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The Rich Keep Getting Richer [UPDATED]

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The Rich Keep Getting Richer [UPDATED]

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“The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” With Election Day behind us, I wanted to analyze this highly contentious topic. While fortuitous fundraising and an analysis on presidential prospects is what many Americans think about when it comes to this statement, I wanted to focus on our domain – mobile apps and mobile app performance management.

Let’s start with some staggering stats to give proper context to this discussion. Over 1M apps, either free or paid, are available for immediate download from designated app markets (e.g., App Store and Google Play), generating over $20 million in daily revenue. This number is rapidly growing and these marketplaces continue to offer a whole new field of functionality and a new means of content consumption. This has led us at Crittercism to examine the various aspects of the relationship that visibility in the marketplace has on demand.

The truth is this: “The higher your app ranks in an app store’s search results, the more visible it is to potential customers. That increased visibility tends to translate into more traffic to your app’s page in the app store.” When we talk about rankings in an app store, we refer to the popularity of different apps based on their recent demand as they are listed in both the “Free” and “Paid” categories.

Figure 1. Google Play: Top Paid


Here at Crittercism, we are interested in quantifying just how big this impact of visibility is in the marketplace, and more importantly how individuals can work to increase that visibility. According to Stanford’s top researchers, they “find a significant visibility effect for apps in positions 1-20, but not to apps in positions 21 and forward.” Compared with the app in rank position 20, the app in rank position 1 receives about 90% more downloads due to the visibility effect.

Those are two powerful statements. 1) If your app doesn’t rank in the top 20 in the marketplace, you will struggle to achieve the downloads and traffic you hoped for. 2) Even if you are ranked in the top 20, being ranked first has an overwhelmingly large impact on downloads than being ranked 20th. I suppose it’s akin to search engine optimization, where being on the first page of search engine results has an outsize impact. In other words, most people click on the first page, and most of those people click on earlier results. The higher your search engine results page ranking, the more traffic you’ll get. Pretty straightforward.

But what’s not so clear is how one achieves an increase in app store rankings. Even a small increase is a big deal as has been noted that moving from position 20 to position 1 cannearly double the demand for an app. Compounding this notion even further is the fact that app store rankings depend on several factors, least of which is the demand for other apps. Just like the presidential elections where the incumbent enjoys every conceivable advantage, including existing relationships with individuals, a track record of success, and knowledge of the landscape – so too the mobile app marketplace also experiences such inequality. However, ranks change over time for two reasons: (a) reflecting variations in the demand for the app itself, and (b) reflecting variations in the demand for other apps.

This is all good news for us. It implies that there are many steps one can take. Below are 3 easy steps to getting your app ranked higher:

- Manage crashes and service issues using a mobile-dedicated performance management solution.

- Measure app store and user engagement. For more details, check out our latest ebook here.

- Modify app to optimize it further using an A/B testing solution.

As contentious as it sounds, the rich do get richer…at least in the mobile app world. The key is to create a flawless, high-performing app with the user at the center in order to get inducted into the app hall of fame.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 12.26.25 PM


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