App Store Categories: Are You in the Right Category?

September 22nd, 2018

App Store Categories: Are You in the Right Category?
Anh Nguyen

by Anh Nguyen

COO & Co-Founder at Gummicube, Inc

When developers release or update their apps, they need to choose a category. Selecting a category is necessary on both the App Store and the Play Store, and the right one can be a potential avenue for discoverability. Understanding categories is an important part of an overall App Store Optimization strategy. Choosing the right category can bring more visibility. Choosing the wrong one can lead to lackluster results or potential rejection from the App Stores. But how do developers go about determining the right app category? Does choosing the wrong one mean their app will be invisible? Here is a breakdown of categories on the App Store and their impact.

What Are App Store Categories?

App categories help users discover new apps that fit their needs and wants. They are displayed as a list in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Users can go to these lists and find top apps by tapping on any category. app store categoriesIf an app is on the App Store, developers can select a primary and second category. The primary category is particularly important for the app’s discoverability and determines its placement on the Apps or Games Tab. Developers need to choose which app category is most relevant to their app to ensure that their intended audience can find it. They must also pay attention to any guidelines, especially ones tied to children’s apps to avoid possible rejection.

Determining the Right Category

Developers will need to choose the right category for the sake of success. If their app isn’t in the right category, it will be invisible to users that are searching through the app stores. Making the decision on which category to choose isn’t easy, especially because there are so many options. For Google Play:

  • 36 total app categories
  • 17 additional categories for Games

For the App Store, as of iOS 11 when it separated apps from games, there are:

  • 24 for the Apps Tab
  • 19 for the Games Tab

As any developer can see, there are loads of different options they can choose from, and many overlap with one another. For instance, an app that focuses on ‘Health and Fitness’ could also be considered as a ‘Lifestyle’ app. When determining which app category to go with, developers will have to keep in mind:

  • App’s core functions and features
  • The target audience as they’ll be the ones searching for apps
  • Competitors in the same category to see if their app is similar

Assessing the competitive landscape is an important step in determining a category. Developers should take into account the top ranked apps in the categories they are thinking of using to see if they are similar. They should also assess top apps’ level of competitiveness within a category, as it may be easier to rank in a less competitive category over a more competitive one. Developers need to also take into consideration whether the app would be relevant for that category or not. For instance, even though mobile games account for 24.86% of all apps, a social networking app shouldn’t categorize itself as a game. It should instead choose ‘Social Networking’ for its primary category and most likely ‘Lifestyle’ for its secondary (only if it’s on the App Store). Besides, choosing categories that aren’t relevant to the app is against guidelines for app stores, and can cause the app to be rejected or the category to be changed by Apple or Google.

What Determines Your Ranking

Category ranking is primarily driven by download velocity, so ranking in a top position requires a strong ASO strategy. By building upon organic ASO and paid marketing efforts, an app can increase its category ranking, which can provide further exposure. The first step in what could be a snowball effect of downloads is having properly implemented ASO. However, ASO isn’t the key to immediate success – rather, developers need to use ASO alongside a solid marketing strategy that also incorporates paid search. Category rankings is all about the number of downloads an app has. Without ASO and a marketing strategy that is constantly helping the app become more visible, developers won’t boost their downloads.

What Does Choosing the Right Category Mean?

Developers need to choose the right app category to make sure their app is visible so they can improve their number of daily downloads, organic traffic, conversion and more. Additionally, they’ll have to make sure that they have a strong ASO strategy that includes a paid campaign to make sure that their category ranking will ultimately improve as well. Without choosing the right category and having a strong ASO strategy in place, developers won’t find success or boost their app’s chances of reaching the top charts. Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.

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