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How We Gained Nearly 4 Million Impressions by Getting Featured in the App Store.

DATE POSTED:April 14, 2019
How We Achieved Nearly 4 Million Impressions by Getting Featured in the App Store.How we did it. What happened, and more importantly — what didn’t.GenM.co

When we launched our mobile app earlier last year we were mainly concerned with making sure we were able to give users the same functionality that they have with our desktop experience. Letting businesses easily browse through the GenM talent pool of student marketers, letting students complete our digital marketing lessons on the go — these were priority. The last thing on our minds was getting featured in the App Store.

But when the email from Apple landed in our inbox that they were selecting our app to be highlighted in their “This Week’s Favorites” category, our sights started to aim a little bit higher. After our hands ached from countless congratulatory high-fives, we started to think. ‘Does this mean we finally made it’? Can we all retire now and live out our 30s sipping piña colada and lounging on the beach’? And, ‘oh shit — are our servers ready for this traffic’?

Well, a few million impressions later and we are a little bit wiser and a lot less naive about what it means to get featured in the App Store, why we think we got featured in the first place, and what we think others should be focusing on if they want their app to reach the exalted status of “Featured App”.

Featured App Submission FormHow we did it

The first step to getting your app featured was to fill out a submission form. It includes basic details like your app name, app number, website, etc.. Most importantly though, is your app’s story. Here you will want to write a compelling piece of copy that will show Apple how your app serves a unique purpose and creates value for their users.

Here’s what we used:

GenM is an alternative approach to education — accessible to anyone, anywhere, that leads to jobs.

With 22 million students in North America traditionally paying an average of $141,000 per year to get educated, and 56% of these students ending up in jobs that require no degree — it’s clear the current system is failing. GenM bridges education and employment into one synchronous experience that allows students to get trained directly by the job market at zero cost.Students gain access to online courses, digital apprenticeships, and certifications — all for free. Apprenticeships are 10 hours a week for 3 months under a vetted business owner, done entirely remote. Students receive work experience, feedback, and guidance from the business, and the business owner gets a helping hand in growing their company. It’s a win-win for both parties.GenM is where students come to launch their careers and small businesses come to grow.”

After you submit, if you are selected to move on to the next stage of the process, Apple will reach out again asking you to submit artwork they can use when featuring your app. Apple has strict guidelines for what they are looking for, and the requirements will vary depending on if you are being featured in the mobile App Store, Apple TV, the desktop store, etc..

Since we were trying to get featured in the mobile App Store, here’s what we went with:

GenM.co

After that, it’s just a waiting game. You will be informed as to whether or not you are selected to be featured in a few week’s time.

In our case, we received an email letting us know that GenM’s mobile app was going to be featured. Apple doesn’t tell you exactly when you will be featured so you will have to keep your eyes peeled and be checking the App Store regularly.

What happened

So what happened? Did our dreams of lazy beachside weekdays and unending passive cash flow become a reality? Not quite. But it did give us a decent boost with some lasting effects that we still notice more than a month out.

Being a Canadian company, our app was initially featured in the New Apps of the Week section of the Canadian App store. Garnering us 330,000 impressions, 4,250 product page views, and 640 app downloads.

Shortly after being featured in the Canadian store, our app was then featured in the U.S. App Store under the New Apps We Love section — that’s when we really started to see results. With 10x the population, it’s no wonder we saw roughly 10x the results. The U.S. App Store featured drew us, roughly 3 million impressions, 28,000 product page views, and 3,800 app downloads.

In total being featured in both the Canadian and U.S. App Stores gained us a 1000%+ increase in impressions and product page views, and a 763% increase in app downloads, as well as resulting in well over 2000 new students being added to our talent pool.

GenM.coAdvice for getting featured

Although Apple doesn’t explicitly state why they chose to feature your app, I sat down with Nicholas Tremblay, Senior Software Engineer at GenM and the creator of our mobile app to pick his brain about what he thinks it takes for an app to get featured.

GenM.co

For Nic, it’s important that time and energy is first being put into your product. You can spend weeks drafting the perfect submission but if your app is lacking features or polish, it will be all for naught. Work until you have a version of your product that’s the best it can be…and then keep working.

It’s not just about having a well-polished app though. Nic argues that it’s important that your app serves a unique purpose and adds value for the users that they simply can’t find anywhere else. Sure you can have a great app for learning a second language, but with Duolingo already dominating that space, you’re going to need something to something big that sets you apart if you want to get noticed.

Although we can’t say for sure, it’s generally agreed upon that Apple favors those who use their latest products. Including extensions in your app that utilize Apple features could give you a competitive edge.

Finally, Nic believes that our ratings going into the application stage played a huge part in our app being selected. Before being featured, our app’s rating was 4.9/5 — but it wasn’t always this way. Nic’s strategy for increasing ratings was to personally contact each user who left a poor rating to see what the issue was and see what features they would like to see implemented in the future. He would then use this information to fix the issue or implement the feature and then ask the user to alter their rating now that their concerns were addressed. This strategy allowed us to now only increase our app’s rating and keep our users happy, but also improve our product in the process.

Key Takeaways

Getting your app featured in the App Store is not the be-all-end-all for your product. It’s not going to change your life, but it is going to give your app a decent boost that will have long-lasting effects in terms of its ranking.

If you want to get your app featured, focus first on improving the product. Think about what sets your app apart from the thousands of others on the marketplace and make that the core selling point. If you want to improve your ratings, get personal and reach out to users. It will allow you to provide them a better experience while also gaining valuable information on how you can improve moving forward. Best of luck!