Publication: What Is Needed For Top Positions In The App Stores?

How many downloads do you need to enter the top charts in the major app stores, and how much revenue is required to obtain a top spot in the top grossing ranks? At Distimo, these questions are among the questions we receive most often from our App Analytics users.

Knowing what to expect in terms of downloads and revenues when you reach a certain rank allows you to make better-informed investment decisions. You can also plan marketing campaigns much more efficiently when you have greater insight into the app store rankings. This is because, when a high rank is reached, you can rely on the ‘ranking effect’ in the app stores. Your app is more visible, and therefore will continue to generate more downloads. In turn, the app will retain its position in the charts (perhaps with the help of a smaller marketing campaign).

In this month’s report, we take an extensive look at the download volumes that a developer needs to generate in order to reach the top positions in the major app stores. All data is extracted directly from Distimo AppIQ, which provides developers with insights into the estimated downloads and revenues of all apps in the most important app stores on a daily basis.


Downloads needed for top ranks in the Apple App Store for iPhone

An app needed 23K free downloads per day on average to reach rank 50 of the top free charts in May 2013 in the Apple App Store for iPhone in the United States. For paid apps, the average number of downloads needed for this position was about 25 times lower at 950 downloads. An app needs to generate a daily revenue of $12K in order to reach rank 50 of the grossing charts.


Daily differences

The previous graph shows the monthly average for May 2013. However, on a day-to-day basis there are differences in the downloads needed to reach or maintain a top position. In the following graph, the average downloads per weekday required for rank 10 in the free charts are shown as an index. The average of the Mondays in May 2013 are set to 100. The graph shows that during the week (Monday through Friday), significantly less downloads are needed for an app to reach a top position. On Saturdays, nine percent more downloads are needed on average for an app to reach a top 10 free position than on Mondays, and on Sundays, this is 11 percent higher. The least amount of downloads is necessary for an app to reach a top position on Thursdays.


Case study: Songify By Khush Inc.

We took an example from Distimo AppIQ in order to illustrate how rankings and downloads correspond. The graph below shows both the daily estimated downloads and the daily ranks of this app in one graph. We used the app Songify in this example, as this app showed an interesting development of its Top Overall ranks during May 2013 in the U.S. The upper line presents the rank of the app (right axis) on that day. The lower line presents the estimated downloads (left axis) the application generated on the same day. Songify was ranked below 200 during the first days of the month in the Top Overall paid rankings. This implied that it generated around 200 downloads or less per day. The app increased in rank when the app started generating more downloads. The top position was reached on May 10 and 11 (ranking 11 on both days), when the app reached 3.7K and 4.3K downloads, respectively. After these days, Songify’s downloads started to decline, and on May 14, it dropped out of the top 50 again (ranking 51 on that day), with 846 generated downloads.


Download the full Report

In the publication you will find much more detailed information about the downloads and revenues for top ranked apps. In the full report, more top positions are analyzed and differences between countries are examined. Moreover, we compared the Apple App Store for iPhone with other major app stores: Apple App Store for iPad, Google Play and Amazon Appstore. Please download the full report here.

The press kit including all image files is also available.


Hendrik Koekkoek