Developers depend on App Store ratings for the success of their applications. When updates are made to App Stores, it can really throw off development teams. The iOS 6 update has caused a panic about changes to the Apple App Store, with many dev teams claiming that the updated App Store rates apps differently.
An article by Darrell Etherington in TechCrunch explains that it is not the app store rankings that have changed, but rather the app store functions like Search, etc.:
“….the evidence actually points to there being no or minimal changes to the actual algorithm governing rankings, and instead any changes are due more to other shifts, like the way search works and how the top charts are set up.
‘If the algorithm had indeed been changed to a system based on anything other than the velocity of downloads, the repercussions would have been obvious and fast,’ he explained in an email. ‘If the algorithm were based purely on sessions then Facebook would not be dislodged. We can already see that a good amount of apps are resuming their positions after the initial drop in rank. So the message is simple, carry on as normal and understand as best you can the App Store dynamics.’
There are some undeniable effects on the App Store rankings that go along with the redesign, however, as some have definitely changed position, Apple appears to be more aggressively promoting its own apps via in-App Store prompts for those who don’t have titles installed, Genius is given a place of prominence, and Passbook-capable apps appear higher up in rankings, according to adeven. So the strategy for better placement in the App Store changes for developers, even if the actual mechanics behind rankings doesn’t.
‘You can try to optimize for keywords, which is still a bit of an uncharted area, since it still isn’t really known how Apple ranks things in search result,’ Müller explained further in a phone interview. ‘Even more now than ever, you have to see what kind of users you’re acquiring via marketing. If you’re doing marketing, you shouldn’t do it blind, you should look at the quality of users you’re targeting. Before you could just buy downloads, get to the top and win. But now we can see apps show up often in Genius and search due to having strong networks, even though they don’t have the most downloads.’”
Only the best make the top 25, and few make the top 10. To win users and get to the top of the App Store, developers need to be sure their app is high quality, easy to navigate and useful. The best way to do so is through real world iPhone app testing.
Have you noticed a difference in the iOS App Store ratings? Share your thoughts on the changes in the comments section.