In 2022, Apple introduced a new app promotion tool for developers called In-App Events. This feature allows developers to link in-game events to new advertising opportunities on the App Store. The events are showcased as event cards directly on the app page, featuring the event name, a short description, images, or video. All of this aims to inform users about additional content and expand their engagement.
In-App Events are a subtle yet effective tool that enhances the install conversion rate and user loyalty. It is available on the Apple App Store, while Google is also testing its own version of this tool named Promotional Content in a closed beta-test mode. Most likely, similar functionality will eventually appear in alternative app stores. Vladimir Romanov, Head of ASO at ZiMAD, offers insights into the inner workings of In-App Events and their benefits and shares expert tips for optimizing events in the App Store.
In-App Events: A fresh approach to engaging with the audience
Initially, developers relied on social media or made edits to the app page to inform users about in-game events. This process was time-consuming and didn't always yield satisfactory outreach. With In-App Events, interacting with users has become more straightforward and efficient. Developers can now create event cards in the App Store Connect dashboard, add images or videos, provide text descriptions, and configure audience targeting options. Moreover, they can enable or disable these events without altering the app page.
In the gaming context, it is best to promote the following types of events: challenges, live events, major updates, or special occasions. In the case of our signature project, Magic Jigsaw Puzzles, options with major updates or special events suit us the most. We announce new, exclusive content, significant functional updates, and, occasionally, puzzle-solving challenges.
The Benefits of In-App Events in App Promotion
- Event cards appear in search results alongside the app name, grabbing the attention of your potential returning users. You stand out among competitors, and it's highly likely that users will navigate to your app page. And installing your game is just a step away.
- Unusual events spark users' curiosity. They may download the app "just to take a look" but end up getting hooked. It could be a tournament among puzzle enthusiasts or a week of unique puzzle packs centered around a particular holiday.
- Events can be featured: the store showcases separate collections of recommended apps, specifically with events potentially interesting to users.
- Regular content updates are also demonstrated through event cards—it's an excellent way to show that your app is constantly evolving. The start date is highlighted next to the event image or video or labeled as "Happening now". If you frequently update In-App Events, potential users see that there is always something new. So, there's no room for boredom.
Which is Best Avoided for In-App Events?
- Repetitive actions, such as daily tasks or rewards.
- Advertising campaigns that don't introduce any new content, features, or products.
- General campaigns that only aim to raise awareness about your app or game. While In-App Events can emphasize permanent or ongoing content or features, they should be focused on a specific moment or experience.
Optimizing Creative Assets, Setup, and Analytics
Create an event card. Specify an event name (up to 30 characters) and provide a short description (up to 50 characters). they will be displayed at the bottom part of the event card. Also, add a long description (up to 120 characters)—it will appear on your event details page when users tap your event card.
Lifehack: It is essential to add keywords to the headlines. All words are indexed—together and separately. Also, avoid running two events with identical keywords at the same time. They will "compete" for traffic, leading to reduced user reach compared to using distinct keywords.
Attach an image or video. The minimum image size/video resolution is 1920×1080. The maximum video length is 30 seconds.
Avoid displaying logos, adding text to the image, and using phrases like "best app" or direct calls to action. Events that fail to meet these requirements will not pass moderation.
Lifehack: Avoid placing crucial elements at the bottom, as the App Store will blur the lower part of the image by 25%. (This space will contain the event name and a short description).
After creating the card, set the dates and time. The event can last for a maximum of 31 days. If you are uncertain about the timing, you can select approximate dates and modify the end date later. Upcoming events are announced up to 14 days before they begin.
Additionally, you can add a deep link. People who have already downloaded the app will tap the event card and go directly to the event page in your app.
Event Display Scenarios:
- New users: If someone enters or encounters our game in the App Store for the first time, they will see standard creative assets.
- Users who downloaded the app or had it installed but later uninstalled it: If a user had previously installed the app or has it installed at the moment, they will view the event card instead of screenshots.
What Results Have Been Achieved Through In-App Events?
In our experience, the most successful examples of events showcased our collaboration with Disney: the event reached around one million users.
Another fascinating case was when we simultaneously released four premium puzzle packs with new images in Magic Jigsaw Puzzles. We chose to feature one of these packs as an event, and consequently, its revenue was 60% higher than the others released at the same time.