New App Store’s Daily Featuring: For Gain or In Vain?


Apple’s App Store has long been criticized for its non-perfect search algorithms that made it hard for developers to improve their app’s visibility. Over the past few years Apple team made their search engine “smarter”, and the arrival of iOS 11 marked another victory in the battle against troubled discovery of apps and lack of organic traffic.

The iOS 11 App Store got a brand-new look with the Product Page now containing several more slots for keyword optimization (such as subtitle, in-app purchases) and promotion (promotional text), and the Today tab that encourages developers to share their unique stories and get featured.

A month later after introduction of the Today tab with editor-picked “App of the Day” and “Game of the Day”, Apptopia carried out a small research to see if the new kind of featuring was of any worth to US devs. Having compared downloads across 30 apps and 30 games on the day of featuring and the last day before it, they discovered a huge spike within both categories. 

* Apps saw a bigger boost in downloads compared to games. The featured apps had up to 2,172% increase in downloads, while games accounted for 963%.  

* Non-paid apps and games were downloaded more actively than paid ones. However, for both paid apps and games the increase was at least 300% over their regular number of downloads.  

* Getting featured on working days was more effective than during the weekend. On average, the apps got x4 boost in downloads during business week (2,172%) compared to weekend (580%). For games, the gap was less impressive. 

The established apps and games, such as Starbucks, The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Minecraft or alike, got a less jaw-dropping spike in their downloads due to the fact that most target users already have them. 

Instead of feeling pity for the top ranked apps/games, the analysts had an issue with the App Store - for daily-featuring the “great” instead of “small” ones, which truly deserve a chance to get in the spotlight.   

However, the developers of 19 apps and at least 10 games have nothing to complain about: their creations went from unranked overall up to ranked, which in some cases meant 1,000 positions. The ranking of those that were already ranked also improved greatly: the average leap for apps was 137 positions, and for games - 321.

At the very beginning, the daily featuring was received without enthusiasm by both developers and end users, who claimed they don’t need to be “hand-held” as they choose content for their devices. However, the download numbers speak louder than any comments on the Internet: the featuring does its job well. And if there’ll ever be a retention study of the featured apps and games, we’ll also be able to measure how satisfied users are with the App Store’s editorial choices. 
Posted by Renatus on December 13, 2017