Exploring App Store Rankings: Download Impact Analysis

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New analysis indicates it’s gotten harder to get an app to the top of the App Store, in terms of downloads, over the past several years. According to new data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, the number of downloads needed for an app to break into the No. 1 position on Apple’s iPhone App Store in the U.S. has climbed by 37% since 2019. Specifically, it estimates an app now requires approximately 156,000 downloads on a given day to hit the top spot, up from 114,000 daily downloads back in 2019.

But to be clear, downloads alone don’t move an app to the top of the charts. It’s only one of several factors that Apple’s ranking algorithm takes into account for managing its Top Charts.

In the early days of the App Store, Apple soon realized that downloads alone would give developers an easy way to buy their way to the No. 1 spot.

It then expanded its ranking algorithm to make it more complex — and more of a mystery. Another firm, Apptopia, believes it has reverse-engineered the current version of this algorithm, which is said to consider numerous factors like velocity, app usage, quantity of new users and more.

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