Breaking into the iOS leaderboards, Distimo shares required revenue and downloads to place in the charts

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By Jonathan Espinosa Comment

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For app developers, finding top placement in a respective app store charts can be helpful for discoverability and viral growth. However, breaking into the top charts has become increasingly difficult for the iOS store. Mobile app analytics firm, Distimo, has released some statistics on what it takes for an application to break into the top charts in the iOS app store. According to a monthly report, the company found that:

  • An app that ranked number 10 in the top overall free charts in the Apple App Store for iPhone in the U.S. generated 72K downloads per day on average during May 2013. An app in the paid charts that ranked number 10 generated 4K downloads on average.
  • An app that ranked number 50 in the top grossing charts in the Apple App Store for iPhone in the U.S. generated $12K on average per day during May 2013, while on iPad this number was $10.2K. The revenue was significantly lower in Google Play at $6.6K.
  • Of the downloads required for rank 10 in the top overall free on an average Monday in May 2013, only 94% of these downloads were required on Thursdays for this position in the Apple App Store for iPhone in the U.S. In order to obtain this position on a Sunday, an app needed 11% more downloads than on the average Monday.

Some additional findings that Distimo found was that the number of downloads required to ensure a top position can vary on a daily basis, for example, what may be enough downloads to place at the top of the charts on a weekday, is typically not enough for the weekends. The differences in the size of app markets across the world also makes a difference in terms of the number of downloads an app has to generate to reach top chart positions. In order to obtain rank 25 free in The Apple App Store for iPhone, most downloads are required in the United States. In Japan, an average app that ranked 25 in the free charts generated 38% of the downloads of an average app with that position in the U.S.

From these findings, it can be seen that Apple needs to introduce updates to its app discoverability tools for both developers and users. In iOS 7, the app store will introduce new category options for children apps and app popularity by location. It will also be removing the Genius component of the app store which would help users find other apps they might be interested in using. The company has yet to introduce a significant update to how applications can be promoted or discovered easier.

For developers, these types of findings may make ensuring proper app discovery to seem like a daunting task. If the company is developing a free application, it is not easy to surpass the 72k download a day threshold for proper top 10 placement. However, there are many different platforms that can drive more downloads such as Facebook’s App Install Ads or proper search placement.

It is also possible to easy track chart placement with tools such as AppData. The tool can help track top gaining applications and full historical data complete with revenue estimates.

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