What Determines The Ranking Of An App In The iOS App Store?


The ranking of your app is probably the one factor that is going to either make or break your business. As of now, there are about 5 billion apps worldwide, and 2.2 billion of them are available for iOS. Apple’s mobile market app store has come a long way since its debut in 2008, when it only had 500 apps at its disposal. Today, the overall number is much bigger and, as a result, the competition is at its fiercest. But which ones are the factors that, despite all of these changes, can still give you a puncher’s chance of ranking your app high within the iOS ecosystem? In this article, we are going to dive into the most important features, the ones that, if taken advantage of, will help you in terms of mobile app marketing positioning within the iOS app store and give you a wide array of benefits as a result of that.

Which factors influence the ranking of your app in the iOS app store?

Which factors influence the ranking of your app in the iOS app store?

Starting from the on-site factors (which refer to the iOS store’s best practices), there are five of them that will be paid attention to way more than others. We are talking about:

1. Your App Name

Your app name is the first thing your customers will notice about you. That is why you want to use it as a tool that could improve the chances of your app being checked out. But how? Some things to keep in mind when choosing a name for your app are the followings:

  • Be memorable

In the introduction, we’ve outlined the number of total apps available for download in the Apple’s app store. With so many businesses competing for attention, it’s easy to be forgotten if your app doesn’t stand out in some way. Ideally, try to come up with a name that is both functional and stylish; a name that gives a hint about your app’s main purpose, is relevant to the people that you’re trying to reach, and also makes it different compared to all the other apps within the niche;

  • Keep it short

You either catch your target’s attention in a fraction of a second, or you don’t. Sounds crazy, but that’s how the market has evolved. Your name should consist of no more than 2 words, ideally tied together (i.e. FaceBook, Snapchat, Instagram);

  • Keep it simple

Finally, think about how easy should it be for impressed customers to spread the word about your app with family members, friends, or colleagues. Don’t come up with a combination of terms that is either too difficult to spell or pronounce (or to remember at all). 

2. SEO & ASO

As you might have guessed, SEO & ASO go hand in hand when referring to mobile app store marketing. But what is the difference between the two? While ASO gives way more consideration to the visual component (screenshots, videos and images) of an app, the SEO side mainly considers elements that have the power to directly influence the app’s CTR. Hence, its main parameters are meta title, meta description, and rich snippets (data markups that can be added to existing HTML so as to give clearer indications about a web page’s content). Although they have their own differences, they both must be equally (and highly) considered for any mobile app marketing plan. Specifically, optimizing for both means paying attention to: 

  • Keyword optimization

App store optimization begins with a thorough research that leads to you choosing the keyword that can give you the most exposure for your app; one that gives customers a clear idea of what your app is about, has a high amount of estimated traffic, and preferably, benefits from a low degree of competition;

  • Description

The description is what follows once you know what your main keyword will be, and it will probably be one of the deciding factors for whoever will come across your app, so be wise about what to write in it. Even though Apple gives less overall importance to the description compared to the Google Play store, it is still an opportunity to give your target audience valuable information and insights about your app. Avoid keyword stuffing, as it won’t be considered as much as you think and will only cause you to eat up your character limit!

  • Icon

Being a visual component, your app can draw a lot of eyeballs if its icon is simple, catchy, and representative of your brand. It gives you a chance to make a great first impression, so make sure it has bright colors, the right size, and is not crammed with either too many details or words. 

  • Clarity

Above all else, any information you provide in regards to your app should be clear to the point that your prospect shouldn’t waste time trying to interpret it. Just like any product description, your words should go straight to the point, illustrating what your app does, its perks, and how people could benefit from using it.

3. Visuals’ Quality and Relevance

Although we’ve briefly mentioned the importance of having high-resolution images for ASO purposes, it is still worth stressing out one more time. Images are the bread and butter of any app store optimization effort. Although your app’s icon is the first thing customers will see, it doesn’t stop there at all. Other relevant screenshots that clearly illustrate how your app’s interface looks like, its main features, and how does it look on different devices will tremendously help you in getting a better rank. Also, you can use such images to showcase the best features of your app. Regardless of what you intend to do or accomplish with them, selecting a few clear and high-quality pictures will help you a lot in increasing the overall number of installs.

4. Number and quality of app reviews 

According to HubSpot, 57% of consumers will only buy or use a business service if it has at least a 4-star rating. Social proof is a big discriminating factor for mobile app marketing success. Not only do reviews impact your app’s ranking, but also the longevity of it, and your conversion rates as well. However, great reviews never get the whole job done on their own. Along with the quality, it’s important to take care of the quantity: having a good mixture of both high and numerous reviews automatically puts your app in a position of power, and the more you are able to sustain great user experiences and encourage high-level feedback (in-app opt-ins are becoming common use), the longer your app will be able to stay on top. 

5. Number of App Downloads

What Determines The Ranking Of An App In The iOS App Store?
Boost campaigns are an effective user acquisition strategy that leverages the power of download momentum on organic uplift. The same kind of philosophy of the influence of downloads also affects an app’s ranking. See the full case study here

For many, the first and foremost success indicator of an app lies in its mobile market app store download quota. Plentiness of reviews is just a byproduct of how many people have used your app, which depends, in turn, on the number of downloads your app itself has received. If the number of downloads is high, the iOS will automatically consider that an indicator of how well your app is performing, and therefore help you in scaling up the ranks. If your app, on the other hand, doesn’t manage to get as many downloads as you’d like to, there might be something going on in terms of either funnel optimization or user experience. Take a look at both, and get back on track before attributing your overall position to the algorithm. Remember that the Apple store cares about the experience of its customers more than anything else. If making adjustments is not enough to see some kind of improvement, it is highly likely that the app is not ready to be marketed.


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