There are more than one million apps in the App Store, and sorting through them isn’t always easy. That’s why the featured spots on the front page of Apple’s App Store are so coveted among developers.
Obviously earning one of these spots leads to more downloads and a general increase in the popularity of your app. But gaining one of those spots isn’t easy, and there’s no real way to guarantee it will ever happen.
One startup founder described what it was like the first time his app was featured by Apple.
“You wake up one day and your servers start to crash,” Henry Kang, the founder and CEO of StyleIt said to Business Insider.
StyleIt is an app that essentially functions as your own personal stylist. You can snap a photo of something you currently own, like a pair of boots or a sweater, and the app will analyse the photo to present other articles of clothing that match with it. You can also purchase these items from directly within the app.
Kang and his team launched the app last spring, and Apple featured it for the first time in December. Apple doesn’t notify publishers when they’re apps are selected to be featured — Kang said he found out after he noticed his app was running slowly and their servers were crashing. His inbox was flooded with user signups.
When Apple first featured the app in December, there was a surge in popularity that has died down a bit since, Kang said. But since it’s been featured that first time, it’s now featured in a few different categories other than the front page including Lifestyle and Best of January.
One of the most exciting things about the success that comes from being featured is watching your ranking in the app store rise.
“I remember taking screenshots when we passed Target and Walgreens,” Kang said.
The toughest hurdle for developers and app creators, however, is that there’s no real way to catch Apple’s attention. There’s no formula or list of prerequisites that tells you how to get your app featured in the App Store. It’s mostly luck, but Kang said constantly updating your product to add new features probably helps. And, of course, your app has to actually be good.
There are a few ways to get your app noticed other than being featured by Apple. When marketing your app, keep it simple and focus on one main feature, Siraj Salim, a partner at Apppli- App Development & Start Up Accelerator, wrote in a Quora thread.