Let’s start with going over the publicly available data for App Store – It hosts more than 1.4 Mn apps and has witnessed more than 100 Bn downloads till date. Each month, there are well above 25,000 submissions made to App Store.
Now, if you are an app developer, I already know what your dreams are made of, because we are one too! Standing well out of all the above mentioned numbers and being handpicked by Apple in one of their App Store featured lists is the kind of recognition we all live for. This is accompanied by the dividends an app developer can reap – the massive surge in App Store impressions, the PR opportunities and the holy grail that is app downloads. All this without spending a dime on traditional paid efforts.
We’ve been fortunate to have SignEasy featured on App Store more than once. Each of the times that happened, we had a string of questions coming our way from friends and fellow developers asking us on how we manage to “crack the code” every time.
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Unfortunately, there is no set checklist, primarily because Apple doesn’t share any with us or developers across the world. I am also sure that half of the readers would have already turned disappointed by now, given they got the same, repetitive answer, which chances are, they already knew. Though having said this, we do have identified a practice which helped us to get noticed.
The basic premise of App Store is to help people discover and use the best apps for business, productivity, entertainment etc. Apps which will deliver what they promise through a delightful user experience. In its own bid to provide the best user experience, Apple brings a host of innovative features with its every new release of iOS. Each of this iteration pushes the seamless use and delight a notch higher.
This innovation will reach the end users only when leveraged and exploited well by the developers and incorporated in their apps. While most of product managers put it in their road map to push their app towards newer versions and support the latest iOS release, it’s the early bird that catches the worm. This is what we have seen happening to us in past, carrying on all the way to iOS 9 release.
Travelling back to June 2015 – the WWDC 2015 was an eagerly anticipated event at SignEasy. We even sent two of our team members to attend WWDC 2015 in San Francisco and learn what Apple had planned to bring out in iOS 9, and also to see how we could leverage it to help our customers.
Apple’s previous update (iOS 8) with ‘extension capability’ had helped our users sign important documents right within any app. This time, we wanted to do more, and were constantly discussing among our product and engineering teams about what could we do something new with the new iOS. Once we started, there was no going back.
The road map till iOS 9 release, which was slated to happen sometime in September, included leveraging the sleek Slide Over and Split View functionalities which were supposed to be a part of iOS 9. Arriving at the deadline for this was fairly simple (not to forget, meeting it was equally challenging) – ensuring SignEasy is iOS 9 ready right from the time Apple open it up to the entire world.
The relentless dedication from engineering team made sure this happened. And we brought out the iOS 9 update for SignEasy, which promised to redefine the experience on iPad to save more time and be more productive. This coincided with the day of Apple’s iOS 9 release, September 16. In the next 48 hours, we woke up to find ourselves featured by Apple among the “Great Apps for iOS 9” on App Store. The joy did multiply by finding ourselves among the likes of Twitter, Microsoft, Outlook, Join.me and InstaPaper in that list.
From there on, it was just sitting back and looking at the ball as it grew bigger. A screenshot from our daily download trends will give you a clearer picture in a single go. Aren’t those the peaks which every app marketer would wish for? (not to forget, set aside a hefty budget)
So, what happened here is simple to understand now. Apple wants their users to get their hands on the latest iOS 9 features. Apps get a great opportunity to take up their user experience notches higher by exploiting the major changes related to the platform Apple is likely to reward the apps who are quick enough to do this.
So here’s our answer to all those who have always wanted one – keep yourself updated with what’s happening in the Apple camp and make sure to incorporate it in your product road map. The secret sauce or the recipe does have many ingredients – this I believe, is one of them.