Many app entrepreneurs ask me about getting their apps featured in app stores. This is very difficult to achieve. My Android business planning app was once featured in the Google Play app store, and I still can’t tell you what the exact formula is to guarantee being featured. I can only tell you what I did for my apps, and what I’ve seen other apps do in order to get featured. Let’s cover some of these strategies.
First I’ll give the case study of how my own app was featured since I had this experience first hand, and can share details. I wasn’t told about this by the app store. One day I simply woke up and I had a spike in downloads by about 500 downloads per day. Surprisingly, this lasted for a few weeks (I would have thought that it would have been over sooner), and for some reason, most of the downloads came from England. Possibly my app was featured in additional ways there, but I had no way to confirm that since I was based in United States, and couldn’t see what an app store user in England would see.
Since the app store didn’t inform me of anything, I had to figure out why I was being featured. I tried to understand the reason for being featured, and the only reason that made sense to me was that about a month prior to being featured, I had added new app icons and improved my app landing page, which boosted my download totals. The increased download totals helped to boost my app’s search rankings, which gave me an even bigger daily download boost. My conclusion was that the download boosts made my app stand out, and the app store editors noticed my app out of the many others, and decided to feature it because the app was already showing signals of being liked by people.
This kind of a pattern where boosts in downloads result in being featured is something I see frequently. There is no guarantee that a boost in downloads will get an app featured, but the apps that do get featured seem to have this in common in one way or another.
When apps of my fellow entrepreneurs got featured in app stores, it was a similar story. First, the app had to be good enough to garner some sort of attention and get publicity. Or the app entrepreneurs had to generate spikes by paying for ads, or by taking advantage of app store search (like my app). Once that happened, strong spikes in downloads had very strong correlations with eventually getting the app noticed by app store editors, and getting featured.
I won’t mention which apps I know of that got featured because of what I will mention about these apps now. Except for my apps (I am an independent developer), all these apps were build by wealthy companies that got millions of dollars in funding. With that kind of funding, many options open up that aren’t too available to mere mortals. The companies that made these apps were able to buy publicity and get stories about them published in Mashable, Techcrunch, and even get television appearances. All of that obviously drove download numbers through the roof.
Additionally, because these wealthy app companies had investors, they often leveraged the relationships of their investors to be able to contact the app store editors themselves, and to be able to influence them directly. Unfortunately, few app developers have that opportunity, so we just have to be that much more scrappy and resourceful.
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