Distimo: Being Featured In The Android Market Can Boost Apps’ Rank By 172%

Earlier this morning, we looked at the findings from analytics provider Distimo‘s latest report, which examined what happens when mobile apps go on sale. (Spoiler: when priced correctly, revenue goes way up). The second part of the report looked at the ranking gains that occur when an app achieves “featured” status in a mobile app store like iTunes or the Android Market.

Developers often don’t know their app is being featured until they see the large, unexplained jumps in download numbers in their preferred app analytics service. The effect can be remarkable. In the iPhone App Store, for example, a featured app sees an average jump in its ranking of some 15 spots or so, during the first three days. Some apps gain significantly more, while others see much less action. (Distimo looked at Q4 data for the top 100 most popular apps to determine these findings).

In the iPad App Store and Android Market, featured apps see even higher gains than on iPhone. iPad apps’ average gain was +27 during the first three days, while featured Android apps (i.e., “Staff Picks”) were boosted up +42 spots.

Below, the chart shows the proportion of apps that gained more than 50 ranks, more than 25 ranks and those that lost ranks after being featured (oddly, that can happen), again, during the first three days.

But not all apps immediately feel the effects of their featured status. In fact, one-third of the featured iPhone apps Distimo examined did not gain in the first three days of being featured. Given that apps are, in general, only featured for seven days in all three major app stores, these first few days are critical.

During the full seven days that apps are featured, the average gains are +65 spots for Android, +15 for iPhone and +28 for iPad apps.

Distimo cautions that even though the differences between platforms seem spectacular, the app’s overall position matters, too. For example, a jump from 10 to 5 would means a substantial uptake in downloads, but going from 50 to 45 wouldn’t matter as much.

To depict this visually, the graph below shows the relative rank gains. (A rank change from 3 to 2 is an increase of 50%, while the change from 50 to 25 is 100%. All figures are 7-day averages).

The chart shows that approximately half the apps that have been featured in the Android Market have an increase over 100% while one-third of featured iPad apps gained more than 200%. (Ranks were as follows: iPad up 252%, iPhone up 137%, and Android up 172%).

Also interesting is what happens when the featured period ends. Using an average from the following five days after being featured, Distimo found that the boost was still having an overall positive effect. On average, iPad apps were up +145%, iPhone apps were up +75% and Android apps were up +828% during this “post-featured” time period.

Note that this report only looked at the top 100 most popular apps in any category – the gains in less popular apps could be quite different.