How to get attention from Apple's Editorial Team
While at Apple, my job was to work with developers to help them build great products for Apple Platforms. At Apple, when we said “great products,” we meant beautifully designed, compelling apps that take advantage of the latest and greatest hardware and software features— whether it be the features in the latest OS, or in latest piece of hardware. In my experience working with developers, some were very receptive to integrating these technologies, some not so much. Regardless, all wanted to know one thing… HOW DO I GET FEATURED!? Below are some quick tips to follow in order to give you a better shot at it!
No Brainer: Make an amazing app!
I know it sounds cliché folks, but really, MAKE A GREAT APP! Despite what some may think, apps do not get featured because they come from big name companies. Quality is the first, and most significant factor that the App Store Editorial team considers when featuring an app. If your game or app isn’t designed well, has usability issues, takes long to load or any of the countless issues an app can have, you are much less likely to get featured — or dare I say, you won’t get featured. The App Store Editorial team cares about one thing above all: highlighting the best experiences for Apple customers each and every day. If your app isn’t considered a “world class” experience, good luck! 😕
Pro-Tip: Make Unique use of Apple Technology
Apple considers the “best experiences for Apple customers” experiences that use Apple’s unique hardware and software features. This means that every time a new OS or device is launched, it’s in the company’s interest to highlight apps and games that are using platform differentiating features. Besides, why else would someone buy an iPhone over an Android device if there are no differentiating features? Apple builds the technology but they rely on developers to integrate it in order for the consumers to really benefit from their technical innovations. That said, the Editorial team is always looking for games and apps that are either using the latest, greatest technology really well, or in a really unique way, or both! Pay attention to the new features and find ways to integrate them into what you are doing in a unique and compelling way — you’ll give yourself a huge leg up on the competition!
iPhone X launched over a month ago and iPhone X optimized apps are still being heavily featured. Likewise, iOS 11 launched almost 3 months ago and AR Games have a dedicated page.
Stories: Pitch Them!
When Apple announced iOS 11, there was an overwhelmingly positive response about the App Store redesign. Developers were excited about the new features that were now built into the store like the separation of Games and Apps, the Today tab and all of the new features now built into the developer product pages. The Today tab in particular is a game changer because it allows the App Store to be more dynamic, and it finally gives App Store visitors context as to why an app or game is worthwhile via the six stories that are published every day. This is the type of context that has been missing from the store since its inception, and is really a powerful tool for Apple and developers. Where do these stories come from? Well, everywhere! Some are baked up internally by the Editors, some are a result of collaboration between the Editors and developers and some are stories that developers pitch to Apple. You think you have a great angle for a story? Pitch it to Apple!
Don’t launch on another platform first
The App Store Editors are journalist at heart. No journalist likes to be second, or third place when it comes to breaking a story. Makes sense right? So DON’T launch on another mobile platform first — Apple is less likely to feature you on the store if you’ve done so. That said, the world of games is a bit different than other content types and the Editors understand the dynamics of PC/Console games vs. mobile games. You won’t get knocked for launching your game on Steam or console first but it always helps your cause if you can at either launch on iOS first or launch simultaneously. As long as you don’t launch on another mobile platform first, you’re good! 😉
Have a robust marketing plan:
Marketing has obviously become more and more sophisticated on iOS over the years. In contrast to a few years ago when it was common for a developer’s marketing plan to be “we are hoping we get featured by Apple,” developers have become increasingly self sufficient when it comes to their marketing. Apple loves this! As crazy as it sounds, not relying on Apple to market your app is a good way to garner some attention. Over the years, Apple has also gotten more involved with giving developers guidance on their off the store marketing to help them amplify their efforts. When you have the foundations of a good, interesting and compelling marketing plan, there could be opportunities to work with Apple’s Marketing teams. This may give you more visibility internally and potentially lead to a feature nod.
Now, I’m not saying if you do all of these, you are guaranteed to get featured by the Apple Editorial team, but if you do do all or some of these, it will vastly improve your chances of being featured on the store. Try it out and report back results! GOOD LUCK!