Is there one success factor that virtually all top-ranking apps have in common? Taking a look at the top apps today, the answer is yes. So what is that success factor? In a word, it’s money. If you really want to make it to the top of the App Store, you might just have to be prepared to pay for that success. And that success doesn’t come cheap. Let’s take a look at how it works, and how much it all costs.

How Top Ranking is Measured

So what do you need to get into the top 50 or top 10 of the App Store? Basically, you need a whole lot of downloads in a very short period of time. App ranking is usually measured over 72-hour periods, but the most important downloads are the ones that happened in the last 24 hours. Recently, the mobile app marketing company TradeMob surveyed 80 different app discovery agencies, and found that the magic number for getting into the top 10 in the US App Store was 80,000 downloads over a 24-hour period.

How to Use Boost Campaigns to Make It to the Top of the App
Store

80,000 is a lot of downloads, you say. How exactly does one reach that level? The easiest way is simply to pay for it. Using “boost” campaigns, app marketers can achieve more downloads by incentivising users to download the app. These purchased downloads will also generate what’s called “organic uplift.” This occurs when other users “organically” download the app because of the high uptake amongst incentivised users. Many companies that run boost campaigns will guarantee that your app reaches a certain number of downloads, for a set price.

Gaming vs. Non-gaming Apps

An important distinction to point out is the distinction between gaming and non-gaming apps. In their research, TradeMob found that each purchased install of a gaming app would lead to one organic install. Non-gaming apps, however, only achieved only 0.65 organic installs per paid install.

How Much Does This All Cost?

The average price of a boost campaign for a gaming app comes out to around $1.40 per paid install. Adding in the organic uplift factor, the real cost per download generated would be $0.70. For non-gaming apps, the price is a little higher at $2.00 per paid install, and $1.20 per install once organic uplift is factored in. So according to TradeMob’s research then, the average cost of reaching that 80,000 number would be $56,000 for a gaming app, or $96,000 for a non-gaming app.

Incentivising downloads through boost campaigns is a good strategy for those who can afford it. However, when discussing these numbers, let’s not forget about the importance of the app itself. If you have a high-quality product that people are already interested in, you will naturally generate more organic uplift through a push campaign than you would if you were trying to market a lower-quality app.


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