Apple curators are taking app rankings into their own hands. Is your app ready?iGaming operators, have you been to the US or Canadian App Store recently? If so, you may have noticed some critical changes to how the store displays new and recently updated apps. Gone are the “What’s Hot” and “New” lists, which were algorithm-generated listings influenced by app popularity. As of mid-May, they have been replaced with editorially curated lists created by Apple employees.According to Tech Crunch, some app developers have seen anywhere from a 30% to 90% drop in downloads in the week after the changes. Given that a growing percentage of iGaming revenue is generated through mobile app use, these unannounced changes could end up having a major effect on the development of mobile gambling apps. While these numbers may seem alarming, if app developers maintain strong marketing strategies and position their products well within the App Store search, they should be able to avoid taking a hit in download numbers – and maybe even benefit from the changes!
Who will be Affected?As you may have guessed, iGaming operators who have relied heavily on App Store algorithms for app rankings will be impacted the most by this change. New apps or apps that are not already among the top sellers in their vertical will also need to re evaluate how they plan to raise their ranking on “Top Apps” list or be noticed by Apple curators. Although weaker, superficial apps may struggle to make these lists, this could be a great opportunity for underexposed, high-quality apps to make a breakthrough.
Even developers whose apps are already best-sellers should keep the list changes in mind. While the “Top Apps” section still allows users to scroll through the best-selling gaming apps, operators can diversify their marketing strategies to aim for the curated lists as well. With around half of mobile users discovering apps through App Store browsing, the more places your app is visible, the better!
Superior Content, Superior RankingRelying on a catchy name or attention-grabbing app icon to get a lot of initial downloads and a place on the “Top Apps” list isn’t going to cut it anymore. Instead, developers need to appeal to both laymen users and Apple curators. At this point, no one knows exactly what Apple is looking for, but it’s clear that they want to feature games that focus on quality foundations, not gimmicks. The visibility competition for social gaming apps is fierce: according to an Adjust report, 64% of casino game apps are not on any category top lists. iGaming app developers need to make sure they have the best content, user experience, and design if they want to keep curators and downloading users happy.
To do this, iGaming operators should leave as little to chance as possible. A strong marketing strategy that includes tools like app-to-app links, which target specific users, is the best way to ensure success. It’s also important to have a marketing strategy that is diverse enough to be able to withstand any future changes.
What’s Next?While the list changes first occurred on the US App Store, the Canadian App Store followed suit quite quickly. It’s almost certain that we’ll see them spread to the UK, Australia and other major iGaming markets in the near future. iGaming app developers outside of North America have a little more time to prepare than their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic did, and they should take advantage of this window.
It remains to be seen which apps will come out on top in light of these changes. However, one key takeaway is apparent: iGaming app developers and operators need to be aware of changes to app ranking rules, and ensure they have the ability to adjust their marketing strategies quickly when they occur.
So, iGaming app developers, have you seen changes in your download rates since the App Store changes? Drop us a line in the comments below!