The App Store is worth millions of dollars to Apple and its app providers each year, and it is one of a select few technologies that really came out of nowhere in recent times. The iPhone and iPad would undoubtedly not be as popular as they are today without the efforts of the legions of software providers and programmers that deploy more apps every day.
The App Store is packed with fantastic ways to personalise your device, but it is highly competitive. Over 14,000 new apps and updates hit the App Store each week. This means that the most challenging part of realising an income from an app is not creating the software, but letting people know that it exists. You can Tweet about it, pass out review copies to relevant websites and put massive banners on your website, and there is a chance that you will gain some traction. However, being featured by Apple’s editors in the App Store is the kind of exposure that money cannot buy. People who see these recommendations have been conditioned to trust the opinions of editors – only good quality apps are recommended – and in reading these features, the audience is already ready and willing to try something new.
A lot can go into an app’s marketing plan, but the exposure of a featured page and potentially being endorsed on the homepage can be worth vast amounts of revenue alone. Not every app can be featured, but it is worth getting into the mindset of thinking you might be straight from the planning stage.
1. Design a Quality App
As noted, part of what makes exposure in the App Store so lucrative is that editors are discerning about what they recommend. In only spotlighting quality apps, they have built trust with their audience. If your app simply is not very good, it stands no chance of gaining the benefits of being featured.
2. Develop Natively
Whether building the app yourself or bringing in hired help, it is worth designing specifically for the Apple ecosystem. It is fine to develop a separate Android version as well, but that is outside the scope of this feature. Ideally, you want to take full advantage of the possibilities open to apps in iOS with a focus on usability and the correct use of gestures as found in Apple’s own software.
3. The Endorsement can Work Both Ways
You want Apple to place their seal of approval on your product, so it makes sense to reciprocate. Some apps are not suitable for anything specific, but if you can promote Apple products or add dedicated functionality like AirPlay or Apple TV support, featuring your app can be beneficial to both parties.
4. Keep Updates Coming
Apple’s editors like to feature fresh, current content. You should be providing updates and support as standard, especially for a paid app, but these updates ensure that you are always making the best and most current use of available technologies. If your app can showcase what a device can do unlike anything else out there, Apple’s team will be impressed.
5. Optimise Your App Store Listing
It is rare to gain Apple’s official recognition without an established userbase, and editors like to know that your app has been well-received already. To do this, you need to do everything in your power to encourage downloads, and the first step is conversions. Tweak images, videos and the overall layout of your store page to ensure that anyone that arrives on your app’s listing will have to download and love it.
6. Remember the App Equivalent of SEO
When you crave downloads, the App Store can be considered as a single closed search engine. It works on algorithms and artificial intelligence, just as Google does with webpages. It is, therefore, worth taking the time to optimise the text on your app’s page to ensure that it ranks as highly as it possibly can in the App Store when users search for specific terms.
7. Ratings Matter
We have never seen an app with a one-star rating being featured by Apple, and that makes perfect sense. Once again, quality matters to the editors and their job is to seek out apps that will make the lives of customers easier or better. The number of users matters, but the number of satisfied customers is arguably even more critical, and you should do everything in your power to maintain an average rating of over 4 stars.
8. Consider External Promotion
The people in charge of deciding whether your app will be featured work with downloads and ratings – they are not interested in how you encouraged such a large number of downloads. The App Store is a great way to get eyes on your product – that is the end goal of all these tips, after all. However, anything and everything you have learned about sales and marketing related to apps and anything else can be employed here to keep the numbers up.
9. Be Prepared for a Feature
If your app is truly outstanding and ground-breaking, there is every chance that Apple’s editors will approach you. If you believe you stand a chance, then it is worth being prepared. They will require graphics, potentially unique icons and other visual materials to accompany the featured listing and you do not want to be scrambling around finding a designer – especially if there is a relatively short deadline to the offer.
10 Make a Pitch
If you are not fortunate enough to be approached directly, do not be afraid to do it the other way around. If you feel your app is in a strong position and aligns with what editors seek to achieve, then be ready to make a pitch. It is just as hard to get noticed, as it is a relatively small team and thousands of applications come in. Nevertheless, quality sells and you can judge your own chances.