How To Get Your App Featured in the App Store and Google Play?

Introduction

When the whole app development process is finished and your application is basically complete, you have to face one more challenge - “Promotion”. As you probably know getting featured in either App Store or Google Play might be troublesome - the competition for these spots is fierce. While there is no formula for this, you can certainly help your application in more than a few ways. In the article below I will try to show you some of the best practices which might increase your app’s chances to get featured in the App Store or Google Play.

App Store

Getting successfully submitted in the App Store is very often a tough task. Well, getting featured is even harder.

About 40k new apps appear in the App Store every month (while Google Play doesn’t share their metrics it is fair to assume that their numbers are not worse, if not better)

In order to give yourself a fighting chance for getting featured in the App Store or Google Play you should consider following the below tips:

1. High Quality

That’s the very first step - make sure that the app you want to get featured by the App Store is the highest quality one. It should be simple, intuitive and useful. Why would App Store’s engineers choose to promote a flawed product? Before thinking about being featured try to eliminate any possible bugs from your app. Also, remember to follow Apple's design guidelines.

2. Go Native

As I said in one of my previous articles - “Native vs Hybrid app development”, in the end building a native app is the way to go. Apple wants applications created exclusively for them, not cross-platform ones. If you want to fight for being featured in the App Store - focus on iOS platform and build a tailor-made native app.

3. Be Apple friendly

Make the app available to all the possible Apple products (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch etc.). It won’t only broaden your potential audience, but also show Apple that you are really committed to developing great iOS applications.

There is more. Apple is known for being one of the most innovative companies in the world. They work on some new features all the time, so don’t miss on this opportunity. Whenever this is the case try to make it work for your app (3D touch technology or Apple Pencil might be good examples - Apple wants to promote their new features).

4. Use foreign markets

At a first glance localizing your app doesn’t sound very enticing, but this move might give you an easier access to a huge audience - you will make your app available in a bigger number of countries. Of course, some markets are more attractive than the others, but I still think it’s worth it.

5. Keep it up to date

Apple has a really soft spot in their hearts for frequently updated apps - use this knowledge as an advantage. Systematically add new features or small patches to your application and both Apple engineers and your users will appreciate it. It’s New Year's Eve? Make a special update for this occasion!

6. Good app description

Even a really great quality product probably won’t get featured in the App Store with a poor app description. It’s one of the most important parts of the promotion process. Take your time to write an enticing and informative description which will spark user’s interest and don’t forget about high quality screenshots. All these are must-take steps if you think about getting featured in the App Store.

7. Make a pitch

As you can imagine, Apple gets thousands of emails which try to advertise mobile apps and get them featured. Don’t underestimate this tactic, though. Writing a short and to the point message might sometimes do the work - there is no risk and a small, but still, chance of a high reward here.

8. Buzz

Try to promote your mobile app before and after the launch. More downloads and good rates (assuming your application is a high quality one) will increase your chances of getting featured in the App Store.

9. Follow the App Store marketing guidelines

Apple offers some marketing tips regarding  the app’s design, technical requirements and more. If you think about getting featured in the App Store, meeting them is a must so make sure you follow them closely.

Examples of mobile apps featured in the App Store:

Those are some of the most important steps to follow when you think about getting featured in the App Store. What next, then?

Google Play

Let’s now focus on Google Play but remember that most of the tips are applicable to both stores and the overall  approach is very similar.

1. Make your mobile app Android-friendly

When you think about getting featured in Google Play, you should design the app tailor-made for Android, so it doesn't look like it belongs to the App Store. It goes without saying  that Google doesn’t want to support their competition. To get featured your application should have a unique Android  look and feel (check the Material Design).

2. Use new technologies

Google Play will be more eager to support apps which integrate with their new products. If you see any new feature developed by Google, try to implement it in your app. Using this tip will greatly increase your chances of being featured in Google Play. Telegram might be a good example here - they started to support Android Marshmallow fingerprint device as soon as it appeared.

3. Social media marketing

Promote the mobile app in your social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.) - communicate with your potential audience and let them know that the new and shiny app is ready for download.

4. Technical requirements

Before even thinking about getting featured in Google Play you will have to be sure that you are meeting all their technical requirements. A good software house should take care of that step, so  hopefully  you don’t need to  worry too much.

Examples of mobile apps featured in Google Play:

All other tips are the same for both stores. A high quality app integrated with all the new features of either iOS or Android, meeting all the technical requirements of a given platform, properly marketed (social media, content marketing etc.) and systematically updated will give you a reasonable chance of being featured in the App Store or Google Play.

Remember though - while being featured can do great things for your app -it’s only temporary. If the users find it really useful, sooner or later it will get downloads.

Summary:

Although there is no magic formula to get featured in either of the stores you should definitely try to increase your chances by using the above hints. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t. You shouldn’t forget though - a well-promoted, high-quality product will eventually be found (even if you’re not lucky enough to get featured). Want to know more or need help building an app, just drop me a line at krzysztof.marszalek@rst-it.com or visit our website.