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Home Blog App Marketing App Store Ranking Factors that You Need to Know: Is App Store Ranking Based on The Number of Downloads?

App Store Ranking Factors that You Need to Know: Is App Store Ranking Based on The Number of Downloads?

Apr 11 2021

app ranking


Is Apple Store ranking based on the number of downloads?

The answer is NO.

The number of downloads is only one of the most important factors that affect the ranking of the app under the list and search results, and it cannot be said that the ranking on the App Store is entirely based on the number of downloads.

There are two main rankings in App Store: one is the search result ranking and the other is the list ranking.

Natural search result ranking:


Search result ranking refers to the position of the app in the search result of a certain keyword. There are many factors influencing the search ranking, besides the number of search downloads, there are other factors, including user activity and user reviews, etc. In the ranking of search results, the user activity of the app, i.e. DAU/MAU (daily user activity/monthly user activity), the number of user reviews and the rating is also very important.

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Ranking refers to the ranking of the app on each list, usually, the higher the ranking, the higher the traffic. In Apple's app store, i.e. App Store, the list is the ranking, including free, paid and best-selling lists. According to the existing ranking rules and algorithms of App Store, the main optimization of each list is different - the free/pay list is mainly optimized based on the number of downloads, while the best-seller list can be optimized by the revenue of the app.

List ranking update algorithms

The list update is about 3 hours to update once, the specific time is variable, there are also up to 24 hours without update, we usually call it a lock list.

The main purpose of the lock list is that Apple adjusts the algorithm, which takes some time to execute, and there will be a lock list for as long as 10 hours, and there will be some App weight (ranking) abnormalities before the lock list;

In addition, Apple will also take this opportunity to punish the serious behavior of the brush list, generally with the account seizure brush list company used to brush the list account.

The total list ranking update time and classification list ranking update time is the same. According to a large amount of capture data, the update after 12:00 is very regular, basically 15:00/17:00/20:00/22:30 have an update.

Then according to the influence factor of Apple weighting: the percentage of download activation in the 2 time periods before the list update is very high (up to 40%+ according to inaccurate data). This is also the law that many list companies and point wall optimization companies often use.

Keyword ranking update

The keyword ranking update time is about 2-3 times a day, basically maintained at 8-12 hours once, very regular. The time point is around 4:00-6:00/12:00/22:00-24:00.

At present, there is no third-party tool for effective monitoring, in addition, not all keywords are updated every time, which is the reason why ASO third-party tools have not been able to capture this data, and I hope this function can be improved subsequently.

The main factors that determine the ranking of keywords are comments (keywords implanted in comments) and search downloads. And both affect the keyword ranking is very time-sensitive, through the comments of the keyword ranking to do up the basic can maintain a 1-2 days, search downloads to maintain a longer time, about 2-3 days.


Top list update


Popular search list is iOS 8 released only after, so that this area is relatively fresh compared to other categories, when we are tired of playing the list and keywords, are scrambling to root to grab the position of the popular search 10 keywords. Love money into, cattle stock king, oxygen listening to the book is familiar with the regulars. 


Before the iOS 9 update, the reference dimension is relatively simple, mainly the hotness of keywords and short time search download volume, note that it is not the search download activation volume. 


Currently, the industry does hot search by machine brushing a large number of search downloads, provided that it is done in a short period of time. iOS 9 update later, the simple search downloads may not be done into, the reason is that Apple increases several other influencing dimensions, and of course there is a part of manual intervention. Popular search list ranking once done up, and then make up some volume during the period, basically can maintain more than 8 hours.

Finally, it should be noted that even with the same number of downloads/search downloads, the rankings will all improve differently due to different factors, including App weight, keyword position weight, user weight, and time weight.

The rules of App Store ranking basically no one can say clearly, and the rules always change. It is said that the rules that affect the ranking are: download volume, daily activity, positive reviews, search results, product quality, etc., each with different weights. 


So the point of the wall is to contribute to the advertiser's download volume, to improve the weight of the download volume. The quality of the wall itself is very poor (you can look at the conversion rate of orders, retention, roi, etc.), do this channel is mainly for the list, and now some people are for ASO. of course, do not exclude some capricious is to rush the volume.

App Store ranking will be affected by various factors and change. One of the main factors that lead to ranking changes are: app download volume, keyword search ranking, daily activity (DAU), comments and praise.

Among these, app downloads are the most important factor that leads to ranking changes, and most of the ASO optimization means are to improve app downloads.

At the same time there is also a problem actually have to think about, is the current search volume, in fact, including its own with the natural search will behavior of users, but also contains a major integral wall manufacturers of passive task search downloads, this has to be taken into account.

How to improve you app ranking


Cover as many as possible to the popular keywords

Title, subtitle, keywords should go carefully selected hot words, they are likely to appear in the search results, especially keywords have 100 characters, if you can have a good spelling, eventually cover more than 300 words are completely possible. But be careful, the subtitle should remember not to be too long, there are risks. The selection of hot words needs to be considered through the following aspects.

  • Relevance. The keywords chosen need to have a direct relationship with your product and the target user, to enable users to find through the word is the product they want. Too irrelevant words on the one hand may not pass the audit, in addition may also lead to attract not the target users.


  • Popularity. The higher the heat of a search term, the more frequently it is searched, which means that users are more likely to find your product through that term. But at the same time, the hotter the word, the more sought-after, there may be more products to compete with you for the word's ranking. Therefore, it is not better to choose the hotter the better, but also to see how many search results to assist in judgment.


  • Competitive app. Here on the one hand refers to go to see what keywords competing products use, competing products crazy to avoid, panning some of them have not been found by the heat is still a good word, is a good way out; on the other hand, you can try to add some of the top ranking competitor's name in the keywords. If your competition in the total list of the first 100, its name itself may be a hot word (this issue also depends on the strict degree of Apple audit, encountered a very strict audit may not pass).


A large number of search terms download activation to enhance ranking


Practice shows that the app in the keyword search downloads have a lot of weight on the search results ranking, so a proven way to improve keyword rankings is to let real users search for keywords, find your app to download and activate, to reach a certain amount of the keyword ranking will improve. 


This can be done by purchasing volume from some channels, or by using multiple small apps to guide volume to the main app. Be sure to look for channels that are real users, and don't think about the brush.


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