How to Get Your App Featured on the App Store
When you open the App Store, the first page you land on is the Today tab which highlights apps and games hand-picked by Apple editors. Featurings aim to showcase apps that users will love and install on their devices. The lack of ad placements in the Today or Games/Apps tabs also reinforces these spaces being dedicated to helping users discover unique apps based on Apple’s editorial team selections.
There is no list of specific requirements that apps must uphold in order to be featured on iOS; it is also not possible to pay to appear on these pages. Still, there are different factors that you can consider to increase your chances of being featured on the App Store.
In this article, we will cover the different kinds of featurings that exist on the iOS, the benefits of being featured, and how you can increase your chances of being featured.
Featurings are a strong discoverability tool - even more so than category rankings. According to Apple, “over 130,000 apps have been featured on the App Store and across Apple channels” to this day. As previously mentioned, the Today tab is the first thing you see when you open the App Store; being among the first apps or games highlighted on this page can definitely increase your app’s visibility and help your brand awareness efforts.
Featurings are also a great way to engage customers. Apple describes that featurings help “drive downloads and re-downloads of your apps and games.” Most featured apps or games can be downloaded directly from the Today or Games/Apps tabs without redirecting the user to the app page - this shortens and facilitates each user’s journey to your product. As a result, you can definitely expect both your impression rate and your installs from the Browse channel to increase after being featured.
Apple editors are particularly interested in showcasing promising new apps or games in the stories on the Today tab. These can help drive downloads to apps from smaller studios or during their launch phase.
Many featurings highlight not only new apps or games but important updates or limited-time events. Being featured can thus help your retention efforts and allow you to re-engage some of your less active users.
Where featured apps appear on the App Store
There are three locations in which you can be featured on the App Store: the Today tab, the Games tab, and the Apps tab. The Today tab has the most impact as it is the first one you see on the store. It also features written stories from Apple’s editorial team.
The Today tab
As previously mentioned, the Today tab is the first page you land on. It showcases both apps or games, premieres, new releases, and updates, an App of the Day and a Game of the Day, as well as other exclusive stories. Apple’s editors focus on featuring high-quality apps or games with unique user experiences or value propositions.
Featurings in the Today tab and stories are updated with new content every day; being featured in the Today tab is usually more for time-sensitive events.
The Games and Apps tabs
The Games and Apps tabs do not showcase stories but rather app collections per category or genre, new releases, and in-app events or top charts.
Being featured in these tabs is more common than on the Today tab. An app can be featured on the Games/Apps tabs every day for a certain period of time and can also be featured in more than one place on the same day. For instance, many games are featured on the Games tab 3 or 4 times in one day, as we can see here with Genshin Impact which was consistently featured at least twice a day on the Games tab (Japan) over May and June.
How featured apps are selected on the App Store
According to Apple, there is no precise checklist of requirements for apps to be featured. However, Apple provides indications on editors’ considerations when selecting apps or games to showcase.
Factors that Apple editors consider include:
- UI design: the usability, appeal, and overall quality of the app
- User experience: the efficiency and functionality of the app
- Innovation: apps that solve a unique problem for customers
- Localizations: high-quality and relevant
- Accessibility: well-integrated features
- App Store product page: compelling screenshots, app previews, and descriptions
For games, editors also consider:
- Gameplay and level of engagement
- Graphics and performance
- Narrative and story depth
- Ability to replay
- Gameplay controls
Some factors are easier to monitor and control than others. If you can actively work on your app’s localization and translation quality, the “uniqueness” of your product becomes harder to assess and quantify. Here is what to keep in mind:
A qualitative finished product
A lot of the factors described above relate to the overall performance and quality of the app or game: the functionality of the app, UI design, graphics, and performance of a game… In short: make sure you are offering the best user experience possible. Your app should not crash, it should be frequently updated, and it should have a fluid, intuitive and appealing user interface. Your game should also have nice visuals and sounds, engaging users through its gameplay and narrative.
Apple wants to give its users the best experience and will thus promote products that are the most likely to satisfy its market.
An optimized app page
If the content and performance of your app and game are the most important factors, your app page must also be optimized and appeal to users.
Be sure to optimize your text metadata through keyword optimization and work on your creative assets (icon, screenshots, and video). Reflect your brand, the spirit of your app, and its value proposition in your creatives to provide store visitors with a unique and customized experience.
In-app and metadata localization
Localization is a key element that is often overlooked. Both your product and its app page must be localized in the language of the market you hope to be featured in. Localization is more than just translation - it often means adapting your content and design to the audience you are addressing. The translation must be flawless and sound native.
Innovation and uniqueness
This factor is the trickiest because it is the least easy to monitor or quantify. Apple’s editors dedicate a lot of time to sharing the stories of “inspiring developers” to show how their work impacts our lives. Particularly in the Today tab, featurings have a lot to do with storytelling. Your product should be more than just an app or game - you also need to convey a message, values, or a positive impact for users.
Overall, you need to be different from the crowd and put forward your added value. What makes your app different from the others? Why should we pay attention to your app or game over the competition?
If we take the recent example of the game It Found… featured in the Today tab on the US store, we see interviews, videos and quotes not only highlight the game but also the overall project, the values behind it, and the process and team behind the game.
Additional steps to help you get featured
Of course, the first step to getting featured is to work on all the different factors mentioned above; however, there are a few other things that further help your chances of getting featured.
Get in contact with Apple
Since Apple relies on a team of editors to select featured apps, you will want to get in touch with them. If you know anyone at Apple, now is the time to try to contact them to see if they can help you directly or if they can put you in contact with the editorial team.
There is also an official contact form you can complete to ask to be featured. This is if you simply want to promote your app or game, a new launch, or upcoming big releases or events. In that case, you have to let Apple know six to eight weeks before the launch.
Promote exclusive content
Trying to get featured when you are launching a new product, feature or in-app event can increase your chances. The App Store is a marketplace and Apple’s editors want to showcase interesting information that can engage customers and bring traffic to animate the marketplace. Special events or a new launch are good examples of content that is worth featuring.
Prepare specific creative assets
If you receive a reply from Apple’s editorial team, it is important to show that you are ready to promote your app or game in the best conditions possible and with the best assets. Work with your team on creating specific, appealing creative assets to include in your featurings.
Measuring the impact of your featurings
Once you are featured in the store - and more particularly, in the Today tab - it is interesting to analyze the impact of this on your app’s performance in terms of impressions and number of installs driven from the Browse channel.
Thanks to AppTweak, you can keep track of the number of times you are featured per day, compare this with your competitors and assess the impact on your installs, category rankings, and more. You can also see the number of views a story on the Today tab received for a better overview of the reach of your featuring.
Getting featured, particularly in the Today tab, increases your discoverability and can lead to an increase in your impression rate and number of installs from the Browse channel.
To increase your chances of being featured, you want to work on your app first and make sure you are offering a unique and qualitative experience to your users. Insist on what makes your app or game different from the others and work on storytelling.