App tracking company Distimo has released a new report revealing how many downloads it takes to get an app into the top 25 of the free and paid charts in the U.S. iTunes App Store — 38,400 and 3,530, respectively.
The 38,400 figure is down significantly from from what Distimo reported in December, where it took an average of 45,000 downloads a day to to reach the top 25 on the free apps chart in the U.S. It’s likely the number has declined because of Apple’s crackdown on download bots, a tactic some developers used to artificially inflate their app’s position on the free app charts. The effects of Apple’s new policy have been noticeable. In March, for example, Fiksu found that download volume for the top 200 free iPhone apps in the U.S. had dropped by 30 percent, down to the lowest levels the App Store had seen since September 2011.
To get its latest numbers, Distimo monitored the U.S. App Store for the month of April. The report qualifies that the number of downloads needed can vary wildly depending on what category an app falls into. Getting an app into the top 25 of the games category will take at least 75 times the number of downloads it does to get an app into a niche category like medical or weather — a rule that applies to both the free and the paid charts. A game app required around 25,300 downloads, but niche applications like news, finance and sports apps only need to see about 1,000 downloads a day to become chart toppers.
Over the past year, we’ve heard from several developers that the paid version of an app will only see about one tenth of the downloads a free version will, an assertion that seems consistent with what we see on the paid app charts. Distimo found that overall the volume needed to hit the top 25 on the free app charts was 13 times higher than the volume needed to hit the top 25 on the paid app charts. The analytics company also reports that in April a top 25 ranked paid app would need to downloaded 3,530 times in a single day. Games were once again the most competitive category, with an app needing 2,280 paid downloads to reach the top 25.
For both free and paid games, the most competitive categories were arcade, action and puzzle, with educational, trivia and music games being the least popular overall.