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10 Tips for Getting Featured in the iTunes App Store and Google Play

Tips & Tricks

10 Tips for Getting Featured in the iTunes App Store and Google Play

Misspran December 9, 2013

Any marketer or developer with an app dreams of getting featured in the Google Play and iTunes App Store. Considering most consumers are still discovering apps through these two major app stores, getting featured in one or both gives a huge boost for user acquisition. And with 998,340  apps currently available in the App Store and even more in Google Play, it’s easy for your app to get lost in the shuffle. That’s why app developers and marketers aim to learn the art of App Store Optimization (ASO) and hope to figure out a secret recipe for getting featured.  Having the coveted spot of being featured puts your app in the spotlight. It immediately guarantees a lot of eyeballs on your app. So what does one have to do to get featured? Here are some tips:

Great UX/ UI and screenshots.
The competition for the app store is so high now that your app must be beautiful. Images and visuals are very important. It is a big influential factor as to whether people will download your app. Apple and Google will only pick the apps that make their store look good. The screenshots have to clearly show the UX/UI of the app and visually describe how easy it is to use.

Beautiful icon.
Icons for apps are like clothes on a mannequin in the store front  or the cover of a book, it can determine if a person will be interested in clicking or not. That being said, Apple and Google will most definitely not feature an app with an ugly icon. Each icon influences the overall look of the app store and the attractiveness of the icon does carry weight  for app store editors.

Follow the Google and Apple best practices guidelines for apps.
They’re written for a reason. It’s so you’ll know what these companies look for in a featured app. Why not put it to use and follow the standards?

Media coverage.
You’ll need to build some hype for your app. Have a launch page to get people excited about the app’s release. Create some buzz then when the app is launched, many people interested will get notification about it at once and download and review it in a close time frame. This will help propel it to the top and get noticed by Google and Apple.

Keywords, category, & description. 
Research the type of keywords your consumers would search for and what your competitors use. There are services like SearchMan.com, MobileDevHQ, and SensorTower that can help with keyword management. This will help with app store optimization which will increase your chances of getting featured, especially for Google Play. Be clear about what your app does and what devices it’s compatible with. Use keywords to help people search for you but it still has to sound like natural language. Just like SEO, keyword stuffing might hurt you. You want to make your app searchable for both bots and people. For both app category and keywords, the less competitive it is, the easier it is to rank for. So pick a category that’s relevant and not as competitive and try to rank for that.

High ratings & good reviews. 
The key signals Apple looks at for featuring an app is how quickly it’s gaining popularity and how people feel about it. Do people like it? There’s no better signal than high ratings and good reviews. Incentivize your users to to rate and review it. This is especially important for the early ratings and reviews. Velocity matters so if people rate and reviews within a shorter time frame on its release, the higher your chances are of getting featured.

Use their technology. 
List carefully what devices your app is compatible with. It does help to be more compatible with their latest releases. Apple and Google prefer to feature an app that has both a tablet and phone version because it speaks to a wider range of their consumers.

Paid or has monetization potential.
Apps that have value to Apple and Google will be of greater interest to them. Every company wants to make money, so if there is a monetization method for the app, the app will have a higher chance of being published since the stores gets revenue share.

The app editorial team is after all a group of people at Apple and Google. They get bombarded by hundreds of app submissions everyday. If you manage to network and find a way to demonstrate your app in front of them, that might help. However, most people don’t have this privilege so following their app submission guidelines may be the best bet.

Have an awesome app. 
This sounds obvious but it must be emphasized. Having a great product to market is everything. Your app has to have value to Apple or Google’s customers. What is its appeal? How is it novel? If you build a great app people will more likely champion it and tell others. If it’s full of bugs, people will uninstall it and that will hurt your ranking and would definitely prevent you from getting featured.

You have to see how to present your app in a way that will benefit their store and their customers. The Google Play and iTunes App Store was created to sell apps to their consumers. The higher the popularity and quality, the more revenue share they’ll get from downloads and the more it will help phone sales for Apple and Google. They want to feature apps that will benefit them. To get featured, think like them and it’ll benefit you as well. Patrick Mork, former Marketing Director at Google Play advised the audience at AppNation on how to get featured,

“To get featured, look at your product. Do homework on who your competitors are. What can you introduce that’s novel? Understanding the difference between the 2 platforms and give a good user proposition.”

Getting featured in Google Play or iTunes App Store will do tremendous wonder for your app. However, even if you follow all of the above tips, nothing is for certain. You can have a great app and follow all the steps, guidelines, and still not get featured. The editorial team is human and they might let your app slip under their radar. Luckily, you can still have a successful app without being featured.



Vi Tran
Contributing Editor
Lover of all things marketing, tech, and startups related. Currently she's a writer at CircleClick and MobileFOMO. Previously, she worked at ApartmentList.com, Esurance, and 500 Startups.
Follow me on twitter @misspran

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