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How to Get Your Game Featured in the App Store: A Guide for 2022

(This article was originally published on Udonis’ blog.)

Getting your game featured in the App Store is the ultimate dream of every developer. It puts your game on the map and helps with the overall mobile game marketing strategy. However, achieving that is not easy. Apple strives for excellence and that is reflected in the apps and games its editors choose to feature.

Also, Apple has different requirements than Google Play. Therefore, strategies to get your game featured on Google Play might not work for Apple. The App Store puts a lot more focus on new games and games that have a unique story. However, some things are the same. For example, an intuitive user interface and outstanding user experience are important for both.

To find out what it takes to get your game featured in the App Store, read this guide.

Top Benefits of Getting Your Game Featured in the App Store

  • Better game visibility
  • Increase in downloads
  • More high-quality players
  • Higher App Store ranking

App Store Lists You Can Get Featured On

As of iOS 11, App Store editors curate lists of gaming and non-gaming apps on their main page. These lists inform users about unique apps, new releases, etc. They often include themed apps in accordance with different occasions, e.g. holidays.

  • Today Tab
  • Games Tab
  • Apps Tab
  • Themed lists
  • Game and App of the day
  • You can also get an editor’s choice badge

How to Get Your Game Featured in the App Store

The first step to getting featured is, of course, creating an awesome game. That should go without saying. However, that’s not enough. There are many other deciding factors you should know about.

Here are the most important ones.

Have a Unique Story

What’s unique about the App Store is that its editors write short articles about featured games. In order to get a piece written about your game, it must have a captivating and unique story. In other words, something that makes it interesting and different. Think about what’s your USP and what makes your game outstanding.

For example, App Store editors often write about the developers, give users a behind-the-scenes look of how the game was made, or what makes the game so unique.

So it’s not enough to have a high-quality game, you also need to have a cool story around it to get the editor’s attention.

Create a Good App Promo Video

One of the imperatives for showing your game’s story and quality is a well-made app promo video. This feature is equally important for the Apple and Google Play store.

Both app stores have certain requirements and policies when it comes to app promo videos.

The first one are the required video dimensions. Most videos include the standard 16:9 ratio and the dimensions should be no less than 1920x1080.

Secondly, the app stores differ in length requirements:

  • Google Play has no restrictions on video length
  • Apple Store only accepts 15–30 second long videos

When it comes to the number of videos you can include, Google Play accepts 1 video, while Apple allows including up to 3 videos.

Finally, when it comes to the video content itself, Apple requires real gameplay footage only. On the other hand, Google has no content restrictions.

With all of these app store requirements in mind, you can create a promo video that will look good both in front of the app stores and their visitors.

A quality promo video for your mobile game:

  • Contains gameplay footage
  • Is not too long (30–45 seconds max)
  • Grabs attention from the start
  • Highlights the game’s best features
  • Includes a CTA
  • Doesn’t rely on sound

Focus on User Experience and User Interface

When it comes to design, Apple is all about simplicity and that is reflected in the apps they choose to feature. The App Store won’t feature games that are not easy to use or poorly designed.

So when working on user interface and user experience, make it simple, intuitive, and clean. If you keep Apple’s design aesthetic in mind, you can’t go wrong.

To check out Apple’s UI guidelines, go here.

Localize Your Mobile Game

Here’s how the App Store works. There are actually 155 App Stores with local editors for each one. The local editorial teams determine whether a game is interesting and relevant to their users.

Therefore, you need to localize your mobile game.

That means you need to translate your game to other languages. It’s a long and painstaking process, but trust me, it pays off. Additionally, you should localize your App Store page.

App Store Optimization

Another big factor in getting your game featured in the App Store is, of course, app store optimization. Most Apple users discover games by browsing the App Store. Therefore, your goal should be to improve your ranking and show up high in search results. It’s the best way to improve the visibility of your mobile game.

There are many factors that affect App Store rankings. Here are the most important ones.

The first is keywords. Unlike Google Play, Apple’s App Store has a keyword field. You have 100 characters to enter keywords that best describe your game. This is where you need to be strategic and use keywords users would type in to find your game. The key is to achieve a balance of highly competitive (popular) keywords and keywords that have less competition.

Other factors that help you rank higher in the App Store are having a memorable game name, writing an attention-grabbing description, and choosing the right primary category.

Additionally, pay special attention to the visual elements of the app store. That includes the aforementioned app promo video, but also screenshots/graphics. You can showcase what makes your game special in the images and present its main features. It’s best that the image includes a real screenshot of the game experience. However, you can also add other design elements to make it more appealing. For example, many developers add text to the images, usually to highlight a certain feature.

Learn more about app store optimization in this in-depth guide.

Get High Ratings for Your Mobile Game

If you look at apps and games that are featured in the App Store, all have high ratings. The majority of apps and games featured on the main page have ratings above 4 stars. For games, this standard is even higher. In fact, the average game featured there has a rating of 4.4 stars.

Granted, that’s very high, but Apple is adamant about featuring only the best mobile games out there.

What you can do to get higher rankings is to ask users to rate and review your game. Another technique you can use is gamification. It means offering in-app rewards to users in exchange for rating the game.

Furthermore, avoid negative reviews. Oftentimes, they’re the result of misleading advertising. Many publishers create ads that are not a true representation of the game. In other words, they make the game look much better than it actually is or they mislead users by showcasing features that are not the core game experience. When people install a game based on a misleading ad, they often get disappointed because it’s not what they expect. Thus, they end up giving it a bad rating and a negative review.

Finally, update your game regularly. Fix your bugs and crashes, and include new features. This should boost your ratings because it shows your players you care. This is also a positive signal for Apple. Rest assured, they are not going to feature games that haven’t been updated in weeks or months.

That’s why you need to avoid false advertising at all costs.

Have High Replay Value

There are many mobile games out there that you play once, and you’re done. Those types of games have a low chance of getting featured in the App Store.

So what makes a mobile game replayable?

One of the big factors is gameplay depth. Having additional content, unlockable features, or new characters also helps. The key is to keep players engaged and coming back for more.

If you notice user retention is low, you can also reach lapsed players with push notifications or offer them an in-game reward to come back.

Monetize With In-App Purchases

Did you know that monetizing with in-app purchases increases your odds of getting featured in the app store?

According to AppFollow, 2/3 of games that get featured on the App Store’s main page are free-to-play and monetize with in-app purchases.

Naturally, one question comes up — why is this?

Well, one factor is probably user experience. Games that monetize with ads inevitably damage the user experience for some players. This often results in bad app store ratings.

The other possible factor is the fact that Apple makes more from these kinds of games.

The thing is that IAP-driven games direct players towards buying different boosters, lives, items, etc. Whatever helps them progress in the game. And if players are buying, Apple gets a share of that.

Final Thoughts on How to Get Your Game Featured in the App Store

After you have completed these steps, there’s one extra thing you can do to get your game featured in the App Store. There’s a form you can submit to Apple’s editors to be considered for featuring. Think of it as pitching your game and the story around it.

Even though submitting doesn’t guarantee you’ll get your game featured in the App Store, it’s worth trying.

The final thing that should be mentioned is that you need to be ready to get featured. Here’s what means.

When you finally get your game featured in the App Store, you’ll suddenly get many users playing it. If you’re not prepared, your game could crash or experience other issues. That, in turn, results in a lot of low ratings and you end up buried deep down in the App Store where no one can ever find you.

I’m not trying to scare you. The point is to be prepared and make sure your game doesn’t crash when you experience a sudden surge of new players.

Did you find this guide helpful? Let me know in the comments below!

About Udonis

Since 2018 until today, Udonis Inc. has acquired over 150 million users for mobile apps & games. We’re recognized as a leading mobile marketing agency by 5 major marketing review firms. We helped over 20 mobile apps & games reach the top charts. Want to know how we make it look so effortless? Meet us to find out!

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