Rapid AppStore rank-up through twitter

The case study: Rivals

I decided to give away current version Rivals for free, until next major feature update. A day later when checking on the sales numbers, my jaw dropped to the floor. The number of downloaders had jumped up a 10 000%. Yes, you read that right – more than a 100 times up:

Going free skyrocketed downloads

At first one might think that the price setting was too high and dropping it increased sales as normal. But, deciding by the just as sharp drop in the following days, I was thinking more along the lines of “Our man in Havana”. More than probably some list of AppStore sales published the price drop and everybody who wanted it, but dared not pay, downloaded a copy.

Today I discovered at least one such source that enlisted my app: FreeGuru tweeted the change on January, 28th:

[A] Rivals (sports): [ $1.99 → Free ] UPDATE: Rivals, the tennis score keeper, is free of… http://goo.gl/fb/Eie1

Now this might seem sad – everybody who wanted a copy, probably have it by now and there go my millions! But I am betting on the upcoming features to come to rescue. And this is my absolute first app, so as a case study it serves me good.

Combining my findings with the case study on RATP Lite,  I deduct that FreeGuru et al double as a marketing and ranking channel. From RATP study: the ranking derives from downloads of past 4 days, with empahsis on today. My app ranking does seem to confirm this, as it jumped at the first day almost to the worldwide TOP100 and lingered high a bit longer, when the sales already had dropped:

Ranking is based on downloads of few recent days.

Rapid rankup

Putting it all together gives us a nice way to rank up an app with free marketing channels and w/o any work on our side. Just drop the price of your app to zero for a few days and wait for all the AppStore sales lists propagate it to their readers. The impact might vary and probably depends on the price difference as well as on the specifics of your app (the general interest in it etc). But nonetheless you should see a jump in the rankings and downloads and if you do it just at the doorstep of some TOP list, you might burst right through the door, giving you still more sales after the price goes up again.

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