Strategic Categorization and SEO Are Key to Attracting App Downloads

25 Apr 2012

​Can an independent developer with a nonexistent marketing budget have the largest number of top apps in Apple’s ecosystem for three months in a row?  And especially when the average rating for those apps is only 2.9 out of 5? This is the case for independent application developer Michael Quach, who continuously has the highest number of titles among the top iOS apps tracked by ABI Research. In February 2012, he had an average of 40 titles per country, out of a sample size of 5,250 in each country. This sample covered the highest-ranked 250 apps in all 21 categories. What can developers learn from Mr. Quach?

According to senior analyst Aapo Markkanen, strategic category placement is one area more developers should focus on. “Practically all of Quach’s apps are aggregations of various tips, trivia, or pictures, which are dirt-cheap to produce but appeal easily to spontaneous app browsers’ curiosity,” says Markkanen. “Most of them could be most logically categorized under the ‘reference’ or ‘entertainment’ section, but actually less than 5% are found there. Instead, 60% are listed in the ‘medical’ category and 25% are under ‘books,’ both of which have favorable eyeballs-to-competition ratios. This means that they attract a lot of customers but aren’t as strongly contested as the most visited categories, like ‘games’ and ‘entertainment.’”
Practice director Dan Shey continues, “If you publish your app in the right category, with a catchy name, a bright-colored icon, and skillful search engine optimization, this can go a long way in attracting downloads. Smart developers also follow their performance in a very detailed level and some even use Android as a test bed for their launch and publishing strategies. One plus side of Google’s liberal submission policy is that one can freely try out which kind of choices work and which don’t.”

ABI Research’s “Mobile Application Tracker Database” provides a comprehensive review of the major mobile application stores.  Tracking metrics cover top application titles and categories, leading developers, user ratings, and pricing, among others. The underlying data is collected directly from the included stores by using ABI Research's proprietary software.

It is part of the firm’s Mobile Applications Research Service.

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