With the announcement of Apple’s iOS 13 update at the 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), it’s easy to see Apple’s dedication to creating a unique user experience. The goal is to revolutionize the way users discover and use mobile products.
With this iteration, developers need to be aware of changing App Store review guidelines that impact the security and privacy of iOS users. Apps targeted towards children especially cannot include third-party advertising or analytics software. While this may impact how app developers gather data to offer more personalized experiences, the App Store itself is designed for discovery.
The App Store changes from iOS 13 may make it more difficult for marketers and developers to get their apps selected for promotion; however, this iteration of the App Store has a feature placement option that offers greater marketing benefits than before.
This article will outline how a feature placement in the App Store can be implemented into your mobile app marketing strategy. You can also leverage the benefits that come from being featured to positively impact your app. Furthermore, we’ll explore five strategies that developers and brands can use to increase their chances of being featured.
App Marketing Benefits of Being Featured in the App Store
- Lower acquisition costs
- Exposure to more relevant users
- Increased revenue
Where You Want to Be Featured
The App Store provides multiple touch points to introduce new apps to users. Some of these touchpoints are highly personalized while others are more general. Being featured in each brings its own benefits. So which ones are worth your attention?
Tabs in the App Store make it easy to discover new apps. The “Today Tab,” for example, presents users with original stories from editors around the world, highlighting exclusive premieres, new releases, an App of the Day, and a Game of the Day. Users land on the Today tab when opening the App Store. So, if you’re looking to reach the widest possible audience, getting featured in the Today tab is a good place to land.
Publishes can also get featured through Apple’s “Lists.” Editors curate these lists based on themes. For example, these lists can showcase apps related to healthy cooking, gaming, and more. Each list only features apps related to a particular theme, so leveraging themed lists can be a great way to target and acquire users who are specifically interested in your content.
Apps by the Numbers
Statista reports that Apple’s App Store had nearly 1.8 million apps available for download by the first quarter of 2019. Sticking out in such a saturated market can be a real challenge. And trying to acquire users who will engage with your app can be equally tough.
However, taking advantage of the App Store’s features has statistically shown to boost downloads.
According to a recent report from SensorTower, when the iOS 11 App Store update rolled out, apps featured under “Game of the Day” saw an 800% increase in downloads. Likewise, apps highlighted under “App of the Day” saw an increase of 685%. Apps within themed lists and stories also saw an increase in downloads, albeit slightly less, at around 200%.
Take a look at how these percentages compare with each other:
Based on the figure above, it’s clear that the App Store’s promotional functions all have a significant effect on download numbers.
3 Ways Being Featured Impacts App Marketing
You can leverage the opportunity of being featured in the App Store as a marketing tool. Not only does it result in more favorable outcomes, but it also provides a chance to guage user feedback and understand what they want to see in an app. This helps build up a loyal user base and generates higher retention rates. Here are 3 major marketing benefits that come along with being featured in the App Store.
1. Lower Acquisition Costs
Acquisition cost refers to the amount marketers spend on each tactic used to promote an app, the ultimate goal being to drive downloads and acquire users. User acquisition is an important aspect of mobile app success. But this takes an abundant amount of time, effort, resources, and money.
By getting featured in the App Store, potential users have a better chance to organically discover—and install—your app. Because organic channels are essentially free when compared to other promotional methods such as pay per click (PPC), the organic impressions that come from being featured result in lower acquisition costs.
2. Exposure to More Relevant Users
Being featured in a themed list also increases your app’s visibility among relevant users who are actually interested in your app’s content. It’s important to expose your app to the right audience because users are only effective if they engage with your app. Having more qualified users who find your app useful and interesting will result in higher engagement and retention rates. That directly translates to app growth and success.
3. Increased Revenue
While organic impressions and higher visibility will improve your app’s download chances, it’s really your download numbers that determine your revenue potential. For example, if your app monetization strategy is based on in-app purchases, attracting users who actually want to engage with your content increases the likelihood they will spend money to both download your app and make in-app purchases.
How to Get Featured
Considering this figure below from SensorTowers, it can seem that well-established apps have an advantage when it comes to being chosen by the editors.
In the graph, we can see the top U.S. publishers with the highest number of App Store features are all big-name companies. However, it is important to note that the app store is making significant efforts to feature and push apps from small publishers, as well.
Here are some tips you can implement to increase your chances of getting featured.
1. Make Sure the Functionality Is Error-Free
App Store editors won’t promote an app that provides a subpar experience. Be sure to make your app useful and intuitive to use and try to fix any bugs in your app. It's also essential to keep your app up-to-date by adding new features and adapting to ever-changing user needs.
2. Create a Native App
Apple will be more inclined to feature apps that are specifically built for iOS, rather than cross-platform. You should focus your efforts on developing native iOS apps. Apple favors native iOS apps because they generally offer a better user experience compared to hybrid versions. Hybrid apps typically sacrifice the user experience to be functional across multiple platforms.
3. Promote Apple
Apple is always trying to promote their own products, so it makes sense to align your goals with Apple’s objectives. For example, if Apple is promoting an API, you could build a product that leverages this new API.
Stay up-to-date with Apple’s latest releases by keeping an eye out for their annual WWDC event as well as their software and hardware update schedules. If you help promote Apple products to users, there is a better chance that Apple will return the favor. To take it one step further, you can even make your app available across other Apple products, such as the iPad and Apple Watch.
4. Optimize Your App for the App Store
App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of optimizing your app store listing so that your app ranks higher in search results. The higher your app ranks, the more visible it is to potential users. Ultimately, this increased visibility can lead to more downloads, which will help your app get noticed by editors.
The two main factors that affect your optimization are your title and keywords. Keywords refer to words that your target audience frequently uses when searching. These should be strategically placed throughout your listing so that your app shows up when users search for those words.
Additionally, the keyword you place in your title should be the one with the heaviest search traffic. After all, the title of your app is the first thing potential users will see.
5. Pitch to App Store Editors
Pitching is a useful tactic if carried out persuasively. Take the time to carefully draft a convincing pitch that outlines what your app does and what makes it unique. When considering apps to feature, editors look for high-quality apps in all categories, especially new apps and apps with recent updates. Apple accepts pitch emails to a formalized messaging system, which is accessible through your Apple ID.
Being Featured in the App Store Is an Effective Marketing Tool
Mobile app success is not determined by one factor alone but, rather, by multiple factors working in tandem. Numerous downloads are fantastic but only if those downloads result in repeated use. Being featured in the App Store provides marketers with a tool to influence these success factors.
As more users see your featured app, you’ll likely see an increase in downloads. But it’s more important to consider how a user found your app in the first place, be that from previous download history or an interest in your content.
Getting featured and attracting the right type of downloads will directly play into your app’s success and offer a lifetime of value.