How to Get Your App Featured in the App Store or Google Play Store

Chris Ciligot
Chris Ciligot  |  July 10, 2019

Once the app development process is completed and your mobile product is ready to hit the market, all focus shifts to marketing and promoting your app.

Sticking out in a saturated market is enough of a challenge on its own, let alone hoping to acquire users who will download an app and engage with it.

Having a proper mobile app marketing strategy will not only help you boost downloads but attract engaged users as well. With promotion impacting downloads and user acquisition it’s easy to see how marketing plays an important role in the success of your app. Marketing an app is often expensive; however, their are organic marketing opportunities that exist and should be taken full advantage of to give yourself that little boost.

How to get your app featured (and why you want to) 

Getting featured in an app store is a great tool for app marketers to utilize within their marketing strategy. Being featured offers a greater potential for apps to increase visibility and downloads which can result in lower acquisition costs, more engaged users, and increased revenue organically.

With reports that Apple’s App store has nearly 2 million apps available for download in the App Store and over 2 million available in the Google Play store, the competition for getting noticed by editors is heated. While there is no proven method to get featured, there are app marketing tactics you can leverage to improve your chances.

statista chart on app downloads on each store

Graph courtesy of Statista

Why should I care about being featured?

To put it simply, organically obtaining a featured spot in either store will have a positive impact on conversions. In a saturated market where businesses are fighting for the same users, being featured is an effective means to increase visibility amongst potential users. For instance, receiving an Editors' Choice badge can increase app downloads by four times

Related: Read 35 eye-opening app statistics to learn more about the importance of app visibility! 

For those interested in attracting niche users, getting featured in a niche feature placement like one of Apple’s themed lists, can help convert users who have an actual interest in your content. Acquiring these users typically results in a loyal user base which leads to higher retention and engagement rates; key success metrics. Furthermore, with increased visibility comes more downloads, which results in lower acquisition costs and increased revenue. 

Sensor Tower editors' choice badge download index chart

Graph courtesy of Sensor Tower

The App Store

Most recently the App Store announced its latest update in iOS 13. Similar to its previous iteration, this version places heavy importance on personalized discoverability. Through various tabs (i.e. Game of the Day) and themed lists (curated lists of apps pertaining to a specific topic, healthy eating for example) users are sure to find apps that are of particular interest to them. Furthermore, the store introduces users to apps based on user preferences, previous behaviors and data, should the user choose to share this information with Apple.

Here are five tactics that you can easily put to practice to increase the chances editors will choose your app to be featured. 

1. Error-free functionality

App Store editors are looking to promote apps that offer a superior experience when compared to similar apps. Before submitting to the App Store ensure your app is intuitive to use and is free of any bugs that negatively impact the user experience. Furthermore, It's important to keep your app up-to-date by adding new features and adapting to users’ evolving needs. 

2. Native is king

Apple will obviously favor featuring apps that are specifically developed for iOS, rather than cross-platform. You should focus your efforts on iOS development and build a native iOS app. Native iOS apps also typically provide a better user experience when compared to hybrid apps that neglect the user experience in an effort to be functional across various platforms.

3. Promote Apple

A standard practice for businesses wanting to be featured in the App Store is to align their goals with Apple’s objectives. For example, if Apple is promoting an API, you could build a product that leverages this new API. 

TIP: Check out the highest-rated API marketplace software! 

See the Easiest-to-Use API Marketplace Software →

A good place to start is by keeping an eye on Apple’s annual WWDC event and on their software and hardware update schedule to keep up to date on their latest technologies. It is also a good idea to make your app compatible with other Apple products like the iPad and Apple Watch.

Chances are if you advocate for Apple and promote their products, they’ll be more willing to return the gesture.

4. App Store optimization

App Store optimization is the process of optimizing your app store listing so that your app ranks higher in search results. The higher your app ranks, the more visible it is to potential users. Ultimately, the increased visibility should lead to more downloads, which will help get your app noticed by editors.

The two main factors that affect your optimization are your title and keywords. Keywords refer to words that are frequently used by your target audience when searching. These should be strategically placed throughout your listing so you show up when users search for those words. Secondly, the keyword you place in your title should be the one with the heaviest search traffic. After all, the title of your app is the first thing potential users see. 

TIP: Find the best App Store optimization software on the market today! 

Find the Best App Store Optimization Software →

5. Pitch to App Store editors

Pitching is a useful tactic if carried out persuasively. Your pitch should include a detailed description of what your app does and what its unique value proposition is. Apple accepts pitch emails to a formalized messaging system AppStore.com/Promote, which is accessible through your Apple ID.

Google Play

Similar to the App Store, Google Play’s main concern is making discoverability easy, allowing users to find apps that truly fulfill their unique needs. Google features apps on 3 main lists Popular, New, and Curated. While these lists may not be as niche as Apple’s themed lists, these lists do include Editor’s Choice and Top Developer lists giving recognition to developers who have developed outstanding products.

Here are four practices that you can easily use to increase your chances of being featured in the Google Play Store. 

1. Refine functionality and efficiency

If your aim is to get on that Editor’s Choice list, or any list for that matter, it is essential you meet Google’s quality and functionality requirements.

Before submitting to the Play Store test your app against Android’s App Quality Guidelines. These guidelines provide developers with best practices that will lead to an improved overall user experience. The guidelines also provide insight into what is required for an app to be considered to be placed in the featured section. Following these guidelines will help you perfect the functionality of your app, ensuring that you deliver the best user experience possible.

2. Localization

It has been noted that Android has a larger market share than Apple globally. Due to the wide range of users that this market share produces, apps that aren’t restricted to a specific geographical location tend to perform better. It is suggested you try to make your app available in multiple languages as this helps to create an engaging experience for users of all different cultures.

3. Leverage latest Google products

Google holds its I/O developer conference annually where they introduce new products and technologies for developers. 

TIP: Learn all about android app development with 17 app development tips from the experts!

Keep your eye on this conference to see what exciting new products and technologies could possibly be integrated with your app, for example leveraging Google Assistant or Android Pay. Becoming an early adopter of these technologies increases your chances of being featured.

4. Keep ratings high

Ratings and reviews are reflective of your user experience. When potential users first look at your app, chances are they use ratings and reviews to influence their decision on if they should download it or not. Similarly Apple editors implement the same decision-making process when it comes to deciding if they should feature a particular app. Apple is more likely to feature an app that is doing well than one that is suffering.

Developers should encourage their users to submit reviews, be diligent in managing and seeking to resolve negative reviews, and should keep communication channels open to field user feedback. Want to find the best Android app developers? Check out our extensive list! 

Find the best Android Developers, FREE →

Next steps for getting your app featured

While it’s easy to assume that only well established apps have a chance of being featured, both app stores are making notable attempts to feature and promote apps from small publishers as well. Although getting featured is never a guarantee, using the practices listed above will increase the likelihood editors will notice your app.

Should you be successful in securing a featured spot, keep a record of your current downloads and track all of the downloads you recieve after the feature. Not only will this help you measure the success rate of the feature, it will also ensure you keep those users top of mind, doing what you can to stay focused on retaining those users.

Want to learn more? Read up on 47 key ways to market your app for maximum visibility! 

Read more: 47 Ways to Market an App  →

Chris Ciligot
Author

Chris Ciligot

Chris is a Marketing Assistant at Clearbridge Mobile, a mobile app development company helping companies build better relationships with customers by delivering best-in-class mobile app experiences. He writes about all things related to mobile app development, UX/UI, strategy, and marketing. In his spare time Chris can be found with a guitar in his hand, jamming along to his favorite tunes.