All app developers know it: it is hard to get discovered. But it will get worse before it gets better. Why? because there is more and more apps and because the native discovery mechanism built in the App Store are limited.

Rankings – regarded as the most popular discovery mechanism – are limited and gamed: as we saw recently many companies are using different systems through bots and or incentives to reach top rankings. And many companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per month to reach the App Store top visibility.

But really. How many different apps get really discovered through what is considered to be the TOP 25 rankings?

This is what we (Appsfire) wanted to find out. We surveyed all the main stores (US, UK and FR) – the conclusions are in the same order of magnitude for most stores

We analyzed in the last 30 days how many different apps made it in the top 25/50 Global free and paid ranking. We did then exactly the same for the largest App category: GAMES.

  • Basically at best 0.05% of all apps make it in what can be visible in a top ranking
  • More precisely between 50 to 350 unique Apps are really visible over a period of 30 days
  • If you filter that to games the proportion is even smaller, which makes sense given how agressive they are marketed. For example in the US only 50 different games made it in the top 25 Paid Games category.
  • Numbers don’t really change from country to country. The same pattern is observed

50 to 350 apps out of Half a million! 0.0 something %

Rankings are a broken discovery mechanism because they are only giving visibility on a small portion of apps, many of which are often the same. This is what generates frustration among users. Not at first but after a period of browsing them regularly.

In other words if Apple was simply deleting the top charts off the app store (which could actually be a good idea) that would not change a thing for 99.95% of the apps present in the app store in terms of how they really get discovered.

This is frankly this hard reality which pushes many app developers to look for all sorts of ways to get visible. Sometimes crossing the limits of what is tolerated by Apple. This is also what pushes developers and users to search for alternative discovery and promotion solutions.


  • Abe

    You certainly have an issue with capital letters.