Apple’s App Store is growing by 1000+ apps a day. Every app developer and entrepreneur that’s submitting their apps to the app store dreams of getting their app featured.
Apps that get featured on the app store enjoy the benefits of more downloads, better rankings, press coverage, and overall a rise in the popularity, which in turn fetches them higher revenues.
There is no exact science revealed to the public on how an app becomes featured on the App Store. But undoubtedly, the most important thing is to build an app that is of top quality and provides a great user experience.
To an extent, effective App Store Optimization can contribute to your chances of getting featured in an app store as well, but that might not be enough.
Here are few tried-and-tested techniques which can help increase your app’s chances of being highlighted and possibly getting featured in an app store.
#1 – Get in touch with Apple and Google
This strategy comes from business development professional Tamara Steffens who’s worked with app startups such as Path, Color and Acompli.
Engage with the people at Apple and Google to get your app featured on the app store.
Yep, that simple.
Apple App Store
Ask the App Store team at Apple for a design review. This demonstrates good faith, high interest, and flexibility — all attributes Apple looks for when approving apps for their platform. Keep sharing what you’re doing with every new release. Tell them how you’ve been designing for bigger screens, or leveraging the new features of iOS 8. Tell them how you’re taking advantage of the things they have a stake in showcasing.
Google Play Store
Google Play’s process is more straightforward. You submit your app to the editorial team and ask for a review to be featured on their app store. What follows resembles a simple bug review. The team at Google will give you notes on anything that’s broken or features that don’t work with Android. If you fix those things, they’re very likely to feature you.
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#2 – Get better ratings from your users
According to Apptentive’s blog, 88% of Top 100 Android apps have a rating greater than four stars and 51% of Top 100 iOS apps have a rating greater than four stars.
Good ratings lead to higher visibility in search results.
Fiksu, an app marketing company observed that sometimes apps unexpectedly shift positions without a corresponding increase or decrease in download. On further analysis it was discovered these position changes correlated with the apps’ ratings.
You can get good ratings for your app by leveraging in in-app messaging services which communicate with app users and help building a feedback system.
#3 – Get media attention
You may think this sounds like a problem more than a solution but there are examples of apps which got traction in their pre-launch stage.
Clear app garnered significant press even before the app hit the app store. Within a few days from launch, they crossed over 300,000 downloads for the app, getting them a featured slot on the App Store as well as topping the charts in their category.
Another example is that of the Nuzzle app, whose developers were contacted by representatives of Apple Worldwide Developer Relations that read about Nuzzel in the press and wanted more information about their upcoming iOS app and launch plans.
They made instant changes and improvements to the app based on the feedback and guidance they received from Apple and beta testers.
Positive ratings, media coverage and early signups helped the app getting featured in App Store and held the spot for four consecutive weeks after the launch.
When you pitch your mobile app to journalists in popular and relevant media outlets, the resultant coverage can catch the attention of Apple or Google executives and that third-party endorsement can be enough to get you featured. If you don’t have the bandwidth to get press on your own, you can hire startup marketing agencies such as Pixel Happy to do it for you.
#4 – Update your app frequently
Release early and release often.
Releasing the app with core features and then leveraging communities such as Hacker News and Product Hunt to grab early adopters is a good way to improve the app and get more visibility.
Games industry veteran, Nate Dykstra said in an interview, “Your app is not going to be perfect when you submit it. Once the app is sound – submit, and then listen closely to the market. If your app isn’t ready, your window for getting featured in the top “Top New Free” apps will shrink significantly.”
In an interview with Business Insider, Henry Kang, the founder and CEO of StyleIt app, which was featured on App Store, said, “Constantly updating your product to add new features probably helps in getting an app featured on App Store.”