App marketing and ASO trends for 2023

Iryna Lukashuk
teaser trends

It's no secret that the app market is constantly evolving. Every year, new trends emerge, and old ones die out. While 2023 may be a challenging year for many businesses due to economic instability, the app industry should not be discouraged. There is still potential for your app's success, and the following trends can help you make the most of it.

Therefore, App Radar's app marketing team has prepared the top 7 app trends that you need to know about: 

  • Data-driven decisions 
  • Personalization of user journey
  • New Apple Ads placements
  • Video-driven app store listing in Google Play
  • A/B testing is becoming more important than ever
  • Micro-influencers and UGC to help acquire new users
  • Changing user behaviour due to economic instability 

The new upcoming year always brings excitement for new growth opportunities. At the same time, there are still prolonged trends from the previous year, which will matter in your daily app marketing work. Let's quickly look at the trends that won't change in 2023.

ASO as the foundation

In 2022 app industry kept developing, and major app stores were bringing new features for app marketers. During the last few years, we have seen that the foundation of any successful app is a well-optimized store listing. The trend of having App Store Optimization as a solid ground for your app growth will stay the same in the upcoming 2023. 

In other words, the following basic optimizations will be on your must-do list:

  • Metadata optimization
  • Creatives optimization
  • App localization 

At the same time, app stores provide app marketers with new capabilities like:

  • Custom Product Pages
  • In-app Events
  • Custom Store Listings
  • LiveOps 

Personalizing interaction through new capabilities enables app marketers to create a more profound connection. However, the critical point here is that new features should be considered as additional instruments in your app growth strategy; otherwise, they will not work.  

Like most industries, a combination of organic and paid acquisition is vital in acquiring a loyal and diverse customer base. Paid acquisition channels work more effectively when they are based on well-optimized store listings. The reason is simple: no matter what you do, people will land on your app store product page to decide whether to download your app. In other words, you need a solid ASO foundation to maintain a stream of high-quality users across various channels.

At the same time, paid user acquisition will help you boost the power of your app, which will lead to better keyword rankings and more organic installs. 

By utilizing the most suitable tool to monitor your ASO and Ads, you will gain a fuller understanding of how the App Store boosts your app in comparison with discovery campaigns.

ASO is not SEO

The topic, ending in 2023, is the differentiation between Search Engine Optimization and App Store Optimization. Since ASO is often called app store SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it brings confusion and wrong approaches to app store listing optimization. You need to remember that although SEO and ASO have some general similarities (for instance, keyword optimization, backlinking, and conversion optimization), however, the ranking factors and user intent are the main difference here.

Keep in mind that only about 20% of SEO and ASO data overlap. For App Store Optimization, you need to use the right tools and rely on data extracted from app stores.

The following checklist illustrates the main differences and similarities between ASO & SEO.

seo vs aso 873x1024 1

Data-driven decisions

Data-driven marketing and ASO decisions will be the norm in 2023. With more and more apps vying for attention in an overcrowded market, those who can make decisions based on data will have a significant advantage.

The amount of data available to app developers and marketers is increasing exponentially, and the tools to collect and analyze that data are becoming more sophisticated every day. To stay ahead of the competition, app developers and marketers need to be able to make use of that data to inform their decisions.

Using the right tool for your app marketing analysis and data-driven decisions is extremely important. Make sure you choose reliable and ASO-oriented software crawling data from app stores, not from the web.   

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Those who master data-driven decision-making will be well-positioned to succeed in the app industry of 2023 and beyond.

Mobile user journey personalization in 2023

In continuation of the data-driven decision-making trend, we expect to see a lot more personalized app marketing and ASO campaigns in 2023. It means that marketers will be targeting their campaigns specifically to the needs and interests of their target audiences, as each audience has its own journey, intent, and CVR.

With the help of Apple's Custom Product Pages and Google's Custom Store Listings, app marketers can now create more personalized targeting. In 2023, app marketers will focus more on delivering a highly personalized mobile user experience to stay ahead of the competition.

Therefore, research your target audience, categorize it and optimize your custom pages accordingly. Keep in mind these checkpoints when you do personalized store listing pages:

  • Clustering keywords - include in your custom pages not only generic keywords but also related to specific target audience keywords.
  • Creatives optimization - ensure your creatives reflect a solution for the specific needs of different target audiences. 
  • Custom links - remember to use custom links for external traffic as well. Whether you use targeted ads or organic channels, always think about which custom link will make the most sense to include. 

By personalizing the mobile user journey in 2023, app marketers will be able to acquire the right users and increase engagement, conversions, and retention rates. Remember, the more you know about your target audiences, the better you can personalize user journeys. 

Apple is constantly changing, and so are the App Store trends. Here are some App Store trends for 2023 that you need to consider in your iOS app growth strategy.

More personalized app experiences

As mentioned before, personalization will be a huge topic for app marketers in 2023. Apple is constantly collecting data on users and their preferences. Therefore, targeting opportunities might be expanded, which is excellent news for app marketers. At the same time, the app marketing community is looking forward to hearing news about the possibility of a personalized in-app experience for users. If that happens in 2023, it might reshape the whole industry with new opportunities. 

Increased focus on quality over quantity

With over 2 million apps in the App Store, it can be challenging for users to find the good ones. Therefore, we think Apple will start to focus more on the satisfaction of users' needs. In other words, quality over quantity might be a big topic for Apple in 2023, featuring only the best apps in the store.

As an app marketer, you need to be aware of it and provide as good product as possible. It requires technical stability, regular app updates, managing user reviews and keeping uninstall rate of your app as low as possible. 

Adapt to new Apple standards

With every new Apple product announcement, there come new app store adjustments. While adding iPhone 14 screenshots to your app store listing is optional right now, in 2023 it should become mandatory. The reason is that more people are going to become iPhone 14 users. Therefore, adopting your creatives to new standards will be necessary to capture this audience. 

Moreover, use this as an opportunity to differentiate your app from competitors. The faster you adjust your app store listing screenshots, the more chances new users will choose you over competitors. 

Apple's new placements

One of the latest news of 2022 is adding a Today Tab and Product Pages as new ad placements to Apple Search Ads Advanced. Let's quickly recap what these new ad placements are:

  • Today Tab can help reach users on the front page of the App Store when they first come to the App Store to discover apps.

advanced todaytab
  • Product Pages can help reach users when they're browsing apps. This ad appears at the top of You Might Also Like list to users who have scrolled to the bottom of relevant product pages. 

advanced browse

These new ad placement possibilities are a great opportunity for app marketers to start acquiring users from different places in App Store in 2023. As people will see your app in different places across App Store, it will also change the user experience. So, if you want to take maximum advantage of new ad placements, you will need to personalize and measure these channels and then analyze the user's new experience

Pricing expansion in Apple App Store

In 2022 Apple announced the most significant upgrade to their pricing capabilities since the App Store's first launch. 

700 additional price points and new pricing tools will make it easier to set prices per App Store country or region, manage foreign exchange rate changes, and more.

Apple

This upgrade is already available for auto-renewable subscription apps, and for all other apps and in-app purchases, it will be available from spring 2023. So, take advantage of new pricing possibilities in Apple App Store to adjust your app growth and monetization strategy in 2023.

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Google Play Store trends in app marketing and ASO are always bringing something new. 2023 won't be an exception, we can expect to see new changes as the platform continues to evolve. Let's look at a couple of them.  

New Google App Campaign attribution

Since the end of 2022, Google Play started to make the attribution more transparent and updated the store performance reports.  In other words, traffic from Google App Campaigns is now attributed under Third-Party Referrer and not any more under Search and Explore Traffic. So if you run google App Campaigns in 2023, this change will make your life easier as you will be able to see how effective your App Store Optimization efforts are.

This is a big step from Google Play helping app marketers to understand the behaviour of organic and paid users separately and optimize the performance more accurately for the different source types.

Elena Wibmer, App Marketing Expert

SKAdNetwork 4.0

You might already heard about SKAN 4 updates for ad networks and app marketers. It is a great opportunity for app marketers to see more insight about the performance of ads for apps, but at the same time, it brings some complexity which you need to be aware of. Here is a short summary from App Radar's App Snacks regarding new SKAN 4.0.

  • ''There are up to 3 postbacks. With the new SKAN you will be able to get info about events that users trigger up to 35 days (if and when you reach Apple's thresholds), so you can have a more accurate data about the behavior of your users. This will allow you to optimize the campaigns properly in the long run due to the knowledge about the quality you get.
  • The introduction of coarse-grain conversion value. It’s a new type of conversion value that has only 3 possible values: low, medium, or high. Similarly to how you currently map events or revenue to a conversion value, you can now map an event or revenue. The returned postback will contain either a fine grain conversion value, coarse-grain conversion value or “null” (depending on the achieved threshold).
  • Increased granularity for ad networks. Better granularity in campaign dimension reporting helps you can understand better which campaigns are successfully driving quality users to your app, thanks to more Campaign ID possibilities. Previously, campaigns could only be identified via a Campaign ID. Now, SKAN 4 includes a function called “Source ID,” which assigns a detailed four-digit identifier to each campaign.
  • Privacy thresholds include four tiers of crowd anonymity. Depending on the crowd anonymity tier of an install, Apple might drop information such as fine grain conversion value, coarse-grain conversion value, source ID, or source app ID. This will decrease the number of "null" postbacks as you will have fewer difficulties to at least receive the lowest tier for the coarse conversion value''

- Rebecca Del Vacchio & David Vargas Montiel

So if you don't want to waste your budget in 2023, make sure to dedicate some time in 2023 to work on the SKAN setup and create a structure that generates enough events.

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Large screens for Google Play Store

In 2023, make sure your app is visible on large screens like tablets, foldables, and Chromebooks. Users should be able to discover apps for their devices easily. The last changes for large screens show screenshots, videos, and descriptions directly in Apps and Games Home. So, adjusting your app creatives to large screens will help with app discoverability in 2023.

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Autoplay screenshots in Play Store browse

Now that the Play Store autoplays the first three screenshots in the games tab every 3 seconds, app marketers have a new opportunity to optimize the browse conversion rate for games. Ensure that you take advantage of it and experiment with screenshots for conversion rate optimization.

Video-driven app store listing

As Google has already fully rolled out its Play Store Web Experience, another stop might be the reshaping of the mobile experience. In other words, it seems that feature graphics and videos might become the forefront of search in these displays. For app marketers, it means that you need to be ready to adjust quickly to these changes. Provide high-quality, catchy, and convincing videos and feature graphics as soon as Play Store rolls out new changes.

A/B test will be more important than ever in 2023

With the increasing competition for app downloads, it will be crucial for app marketers to run A/B tests on their apps to see what works best with their target audience. 

Native A/B testing features like Apple's Product Page Optimization and Google's Store Listing Experiments should become your handy tools to make more informed decisions about your app marketing strategy. 

As technology advances, more ways to track data and optimize campaigns will be available. It means marketers who know how to use A/B testing effectively will have a significant advantage. If you're not using A/B testing yet, 2023 is a year to start. 

Social media is developing and bringing new platforms and opportunities for app marketers to acquire users. Here are some of the most predictable trends in social media that you can consider for your app growth strategy.

Micro-influencers

First, micro-influencers will become increasingly important. These are influencers with smaller follower counts (usually between 1,000 and 100,000) with highly engaged audiences.

App marketers will need to use micro-influencers to reach specific niches and target audiences that might be difficult to reach through other marketing channels. 

User-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) will continue to be important in 2023. UGC is any content created by users of your app or influencers that you can use for marketing purposes. It could include things like reviews, testimonials, ratings, and more.

USG is one of the most convincing ways to attract new app users. Learn how Chatterbug used UGC in their app marketing strategy to increase their organic rankings and reduce cost-per-install significantly.

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Video content will continue to dominate

Video content remains one of the most engaging forms of content, and it is likely to remain so in 2023. Therefore, social media platforms with solid video-based content will keep growing. 

If your target audience is present on social media platforms like TikTok, make sure you are there as well to reach them out. Remember, the more your video content fits a specific social media platform style, the more chances you will have to catch the attention of your potential customers.    

Economic instability influence on app marketing in 2023

Last but not least, as the global economy will continue to experience instability in 2023, it's more important than ever for app developers and marketers to keep the financial part of business in mind. Therefore, be aware of the following aspects to react in time to global crises.

Monitor user behaviour

Considering current economic instability, people are becoming more and more careful about how they spend their money. App Radar's latest analyses of money management apps showed that people are looking for ways to save money in the short term, rather than invest for the long term.  

Invest more time in analyses of user behaviour in your app category to recognize a change in your target audience's behaviour. 

Prepare app marketing crisis scenarios

If your app has a subscription-based monetization strategy, 2023 will require including crisis scenarios in your overall app marketing strategies. In other words, think in advance about how a global crisis might hit your user base paying capacity and be ready to react in time with different solutions.

One approach that may become more popular in this regard is 'value-based marketing', which focuses on providing users with tangible benefits in exchange for their purchase. It could involve offering discounts, bonus content, or simply making your app more affordable.

Remember that retention requires fewer efforts and resources than user acquisition. That's why keeping existing customers will guarantee your app business stability during a global economic downturn. 

It is hard to predict what exactly is going to happen in the app industry as there are a lot of external and unpredictable factors that might influence the app business. However, some of the 2023 app marketing trends are clearly seen now.

To conclude all the above, app marketing and ASO trends in 2023 will be around the following topics:

  • Paid UA should be built on top of strong ASO
  • Decisions based on data will have a significant advantage
  • Personalized user journeys should be included in app marketing strategies
  • Apple's Today Tab and Product Pages will change the user experience in App Store, measuring these channels will be important
  • Feature graphics and videos might become the forefront of search in the Play Store
  • A/B testing will become even more critical than ever with PPO and Store Listing Experiments
  • Economic instability will lead to adapting new app marketing approaches.

Remember that whatever strategy you choose to grow your app in 2023, your ultimate goal has to provide value to your users. If you can do that, you'll be in an excellent position to succeed even in tough economic times.

To kick off 2023 successfully, it would be a good idea to start with an audit of your app marketing first. This way, you can mark the status quo, take the learnings of 2022, and set the path to growth for 2023. Get on a call to discuss!

iryna lukashuk
Iryna Lukashuk
Digital Marketing Specialist
Iryna is a digital marketing and social media specialist. She is fond of creating content for app marketers and developers to help them succeed in the app business world.
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