Everyone wants to break in to the top ten of the Android app store. It's one of the most coveted positions because it shows other users just how good your app is. It also increases visibility, which leads to more downloads, which leads to more revenue. So, the question I'm often asked is: "how many downloads do I need to get to hit the Android top ten?" The answer is simple.... It's just 17. Of course, that's only if you want to be in the top ten paid-for cookery widgets in the Tuvalu app store. Have a bit more ambition than that? Ok! Here's what you need to know.
There are around 200 separate metrics which go in to a Google Marketplace ranking. Google are always tweaking the algorithm which determines where your app is in the rankings. Remember, each country has its own ranking system. Just because you're big in Japan, it doesn't mean you'll be top of the pops in France. The big metrics which have the most affect are...
Has your app experienced a sudden and sustained increase in downloads? As you can see, this app hasn't had a huge amount of download - less than 50,000. What it has managed is a sudden growth which has been sustained for a few days. That can be enough to propel your app up the charts.
Is your app well rated? This doesn't mean "no low ratings" but "are the low ratings proportionate?" Remember to solicit your users for feedback. Be careful not to be too intrusive, or you'll end up with reviews like this!
Length on handset
How quickly do customers uninstall your app? If people remove the app within a few hours of install, that will drive the app down the rankings. Apps which stay on handsets longer tend to go up the rankings. Banner advertising is a great way to get quality users. If you're using "pay per download" service, the users are only getting your app in order to get free stuff. They don't care about your app and, subsequently, are quite likely to delete the app quickly.
Surprisingly, being featured in the Marketplace isn't so useful to ranking. Users see the featured app and download it, but they often "bounce" - that is, uninstall the app fairly quickly because it wasn't something they were specifically looking for.
One of the quickest an easiest way to drive customers to download your app is through a burst campaign. This is where you spend your marketing budget in a relatively short time. Rather than spread your budget evenly over a month, you can spend the majority of your budget in the first week, once you start climbing the rankings, you can reign in your spending. If you want to get started with your first campaign, sign up to become an InMobi advertiser - we'll give you $75 free when you use code "Developer75".