You might file this under “no kidding.”
Recent data from Distimo (in their report titled “The Impact of Being Featured in an App Store”) shows that when an app is promoted as a “featured app” in the Apple or Google stores, downloads increase dramatically. Especially if said app is free.
Okay, no surprise there, but being featured could have significant impact for digital publishers.
As D.B. Hebbard asks, “Some magazine titles in the Newsstand get constant promotion – what would digital sales be like for TIME, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker or other titles if they were not featured by Apple 100 percent of the time in the Newsstand?”
To be clear, the Distimo data covers game apps, not digital publications. And while we might assume the results would be similar, Hebbard notes one important difference.
“The concept should be the same, but publications that require a secondary step (the first being the download, the second being the subscription sale) probably are impacted by additional factors beyond app promotion,” he writes.
One note about Apple’s promotions; according to Hebbard they are blurring the lines of truth when promoting “new” apps that are, in fact, not new.
“Some choices of the selected apps in both ‘being new’ categories are remarkable. One might expect brand-new apps in these lists,” Hebbard writes. “This is not true. Well-performing apps that were published months or even years ago have been selected in these categories.”
In other words, it seems to be a sort of vicious cycle. Promoted apps do well, which leads to more promotion down the line. And non-promoted apps “die a slow death,” according to Hebbard.
(Other Apple store inconsistencies, which Hebbard has pointed out to us before, include featured magazines miscategorized and other weirdness.)
So how does a publisher get its app featured? Well, we don’t know for sure. And according to the people behind the Distimo report, they aren’t sure either.
“It is unclear how an app becomes one of the ‘chosen-ones.’ The good news is that it does not cost anything. It is basically a free promotion for the app,” the authors say.
One sure fire way to not be featured on the Google app store? “Use a payment provider other than Google itself,” writes Mike Thomson in InsideMobile Apps. We’ll explore this topic in more depth soon, with some advice for publishers on improving the odds of being featured.