Your 1st 1000 Downloads

Your 1st 1000 Downloads

Understanding the iPhone App Store algorithm

To get lots of downloads, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the Apple App Store algorithm.

Here’s a comparison you can probably relate to.

If you have a website, you’re always trying to optimize your page to get a high ranking on Google’s search engine.

That’s pretty much the same concept here.

We want to make sure your app is a top hit on iOS platforms.

Similar to Google, Apple doesn’t release an exact blueprint that describes specifically what you need to do in order to get a high ranking.

You’ve got to read between the lines to figure it out.

It’s an imperfect formula, but the Apple developers share some pointers.

Here’s what you need to know.

It all starts with the name.

Make sure the name of your app:

  • Has less than 30 characters
  • Is easy to spell
  • Indicates what the app does
  • Doesn’t have a similar name of an existing app

Focus on the features and functionality when you’re coming up with a subtitle and description.

Your description shouldn’t say “The best app on the planet.”

Instead, write about some of your top features and make sure users fully understand the purpose of its functions.

Here’s an example from TypeShift.


The title and subtitle both describe what the app does.

Make sure you assign an accurate primary category for your app.

The category is the best way for users to find you based on what they’re looking for.

Examples of categories include:

  • Games
  • News
  • Music
  • Social Networking
  • Travel
  • Photo & Video
  • Health & Fitness
  • Entertainment
  • Medical
  • Education

Here’s something else to consider, if you select a primary category that’s irrelevant to your app’s functions, Apple will reject you from the App Store.

Let’s say you have an educational app.

But you know (based on the statistics we saw earlier) that social networks are more popular.

You might think you’re being slick if you choose to assign social networking as the primary category.

Big mistake.

Apple sees this as grounds for removal.

Obviously, you can’t get downloads if your app isn’t available.

Another way to get ranked high in the App Store is by promoting your in-app purchases.

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