What Apple’s New App Guidelines Mean for Mobile Marketers

Since Apple’s App Store launch, marketers and developers of iPhone apps have had to humbly submit new apps to the application approval process, throw some salt over their shoulder, click their heels, and blow out a birthday candle hoping the app gets approved. It wasn’t an easy journey, rather one laden with the crushed hopes and dreams of the brains behind many apps that received the dreaded…rejection.

On September 9, Apple pulled back the curtain with its new App Store Guidelines, if even only a bit, to give app hopefuls an updated look into the review process.

Despite the general perception that the approval process has historically been somewhat nebulous, Apple contends that 95 percent of apps submitted end up making it through the approval process.

For digital marketers looking at getting a piece of the mobile pie, there are three key points from the recently released App Store Guidelines you should take note of, and one big “if only” that marketers can dream about at night.

Copyright This

Perhaps it should go without saying, but trademark concerns occupy a legitimate chunk of the new Apple guidelines. Key thought? Dot your i’s and cross your t’s.


With virtual goods and other online/on-the-go transactions on the rise, it’s not shocking that purchasing consumes a large section of the guidelines. Basic rules of thought: credits and currencies can’t expire, and subscriptions must last at least 30 days and be able to be used on all iOS devices.

Watch the Pitch

Apple is serious about its commitment to user value. Nowhere does that seem more evident than section 7.3 of the guidelines, which reads “Apps that are designed predominantly for the display of ads will be rejected.” Message received.

So does that mean you can’t have a great branded application or in-app promotion as part of your marketing plan? No, I don’t think so. Remember, Apple is committed to value. It opened the guidelines by saying “If your App doesn’t do something useful or provide some form of lasting entertainment, it may not be accepted.” It just gives developers and marketers incentive to get creative.

“If Only”

Apple is pretty clear: apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind. But if they did…chew on that.

Court Adjourned

In the end, the App Guidelines read more like a Supreme Court decision, riddled with ambiguity and questions left unanswered. Some rules seem more like a nice idea than a rule by decree notion. They leave me wondering where exactly the lines are. Apple has an app -er- answer for that, simply saying, “I’ll know it when I see it.”

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