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Home Blog App Marketing Apple Store Ranking Algorithm Report: Searching List Rules and Searching List Update Time

Apple Store Ranking Algorithm Report: Searching List Rules and Searching List Update Time

May 31 2021

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After several updates of iOS in recent years, it has been a familiar concern that App Store hot search display has been changed again and again.

Apple has added four types of recommended keywords/apps: Hot Search, Explore App + Explore Game, Explore More + Recommended for You, and Recommended for You.

The content displayed in these sections has become a battle ground for each developer's app.

3-4 hours a rotation, Thousands of people on diversity display


After the hot search content update display form, according to the test calculation, the change pattern of the relevant hot search display form has been compiled, and the display will generally be changed every 4 hours as a round, and the "Recommended for you" display mode is not yet stable.

During the test, we counted the display frequency several times, among which "popular search" is one of the four forms with the highest probability of appearance.

Through testing, we have also compiled the relevant reusable laws.

  • "Explore more + Recommended for you", "Recommended for you" under the 2 display forms of "Recommended for you" in a round of App is mostly consistent.


  • When "Recommended for you" is displayed, 15 apps or 16 apps may be displayed.


  • "Hot Search" will display 8 keywords


  • The App displayed in "Recommended for you" is generally in the form of games and apps each in half.


  • At the same time, different phones of the same system may not show the same form of hot search.


  • In addition to the test, this time, we conducted in-depth research on the changes and rules of App Store hot search from two perspectives: recommended keywords and recommended apps, hoping to give developers more possibilities for optimization.

Apple App Store list and search update time


The ranking rules of App Store free, paid and best-seller list ranking algorithm? As the app promotion marketers of Apple's list, the APP application can enter the top 10 of the list, which means a lot of exposure, thus bringing a huge amount of natural traffic.

So what are the factors that influence each list ranking?

The search list is updated about once every 3-4 hours, and it is updated more frequently in the evening, about once every 3 hours, and at the same time, the afternoon is a time when the application changes a lot.

As we all know, the ranking in Apple App Store is divided into paid list, free list and best-seller list, and the so-called list optimization is to improve the ranking of the app in these lists.

So when is the update time of these charts, and what is the rule? Let's take a look at the chart update time according to the statistics tool.

The update time of the list is not regular, and each list is updated separately


This is because of the updated method implemented by Apple from January 14, 2015 in order to combat the brush list.

The variable update time of App Store list ranking does not have much impact on user's experience, but it invariably interferes with the prediction and thus increases the risk for the company that needs to rush the list on App Store.

Users tap the search button in the Apple AppStore and can see ten popular searches, how is the search list updated again?

APP Store free list algorithm ranking rules


Free list of APP applications are free to download (beginners submit app store audit need to pay attention to this point: free download, does not mean completely free to use, some APP need to buy membership, in-app goods to use).

App Store free list ranking algorithm rules, the following formula.

App Store ranking = downloads of the day * 8 + (yesterday) downloads * 5 + (the day before) downloads * 5 + (the day before) downloads * 2

From the formula, we can see that what is the algorithm rule that affects the ranking of the free list?

The answer is the number of downloads. The number of downloads of the day is the decisive factor.

The ranking rules of the free list have little to do with the amount of keyword coverage, the time of version updates, and the number of review ratings.

What do you need to do if your app wants to enter top 10 of the category? 

The top 10 apps in the free list are all in the top three positions in the category list rankings.

What does it mean? Only within the TOP 3 of each category list can you rank in the TOP 10 of the free list.

After all, the free list is very competitive, thousands of applications, how to pick the best applications? Put the number one player in each category list.

What do you need to do if your app wants to enter the free list or the top 10 of the category list? 


  • Improve the product, improve the conversion rate, improve the number of new users, improve the retention rate. 

  • ASO. Do the category list, depending on the category.

Bestseller list algorithm ranking rules


The algorithmic ranking of the best-seller list is related to the total revenue of the app. The larger the total daily revenue, the higher the ranking.

To analyze the top ten applications found that, looking at the top ten applications in the best-seller list, seven are games, and all are big manufacturers, the daily total revenue ranked in the top ten inward flow is about a million or more.

Paid list algorithm ranking rules


The paid list ranking is related to the number of downloads and weighted user downloads of the app.

It is said that an average of 3,000 daily additions can rank in the top five.

Weighted users are similar to the ratings that Apple gives to users who often make purchases and in-app purchases in the App Store. The higher the rating, the more credible it is to download an app.

Therefore the higher the weighted user, the more weight the download of the app has on the ranking of the paid list.

There is no inevitable connection between an app that ranks high on the paid list and one that may rank very low on the best-seller list.

Because the best-seller list is mainly determined by revenue, the ranking algorithm of the paid list has nothing to do with revenue and download unit price, but mainly influenced by the number of downloads.

More keywords are showing, most hot search terms≥4605


"Hot Search", "Explore More + Recommended for You" and "Explore App + Explore Game" are the main forms of keywords displayed in Hot Search, and the change of its display form also brings more possibilities for developers to be listed in Hot Search, thus increasing users' attention.

Hot searching list shows more number of keywords


According to the sample data, it can be seen that the keywords with search index ≥4605 are more likely to be displayed in hot search, whether in the new iOS.

Arcade and strategy game apps are more likely to be shown in hot search


In the iOS hot search changes, the "Recommended for you" and "Explore more + Recommended for you" forms of direct product recommendation have been added.

This move will undoubtedly increase the exposure of the product for the developers and open up more possibilities for the product to get more volume.

The probability of displaying apps and game apps in hot search is basically the same


In the process of app store hot search to show App, the proportion of app and game App is basically the same, and there is no big difference in the display.

Among the app apps, education, photography and video, and efficiency-related products were displayed more often.

Among Game Apps, Strategy, Role-playing and Action games are more likely to be shown in the hot search.

Mature products are more likely to be noticed


According to the data, mature products that have been online for a certain amount of time are more likely to be displayed in Hot Search, and Apple is more friendly to mature products that have been online for a while in the process of displaying apps in Hot Search.

Game developers' products are more likely to be displayed


According to the developers who show their products in Hot Search, the top 5 developers who show their products are mostly game developers, so game developers can pay extra attention to the possibility of showing their products to increase their exposure.

Most products ranked higher after hot search display


According to the developers who show their products in Hot Search, the top 5 developers who show their products are mostly game developers, so game developers can pay extra attention to the possibility of showing their products to increase their exposure.

It is suggested that developers can make full use of the relevant data, combine with homogeneous products, learn and integrate to improve the possibility of entering the Hot Search recommendation, and of course, developers can also try to describe their own products in the self-referral portal to trigger the attention of Apple editors to their products, so as to obtain the possibility of recommendation.




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