It sounds unbelievable, but every day, more than 2000 new apps are submitted to the iTunes App Store. Apple’s App Store is a huge mall that brings together hundreds of millions of iOS users around the world.

However, these users are not only buyers, but developers as well. Unfortunately, the App Store is a huge haystack in which your application (a small needle) may get lost.

It’s important to design your application so it stands out from the competition. The key to success is getting your app onto the first page of the App Store. It is hard, but definitely possible, if you use some of these handy tips, which will help your app be featured and seen in the App Store.


Your app is in your hands


Most obvious things remain in the shadows, but this concerns the qualitative component of your product as well. For the success you should to:

1.   Develop the app to be high quality. Remember that the App Store is a huge mall and there is no room for low-quality products. Make your mobile app great (with popular product features, without bugs, etc.) and you will earn Apple’s trust. 

2.   Make a universal app. It’s great if your app works for all iOS products. Show Apple that you are trying to build a good relationship with them.

3.   Build for iOS only or first. Show your loyalty to Apple in order to gain Apple’s support.

4.   Update your app. Frequent updates is a good tool to improve your ratings and earn a feature spot. Apple always reconsiders account ratings and changes after updates. If your app is improved with the latest updates, you can find it in Best New Updates. This is a great opportunity to get an app featured. Also, you should use seasonal updates. Gift-giving holidays are the best time to show off your app. Use seasonal content and holiday themes in your design, change up your creativity, and don’t forget that there are many holidays and celebrations outside your country too!

5.   Release app on Wednesday or Tuesday. Every Thursday, the App Store posts new curated lists. Therefore, if you release your app before Thursday, it has a better chance of not being buried in the pile. Apps released right after Thursday will wait another week and there is a high risk that it will disappear among the thousands of other apps.

6.   Highlight where your app is made. If you are a non-American developer, you shouldn’t hide your origins. You will gain the support of local users and have a chance to get your app featured around the tendency of local users’ preferences if you are upfront about your location.


Apple’s requirements – are your needs


Do you want your app to be chosen as a featured product? If so, you should understand how Apple chooses apps to feature. Apple uses a handpicked method; more specifically, local editorial teams determine the best and most relevant apps each week. This is the way App Store works, so it doesn’t matter how good your app is, if the team has a different opinion, based on user needs, then your app will not be chosen as a featured item.

There is no exact formula for this process, but there is a general set of requirements:

1.   Design. Apple is very anxious about device design and user perception. Therefore, Apple wants to advertise apps that fit their aesthetic. Your app should show off the advantages and power of Apple devices and hardware. You will have a better chance of your app being featured if it follows the Apple design guidelines and prioritizes clean, smart design.

2.   Downloads. This is the most substantial requirement. If you want your app to be successful, it should get featured. However, before that happens, your app must have a considerable number of downloads. There are many tools you can use to increase downloads. Furthermore, there are two types of downloads:

  • paid. These downloads can be generated by third-party companies. The most popular are: AppthisTapticaMobcoTapjoy, and others. The average budget is over $1000 per month. You can select non-incentive, incentive or referral type traffic. It depends on traffic efficiency. You can also choose different payment models, such as CPI (Cost-Per-Install) or CPA (Cost-Per-Action). In the first case, you will get a high volume of downloads, but a low quality of installs. In the second – not so high of a volume, but they will be high-quality downloads;
  • organic. These downloads are achieved with thoughtful PR and marketing campaigns, ASO (app store optimization), and various other tools, such as correct localization, analytics (for example, Apple’s App Analytics), and A/B testing.

Different types of downloads should be mixed; for instance, 60-70% organic and referral non-incentive traffic and 30-40% incentive with CPI model. This will increase general awareness and boost the ranking of your app.

3.   Apple’s latest features. Besides the compatibility of your app with Apple’s aesthetic and products, you can also target compatibility with Apple’s marketing strategy. This means that you can focus your app concept on Apple’s latest technologies, such as 3D touch.

4.   Localization. There are 155 App Stores around the world, and each of them has a regional curation team. Therefore, if you localize your product for different markets, your app will have a better chance of being featured, as each curation team carries out an independent selection of apps for local users.

5.   Relationship with Apple. Remember that features are chosen by people, so you have to build relationships with them and with someone at Apple. Become a familiar name and product to them. You can also use a number of other tools:

  • social media. You can find the contact info of Apple team members via LinkedIn. Use filters to find people responsible for your app stores and Rapportive or FullContact to find their emails;
  • direct сommunication. Send a developer to Cupertino. It’s rather extreme, but also a worthwhile way to get contacts.  

6.   Ratings. When choosing apps for featured positions, Apple considers a lot of performance metrics, and user rating is one of them. Target your user ratings to 4.5 or higher.


Marketing and PR strategies


The correct marketing strategy will help you reach your goal faster. You can use the following:

Promotional tools inside the app and the App Store

First of all, you should optimize your app store listing. Correct and tasty description, as well as nice screenshots, will drive active users to your app. Use the App Store guidelines to get more information about ASO (App Store Optimization).

You can also use another promotional tool – show an Apple device in your promo. Apple likes people who like Apple. This is a good tactic if you use a promo of your app featured on an Apple device or show off Apple’s latest technology in some way.

Media tools and PR

Coverage in media around the web should increase your odds of being featured. Contact bloggers, tech journalists and use-ranking websites, such as Alltop, can help you identify relevant sources to talk about your product. You can also use tech blogs that Apple editors follow, like TechCrunchMashable or other regional or local popular tech resources.

Promotion by Apple

It sounds difficult, but it is possible. The App Store’s marketing team is seeking the best content all the time, so you can simply ask Apple directly for promotion. Just email them at: 

Some tips for your email:

  • should be short;
  • should contain a great, but brief, story about your app;
  • attach a video of your app in action;
  • highlight any specific features of Apple that are included;
  • ask for any feedback about your app.

Follow Apple

This tool affects marketing indirectly, but it can affect the development of marketing strategy. Stay up-to-date on the latest curation strategies of Apple by following them on Twitter. Use @AppStore and @AppStoreGames accounts.

Control and “surf” the actions and specific topics that are curated by Apple.

Be on the top

You have to remember that getting featured is not the ultimate goal. An email from Apple with an invitation is not the end of your journey; it is only the start and the beginning of getting a return on investments and making money. Being featured means that your app will receive a significant volume of downloads and instant visibility. This is an effective method for putting a high-quality, well-promoted app in front of future potential users.

Get moving and focus on retaining your users from Day One. However, remember that you should avoid getting featured too early because initially, your app doesn’t have enough strength to hold a large audience of users and in the growth period, it may lose the majority of them.

We have tried to collect the most common tips that will help your mobile application be featured. We might have missed something, so it would be awesome if you would share your experience or your thoughts about the information above.