If you want to get your app to the top of the iTunes app store you should spend some time on a regular basis looking at the store to see what apps are ranking (and to try and work out why!).
It is important, even if you have come up with your concept and are working on your app as the App Store can give you valuable insights that can be included in your app marketing strategy.
While we thoroughly recommend you start out by developing an app marketing strategy, this should be a fluid document and subject to change as you learn more about the best ways to market your app and what is happening in the marketplace that might impact on your plans.
Those who watch the Apple iTunes App Store on a regular basis would have noticed some subtle changes around mid-December which indicated that there had been a change to the App Store ranking algorithm.
Apple make frequent changes to their App Store ranking algorithm and there are normally a few major changes rolled out each year with the latest changes appearing to be centred around App Store SEO, especially with regard to the name of the app where we were starting to see a lot of apps appear that were trying to take advantage of the holes in the algorithm, however, as always, these strategies have a short life span.
In order to get a good understanding of what makes an app great you can look at the apps that appear on the iTunes App Store under “Top Grossing” and you will see that they are very well targeted towards their customers.
The Top Grossing Apps are the ones that are making the most money overall and provides a great cross section of the top apps in many categories which are well aimed toward their target demographic and utilise some of the most popular (and profitable) monetisation methods.
These apps, especially within the game categories also offer the highest levels of user engagement that not only draw people back to the app but also incentivise people for sharing and continuing to use the app.
Looking at a cross section of the apps however there are a few things that stand out.
Many have in-app purchases with the goal of keeping the user within their app as much as possible and they do this by giving them value, keeping them in the app and using things like push notifications to bring the users back on a regular basis. Subscriptions are also popular and are a great way to build revenue and is a proven model based on delivering consistent value to the users.
Apps that focus on delivering what they promise will continue to maintain their popularity. The iTunes App Store tracks not just sales and downloads but user engagement as well and factors all of these things into the overall app store ranking so while you may make some initial money from your app when you launch, without continuously engaging your users and delivering what they want any success on the App Store will be short lived.
To best understand the app marketing and monetisation landscape we highly recommend that you go through these top apps and work out how you can implement their strategies into your own apps.