Infographic: What it Takes to Make it Big in the App Store

By Ioana Cailean on February 26, 2015 5 Comments

It’s no secret that the market for mobile apps is becoming increasingly competitive. One estimate suggests that 48,000 apps are downloaded every minute, while the iOS App Store has more apps than ever before, a staggering 1.2 million are available for download in early 2015. However, a recent report by Adjust showed that in Q3 of 2014, over 1 million of these apps were “zombie apps”, apps with little or no visibility in the App Store. This is a problem for many app advertisers and developers.

These numbers point out that the correct form of marketing has never been more important. Using app boost campaigns remains one of the fastest and most cost-efficient ways of securing a large user base. This works by gaining visibility in the iOS App Store Charts. But what are the costs involved?

Recently, we set about updating an infographic we published back in 2013. The result, which you can find below, explains how a boost campaign works, introduces the concept of a cost per install index, and compares these indices across various Western markets. It also gives an approximate value of how many installs are needed to rank in the Top 10 of the iOS App Store.

CPIs are on the increase

In general, we noted an across-the-board increase in both the average CPI and the average eCPI. This is consistent with changes in the industry and represents the general increase in competition. As in our previous infographic, average CPIs and eCPIs are generally higher for non-gaming apps than for gaming apps. This can be explained by the fact that gaming apps are often mobile-first apps, meaning they do not exist in any other form than the app. Therefore they only compete against other apps. Non-gaming apps, however, face competition from many more sides than just other apps: shopping apps often also have physical retail locations and an online shop. Thus, attracting users to the app is trickier and more expensive.

Our new infographic notes the increase in the number of downloads required to hit the Top 10 of the iOS App Store. In the US, apps now need around 100,000 downloads to rank in the Top 10 – an increase of 25% on the year before. Again, this can be attributed to the massive competition present in Apple’s key market.

Running successful boost campaigns requires a 360 degree approach

Our intention is to provide a snapshot of the status quo of the industry, with a focus on boost campaigns. However, each campaign must be considered individually. When running a boost campaign, we recommend using several boost partners and traffic sources, such as display ads, CPI and CPC, all of which we can provide.

In addition, changes to Apple’s algorithm in recent months have meant that an app’s ranking no longer depends only on the number of downloads it has. Other factors such as the number of reviews and the ratings (one to five stars) all play a role in determining the app’s rank.

Running boost campaigns remains an effective marketing tactic for mobile apps. However, it is the marketing mix and the partners, as well as the quality of the app, which is decisive in the success of the campaign.

Download the high-res version of the infographic here. To find out more about our smartBoost tool, take a look here. You can also find out more about our successful boost campaigns by reading our case studies.