There are various ways for users to find new games and apps, from friends and family's advice to paid ads and SEO. According to this Google study, the second and third top methods of searching for new apps are app-store browsing and store recommendations. These search methods are used by 48% and 34% of users respectively:
Featuring is the process of placing your mobile app into one or several editor picks of an app store. For instance, in the App Store, this might be the Today tab or a collection like "Must-have apps". The Today tab is the most visited page of the App Store, so, getting your app featured on it is similar to putting your link onto the Google (or, in Russia, for example, Yandex) main page.
These picks, or collections, are created manually. Apple and Google editors hand-pick apps, creating lists and collections. Some of these collections are permanent, like the "New games we love" one, while some might change depending on the season.
The main goal of any app is to make money. This money comes from the users who see the app in stores and install it. Being featured significantly increases your product's visibility for regular app store users. This is the same as placing your goods in the main window of a shop in a mall that all the customers pass by.
For example, Google Play featuring with a banner doubles app downloads:
In the App Store, the featuring stats are similar:
And have we mentioned that it's free?! Who wouldn't want to double the number of their installs in a single week?
Any developer or company would like to have thousands of new users thanks to getting featured in an app store editors' picks. However, featuring has its upsides and downsides.
First, it is true that featuring your app in a collection will present it to a wider audience. However, these users might turn out to be not relevant at all. Imagine, for example, that your app is aimed exclusively at professional skydivers. One day it appears on the Today app. It will likely get tens of thousands of new installs, but how many new customers will this featuring bring you? Also, how will such featuring affect its rating?
Secondly, this will put your app into spotlight, so it will be scrupulously and critically assessed. At that point, UX mistakes and code errors are not acceptable anymore. You will not have a second chance to make a first impression. Every mistake you make will cost you hundreds and thousands of users. In other words, featuring is something you need to be ready for, which means that you need to get all the procedures and in-product processes in order in advance.
Thirdly, the users coming because of featuring will severely distort your analytics. The product, user attraction, and store analytics will all undergo a real shock due to these peak numbers. So, featuring will significantly distort your understanding of the product for a long time.
The Apple and Google app stores have special forms that allow you to apply to be featured:
Before sending the application, however, consider your promotional materials. If everything goes smoothly, the editors will ask you to provide the banners and CTAs to be used for featuring. It's better to have those ready than to sketch them on the back of a napkin with just hours left before the deadline. Your creatives should be visually appealing and attractive. For reference and inspiration, have a look at the App Store's Today tab itself, for example, to see how the apps in your category are promoted at the moment.
Hundreds of new apps get published in the App Store and Google Play every day. However, only a few get featured. There is no ultimate solution that fits each and every case, but we can still give some general tips to keep in mind:
And last but not least (and surely not the easiest): be unique! Everyone needs apps that impress. Focus on what makes your app different. Share your story with Apple or Google and make them your allies.
Featuring is an advantage, no doubt about it. Making it to the editors' picks is incredibly difficult, but it's worth the effort. And then, if you get featured once, chances are, you'll become a regular.
However, to get all the benefits of featuring, you also need to be ready for it — from the point of view of both the product and your development strategy.
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