Getting the Most out of Custom Product Pages in the New App Store
At WWDC 2021, Apple announced that when iOS 15 ships in the fall, it'll (finally) roll out with marketing tools for developers that run right inside the App Store.
These tools are the most significant contributions from Apple to developers' bottom line (other than the App Store Small Business Program, maybe).
In this guide, we'll explore one of the two big features—Custom Product Pages—how they'll work, and more importantly, how to use them to get more downloads and revenue.
What's a Custom Product Page in the new App Store?
With Custom Product Pages (CPP) Apple is letting app owners create different versions of the app's or game's page in the App Store.
Specifically, each Custom Product Page can show different screenshots, videos, and have different promotional text (what's right below the screenshots). Every CPP will also have its own set of analytics.
Every app can have up to 35 different custom pages, and each page will have its own unique URL. Yup, a URL to stick in a browser. I'll get into how to use it in a little bit so keep reading.
If you're familiar with funnel optimization for websites, CPPs are the App Store's version of landing pages. They're more limited in what you can customize but overall have the same goal: to improve conversion by showing different types of potential customers exactly what they want to see.
So, What's a Landing Page?
On the web, a landing page is a page that's very focused on a specific use-case, feature, or benefit the website offers and nothing else.
Why not show everything a website has to offer? Because it might be too much for a potential user, and they may not see the value they're looking for right away and leave. People don't spend too much time digging around, and the more competition there is, the less digging around you can expect.
You can then use these landing pages when running ads that target specific audiences, mention your website in a specific medium (like Reddit), etc.
Custom Product Pages do (almost) exactly that, but right inside the App Store.
Now you see why this is such a big deal? Let's look at how landing pages can help your app get more downloads.
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Not (Really) for A/B Testing!
Before we continue to the fun stuff.
I've been seeing a lot of confusion about CPPs and A/B testing, another feature Apple has announced that'll come in the new App Store in iOS 15 (and the topic of a future guide).
So we're clear, Custom Product Pages aren't for A/B testing. They can be, but that's not their intent.
Why? Because the only way to see a custom product page is by following its unique URL. There's no way to get to it from within the store (via search results or from category lists). That's a critical component of A/B testing.
You could run paid ads outside of the App Store to different pages and see which performs better, but that's a headache and with Apple's new Experiments, there's really no need to do that.
On to the fun stuff!
How to Turn Custom Product Pages Into More Downloads
The key to turning Custom Product Pages into more downloads is segmenting potential users into groups, then creating a CPP that will highlight the most important features of the app (or game) that particular group is looking for.
For that, you really have to know who's downloading your app or game, why they do it, what they like, and what gets them to downloads. It's much easier than you might think.
There are a few ways to segment users, and to do that, you'll need to step into their shoes for a bit. Then, think about why they need your app or game.
Segmenting on features:
The easiest and most common way to segment potential users is on features and benefits. This is also very commonly how you'd promote your app outside of the store.
In this segmentation strategy, all you have to do is create a custom page for every use case your app or game offers.
Let's look at a simple example. Duolingo is a language learning app that's available for many languages. But because the App Store limits the number of screenshots the app can show, it's hard to focus on one language. This means that when Duolingo promotes its app in a specific part of the world, the users who click the link will be taken to a pretty generic-looking page.
With Customer Product Pages, Duolingo can have a custom page for every major language the app is targeting and use those links when they advertise in specific countries. That means that when Duolingo promotes the app to users who want to learn German, the screenshots can be focused on that.
If you're looking for an app to solve your problem, are you more likely to download the one with the generic-looking page or the one that highlights exactly what you're looking for?
Segmenting on access:
Features are a very easy way to segment, but another fairly easy way is by grouping users by the kind of access they're looking for. Access, in this case, refers to what the app can give them access to, be it content, tangibles, or clout.
An example of that can be ESPN, which offers news and videos of a variety of sports games.
Right now, the NBA finals are going on, so to keep their App Store page as effective as possible, ESPN chose to highlight NBA scores and videos in the app's screenshots. But... Euro 2020 is also going on at the same time and has a very large audience that may get turned off by seeing the NBA and not soccer.
ESPN can use localizations to "solve" this issue since soccer isn't as big as basketball in the U.S., but that sounds like a big missed opportunity.
Instead, ESPN can customize a landing page for every major sport the app supports and use those when promoting the app. It's rare that ESPN would promote the app to everyone at once, which makes leveraging landing pages very easy.
Segmenting on affinity
Let's get a bit more creative with our segmentation and think about how users see themselves so we can create custom pages that make them feel welcome.
Continuing with sports as an example, let's look at Fotmob, an app that offers scores and news for soccer games across a variety of leagues. Soccer fans usually have a team, so they're not just soccer fans but also (pick a team name) fans.
Up until now, Fotmob had to remain very generic with its screenshots and not mention specific teams because that would alienate other teams' fans. With custom pages, Fotmob can have one for each major team and when they mention the app to that team's fans, use the custom page.
Again, seeing something familiar, like your team's colors and logo, is much more likely to turn a view into a download.
And (almost) last, a good way to focus a custom landing page is to create one for every promotion you run, be it a new big feature or a limited-time offering.
Take for example, an app like HBO Max, which puts out new blockbusters every few weeks. New movies need promotion to get lots of views. Even the big names need the exposure. So HBO Max can run ads for the latest movie and link them to their app, but when users land on the page, they won't see a focus on the new movie.
They may not think too much and just get the app, or they maybe start looking around, get a bit lost or see something they don't understand and leave without downloading the app.
You'd think people will get free apps more because there's no friction at all, but if that were the case, all free apps would have a perfect conversion rate. Does your free app have that?
Segmenting on source/medium:
There's one more segmentation strategy that's pretty simple, and while it's pretty vague, it could be useful if you're looking to experiment. That strategy is segmenting based on the source or medium where the user found the link.
Medium, in this case, refers to the channel (email, social media, forums, etc.), and source is the actual source (for social media, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
I don't love this strategy because the medium and source don't necessarily tell you enough about the user to put together the perfect screenshots and videos for that audience, but if that's all you've got, you can use it.
A better way to use it is with promotional segmentation and highlight different promotions to different channels and mediums.
How Can You Promote Your Custom Product Pages?
I said "promote" a lot in the previous section. That's because Custom Product Pages require that people click the custom URLs from somewhere that isn't the App Store. Which means you need to get that link in front of as many people as you can.
There's an easy way to do that, and that's paid ads (not Apple Search Ads). But paid ads aren't the only way to promote your app or the links to your custom pages.
Segmentation is all about knowing your users, and so is promotion. If you know where your users are, you can make sure they know about your app. That can be completely free if you're willing to put in the effort.
Need inspiration? Check out this guide for 13 free ways to promote your app.
How Can You Tell Whether It's Working?
Setting up custom product pages, while not complicated, requires effort. So, you need to have a way to determine if what you're doing is worth the effort.
There's an easy way to measure the success of a landing page and of optimizations you do, and that's to measure its conversion.
A page's Conversion Rate is the total number of downloads divided by the total number of page views.
A conversion rate of 0 means of all people who saw your app not one downloaded it, and a rate of 100 means everyone who saw the app downloaded it.
Your rate will be somewhere in between those two.
There's no magic number that's best for your app or game, and it largely depends on the audience and category. But one thing's constant, higher is better.
The easy way to tell if a CPP is better than the standard App Store Page is to compare its conversion rate to the default. Higher = better. Lower = try again.
Tip: To make sure your results are useful, aim to compare the same number of page views.
Should You Create Custom Product Pages for Your App or Game?
You didn't expect any other response from me, right? Especially not after reading this guide.
But here's why: Custom Product Pages are free to create and give you more control over where you direct potential users outside of the App Store so they can get you more downloads. You want more downloads, right?
There are a few questions that we'll have to wait until Custom Product Pages ship to answer, such as what happens when you delete a CPP or if you can run A/B tests in it. We'll keep an eye on this feature and update this guide when we know.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about Custom Product Pages, tweet @appfigures and ask us.
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