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How Savvy Mobile App Developers Gain Market Share

During the last decade, the smart marketers have used a variety of search engine optimization (SEO) methods to attract traffic to their web sites. As more consumers adopt smartphones, and visit app stores to find useful software applications, today marketers must learn the evolving art and science of mobile app promotion.

During a recent market study ABI Research asked a key question: Can an independent developer with a nonexistent marketing budget have the largest number of top apps in Apple’s ecosystem for three months in a row? And especially when the average rating for those apps is only 2.9 out of 5?

This is the case for independent application developer Michael Quach, who continuously has the highest number of titles among the top iOS apps tracked by ABI Research. In February 2012, he had an average of 40 titles per country, out of a sample size of 5,250 in each country. This sample covered the highest-ranked 250 apps in all 21 categories.

What can other app developers learn from Mr. Quach? According to ABI senior analyst Aapo Markkanen, strategic category placement is one area more developers should focus on.

“Practically all of Quach’s apps are aggregations of various tips, trivia, or pictures, which are dirt-cheap to produce but appeal easily to spontaneous app browser curiosity,” says Markkanen.

Most of them could be logically categorized under the ‘reference’ or ‘entertainment’ section, but actually less than 5 percent are found there. Instead, 60 percent are listed in the ‘medical’ category and 25 percent are under ‘books,’ both of which have favorable eyeballs-to-competition ratios.

Why is this an important point? This means that those apps attract a lot of customers but aren’t as strongly contested as the most visited categories, like ‘games’ and ‘entertainment.’

ABI practice director Dan Shey continues, "If you publish your app in the right category, with a catchy name, a bright-colored icon, and skillful search engine optimization, this can go a long way in attracting downloads. Smart developers also follow their performance in a very detailed level and some even use Android as a test bed for their launch and publishing strategies."

Apparently, one plus side of Google's liberal submission policy for Android is that one can freely try out which kind of choices work and which don't.

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