Apple regularly curates and promotes high quality apps in the App Store. Being featured in the front page or “Shopping” category of the App Store can have tremendous impact on your mobile success. Featured apps receive constant organic traffic and a significant App Store Ranking boost, which also increase your marketing efficiency. There is no magic trick for getting featured, you simply need to have a great app. However, the following points summarize what Apple cares about most, and what you can do to increase your chances of being on top of the App Store all the time.
1. The app (and all parts of it) must simply work.
This point seems self-explanatory, but the standards for a quality app are quite high and achieving them is not straightforward. For example, your app should never crash. On iOS, 100% crash-free user rate can be achieved. On Android, you should aim for higher than 99% crash free users or sessions. Also, all promised functionality should be available and easily usable. Apps that don’t fulfill these criteria are never featured, and sometimes completely rejected / removed from the App Store. Note that Apple has access to your and all your competitors’ apps’ technical performance data, unless the end user has opted out.
You should constantly monitor and improve your app’s stability and usability, test all use case scenarios and improve user flow. Prepare for upcoming devices or iOS updates before they become public.
2. Optimize for new devices and technology
Apple and Google are currently the main drivers of mobile technology, owning the major platforms. They constantly release new design guidelines and hardware / software capabilities to improve user experience. However, both rely on mobile app developers to make use of the new functions in their apps. For example, apps that use iOS widgets, make use of “Force Touch” or have an Apple Watch counterpart are simply favored by Apple, because they make the user happy to own an iDevice and create lock-in effects.
This effect is so strong, that Apple creates dedicated sections or promotion lists for every major release. Make sure that your apps are ready and optimized for new technologies.
3. Improve your ratings & reviews
High ratings and positive comments are not only the main drivers for an app to be featured, but they also affect your App Store Ranking drastically. However, improving app ratings requires a more holistic approach, because users don’t just rate your software quality, they rate their overall satisfaction with the app, including product quality, delivery speed and customer service.
You should always,
– Listen to customer reviews to identify common problems, solve them with an update and specifically state the improvements you made based on user feedbacks on the update information text,
– Capture “happy moments”, such as successful checkouts or deliveries, and ask your users to rate your app when they are most likely to be satisfied,
– Provide automatized and/or live customer service in the app to solve problems before they can become negative reviews.
4. Make your app listing stand out
Being featured on the main page creates a direct link to your app download page. Users will still check out your app description, screenshots and user reviews before making the decision to download your app. Improving your app listing with beautiful and clear information drives up App Store conversion rates, which Apple closely tracks. A low-converting app listing page will not utilize the power of being featured to its full extent, hence Apple will not prefer to feature the app.
When Apple decides to feature your app, you will receive an e-mail requesting specific promotion assets. Even before that happens, you should spend enough time to create an attractive download page, which will convince all users who made the effort to reach that page to download your app. App Store Conversion Optimization is very important even without being featured, because all your app downloads come through the app listing page at the end.
Try to use Apple products in the promotional material. This is compliant with App Store Guidelines and showcasing the latest beautiful Apple devices in your creatives can improve your chances while Apple is choosing which apps to promote.
5. Support with your own marketing
Don’t just rely on Apple to promote your app. Periods where your app is already getting a lot of organic traffic are the best times to ramp up your inorganic installs as well. With proper marketing support, your app can quickly climb to the top of the shopping category and stay there for longer. If Apple thinks that featuring your app was a success story that satisfied App Store users, your app can be easily featured again or for an indefinite period in its category headlines. Be aware of the immense value generated by getting featured, and be ready to do your part on making the most of it.
About the Author
Murat Ögat is the Managing Partner of Appkunft. Appkunft is a mobile app development agency based in Istanbul and Berlin, which specializes in mobile commerce. Appkunft produces and maintains mobile apps of Turkey’s leading fashion e-commerce brands like Morhipo, Trendyol, 1V1Y.com and more, with over 2M monthly active mobile shoppers. Morhipo iPhone and iPad apps have been selected by Apple Turkey to be installed on all devices in Turkish Apple retail stores, setting the bar for the highest quality possible in Turkish mobile commerce. Apps produced by Appkunft are regularly featured in different sections of the App Store.