ASO Strategy: iOS 14.5: A New Brave World for Mobile Growth

ASO Strategy: iOS 14.5: A New Brave World for Mobile Growth

Table of Contents

The TL;DR model

  • With iOS 14.5, all advert networks (together with Fb) will lose the power to robotically optimize paid UA campaigns based mostly on which advert creatives ‘carry out higher’ (generally known as driving extra customers and in-app occasions as reported to them by the promoting apps).
  • This may imply shedding the power to supply a/b testing for advert creatives.
  • It can create a world the place a big portion of UA spend (billions of {dollars} globally) is flowing to inefficient advert creatives that carry out poorly, just because the advert networks received’t be capable to know higher.
  • A brand new inventive optimization methodology must be carried out for apps and video games’ cell advertising and marketing and UA groups, that, earlier than being deployed on stay campaigns understands advert and app retailer web page inventive performances.
  • The power of your paid UA marketing campaign can be as robust because the advert creatives you present to the networks, and so they received’t be capable to “save” you from poorly performing advert creatives.
  • To be proactive along with your development and KPIs, put together for that leak to occur and begin implementing a strategy that “qualifies” your advert creatives to keep away from vital UA spend waste.

The ‘I would like the lengthy learn’ model

Any day now the rollout of iOS 14.5 will begin, and like each Apple iOS replace, the overwhelming majority of Apple iPhone customers can be utilizing the brand new OS in a matter of weeks.

When this occurs, we as cell entrepreneurs will lose entry to in-app behavioral information used for app promoting –  the gasoline that has pushed a lot of the business. Sure, one of many core causes for the massive development the cell app business has seen prior to now a number of years (each apps and video games) has been attributable to unprecedented entry to high-quality customers by advert networks promoting hyper-targeted stock.

Previously, from the advert community’s standpoint, it went like this:

“Are you in search of a brand new participant that’s prone to convert into an in-app purchaser?”

“No downside, we are able to present your advert to those 100,000 customers that simply yesterday made an in-app buy in the same sport. They’re putting in a brand new sport each week, plus they’re occurring trip in order that they’ll have some spare time.”

This “ability” that advert networks will stop to exist. As you’ll see under, there can be a number of workarounds, all of that are short-term; Apple made it very clear that they don’t approve of the utilization of such information for advert concentrating on (learn Apple’s A Day within the Lifetime of Your Information if you wish to get a way of how they view the world).

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Profitable by Artistic Optimization

Artistic optimization is the observe of enhancing the creatives and messaging inside advert and app retailer creatives, to get extra high-quality customers to cease, have an interest sufficient to reply to the advert, and ultimately set up the app. The explanation I emphasised “top quality” is as a result of it’s not nearly getting extra customers to reply to the adverts, it’s about getting extra high-quality customers (nevertheless you outline them – retention, utilization, registration, in-app purchases, subscriptions, and many others.)

In case your adverts and app retailer web page are getting extra installs with out driving the underlying worth KPIs you’re additionally measured on, why must you care?

For years now, the observe of inventive optimization has been transferring from the minds and arms of cell entrepreneurs and UA individuals to these of Fb, Google, and different advert networks.

They’ve constructed such refined machines for crafting audiences which might be prone to not solely reply to your advert, but additionally to grow to be high-quality customers, that we didn’t need to do a lot however feed that machine with a stream of latest creatives.

The machine would shortly de-prioritize a subpar inventive, transfer budgets away from it, and into adverts that do carry out. As entrepreneurs, we may merely observe the output of that machine and perceive which creatives work the very best for our goal audiences.

If we’d hit a house run, the machine would robotically divert budgets to these creatives and we might be capable to reap the advantages of seeing our KPIs go up. Click on via charges, conversion charges, and ultimately revenues via ROAS figures.

That being the state of affairs, we had no concept why these creatives work greatest. We didn’t even know who the Lookalike audiences have been that the machine had crafted. How would these individuals look for those who would put them in the identical room? Would you be capable to affiliate all of them or most of them with a sure demographic information level? Age? Gender? Location? Family earnings? Pursuits?

In accordance with many specialists, you wouldn’t be capable to. 

So we have been dwelling in a world the place issues merely labored so long as we fed the machine with increasingly creatives and noticed what labored and what didn’t, with out understanding the nuts and bolts retaining the machine working.

Quick ahead to now – the machine is about to cease working or break past restore. That is after all Fb and Google’s skill to get our adverts in entrance of an especially high-quality viewers after which surfacing the adverts that result in essentially the most “worth” we signaled to them, be it {dollars} in revenues (VO campaigns) or sure occasions like registration (AEO campaigns).

And we don’t know the way it actually labored. Sure, we knew Fb was crafting audiences based mostly on their habits in different apps and web sites, however what have been these occasions? Why did they result in extra high quality customers?

Which suggests we’ll be left in a bizarre place. We’ll nonetheless have to drive new customers to our apps and video games, and we’ll nonetheless be measured by our skill to convey customers that drive revenues. However we received’t have the power to measure revenues precisely, and we received’t be capable to depend on Fb or another advert community to inform us which creatives are “working”.

What is going to the affect be on paid Person Acquisition Marketing campaign Efficiency?

First, it’s vital to grasp that the affect of iOS 14.5 received’t be distributed evenly between all apps and video games. People who can be impacted essentially the most are apps and video games that have been depending on super-users, the fraction of the inhabitants that may be your excellent customers.

Probably the most impacted finish is apps and video games that have been depending on in-app purchases or subscriptions. The decrease finish of the spectrum is apps and video games that have been depending on in-app promoting revenues, particularly apps and video games which have a audience that may be very broad, like hypercasual video games or utility apps (everybody wants a flashlight or a scanner).

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The affect is not going to be very clear to see, but it surely’ll be there. Many advert networks, in addition to MMPs or Attribution suppliers, will proceed to point out “modeled” information about marketing campaign efficiency. What can be modeled? Advert set and adverts inventive degree metrics corresponding to installs, conversion charges, and conversionValue counts.

That modeled information may have various ranges of accuracy but it surely received’t be nice.

Why received’t it’s nice? Let’s unpack that:

  1. The one supply of verified set up attribution will come from Apple’s SKAdNetwork for customers that didn’t opt-in to be tracked each within the advertiser app and the writer app, that’s a fairly steep ask. Installs will solely be reported on the marketing campaign degree.
  2. The attribution logic of Apple’s SKAdNetwork latest model, 2.2. is extraordinarily skewed and sophisticated, you’ll be able to learn this piece right here to be taught extra. The underside line is that the set up credit score will go to the final advert the consumer considered that was signed with SKAdNetwork, with a desire to a sure kind of advert Apple endorses (Storekit-rendered adverts, principally a rendered app retailer web page as an advert impression).

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The primary half signifies that nobody, and I imply nobody, may have correct information about what number of installs every advert inventive has generated. We will make assumptions, positive, however nothing near any actual actuality. Making issues even worse, set up information on the marketing campaign degree can be despatched 24-48 hours in delay.

The second half signifies that even the verified installs that the advert networks and MMPs can be getting as information can be extraordinarily skewed. One anecdote right here is that Storekit-rendered adverts may have an attribution window of 30-days and all different advert codecs may have an attribution window of 24 hours.

So if a consumer considered a Storekit advert prior to now month someplace, it could possibly get the set up credit score even for natural installs corresponding to search installs, prime chart or class chart installs, and even that includes installs. It might probably get the set up credit score even when the consumer considered an everyday advert after they considered that Storekit advert.

The power of the assumptions the advert networks and the MMPs will make in making an attempt to grasp the modeled information for every advert inventive can be even weaker, because the underlying information coming in from SKAdNetwork received’t really replicate the precise marketing campaign that drove that set up.

So the affect on paid UA campaigns can be hidden behind layers of robust to interpret modeled information. Some campaigns will nonetheless present a optimistic ROAS on the floor of it, however the reality is that you just received’t actually have adequate information to succeed in these conclusions. 

The mixture of the broader concentrating on that your adverts are going to get, and the shortage of skill by Fb and the opposite networks to divert budgets and impressions to adverts that carry out higher, will lead to much less high quality installs. 

It may additionally lead to fewer installs, however this will depend on the economics of the promoting markets and whether or not CPMs will go down (pushed by decrease spending by manufacturers that aren’t capable of show a optimistic ROAS), permitting manufacturers to extend budgets. Opinions are break up on this one, however we’ll see that impact very quickly.

You will note that impact for those who have been to look holistically at your app’s acquisition, retention, and monetization efficiency. What you’ll see is that the cohorts of iOS 14.5 customers are much less prone to retain and monetize however are costing you roughly the identical to usher in.

Backside line – the KPIs you’re measured on are going to be impacted, and that affect can’t be hid by vainness modeled metrics. 

Why will Fb cease appearing as your automated inventive optimization “buddy”?

On this period of considerably decrease consumer acquisition marketing campaign efficiency, additionally, you will face Fb and the community’s lack of ability to de-focus adverts that don’t carry out. Swiftly, Fb received’t actually know which advert inventive they need to (or shouldn’t) present to drive installs.

They merely received’t have the info (even installs per advert inventive) to take action.

So as an alternative of trusting the advert networks to inform you which advert inventive is healthier, you’ll be working in a world the place your KPIs are tied to the power of the creatives you feed the machine.

You’ll feed the machine dangerous creatives, and the machine received’t have any different however to deal with it virtually like your top-performing inventive. Even the power to a/b take a look at adverts on Fb can be disabled as a result of Fb may have no information level to deal with as “success”. No Installs, no nothing.

You’ll need to introduce a robust methodology for qualifying advert creatives and discovering the very best ones, so as an alternative of trusting the machine to do the work, you’ll “drive” it to function higher since you feed it principally with top-performing creatives.

We’ll get into that in a bit.

Why will your App Retailer creatives grow to be rather more vital?

A really missed space of this inventive optimization downside lies with the intent degree of customers touchdown in your app retailer web page have. When paid site visitors is extremely focused, customers come into your app retailer web page with usually high-intent (you possibly can simply see that when evaluating your app retailer conversion charges between Fb site visitors to low-quality from advert networks working rewarded interstitial adverts).

If consumer intent is usually excessive, your app retailer web page, the second step of their set up journey, has much less “work” to do to persuade customers to put in or re-enforce their set up choice.

By definition, because the advert networks lose their skill to drive the same high quality viewers as they did pre iOS 14.5, the common degree of consumer intent can be decrease.

If it’s decrease, your app retailer web page might want to do extra convincing to be able to get customers to put in. In case your app sells sneakers, as an alternative of getting folks that have to purchase sneakers this week, you’ll begin getting individuals which might be considerably desirous about getting cool new sneakers, however who’re simply within the explorative state of their shoe shopping for journey.

The second kind of customers want rather more convincing, and fairly totally different messaging to get them to put in, than the “I would like it NOW” viewers.

So to be able to keep your app retailer conversion charges for paid site visitors, you’ll have to strengthen your app retailer web page and regulate messaging from what labored effectively for hyper-targeted audiences to what is going to work effectively for a broad viewers.

How will you recognize in case your creatives are working?

You don’t know what you don’t know. Being depending on SKAdNetwork dashboards visualizing information that’s both skewed, incomplete or inaccurate, would lead you to:

  1. Assume your UA efficiency continues to be intact when in reality, it was considerably impacted.
  2. Make the improper selections when allocating budgets to the improper campaigns/advert teams/adverts.

The one option to truly perceive the affect of the brand new actuality of little or no user-level information can be to measure your aggregated KPIs over time, establish the cut-off dates whenever you made inventive modifications, and observe the affect on the top-level KPI.

For instance – updating your advert creatives to suit a brand new messaging technique and observing total App Models, Revenues and Retention as they get reported by App Retailer to Join earlier than and after the change, eliminating another change which may have taken place round that point.

This would be the solely option to actually establish and quantify the affect extra broad concentrating on and an absence of automated inventive optimization has in your development KPIs.

To start with, you possibly can mark the date of iOS 14.5 rollouts, keep away from very vital modifications in that point interval, and observe what occurs after that change, in comparison with a interval previous to the change. Doing this, you’ll be able to then reply:

  • What’s the affect on my app retailer conversion price for paid site visitors within the numerous channels?
  • What occurred to cohort retention and revenues?
  • What occurred to absolutely the quantity of paid App Models?
  • What occurred to natural (Browse and Search) impressions and App Models because of much less environment friendly paid campaigns?

As for this final level – word that the amount of natural search and browse impressions and App Models is normally correlated to the general degree of paid UA spend in sure channels. It’s because customers, as an alternative of responding on to the advert, both seek for it within the App Retailer or discover it on the highest charts as the amount of paid App Models drove it to a better rating.

A 2-fold proposed methodology

With a purpose to fight this anticipated impact, and to account for the lack of advert inventive optimization, we suggest implementing the next methodology:

Measure the power of advert creatives in a replicated setting

As a substitute of counting on advert networks to inform you which creatives carry out higher and allocate spend effectively, you’ll want to provide them with already “certified” advert creatives that you recognize work effectively to your audience.

As a/b testing advert creatives in Fb and different networks can be disabled (as a result of they don’t get any ad-level set up information again from SKAdNetwork), we suggest testing these advert creatives in a sandbox setting corresponding to ASOWorld.

The gist of it’s: arrange a replicated App Retailer web page utilizing ASOWorld and run a take a look at advert marketing campaign on the channel you wish to assess the advert power for.

You possibly can take a look at a number of adverts concurrently, driving site visitors from all adverts to your take a look at App Retailer web page that’s displaying your present App Retailer creatives (the management variation).

As customers received’t be despatched to the precise App Retailer, however to the ASOWorld replicated App Retailer setting, you’ll be capable to gauge:

  • Prime funnel advert efficiency metrics corresponding to CTR and CPM.
  • App Retailer conversion price per advert
  • Value per set up

When establishing the take a look at marketing campaign to drive site visitors out of your audience, you’ll be capable to acquire extraordinarily useful insights that can help you “feed” Fb and different networks with advert creatives you recognize are going to carry out effectively.

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Then you definately simply rinse -> wash -> repeat, at all times iterating your inventive adverts and enhancing efficiency additional and additional by understanding how your goal audiences reply to totally different messages and creatives inside your adverts earlier than introducing them to Fb.

Should you discover {that a} sure advert is performing poorly, you save your self from spending a big price range on it (as Fb/ advert networks received’t realize it’s not performing effectively).

Enhance your app retailer web page creatives to suit the very best advert creatives

As soon as you discover advert creatives that appear to be working very effectively, it is best to change to testing your app retailer web page creatives to seek out the appropriate messaging for this viewers to maximise conversion charges even additional, bringing your CPIs down.

Keep in mind, what labored earlier than won’t work sooner or later, your app retailer web page has much more convincing to do now that the common intent of your paid app retailer web page guests can be decrease.

Let’s convey this all to an in depth by desirous about the complete business making an attempt to extend paid UA price range effectivity as a lot as potential to be able to fight the destructive affect of iOS 14.5.

It’s clear that some UA and cell advertising and marketing groups will be capable to feed the networks with higher advert creatives and have higher app retailer pages that assist them and convert extra of those advert impressions. They’ll reap the benefits of the info they’ve from their new inventive optimization methodology.

Evaluating their efficiency in opposition to a competitor that doesn’t make use of such methodology, these people will likely expertise very vital “leaks” the place a whole lot of their UA spend will stream to lower-performing creatives, and so they’ll have a a lot tougher time enhancing efficiency with out correct information on which adverts and which app retailer pages result in higher metrics (corresponding to App Retailer Conversion Charges and Value per Set up).

It’s as if this whole period is taking us again to a time when essentially the most inventive marketer understood their customers the very best; not entrepreneurs who received by tapping right into a black field that drove them high-quality customers AND did all of the inventive optimization work for them.


  1. App Store Strategy: Secrets of Your Android App’s Rating;
  2. CNBC report translation: Apple’s internal app store approval/review process for iPhone apps.