App store ranking

If an app’s discoverability is low, this will result in fewer impressions and limited growth.
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What is App Store Ranking

App Store ranking has multiple meanings, the first is ‘keyword ranking’ which is the position of an app within the search results page and the second is an app’s ranking in two other charts of the App Store.

Those are:

1. the Top chart which is a chart of all the top apps divided into free and paid

2. within Category charts where it’s possible to go into specific category charts and see the top apps for that category

Apple guards the exact details of how it ranks apps but we do know some of the ‘text relevance and user behaviour’ factors that influence the App Store algorithm which we outline below.

Why App Store Ranking is Important

Discoverability depends on an app’s ranking in the App Store. If an app’s discoverability is low, this will result in fewer impressions and limited growth which isn’t the winning formula app developers/marketers are looking for. It is therefore crucial for an app to rank highly if, in search results and charts (top and category specific.), it’s to rise above the other thousands or millions of apps just like it. 

The App Store algorithm takes many factors into account. Experts don’t have details on all the factors or how much weight the ones they do know are attributed to each one, but by taking the below into account, an app stands a good chance to rank well in the search results / specific categories. Known ranking factors include:

  • Listing performance (install velocity: how well the app converts first time installs) in the Top and Category charts. A healthy amount of downloads will contribute to an app ranking for a number of terms. Industry experts understand this is one of the leading factors in how an app ranks.
  • Metadata keywords in title / keyword field (the hidden-from-user keyword field isn’t used on Google Play, it’s unique to the App Store)
  • Retention rate. App developers want a high app retention rate to rank well. If users uninstall an app quickly this can be detrimental to its overall ranking position.
  • CVR. Conversion rate is a valuable measure for an app’s ranking.
  • App ratings on a five star system and user reviews. The better these are, the higher an app can rank.
  • Frequency of updates. A stale app that sits in the App Store without any updates may rank lower than a regularly updated app. 
  • In-App purchases (IAP) are indexed as keywords in the App Store.

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