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Stanfy Publications: How and Why to Get Your App Featured on the App Store

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Stanfy Publications: How and Why to Get Your App Featured on the App Store

  1. 1. Stanfy Publications Exploring Mobile Space How and Why to Get Your App Featured on the App Store
  2. 2. Stanfy Publications www.stanfy.com Stanfy ©2014, some rights reserved. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Since the very beginning, App Store, as well as many things related to Apple, has been surrounded with the cloud of mystery. How to distinguish your app among a million of other apps? How to win big in the App Store? How to get noticed and featured by Apple? Along with the ideas for new apps these questions inevitably pop up in the heads of mobile app developers. There is NO single formula that will lead you to success in the App Store. Hence, many companies even after being featured, still don’t know how that has happened. For example, many of Stanfy apps (Waterbalance, Kinopoisk, Food&Wine, Bitehippo) have been featured by Apple numerous times even though we haven’t done anything special, except for making cool apps, of course :) “We did get featured, which was great, but we still really don’t know how or why” , said Anna Iurchenko, Bitehippo Project Manager. ABOUT STANFY PUBLICATIONS Stanfy is a mobile design and development team specializing in mobile UI/UX and native iOS & Android app development. Since 2009 we’ve been creating successful mobile apps for companies from different With this publication we’d like to share our experience in building mobile apps and the results of our internal investigations in mobile space. Stanfy Publications www.stanfy.com
  3. 3. Stanfy Publications www.stanfy.com Stanfy ©2014, some rights reserved. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. So, what does it take to get featured by Apple? Apple doesn’t provide an exact checklist and gives no guar- antees. However, we’ve tried to summarize our own experience together with stories of other mobile devel- opers, and here is what we’ve come up with. Before we dive into the details, it’s important to understand that Apple doesn’t feature apps to help develop- the right track. The are many articles and recommendations on this topic, but at the end they all boil down to building a great product and getting on Apple’s radar. The magic formula for getting your app featured by Apple: Most developers believe that if only they get noticed by Apple and listed in the U.S. Store, millions of dollars trends in the App Store: Store with +27 ranks in the iPad App Store for iPad and +15 in the iPhone App Store; 2. Looking at the whole period these applications were featured (seven days), the rank gains were more or less equal to the three days average in both Apple stores. - tured period ends, a positive effect on the performance is still there and led to the average gains of +145% and +75% in the App Stores for iPad and iPhone respectively.
  4. 4. Stanfy Publications www.stanfy.com Stanfy ©2014, some rights reserved. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Make a Great Product What does a “great product” mean for users? Firstly, the user experience. Competition in the App Store is crazy (there are about 1000 apps submitted for review every day). Even if a user downloads your app and launches it, you will have just a few seconds downloaded apps are only used once before being totally abandoned. You will not have a second chance to Secondly, a product that aims to . Make it focused, useful and useable. Whether As you can see, most of these come out of design. It’s crucial to have a good designer on board. Founders one-man development shops to get featured on the iOS App Store these days, but if there’s one thing that I’d advise it would be to reach out and hire the most talented UI/UX designer you can afford”. However, if you represent some great talents.
  5. 5. Stanfy Publications www.stanfy.com Stanfy ©2014, some rights reserved. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. What does a “great product” mean for Apple? Long time ago Steve Jobs said: ”For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through”. Since that time design is a big thing for Apple. It starts with your app icon (which will be the main anchor for the users) and ends usability and pixel perfect design on each screen. Speaking of featuring apps, Apple is always looking for the apps that portrait their latest design trends. With the major into place. Now these are the new beacons for mobile designers. So try to adhere to Apple’s HIG, although Award. Except for featuring their latest design trends, Apple is also looking for the apps that highlight their techno- logical advancements. Early in the day Steve Jobs proclaimed the marriage of software and hardware say that “people who are really serious about software should make their own hardware”. Hence, when working on the new product try to keep these in mind: 1. Take advantage of the latest iOS devices (i.e. improved camera and performance speed), use hardware APIs like location, WiFi/Bluetooth, accessory kit; 2. Showcase the latest SDK features if applicable (Game Center, Passbook, Maps etc.); 3. Support the latest OS releases and use APIs purchases; 4. Think about all of your users including visually/hearing impaired and with learning disability and add accessibility options like voice over, closed captioning, zoom, mono audio and white on black mode. Transit is a mobile app that shows you in real time the buses around you. It was featured by Apple many times and Sam Vernette, the Founder, says that being featured helped them to get 100,000 weekly active customers without doing any paid marketing. He also elaborates on using the latest Apple’s technology: “It’s more important to keep your app up-to-date with the latest OS rather than worrying too much about supporting older versions. With Transit we pay more attention to refreshing the app for the latest technology rather than spending too much time redesigning for older versions”.
  6. 6. Stanfy Publications www.stanfy.com Stanfy ©2014, some rights reserved. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Ingredients of a Great App John Geleynse, - teria that make your app stand out. In this short video “Ingredients of a Great App” he names the main eight characteristics: delightful, innovative, state of art, connected, accessible, localized, designed and disruptive. How to interpret “delightful” or “designed”? Check out the video! To add to the list by John Geleynese, here are a couple of life hacks to remember: 1. Offer multiple-language support when selling to different countries or worldwide; 2. Make sure it’s NOT a free app. Apple is much more likely to feature a paid app as, obviously, they 4. Get a lot of positive reviews (encourage users to add reviews); 5. Consider making it universal (that runs on iPhone, iPad and Mac); 6. Innovate and take risks (a couple of years ago something like Siri surprised the market and was purchased by Apple later on in 2010. Nowadays, it’s an integral part of the Apple’s iPhones starting with iPhone 4S).
  7. 7. Stanfy Publications www.stanfy.com Stanfy ©2014, some rights reserved. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. First of all, let’s try to understand how Apple makes a choice. There are two angles to it. There is an Apple’s App Store editorial board that reviews apps by category and, on a weekly basis, distinguishes the greatest apps (as we’ve mentioned before, this means new, innovative and the ones that promote the iOS platform), and there is a word of a mouth. Understand the editorial board 1. Tailor your app to the seasonal selections Apple uses within the App Store. For example, in back to school and back to work time when many productivity apps spring up. 2. Working on BiteHippo, we managed to update the app for iOS7 and app was immediately noticed and featured by Apple in the What’s Hot in Productivity. If you can combine launching your app (its update) together with a public release of the new OS
  8. 8. Stanfy Publications www.stanfy.com Stanfy ©2014, some rights reserved. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Connect with people Build informal networks. There is also a belief that informal network of current and former Apple em- visibility of your project and word of a mouth may play a crucial role in the selection process. You got to get on their radar. It’s all about the relationship. To sum up, you may get lucky once or even a couple of times and get your app featured on the App Store. However, building a great relationship with the App Store’s manager is a - opers/publishers that have existing relationships with Apple employees, however, many startups also get noticed and recognized. You got to know somebody at Apple. One of the best ways to do it would be meeting Apple develop- helps. Finally, business networking. From my experience, Apple employees are not that talkative, so don’t bug them with too many questions about Apple. However, it’s a great chance to tell them more about your project. Establish new connections within Apple. Even if your app gets rejected and you receive an upsetting email, view this as an opportunity – try to maintain a conversation as you’ve already got somebody on the other side. You can try to clarify what are they looking for in particular in the featured apps, what you could change about your app to make it more valuable to users and increase your chances of getting featured. Be persistent and concise in your emails. Once featured, don’t forget to provide the roadmap for further updates and product development.
  9. 9. Stanfy Publications www.stanfy.com Stanfy ©2014, some rights reserved. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Create buzz App Store Search Engine Optimization. This helps you to ensure your app will reach the necessary amount of downloads (at some point you need 25 k downloads per day to get to the top charts of the US App Store). That’s why, you got to focus on natural incorporation of keywords in the title and description data. As reviews and ratings are very important, don’t forget to offer users the opportunity to review the app. Word of a mouth. Scopely is the Los Angeles-based mobile gaming platform founded by social gaming have been releasing apps frequently. Also, he has found that word of mouth is one of the best sources for discovering apps. “Because users hear about new apps through friends and many use their smartphones in social situations, word of mouth is one of the best ways to reach new users”. Media. The bare product is not enough, so you need to think of an effective media campaign. Here you can go as will as you can: media publications (Techcrunch, Mashable), reviews on blogs, corporate news (Today task. Facebook ads. - “Don’t just wait, be smart about it. Launching Facebook ads target- ed at San Francisco and Silicon Valley, you can get more attention to your product and gain visibility aiming at Apple’s employees.”

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