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iOS 11’s App Store Increases Downloads of Featured Apps up to 800%

Sensor Tower data shows that the revamped App Store is having a dramatic effect on downloads of featured apps.

iOS 11 App Store Featuring Analysis

Since Apple introduced its completely redesigned App Store last fall, iOS developers have been eager to learn what impact its introduction of the feed-like Today Tab and segmentation of apps into games and non-games would have on new installs of their products. Now we have the first decisive answers, including the fact that iPhone apps receive download boosts of up to 800 percent by being featured on the iOS 11 App Store in the U.S., as Sensor Tower Store Intelligence and featuring data reveals.

Today Tab Delivers the Largest Gains

For this analysis, we looked at iOS 11 App Store featuring data from September 2017 to present. During this period, median U.S. iPhone downloads for apps featured as Game of the Day increased by more than 800 percent for the week following the feature, compared to the week prior. Apps in other Today Tab features also saw significant growth. Median downloads for Apps of the Day increased by over 685 percent, while apps in Stories and Lists experienced median download growth of about 200 percent.

Chart showing download boosts delivered by Today Tab features on the iOS 11 App Store

Featuring on the Games and Apps tabs also drove increased downloads, but not to the extent of the Today Tab's biggest features. Their main Hero Banners increased installs by 236 and 111 percent week-over-week, respectively. We'll publish more findings on these specific tabs soon.

Small Publishers Get a Chance to Shine

We also looked at the featured apps’ publishers to identify which types and sizes of publishers are benefitting the most from iOS 11 featuring. The most frequently featured publishers are game makers, which is not surprising given that games made up about 67 percent of all U.S. App Store downloads in 2017. Publishers who primarily make games take the top four spots, and 10 of the top 15.

Chart showing the most featured publishers on the iOS 11 App Store

In addition, most of the top featured publishers are large, with 13 of the top 15 having at least one million U.S. iPhone downloads during the six month period following the revised App Store's launch. It's not necessarily surprising that Apple has featured these large publishers many times, as they tend to have multiple popular apps, while their major updates and in-game events draw significant attention.

Chart showing the percentage of publishers featured publishers on the iOS 11 App Store by downloads

However, the iOS 11 App Store also regularly features small publishers. In fact, 29 percent of featured publishers had fewer than 10,000 downloads on iPhone during the six month study window. While it's clearly the case that big publishers are more likely to receive the largest number of features, small publishers still very much have their chance to benefit from a feature on the App Store.

Overall, our data shows that iOS 11 App Store features are delivering substantial benefits for developers who receive them. While larger publishers have received the largest number of features, the truth is that Apple is featuring apps from all sizes of publishers. In addition, looking at the iOS 11 App Store features as a whole reveals that Apple is surfacing a wide variety of apps, not just the big names. We'll provide additional insights soon.

About the Data in This Report

Sensor Tower has collected data on iOS 11 App Store features since the launch of iOS 11 in September 2017. This report examines iOS 11 App Store features in the United States on the Today, Apps, and Games Tabs during the six months following the release of iOS 11. We did not capture Apps or Games Tabs features until October 18, about one month after the start of iOS 11 featuring. We also does not include features on category sub-tabs.

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Jonathan Briskman

Written by: Jonathan Briskman, Senior Mobile Insights Analyst

Date: April 2018