14 Oct 2021
Until now, developers have faced significant limitations when testing icons, screenshots, and videos on iOS. We had to resort to using third party tools, sequential testing with the before and after method, or the Store Listing Experiments tool from Google Play Console.
After 13 years after launching the App Store, Apple has released two long-awaited optimization features that will allow app marketers to test new assets directly on the App Store.
The first feature is called Product Page Optimization, which allows for the testing of different icons, screenshots and app previews on the default product page.
But the second feature, called Custom Product Pages, will make it easier than ever for developers to showcase different sets of product pages to different potential players.
In this article, we will reveal some of the best strategies game publishers and developers can employ with this new tool, using custom game screenshots when targeting new players with paid UA campaigns. These strategies can be applied for both new and existing players, but it is up to you to determine which ones are applicable for your game category and player base, and therefore which ones to test first.
With Custom Product Pages, developers will be able to add up to 35 separate pages. Each page can have a different video, screenshots, or promotional text. Each page will also have a unique URL that can be used when running ads. Once a player clicks on the ad, they will then be redirected to a specific product page.
Based on how they work, custom product pages will mainly be used for players coming from promotions outside of the App Store. So it will be mandatory for UA and ASO teams to work together to create a unified strategy for ads and store assets.
Until now the problem was that we had to show only one set of screenshots on the product page (except Apple Search Ads). Therefore if we are running two different ad creatives, all the players will land on the same product page.
However, with Custom Product Pages we will be able to show different product pages to those clicking on each ad.
Testing different screenshots is a great way to not only increase your conversion rate, but also to learn things about your player base such as which colors they like, which characters, objects and much more.
Remember that it is not crucial to change all of your screenshots in your custom pages. The focus can be only on the first 1-3 screenshots, as this is where users stay most of the time.
Another rule of thumb is that App Store screenshots should avoid exclusively showing assets not featured in the game. Actual gameplay content is essential.
From here, let’s get into the strategies for what to consider when directing specific players to your new custom product pages.
Some of the example images in this article are from the Google Play Store, so please regard them only as a reference. Take particular note of the screenshots showing the actual game, as you should try and incorporate this into your own strategy.
It is a common practice with paid UA to run ads with several different creatives. The journey of the user is that they see the ad, click on it and then land on the product page. If what they see on the product page is significantly different from what they saw in the ad, they are less likely to install a game.
In the example below, on the left we can see an ad for the game Contra Returns. It clearly shows a gun-toting protagonist and how this legendary game has evolved. But when a player is redirected from the ad to the product page, there is no shooting nor any similar UI shown in the ad. So the user journey is broken and there is a risk that the player won’t install.
Below you can find an example of the game The Walking Dead Casino Slots. We can see that both the video ad and the store pages it links to have unified designs and colors, so the players won’t be confused when they land on the product page and there is a higher probability they will choose to install the game.
There may be players that are familiar with a game already due to movies, TV shows or similar games. Therefore showing screenshots of the newest, most attractive content to those players might attract them to install a game.
If you are preparing a UA campaign with ads showing time-limited events, then having custom product pages is a must. Due to the events, there is a high chance that users will come to play a game only if they see event-related content in the store.
When holiday events like Christmas or Halloween are coming up, and you intend to change the theme in the game or offer new characters or levels, you should reflect all of this content in screenshots in one of the custom product pages.
At the same time, you can have one custom product page showing screenshots with Christmas-related content, and one showing limited-time events that users can join.
Then you can compare which page performs better in terms of installs and the conversion rate.
One excellent example of an event driving game traffic is the Olympics. If your game offers Olympics-themed content, it provides a great competitive advantage if you reflect this in screenshots, much the same as any holiday.
Below you can see a graph showing the popularity of the search term “Olympics” by Apptweak. In 2021 the Olympics happened between the 23rd of July and the 8th of August, and this is when users were typing this term into their search tab the most. Therefore it is mandatory to follow such events if possible to cut a slice of a pie.
When it comes to target players’ age, consider showing more action-packed gameplay to a younger audience, such as space battles, battles between clans, conquering other cities, etc.
For older audiences, try to test a more conservative approach by showing building cities, making alliances, upgrading characters, exploring new worlds and more.
Having up to 35 custom product pages provides an ideal opportunity to test out multiple game elements such as different characters or objects.
If the game includes, let’s say, aircraft and warships, then it might be a good idea to show just one of those elements per set of screenshots, as exemplified below. That way, you will find out which elements users like more, which can also help when it comes to icon creation.
Another approach could be to test characters (1st image) against some other game element, in this case drones (2nd image).
The strategies we’ve touched on in this article are only the beginning when it comes to custom store pages. You can also test different emotions, motivators, themes, unique selling propositions, and much more. Once you find out what works best in your store, you can try applying that knowledge in app preview videos, icons, or the game itself.
Here are some of the most valuable strategies we covered, that you should remember to apply when working with Custom Product Pages:
Custom Product Pages will hopefully be released this year, therefore the goal at the moment is to come up with as many suitable testing strategies as possible. We have provided just a sneak peek of the feature, which should serve as a solid guide for successful experiments on iOS.
If you are looking for a publishing partner with years of experience in the ASO field, we’re here to help. Send us an email at email@example.com today to get started!
As ASO Manager at Tilting Point, Jiri Chochlik is responsible for the organic growth of dozens of games. He also collaborates with the creative team for the production of store assets and works closely with the UA team to assess the interdependence between paid and organic. Prior to joining Tilting Point, Jiri worked as ASO Manager at AppAgent, where he led ASO from creating proposals and strategies to the actual work for clients. In his daily life, Jiri loves to play his Playstation and sports outdoors, especially volleyball. You can find him on LinkedIn.