Distimo finds features and sales are more effective on Android rankings than on iOS

App tracking company Distimo has released a comprehensive report detailing exactly what effects developers can expect to see from the two of the most important app sales techniques — features and sales.

Surprisingly, the company’s results suggest features and sales are actually far more beneficial to apps on the Android market than they are to iOS apps. Overall Distimo found Android apps saw more chart traction and higher revenues during a sale than iPad or iPhone apps.

To determine the average effects of an app market feature, Distimo looked how being featured in the New and Noteworthy and Staff Favorites sections in Apple’s App Store and the Staff Picks category in the Android Market would affect the 100 most popular apps in their respective categories between October and December 2011.

Unsurprisingly, Distimo found an app featured either the App Store or the Android market would usually see a significant increase in chart ranking. However, a feature was not always beneficial.  According to Distimo’s findings, 15 percent of iPad apps and 39 percent of iPhone apps would show either no gain, or would actually lose in rankings in the first three days after being featured. By comparison in the Android market only six percent of apps would show no gain or lose rankings after a feature.

After a full seven days of being featured, Distimo found that the average Android app would have gained 65 places on its category chart, an iPad app would have gained 28 and an iPhone app 15.

While it’s important to take into account the progressive difficulty of gaining ranks as an app becomes more popular — it takes many more downloads to move from the No. 10 to No. 5 position on a chart than it does to move from No. 50. to No. 45 — Distimo found that overall, iPad apps tended to see the biggest gains. The average featured iPad app would see its rank increase by 252 percent, almost double the average iPhone app rank increase of 137 percent. The average Android app would see its rank increase by 172 percent.

Overall Distimo found features actually appear to be better sales tools for Android apps in both the short and long term. Checking back five days after an app feature ended, iPad apps still showed gains of 145 percent and iPhone apps showed gains of 75 percent, but Android apps showed gains of 828 percent. While Distimo acknowledges that the lingering effects are likely magnified by the differences between each platform’s ranking algorithms, overall, apps featured in the Android market gained more ranks, saw a greater benefit and noticed longer lasting effects than an app featured in the App Store.

Surprisingly, Distimo also found that sales were also more beneficial to Android apps than they were to iOS apps. While the effect of a sale was far more dramatic initially on iOS, after 15 days the numbers had shifted in favor of Android.

According to Distimo, the average iPad app increased revenue by 19 percent during a sale, an iPhone app saw average revenue increase by 22 percent and and Android app would see a gain of 29 percent.  Android apps were also less likely to lose money on a sale. 31 percent of iPad apps and 23 percent of iPhone would actually see revenue decrease by more than 20 percent during a sale, but only 18 percent of Android apps posted the same loss.

As for sale pricing, Distimo found the most effective tactic was to cut the price of a paid app by at least half, and ideally to either $0.99 or $1.99. Despite incurring a steeper drop in revenues, apps discounted by 80 percent were more likely to increase or maintain revenues during a sale than apps only discounted by 40 percent.