How to Get Your App Featured on the Google Play Store

March 13, 2019

Getting an Android App featured on the Play Store might seem like a challenging task. Follow these strategies to maximize your app’s chances of getting featured.

If you want your app to succeed, being featured on the Google Play Store is an important step.

But with more than 2.5 million apps currently available on the Google Play Store and more than 1,300 apps joining the list per day, the competition for getting an app noticed by the majority of users is getting stiffer day by day.

The total number of Android apps available on the Google Play Store exeeds 2.5 million as of November 2018, according to AppBrain.

The Google Play store contains millions of apps.

Even if you exclude low-quality apps, there are still more than 2.2 million apps to compete with in order to get your app featured on the Play Store.

There are methods, however, that can help your app earn recognition. The Google Play Store features numerous shortlists – including coveted spot like Editors' Choice, Staff Picks, and Featured – that curate apps and drive attention to them.

Inclusion on one of these lists can lead to more downloads, more users, and more fans worldwide.

Although Google has set no specific criteria for apps to get featured, there are still several tactics that you can leverage to increase the chances of your app being featured on the Google Play Store.

Why Does Google Have Lists of Featured Apps?

Google publishes lists of featured apps for two main reasons: increasing discoverability and recognizing great work.

First, Google Play’s lists help users easily discover great apps. With millions of apps available on the Play Store, it’s difficult for the users to identify which app can fulfill their requirements best.

By adding an app to a featured list, Google assures users that it delivers usability, functionality, and safety.

Second, Google Play’s lists recognize developers for their outstanding work.

Nothing is more demoralizing for an Android developer than watching his or her work get lost among millions of other apps. Featured lists and categories support developers who contribute great and useful Android apps to the Google Play Store.

Featured app lists are equally useful for both Android users and developers.

Why Being Featured on the Google Play Store Matters

Besides earning a point of pride and improving your app’s online reputation, getting your app featured on the Play Store has a myriad of benefits.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Enhanced app visibility
  • Higher numbers of app downloads
  • Increased revenue
  • High-quality, engaged users
  • Easier app promotion

For example, receiving an Editors' Choice badge can increase your app downloads from 4 times up to a whopping 24,000 times, according to Sensor Tower.

An Editors' Choice badge can boost downloads.

The figure above shows how receiving an editors' choice badge directly affects the number of times an app is downloaded.

With so many potential benefits, it’s worthwhile to give your app the best possible chance to be featured on the Google Play Store.

The Google Play Store Has 3 Key Lists

Google Play publishes 3 main lists featuring apps: Popular, New, and Curated. Each of these lists also contains several subcategories.

The “Popular” list includes 4 subcategories:

  • Top Free: All-time most popular free apps
  • Top Paid: All-time most popular paid apps
  • Top Grossing: Apps and games driving the highest revenue
  • Trending Apps: Apps with high installation rate in the last 24 hours

The “New” list includes 2 subcategories:

  • Top New Free: Most popular free apps that are fewer than 30 days old from the date of publication
  • Top New Paid: Most popular paid apps that are fewer than 30 days old from the date of publication

The Google Play team also curates 4 lists:

  • Featured: Newly launched apps
  • Staff Picks: A frequently-updated list of staff-selected apps
  • Editors' Choice: The best Android apps of all time
  • Top Developer: The best app developers on the Play Store

With so many lists, there are plenty of opportunities to optimize your app to increase its chances of being featured on one of them.

11 Ways to Get Your App Featured on the Google Play Store

There are 11 key steps you should take to increase your app’s chances of being featured on the Google Play store:

  1. Analyze other featured apps
  2. Improve user interface (UI) and user experience (UX)
  3. Refine functionality and efficiency
  4. Optimize for Android
  5. Leverage Google technologies
  6. Focus on app store optimization
  7. Localize your app
  8. Promote your app
  9. Work with influencers
  10. Gather ratings and reviews
  11. Update your app

1. Analyze Other Featured Apps

The first step toward being featured on a Google Play Store list is studying apps that have already been featured.

Do a bit of research on the Play Store, pick some apps with labels like Editors’ Pick and Top Developer, and install them on your own Android phone.

Then, analyze the apps, paying attention to what characteristics they have in common. In particular, examine the apps’ design, functionality, and everything that makes them stand out from similar apps in the category. You will discover similarities and better understand why they’re featured on the Play Store.

Finally, implement your takeaways from those apps into your own app to boost your app’s chances of getting featured on the Google Play Store.

2. Make Your App UI and UX Top-Notch

If you deeply analyze some of the best Android apps of all time, you'll find they all have one thing in common: a seamless user interface coupled with an outstanding user experience.

Successful apps focus on maintaining a high-quality user interface and delivering a unique, interactive, and consistent experience across all mobile and tablet devices.

According to Google, all Android apps should implement Material Design guidelines in their user interfaces. If you fail to implement these guidelines, forget the dream of your app getting selected as an Editors’ Choice.

In fact, following the Material Design standards set by Google is the first and foremost prerequisite to get an app featured on the Play Store.

3. Refine Your App’s Functionality and Efficiency

No matter how great your Android app design is, it will never get an entry to the Editors' Choice section if it fails to meet functional and user interaction quality criteria set by Google.

Before you upload the final APK file to the Google Play Store, make sure you have tested it against Android App Quality Guidelines. These guidelines provide developers with best practices to improve overall user experience. They also give clues for what is necessary for an app to qualify for the Play Store's featured section.

Following these guidelines, particularly Core App Quality Guidelines, will help you refine the functionality and efficiency of your newly built Android app, ensuring that you deliver the best user experience possible.

4. Make Your App Android-Friendly

To get your Android app in the eyes of Play Store editors, you have to make it as Android-friendly as possible.

If your app was originally developed for iOS, make sure it:

  • Follows Google's Launch Checklist
  • Supports high-resolution (720p) displays
  • Incorporates the default Android buttons
  • Is available for every type of device, including tablets
  • Support latest and upcoming versions of Android
  • Is a tailor-made Native app, build for Android only (or, at least, for Android first)
  • Has a limited file size under 100MB or less

Following this checklist ensures your app will work seamlessly for Android users.

5. Leverage the Latest Google Technologies

Every year, Google introduces a number of products and technologies for developers at its annual I/O developer conference.

Google rewards apps that are built using its latest technologies such as Firebase, Flutter, and Action on Google.

If you become an early adopter of these technologies, the chances of your app getting featured on the Play Store will definitely improve.

6. Pay Attention to App Store Optimization

Most people are familiar with search engine optimization (SEO), which involves optimizing a website for search engine results. Similarly, app store optimization (ASO) refers to the process of optimizing a mobile app to rank higher in app stores like Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

To improve the visibility of your mobile app in the Play Store, pay attention to the following factors:

  • Icon: Make sure your app icon is eye-catching enough to grab users’ attention at first sight.
  • Title: Optimize your app title with relevant keyword phrases.
  • Description: Keep your app’s description short, sweet, and simple. Make sure that it clearly tells users what your app is about and why they should try it.
  • Keywords: Target keywords with high search volumes and low competition.
  • Screenshots: Upload some high-quality screenshots of your app and if possible, create and upload a 15-30 second video to make users more familiar with the functionality of your app.

For example, Pixlr, a free photo editing app, has uploaded several high-resolution, descriptive screenshots to clearly show users what the app is about. The app’s publisher even added a 1-minute introductory video to further show users what they can do with the app.

Pixlr uses a video to improve its visibility.

As you can see in the above images, Pixlr effectively uses captions to clearly tell users what the app does and how it functions.

7. Localize Your App

With over 2 billion active Android users all over the globe, offering your app in as many languages as possible also plays a vital role in getting your app featured on the Play Store.

Localizing your app into several languages is always a wise decision and can help increase your app’s chances of being featured on the Google Play Store.

Make sure to check this localization checklist provided by Google itself while you’re trying to make your Android app accessible to users all over the world.

8. Promote Your App Effectively

In addition to optimizing your app for the Google Play Store, promote your app on various social networks and tech platforms as much as possible.

Investing time and effort into promotion will not only help you get more downloads for your app but also will boost your app’s credibility across the web. Apps that attract users and buzz are more likely to catch the eye of Google Play Store who might feature it on a list

To promote your mobile app, you should:

  • Create an effective landing page for the app
  • Advertise your app with AdWords
  • Promote your app on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Publish reviews of your app on trusted tech publications like Android Authority and Android Central
  • Publish a press release to earn media coverage from outlets with high domain authority

These promotion efforts will give your app the best possible chance of success.

9. Establish Relationships With Influencers

Maintaining healthy, long-lasting relationships with influencers in your industry is also a key to getting your app featured on the Play Store.

Android developers should build a relationships with influencers by:

  • Connecting with Google Play Store managers and editors via LinkedIn
  • Getting in touch with your regional mobile solutions lead
  • Contacting a fellow developers and teams who are already featured

Cultivating a strong professional network can boost your visibility in a crowded industry.

10. Keep Your Ratings and Reviews High

User experience and user satisfaction have always been top priorities for Google. The Google Play Store Editorial Team considers these same factors when determining whether to feature an app.

If you thoroughly analyze the Play Store, you’ll find that more than 50% of featured apps have a rating of 4.5 or higher.

Higher ratings and reviews increase the chances of an app being featured.

So if you really want to get your app featured, make sure it has at least 50,000 downloads and a 4.5 rating.

To gain high numbers of downloads and improve your app ratings, you should:

  • Deliver outstanding user experience
  • Make your app free at aunch
  • Market your app as much as you can
  • Incentivize users to review your app
  • Motivate users to make referras
  • Invest in high-quaity, engaging content
  • Leverage infuencer and community outreach
  • Host a giveaway on socia media
  • Put a ink to your app in your email signature

Following these tips can attract users, generate reviews, and ultimately improve your app’s chances of landing on a featured list.

11. Keep Your App Up-to-Date

Google and users alike prefer apps that are frequently updated.

This doesn’t mean you need to add a completely new feature to your app every day. Instead, you should track problems users are facing with your app and provide solutions through regular updates.

Don’t forget to update your application on special occasions like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year. This is the perfect time for your app to get noticed since the Play Store editors are likely to curate a list of seasonal apps on special occasions.

For example, to celebrate the spirit of New Year, the Play Store editors are now curating the lists of Best Android Apps and Games of 2018.

App Developers Should Strive to Be Featured on the Google Play Store

By following these best practices, you can increase your chances of securing a reputable place in Google Play Store's featured section.

Above all, Android should prioritize delivering seamless user experience, an engaging user interface, and eye-catching marketing to achieve success on Google Play.

For additional assistance, you can always reach to a Google Certified Android Agency.


About the Author

Jay Malhotra HeadshotJay M. is an app developer and blogger working with iPraxa - Mobile App Development Company, who has proven expertise in resolving all the technical complexities involved in the development of innovative, unique websites and apps. He spends his spare time on the web to learn about the latest technologies and loves to share his knowledge with others through his content. Find out more on LinkedIn.

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