How to Get Featured in the Apple App Store

There's no secret sauce to getting your app featured on the Apple App Store, quite often it's just luck. Here are some things you can do to get lucky.

 

How does 8,000 downloads a day sound? That’s what your app could be getting as a Featured app in the Apple App Store.

AnyList, a grocery list app with sharing capabilities, went from having 215 users to 60,000 users after their two week reign as a Featured App. As a New and Noteworthy app shining bright on the front page of the App Store, they experienced massive growth with 5,000-8,000 downloads a day, followed by another incredible week as a What’s Hot app.

Featured Apps – New and Noteworthy Apps

How did they do it? It’s not an exact science and there’s no magical formula or secret society you have to join. Most of the time, it’s just pure luck. Feel free to embark on an epic quest to find a four-leaf clover, but all you really have to do is build a great app and get noticed by Apple.

Easier said than done, right? So let’s break it down with the three key things you should be doing to up your chances of nabbing that coveted spot as a Featured app.

How to Get Featured at the Apple App Store:

 

1. Be Apple-friendly

When you’re building an iOS app, you’re not just building an app for the iPhone or iPad – you’re building an app for Apple. This means staying on top of what Apple is and will be doing to keep your app fresh and relevant. While you don’t need to be an Apple-worshipping you-know-what (don’t be that guy; no one likes that guy), it’s a good idea to implement whatever Apple-specific features you can into your app, such as issuing updates for the latest OS, building an iPad version, and enabling iCloud functionality. If your app isn’t feature-rich or is too antiquated, it probably won’t be featured.

Integrating your app into newly released Apple technology, like iCloud, gives Apple a great reason to feature your app.

Integrating your app into newly released Apple technology, like iCloud, gives Apple a great reason to feature your app.

2. Create Buzz

Get people talking about your app and Apple will notice you too. You can go the traditional social media route and knock yourself out tweeting about your app, but you can also try the PR route by getting press for your app via big name blogs or full-on marketing campaigns.

Creating buzz can be as simple as handing out grilled cheese sandwiches. GroupMe, the popular group messaging app, was able to stand out amidst a crowd of group messaging apps at 2011′s SXSW festival by renting a food shack and handing out free grilled cheese sandwiches to anyone using their app.  Yes, grilled cheese is the key to any American’s heart.

GroupMe charmed the hearts of SXSW 2011 attendees with a free grilled cheese stand.

GroupMe charmed the hearts of SXSW 2011 attendees with a free grilled cheese stand.

3. Get on Apple’s Radar

If you have a great App, Apple wants to know hear about it. What better way to get noticed than reaching out to Apple yourself? RealMac Software, who has had their apps featured at the App Store on more than one occasion, is a big proponent of going to WWDC and talking to developers. Just don’t be annoying. And don’t be a stalker.

There's a fine line between being persistent and being a stalker, don't be a stalker.

There’s a fine line between being persistent and being a stalker, don’t be a stalker.

Do the words game changer mean anything to you? Being on the coveted Featured apps section is the second-best indicator that you’ve “made it” as an app developer, next to kicking someone off and taking their spot in the app charts. While no one can guarantee your app will ever be featured, it won’t hurt to do what you can to better your chances. If anything, you’ll end up with an even better app and more users than what you started out with.

About Sara Angeles

Sara is a copywriter, blogger, and content strategist for startups and lifestyle brands. She graduated from UC Irvine and has a background in law, finance, and business administration. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter. Her Google+ is lonely. Find out more about her at SaraAngeles.com.

  • ZeroShake

    Nice post, but easier said than done for a small indie developer. I am
    in Thailand, so not easy to mingle with the major players in California.
    We build an app that has all the right ingredients to be featured by
    Apple. It redefines the way videos are stabilized in real time, and
    after effects are applied. But now a week after launch of the ZeroShake
    app, still struggling to get the buzz going. Picked as ‘App of the day’ by Appadvice, but that only marginally increased download numbers in the US.

  • Pretendasaurus

    Is there a specific person/group at Apple for kids apps at WWDC? We are going next week and would love to meet anyone in the education/kids app space. Thanks!

  • Alexey Onischenko

    Great Post .

    One more question.
    How can i get in New and Noteworthy and for how long ?

  • Purplechai

    Great post !! But still question remains how to get into new and noteworthy since there must be plenty of apps already doing all the required activity. Also for how long one app stays on this section?