Are You Breaking the App Store Marketing Guidelines

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Kevin Ford

September 22nd, 2015

Everyday, app developers harmlessly break dozens of App Store Marketing Guidelines without even realizing it. Many of the mistakes go unnoticed, but if you’re trying to pitch your game to Apple, these mistakes could possibly jeopardize your chances of getting featured on the App Store.

Conversely, by correcting these mistakes you can improve your chances of getting featured. For instance, did you know that the App Store Marketing Guidelines explicitly state that the App Store badge should be used on all of your marketing materials? They also have rules about terminology, calls to action, trademark attribution, and typography.

In Apple’s words, “We’ve created these guidelines so developers can benefit from the Apple identity and contribute to its strength. We believe that powerful marketing communications will help bring continued success for your apps.” In other words, Apple will reward apps that help them strengthen their brand.

To help strengthen your relationship with Apple and increase your chances of getting featured on the App Store, we’ve outlined five common mistakes iOS app developers make, and how to fix them.

Get Apple’s Approval for Marketing Materials.

Most developers don’t realize that Apple requires you to send most of your marketing materials to them for review. With that said, you’ll never get booted from the App Store for a minor infringement; but smart app developers see this as an opportunity to strengthen their relationships with the App Store team.

When submitting your materials to the App Store team, include a description of your app, your contact information, app ID, a list of marketing channels, campaign budget, and expected impressions. If you don’t have a contact at Apple, you can send your materials to appstoremarketing@apple.com.

Using the App Store Badge.

The App Store badge should be used on all of your marketing materials. Whether you are promoting your app with ads like NativeX’s video ads or interstitials, or on your website, you need to use the badge on your assets. The App Store badge should link back to your app on the App Store when possible, but the badge should not be the primary focus of your message. Always place the App Store badge lower than your company logo or app name so there isn’t any confusion about what is being promoted.

Apple also states that if you’re using badges for other app stores, such as Google Play, you must list Apple’s badge first. The App Store background can only be placed on backgrounds that are black, white, solid-colors, and background images that do not diminish the legibility of the badge. The badge should always be downloaded directly from Apple (sorry Google Images) and you should never modify, tilt, or animate the badge.

The official App Store badge can be downloaded in English here or in 39 other languages here.

app_store_guidelines

A Google Image search reveals dozens of unofficial variations of the App Store badge.

Messaging and Writing Style.

It’s incredible how many developers and tech bloggers mess up on App Store terminology and phrasing. For example, an app is “available on the App Store” not “in the App Store.” It’s a small mistake, but since Apple cared enough to outline it in their guidelines, you need to get it right – doing so will only help your cause. More examples are outlined in Section 4 of the App Store Marketing Guidelines.

Displaying Apple Products.

To say the least, Apple is very particular about how their products are displayed. Have you ever been to an Apple retail store? That high attention to detail extends beyond brick and mortar, and into their digital stores. Don’t ever animate, crop, or add reflections to their products in your marketing materials. If you want to use photographs or video of real Apple products, you must obtain written consent from Apple. You must also make sure you’re using the latest devices that your app supports.

Apple provides downloadable files that are easy to customize for your app in section 2 of the App Store Marketing Guidelines.

Using Apple’s Trademarks.

Marketing materials and messages with Apple trademarks require the appropriate symbol (TM, SM, or ®) after the first use of the trademark in your copy. Trademarks should never be localized to languages other than English. This one is easy to miss but even easier for the editors to ding you on.

When building out your website, be careful about how you use Apple trademarks in your URLs. Apple’s website states that “company.com/ipad” is an acceptable URL but “iphoneapp.com” is not. Make sure your URLs are compliant before sharing your website with Apple.

These are just a few of the most common mistakes made by mobile app developers. For a complete overview, app developers should read Apple’s official App Store Marketing Guidelines. I strongly encourage you to review the full list of guidelines and apply them to your marketing materials. Taking the initiative to be a leader in App Store compliance will go a long way and once you familiarize yourself with the guidelines, they’re easy to follow.

When your app is up to code with the App Store Marketing Guidelines, start building your relationships with the App Store Editors. An easy way to get started is to get into the habit of submitting all of your ad creatives to Apple for review at the following email address – appstoremarketing@apple.com. They are happy to review assets for app developers and this will put your app on their radar. Just note, submitting your creative will add at least five days to the process so plan accordingly.

To stay up-to-date with all of our latest blog posts and mobile ad industry news, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, andFacebook.

Kevin Ford

Marketing Manager

2015-09-22

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