This post was originally published on VentureBeat.
A mobile app is never really ready. In the tech world, no news is bad news and a mobile product must always evolve and improve. For that reason and others, Apple encourages iOS developers to update their apps regularly. And yet, despite it being a mandatory part of app maintenance, the update approval process is as tedious and nerve-wrecking as the initial app submission procedure.
Many developers get so caught up in meticulously following Apple’s guidelines that they lose sight of other key factors in the process. Here are five important aspects you’ll want to take into consideration when preparing your latest iOS update for submission.
1. Don’t forget to refresh your marketing efforts. A boring app page will be ignored. When getting your app ready for its new version, make sure to update not only the technical side but also your marketing strategy. It’s such a shame to go through the entire process without taking the opportunity to enhance your selling points. We recommend trying new screenshots and A/B testing different types of content. Frequent updates can help you not only in achieving tech greatness but also in getting a better grasp of what potential users prefer.
2. Reach out to your reviewer. Though you may not know their name, your app is being reviewed by an actual person. While this is cause for some worries and delays, the upside is that you can approach your reviewer with specific questions and even requests. You shouldn’t be sending random emails to your reviewer, of course, but if there’s a specific problem you need addressed, contacting the company is a good idea. One of our clients needed a quick update approval in order to meet a certain deadline. We emailed his reviewer requesting urgent proceedings, and were granted our wish. Though we cannot guarantee results, it is definitely worth a shot.
3. Check your keywords. When it comes to Appstore optimization (ASO), you must stay alert, and we don’t just mean going over your chosen keywords and updating your selection (though that is a crucial part of any update). Contrary to some of Apple’s rejections, which are visible (and painful) to developers, keywords rejection is a fun little treat for you to find out for yourself. You might discover that certain picks did not make the cut and are absent from your app page. Since these keywords will generate organic traffic to your app more than anything else, wasting precious keyword space is extremely unfortunate. Follow each update with a quick check to make sure everything is in order, and replace rejected keywords with the next best thing.
4. Rejection is not always bad. If, for some reason, the gods of Apple have decided to reject your product, you will probably spend the upcoming week covered in a blanket, afraid to face the world. Well, cheer up (and shower!), because you can always use this rejection as a PR source. This could help in 2 ways: One, you may get coverage on leading blogs, which is always good. And, two, Apple might hear about it and decide to reverse the verdict. We’ve noticed in the past that Apple is no fan to social awareness apps, and that these apps managed to turn the rejection around by taking their story to the press and social media.
5. Carefully study the sub categories: If your last update took place before the launch of iOS 8, you should get familiar with the concept of Appstore sub-categories. Sub-categories might help your app rank higher simply by choosing the best fit and making sure your keywords are adjusted accordingly. Since this is still a relatively new feature, at this point we cannot say for sure how much of a difference a sub-category choice makes and what the percentage of users use this new feature when searching for an app. We recommend testing different options and choosing a less competitive sub-category to see how it influences the organic traffic to your app page.
The combination of a solid product, marketing know-how, and systematic updates is often what makes the difference between a hidden gem and a huge hit. If there’s room for improvement, the next update just might do the trick. And if your app seems to be doing great, an update might prevent it from becoming an App Store has-been.