App Clips and App Store Optimization

June 30th, 2020

App Clips and App Store Optimization
David Bell

by David Bell

CEO at Gummicube, Inc.

When Apple announced App Clips at WWDC 2020, it was described as a new means to improve app discovery and usage. With more information about App Clips coming out, we can learn how they do that and how developers can utilize them to improve conversions.

What Are App Clips?

App Clips described by Apple as “a great way for users to quickly access and experience what your app has to offer.” It accomplishes this by enabling iOS 14 devices to instantly open a sample of an app to accomplish basic tasks without needing to download the entire application.

How App Clips Work

App Clips can be used for a wide range of app functionality. Users can use Clips to access functions without downloading the entire app. This allows users to access apps at a moment’s notice, even if they haven’t installed the app in advance.

Users can launch App Clips in several ways, including:

  • Scanning QR codes
  • NFC tags
  • Opened from a Safari App Banner
  • Links sent via iMessage
  • Directly from the Maps app
  • Re-launched from recently used clips in the App Library

This provides developers with several opportunities to present their apps to users. It can improve discovery by making the app available outside of the App Store, at a time when users need it.

Developers can configure multiple clips for a single app, depending on its functionality. Coupon apps may have clips for individual locations, or restaurant apps may support multiple franchises. Developers can create multiple App Clips to provide unique experiences for each location.

Streamlined Process

App Clips are designed to perform one function of an app, such as paying for an e-scooter or signing in for rewards points. To assist with that process, Apple allows developers to use Apple Pay and Sign in with Apple as part of their App Clips.

This means that if a user opens an App Clip that has a registration process, they can use Sign in with Apple to set up their account quickly. Similarly, if they need to pay for something through the app, they can use Apple Pay to do so without needing to add their credit card information to the App Clip.

Other App Clip Features

In addition to user accessibility, App Clips provide some extra features to help developers convert users and manage their apps.

After launching an App Clip, users can receive notifications from the app for up to eight hours. This can be used to provide additional information and help from the app after the initial launch, so developers can continue to demonstrate the value of their app.

App Clips also include a new location verification API. This is designed specifically for Clips, as it lets developers perform a one-time check to see if the clip code, NFC tag or QR code that the user scanned is where it should be. This will be particularly helpful for apps designed for things like e-scooters, so the developers behind it will know that nothing has been lost or damaged.

App Clips and Conversions

With every new change in iOS 14, we must ask: how will this impact App Store Optimization?

App Clips can be a helpful tool for user conversion. Not only can App Clips help users find and launch apps right when they need them, they can work as a free sample to show the benefits and uses of the full app.

To help accomplish this, App Clips will include a “Get the full app” button at the bottom of the clips. Users can tap on it to directly download the app to their devices.

If users install an app while using its Clip, any user information will be seamlessly transitioned to the full app. This will help provide a smooth experience for users and make the onboarding painless.

What We Don’t Know Yet

One thing that has yet to be shown is how App Clips will be tracked in regard to app metrics. Will App Store Connect add a metric to follow App Clip usage, will the data go unmonitored, or will it be counted as general usage?

Equally importantly: will there be data showing how many conversions come from App Clips or from users who previously tried an App Clip?

This is important information developers will need to know. If their App Clips are driving conversions, that will be useful information for App Store Optimization. If the Clip isn’t helping their conversion rate, there may be issues with the Clip that need to be addressed.

It will be important to track usage metrics after App Clips launch. Developers may see a change in their installs and usage metrics as users begin utilizing Clips, so tracking them in relation to one another and Clip usage will be essential.


App Clips present an exciting new opportunity for app developers. By utilizing Clips, they can reach new users right when they’re needed and provide samples of what their app can do. This can be used to drive conversions and usage, although the full impact will vary from app to app based on its functionality.

App developers should consider how their apps can utilize App Clips and check out the Xcode 12 beta to begin preparing their apps for iOS 14 and App Clips.

Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.

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