How to get featured in app stores? Guide with pros and cons
All publishers and developers strive for getting featured in the App Store or on Google Play. A boost in organic installs and millions of page views – who doesn’t dream of it? In the first quarter of 2020, the total number of installs in the App Store and on Google Play was approximately 33.6 billion. Standing out among so many apps is crucial. Let’s talk about how to get featured and what subtleties should be taken so that the editors won’t miss your app.
Criteria on Editors’ Choice in app stores
Getting featured is getting chosen by editors to be a part of a thematic collection in the App Store or on Google Play. This is the first thing users see when they open a store homepage. You can find out your app is the App of the Day, Game of the Day, Selected App, Editor’s Choice, or featured in a useful native article, or that your app made it into the chart leaders by one of the Games categories. By getting featured, you will land on a store homepage for free simply because you made a great app and deserve a promotion. And because you meet special requirements and bring profit to the store too.
To get featured, you need to follow the store rules and make editors like your app. Before moving on to the technical requirements each of the stores has, let’s look at the general unspoken rules:
- App quality, no crashes
Everything is simple here – forget about getting featured if your app has yet much to improve. First, you need to make a competitive product and only then you should consider promoting it to a wide audience.
- Frequent updates
An app that hasn’t been updated for ages will not make an editor want it to be included in a collection. There must be a clear sign of activity on the app page. On a separate note, Apple encourages developers to use the latest Swift version and integrate Apple APIs.
- Neat and beautiful app page
Visually appealing graphics, icons, screenshots, videos – take care of user experience and make sure you hone the design of both the app and its store page to perfection. Both stores prefer beautiful UI and UX that is easy to understand. For inspiration, look through the featured apps to see what others in your category have come up with.
The localization level and being available in many countries is important, especially for games.
- Financial success
The stores make money from apps, it’s not a secret; therefore, your product financial success is crucial. Some experts point out that stores favor subscriptions over other non-consumable in-app purchases.
- Ratings and reviews
As a rule, the stores do not even bother to consider a rating below 4-4.5, so take care of your users and make sure you respond to reviews. Before getting featured, adjust a pop-up in your app to appear at a convenient moment and ask users to leave reviews.
I have always had a positive featuring experience, except for the case when we didn’t increase the limits on our servers and people couldn’t download our fairy tales. But the problem was quickly resolved. Getting featured is always a bonus – free advertising from Apple or Google. From the users’ perspective, it looks solid. The only thing is users who come from featured pay less willingly than ones from search.
Before filling out a featuring form, you need to make sure that the app page and all the metrics are in order. If the are mistakes in the text, then the likelihood of getting featured is reduced. That is, you need to go for a featuring with a good product. Also, people often don’t know what to write in a form and how to grab the editor’s attention. Here you need to include all your writing talent and combine the wow effect with specifics. Some developers only write about how cool they are, but they don’t explain what exactly is unique about them. It looks like cheap advertising. The formula is: say that you are cool + show where and explain why + spice it up with interesting stories and events.
How to get Apple to feature your app?
The most important stage is checking your app for compliance with the store. First, look at the official Apple developer’s guide that describes all the requirements that should be met before you upload an app to App Store.
Then check ASO: is everything okay with text and graphic ASO? Is your app localized?
Are you sure everything is fine now and you can make yourself visible to the world? Then it’s time to fill out an app form. Note: use English only.
Once you enter your details, you will get a notification that the editorial team would like to know more of your new app or game, any significant update, or in-app event. To be considered for promotion in App Store, provide as much information as possible and fill out all the app fields at least two weeks in advance. Experts and developers who have already gone this way advise to set a time of 6 to 8 weeks as the featured page might not be compiled fast. There is no exact timeframe for response. This is also why it may be worthwhile to set enough time.
It is very important to specify the exact release date since it can’t be shifted. Take enough time at each stage of getting ready so as not to spoil your relationship with the store and use any opportunity to get featured. It’s important to take into account that stores plan their publications. Hence, if you’re preparing a thematic update for some public holiday, then you need to send your app form two months in advance. Besides, if you want an update to get featured, then it must be really large-scale in terms of content.
Tip: add the Support button to your app to prevent users from telling you about their painful experiences through low ratings and reviews. This may help you reduce bad ratings. If something goes wrong after you get featured with huge traffic volume, a part of your audience won’t overwhelm you with one-star ratings but send you messages through Support.
We’d also like you to make sure you don’t just copy and paste your app description in the fields like Describe Your App. List all the features and benefits briefly and precisely. You can get creative and write a short essay about your product in the Your Story field. Do your best here – this is where the editors get attentive and dive deeper into the topic. You need to make them like you and provide a good explanation of why you are special and helpful from the audience perspective.
How to get an app featured on Google Play?
Google is just as demanding as App Store, so most advice above will work. The store now has its own app form.
You also may want to pay attention to events and showcases on Google since you can often get to know the editors there or be remembered for your good presentation, and then, accordingly, get featured. The thing is that Google considers conversion rates per install, so a decrease in conversion after you get featured can turn into a disaster since the store will lower your search ranking greatly.
Getting featured is often associated with a boost in organic installs, but this is not always the case. The main disadvantage of getting featured is a multiple drop in app conversion since lots of users who may not be interested can now see the app. Such events can impact you greatly, especially on Google Play where algorithms are very attentive to app conversion, which may affect rankings. There’ve been cases when featured apps lost a lot of traffic from reviews for this very reason. To make sure you will successfully get featured it may be necessary to be reasonable when assessing your app quality, market demand, and availability.
Pros and cons of getting featured
As you’ve understood getting featured is not a universal solution. The cons are:
- server load – check if you can handle large volumes of traffic;
- poor-quality installs – many will want to look at your app just to uninstall it later.
Nevertheless, there’re more pros:
- free ads;
- your app will get more popular due to the increase in installs;
- the dynamics of installs has a good influence on search ranking;
- if your app was chosen as the app of the day, this is an excellent news opportunity to cover (site, press release and other activities).
Some extra tips
Once you get featured, consolidate your success with ads to smooth out the drop in installs. We’ve already told you about Apple Search Ads. Check it out if you haven’t used this advertising tool yet.
Keep improving your ASO. Check your competitors frequently, especially those who got featured too. Analyze what they have that you’re missing. With Checkaso and Comparative Analysis in particular, you can notice the gaps in an accessible way and fix them anytime to achieve the best results in promoting your app in both app stores.
Stay tuned for Apple updates. The new iOS 14 will be released in the fall of 2020. Apart from dozens of innovations, there will be feature cards. This means that search results will include editors’ collections. It’s not very good news for top apps by keywords since they will now technically move lower. But it’s good news for apps that get featured.
8 features of iOS 14 that will affect ASO and marketing
Getting featured is a powerful promo for your app. You’ll get more views and organic installs, but app conversion shouldn’t drop. Encourage as many users as possible to go all the way through and install your app. Get ready properly and double-check everything in the application form, from your server and the screenshot to the story about your product.