data

  1. iTunes Connect App Analytics
  2. Click “Metrics” tab
  3. Choose “App Units” tab under “Sales Category”
  4. Under the section called “Compare to” choose “Product Page Views” and select “Unique Devices”
  5. Keep “View By” as “Platform Version”
  6. Keep “Filter” as “Source Type” and select “App Store Browse” in the dropdown menu
  7. For the Date select “Custom Range” from the dropdown menu and select the start date in which you began to receive a consistent amount of iOS 11 traffic

 

How to Analyze Data on iTunes Connect to Determine if Your CVR Was Affected by the New iOS 11 App Store

Browse Results CVR Data

Below the line graph that shows CVR per iOS version, there is a table that details App Units, Product Page Views, and Ratio. Use these figures to create your own table like the one below.Browse Results CVR Data

 

Action Items According to Analysis

There are three important action items you can incorporate into your App Store marketing strategy to help increase your impressions, CTR, and/or CVR—irrespective of whether you actually saw an increase in any of those metrics following the iOS 11 debut.

Getting Your App Featured

Getting featured is obviously the holy grail for every app publisher, as it inherently boosts your app’s reach across the App Store and, in turn, increases your impressions, CTR, and CVR. So how can you get featured?

Hate to break it to you but there isn’t a clear-cut formula for getting featured on the iOS 11 App Store. That is, Apple does not offer paid placement opportunities or checklists of requirements for getting featured. What they do offer is a brief list of factors editors take into consideration, such as: user interface design, user experience, innovation, localizations, accessibility, use of App Store Product Page, and uniqueness.

Moritz Daan and Gabe Kwakyi co-authored a comprehensive eBook on App Store Optimization, which devotes an entire chapter to increasing your app’s visibility through getting featured. They delve deep into factors that increase your chances of getting featured and how to pitch your app or game to editorial teams.

Three important tips they provide include:

  1. Strong Positioning: That is, sticking to a unique and coherent statement about who you are and what you offer.
  2. Storytelling: The new Today tab in the iOS 11 App Store resembles an app news hub more than an app store. Hence, being able to tell a story in your pitch and even offer top notch content (e.g., videos, visually appealing how-to-play guides, etcetera), could increase your chances of getting featured.
  3. Nurturing relationships: Having good relationships with dev relations managers is more important than ever before. They stress that you should treat Apple representatives as your most valuable business partners.

For more information on how you can improve your chances of getting featured, you can download their eBook here.

 

Increasing Your App Ranking

Increasing your app ranking on iOS 11, can increase your impressions, CTR, and CVR.

Apptentive offers 3 helpful ways to rank higher in the App Store without breaking your budget:

  1. Increase engagement and retention by engaging in conversations with your customers, soliciting feedback, and listening to what they have to say.
  2. Use App Store Optimization tactics (optimizing keywords and creative app store marketing assets).
  3. Improve and increase your ratings and reviews by proactively reaching out and leading your customers to action.

For more information on how to increase your app ranking you can also read this and this.

 

Optimizing Your App Store Marketing Assets

The only way to truly understand the impact iOS 11 has on your CVR and pivot your App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy accordingly, is by using our A/B testing platform.

Our platform mimics your App Store Product Page and enables you to test different marketing assets and measure user behavior.

That means you will be able to understand the exact implications of the iOS 11 changes made to your iOS 11 Product Page (i.e., App Ranking, Editors’ Notes, What’s New, and video autoplay). You will also be able to understand how to best optimize your marketing assets to increase your CVR.

The only difference in optimizing your CVR for browse traffic versus search traffic is the traffic you drive to our platform. For search traffic,  search ads best mimic search traffic. For browse traffic, Facebook and Instagram best mimic browse traffic.

Here are 3 initial tests you can start with on iOS 11 to create winning App Store Product Page variations that can lift your CVR by 66%! Here are also 9 tips to help you get started!

Want more proof our platform works? Read this!

 

Summary

The only way to know how iOS 11 has impacted your app marketing performance is by using iTunes Connect to break down your traffic sources (i.e., search traffic, browse traffic, and referral traffic) for analysis. The most important metrics that should then be analyzed on iTunes Connect include impressions, click-through rate (CVR), and conversion rate (CVR).

From there you will be able to use iTunes app analytics to see precisely how the iOS 11 App Store has impacted your app marketing performance and, in turn, pivot your App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy accordingly.

Now that you know exactly how to use iTunes Connect to collect and analyze your search and browse traffic data, it is time to do the same with your referral traffic.

Be sure to bookmark this page now as Part 3 of this serial post is expected to be published in the coming weeks.

 

This article was co-authored by Shira Leffel and Helit Yair Pur.
Have questions? Feel free to write us below!

[Part 1] Search Traffic: How to Use iTunes Connect to Measure the Impact of iOS 11 on Your App Store
iOS 11.1.1 Update and App Store Optimization (ASO)

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