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Category rankings and volatility: useful insights for app marketers

App Market Insights

Category rankings and volatility: useful insights for app marketers

Getting into the top rankings of a category is a huge deal for apps and a very desirable goal for all app marketers and ASO professionals.

If you’ve managed to get your app in the top 10 category rankings (no small feat, depending on the category) you’d want to be aware of how hard it’s going to be to stay there. On the other hand, if you’re still struggling to break into that list you’ll need to know your likelihood of success.

For both cases, volatility plays an important part: if the volatility is very low, that means that the top 10 is locked and it’s really hard to get any new apps in there. If it’s really high, it means that many new apps might take your place at any time.


So, let’s have a look at the volatility on iOS and Android:

  • First, let’s look at the Apple App Store.

The volatility for paid apps is much higher than for free apps in categories such as Finance, Food’n Drink, Music and Shopping. One explanation might be that since apps tend to have much less downloads in those categories than free apps, any new download has a bigger impact. However, we see that for the Games category, the opposite is true : the top 10 free apps are much more volatile. The Games category is usually an outlier, as it is extremely competitive and the number of both paid and free apps that are published in it is huge.

  • Let’s compare those results to the Google Play Store.

    On Android, we can notice that the volatility is more stable across categories. All 6 categories have a volatility between 10 and 40%, while on iOS the volatility goes from near 0% to near 50%.

    The volatility for paid apps is also higher than the volatility for free apps, and this time that trends is seen across all 6 categories. It’s interesting to see that the Games free category is much less volatile on Android than on iOS while the Games paid category is about the same.

  • If we disregard categories, and look at all apps, we can see that the trend is confirmed although more clearly for Android than for iOS.

Check which apps are in the top rankings of your category

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