You’ve got a hot new app, you’ve just polished of the last line of code, and you’re finally ready for release. More than release actually, you
want need to rank highly in the Apple app store to make sure you get adoption rates that make all the sacrifice worth it. Easier said than done, as the “rules” for getting a high ranking in the app store are largely secret and change often. Luckily, a pair of studies have recently been released that shed light on the process and can help you crack the top 10, and even the top 5.
Readdle, developer of Calendars 5, Scanner Pro as well as many other apps, and app research company Distimo released data and case studies that shine a light on the otherwise mysterious world of app store ranking. Their results differ slightly, but paint largely the same picture. Between the two, it takes between 3,500 and 4,000 daily downloads, as well as a 4.5+ star ranking to get into the Top 10 U.S. Paid iPhone app list. To move above the Top 10 and into the Top 5 requires two or more times the number of downloads. Almost 7,000 daily downloads can grab you the #4 ranking for an iPhone app, but all the way up to a #2 iPad app.
But downloads themselves are not the full picture. There is also an inertia factor that can help your app stay highly ranked, or keep you from cracking the Top 10. The first few days are extremely important to achieving a high ranking. Basically, momentum will either help you or hurt you, and charging out of the gates is your only option for cracking the top 5. On the flip side, a one-day push or drop-off of downloads won’t move you up or down the rankings, as it takes sustained performance either way to move your ranking.
As with all things involving the App store, these “rules of the road” could change at any time, but for now these metrics are your goal if you need a high ranking in the store.
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