With more than a million apps in the app store, it can seem nearly impossible for an app to stand out in the crowd. Independent marketing and PR aside, one of the best ways to get broad exposure for an app is for Apple to do it for you.
Being featured in the App Store can be a godsend for app developers, but the path to this coveted spot is a mystery. Some say there is a sweet spot for number of words in the app description, others look to integrate SEO principles in the title of the app. There doesn’t seem to be one simple answer.
One fortunate app, Blek, managed to snag the top spot in the App Store for the past 20 consecutive days. While nobody really knows the workings of Apple’s App Store, Blek cofounder Denis Mikan took a stab at explaining how and why that happened. Though the app got some early attention from the press, Mikan believes that releasing a promotional video was what really got things rolling.
Blek is a simple, attractive game that asks users to draw a line through coloured circles while avoiding black holes. The game has 60 levels, which each display a minimalistic, beautiful design and invite creativity. It costs $US2.99.
Denis created Blek with his brother Davor as a fun experiment. Davor Mikan had made flash games in the past, but his managers weren’t interested in the stuff he was pitching. So the Austrian brothers decided to make it themselves.
“After the first four months [of Blek launching], we decided to invest the money we already made in marketing our game,” Denis Mikan told Business Insider. “We noticed that our trailer can attract a lot of attention, so in April we launched a few test campaigns on YouTube and that went really well. At the same time, Apple started featuring Blek in the App Store lists.”
Mikan admits that the path to getting featured in the App Store is anything but clear.
“The history of marketing a mobile app is not written yet,” he said. “Generally, we learn from the others and we use the knowledge that’s already there, but at the same time, we are trying to think different. We respect the existing rules, but we don’t follow them blindly. We make adjustments. Our aim is to make new rules.”
One interesting decision they made was to go the paid route as opposed to the free route.
“Independent developers charge only small amounts of money for their works, and some of them take one or more years to finish. As a result, only few enjoy some success, and the majority get nothing or only bits of the invested effort back. But I think or hope that the trend is already starting to change,” Denis Mikan says.
Unsurprisingly, Blek has seen a huge surge in downloads since being featured on the App Store. In the first four months of launching, Blek was downloaded 34,000 times. The app had even gotten press attention from Wired, The New York Times, and the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel.
But it wasn’t until Blek was featured in the App Store that it really picked up. Since hitting the top chart sports four weeks ago, Blek has been downloaded more than half a million times.
Watch Blek in action:
Check out the full video to see what Blek is all about:
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