App Development, Thought Leaders

How to Get Your App Featured in the App Store

July 16, 2019

by Khloe Hunter

Digital Marketing Executive, Appverticals

In the face of rising competition, app developers are trying every tactic they can think of to get featured in app stores. If you’re facing this dilemma yourself, rest assured that there’s an easier solution. Focusing on just a few key elements will position you for success.

Both Google Play and Apple's App Store offer valuable potential to increase visibility and downloads for your product. As a digital marketer, I’ve learned through my professional experience that while no simple list of steps can ensure you get featured, thinking through a strategic plan will make your goals far more achievable.

In this guide, I'll delve deeper into 5 key points:

  1. Websites are critical for app visibility
  2. Prioritize error-free functionality and UX in your app
  3. Follow Apple’s guidelines
  4. Promote your app prior to launch
  5. App store optimization best practices

Why is Getting Your App Featured in the App Store So Important?

Having your mobile app featured in Google or Apple’s app stores increases your app's visibility, which allows your app to be seen by a wider audience. The degree of impact depends on several factors, such as your position in the app store, your region, price, and of course the app itself.

Being featured can increase sales and downloads by up to 300%. 

As shown in the image below, categories include “app of the day,” “game of the day,” and "best new apps." 

A screen capture of Apple's App Store for iOS


Before submitting your mobile product to the App Store or Google Play, make sure you’ve taken all the right measures to set yourself up for success. The following tips have a demonstrated impact.

1. Websites Are Critical For App Visibility

The factor that impacts product ratings the most in the app industry is having a great website. Despite the common sentiment that the internet has turned our world into a global village, in reality, we often fail to consider the benefits this advancement can drive from a business perspective. 

Websites offer countless ways to connect with target audiences, so not having an online platform will leave your app in isolation. 

If I wanted to buy the latest Air Jordan’s online, the first thing I’d do would be to look for a website or e-commerce platform with positive reviews and comments about its services. Why?

Personally, I would be very displeased if my sneakers turned out to be fake and off-brand. If I notice that your company doesn’t have a website, I will question its authenticity.

Both Apple and Google want to provide users with a great UX. Either one noticing that you don’t have a website will lower the chances of your app getting featured in their store.

2. Prioritize Error-Free App Functionality and UX

Apple will never feature an app that’s broken. Flawed apps that fail to provide a pleasant UX have very little chance of being featured in the App Store. 

Even if you think that you’ve done everything it takes to perfect your app, run it through automated and manual testing regardless. There’s always a risk of glitches or software bugs coming up, and it’s up to you to minimize error and optimize functionality. 

3. Follow Apple’s Guidelines

Michael Ehrenberg, a former App Store manager at Apple, knows a lot about how the App Store works and how it selects apps to be featured. 

Surprisingly, this process doesn’t involve a sophisticated algorithm. Every featured app is completely handpicked. Apple has about 155 distinct app stores, each with its own editorial teams, to make sure that featured apps truly speak to the interests of local users.

Apple likes apps that maintain the look and feel that distinguishes Apple from its rivals. Following the below tips can take you a long way in this journey:

  • Design like Apple: Apps that meet Apple's design standards have a higher chance of getting picked. Apple likes minimalistic and clean aesthetics.
  • Integrate Apple’s latest technology: Incorporating Apple’s own features and technology into your app can boost your chances of being featured on the front page.
  • Show your dedication to iOS: Build your app exclusively for iOS and make sure that it works on all iOS devices. This extra effort will show that you’re dedicated to Apple's iOS and prioritize them over Android. In simpler words, if you promote Apple, Apple will promote you. Stay in the know about their latest features and updates.

4. Promote Your App Prior to Launch

Before you pitch your app in the app store, make an effort to promote your product and increase its user rating. Check out the rating distribution in the app store:

A graph of how ratings are distributed across categories

As you can see in the graph above, about 44% of apps in the app store have a user rating of 4.5. Aim to maintain a rating between 4.5 and 5 stars. Attract editors’ attention by getting mentioned in “best-of” or “top 10” app listings.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are very popular for brand promotion. Posts that include videos and animations typically perform the best.  For example, if you’ve developed a game that you know deserves to be at the front page, create teaser videos to get people excited about playing it. 

Offline promotion is also a proven method to generate hype. Arrange meetings and seminars to let people try out your app and give it a review and rating. Attending gaming conferences hosted by Apple to network with more people. 

One of Apple’s favorite strategies is to pre-launch its products to build hype among their consumers. Doing things the Apple way is sure to attract extra attention. In addition to building anticipation, you can also get honest feedback that will enable you to further improve your app before the official launch.

Remember, it’s never too late to try guest posting. Contributing articles to a blog with high domain authority and web traffic will get more pairs of eyes on your content and product.

5. App Store Optimization Best Practices

Just like internet marketers use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to get noticed in Google’s search results, mobile application development companies use App Store Optimization (ASO) to rank in the App Store. Sadly, the algorithm for getting featured is unknown, however, there are certain factors that can affect your ranking accordingly.

Follow the below tips to increase your chances of getting featured:

  • Research and select keywords wisely
  • Use keywords in your title and make it descriptive
  • Avoid keyword stuffing in the description, which can incur penalties
  • Use high-quality images and preview video
  • Make use of the app store analytics

Following these best practices will earn your app more likes, downloads, and ratings, and will ultimately have a positive impact on how it ranks in the App Store.

Apply These Tips To Your Launch Strategy- Starting Today

Following the useful tips I’ve shared with you in this article, might not guarantee that your product will be featured, but it will certainly get you much closer to achieving your goal.

Think of your strategy as a living thing; it’s never fully complete.

Update your app on a consistent basis to maximize daily and monthly active users and keep your audience engaged and on board. Brainstorm creative ways to spark attention and secure new users, like offering discounts during the holiday season.

Adding something extra will keep your users wanting more. Once you’ve checked off all these items on the list, you’ll be ready to send in your pitch to Apple online or by emailing [email protected]

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