There have been some rumblings recently that Apple made a change to how apps get featured within the App Store’s “Featured” tab. This came after Apple changed the names of the “New” and “What’s Hot” lists to “Best New Games” and “All Time Greats”, amongst others.
Previously, it was known that download velocity and volume could impact one’s placement in these “Featured” charts, presumably due to a ranking algorithm that looked at this data in real-time. For instance, an app that received 100K installs in a day was likely to get one or more features, such as in “What’s Hot”.
The assumption is, if Apple changed the list names, they must now be hand-curating the lists, not letting algorithms decide who belongs there. If true, apps doing high-volume paid campaigns would be less likely to get featured, which would lead to fewer organics and a less effective campaign.
However, besides the new naming convention, here at Fiksu we haven’t noticed any other changes suggesting a major algorithm shift.
For one, the “Top Charts” tab and its ranking algorithm have not been affected, with our data showing download volume and velocity still impacting one’s Overall and Category ranking.
For instance, below is a client who ran a high-volume campaign this past week, which led to an expected Overall ranking.
Secondly, we have strong reason to believe that downloads still have an impact on feature placement and that the re-naming of the categories is more superficial than a fundamental algorithm change.
For example, another Fiksu client who ran a very recent high-volume campaign not only reached #3 in the Racing Games category, but as their rank and volume went up, they were also featured as #10 under Racing –> Free Games in the “Featured” tab.
Fiksu has observed similar trends for other clients since the name change went into effect too.
What does this mean for advertisers? Well, for now it’s business as usual for app marketers. High-volume paid campaigns will still result in better chart ranks, and the data suggests it’ll still have an impact on category feature placement as well.