At WWDC 2019, Apple announced watchOS 6 as well as the brand new Apple Watch App Store. Smartwatch owners now will be able to download apps without an iPhone. New watch-specific apps are coming soon as well.
Starting from watchOS 6 and Xcode 11 release, developers will have an opportunity to upload watch-only apps to the App Store Connect, which is especially great news for apps from the Sports category, as well as trackers and small time-killer games. If you want to try creating a standalone Watch-app now, download the Xcode 11 beta from the Apple Developer Portal.
Another big announcement is the independent App Store app for Apple Watch. Now it’s possible to download apps without connecting to an iPhone. It will create a new behavioral pattern: installing apps directly to your wrist, especially if you already have an iPhone version of this app. For example, now you can download the Nike Run Club or Strava right in the park during the morning run if you left your iPhone at home. So your running session won’t be left unnoticed by the Facebook friends ;)
Let’s make a quick overview of how the Apple Watch App Store works:
When you open the App Store on your Apple Watch, you will see a Tab similar to the Today tab in the iOS Store. Everything looks very familiar for iPhone users: Featured apps, Editorial collections, Popular apps, and other apps and games, selected by the Apple editors.
This page is going to be the principal source of traffic for the Watch apps. Keep reading to find out why.
If you want to find a specific app you need, use Search. There are several ways to search: via Siri, Scribble (you can draw letters on the screen) or voice dictation. There is also a list of trending searches available, such as Exercise, Weather, Tik Tok or Instagram.
It looks like these are just Apple placeholders for the future trending searches.
After submitting a “scribbled” or voice search request, you will get to the search results page. The page looks almost the same as on your iPhone: App Title, Subtitle, Average Rating with the number of ratings and Apple Watch screenshots. There is an option to install an app directly from the search results or go to the app page to see more details.
To get more details about an app, tap it and the app page will open.
App page on the Apple Watch App Store is almost an exact copy of the app page on the iPhone. Additionally, to the basic information from search results, you will see the App description, Developer info, and the app’s Ratings and Reviews with the Developer replies if there are any. Make sure to check our Ultimate guide of how and why you need to reply to reviews.
That’s it. As you can see the App Store for the Apple Watch is a simplified version of the App Store for the iPhone. Still, there are some features you should pay attention to win the ASO game.
ASO for Apple Watch App Store
The AppFollow ASO Agency has conducted research on how the new App Store for the smartwatch will influence the overall App Store Optimization process, and here is our opinion:
Users won’t search for long terms on their smartwatch — long queries would be difficult to send, especially via scribble. That said, it’s crucial to rank high for popular 1-2 word search terms, without targeting suggestions list and long-tail keywords.
Optimize your Watch-app screenshots for a small screen. Currently, most of the apps available for smartwatches show just the app interface. To stand out create banners with large texts and contrast images. When choosing colors remember that Apple Watch App Store has a black background. Therefore, users are less likely to be attracted to black or grey screenshots, but yellow or white will be very eye-catching.
Rating & Reviews:
Pay close attention to your Ratings and Reviews more than ever before. The stars that indicate your app rating have way more visibility on the small Watch device. So, users will definitely notice them before installing your app, and the low average rating of 3.0 will cut downloads and revenue by half. Check out our recent blog post to learn how to increase the average rating and get more reviews: Ratings and Reviews: how to increase your mobile app conversion rate
We assume that apps and games will get the most of the downloads from visibility in the Today page collections and editorial picks. The Store search on smartwatches is not that convenient to use. So, having a good relationship with Apple editors and having something new ready for the September watchOS 6 release, as a standalone Watch app with the implementation of the laters technologies, will almost guarantee you a Featured spot on the launch day. This will result in an instant boost of downloads and revenue, as that day, users will undoubtedly be curious about the new App Store.
Apple Watch App Store is a new and quite exciting challenge for ASO Experts. Although we doubt you will see a huge amount of traffic from this source, it is crucial to keep your Watch apps updated and ready for the Watch Store launch. Your text metadata, screenshots, and ratings should be optimized not to miss the initial traffic boost and new users.