How does iTunes rank apps?
Originally, the rankings for apps in the iTunes store were determined just by the number of downloads. This turned out to be a problem, because the highest ranking apps would just get more downloads – so it was a vicious cycle that prevented newer, lesser known apps from getting the valuable exposure that the rankings provides.
Rankings are no longer determined just by downloads
The rankings for the apps in the Apple’s iTunes store are no longer determined by just the number of downloads for that particular app, but actually by a number of different factors. Apple uses their own secret formula to determine the rankings, and that formula has been known to change in the past.
One big part of app rankings is usage of the app
One thing that is clearly very important in Apple’s ranking is usage of an app – how much is the app is app actually used by the people who downloaded it? That is why Instragram and Facebook are at the top of the rankings – because they are some of the most commonly used apps from the iTunes store.
How do ratings affect the ranking of an app?
Ratings do of course play a big part in the rankings as well, and are definitely a factor in Apple’s formula.
Rankings are also determined by the season
Some apps – like the ElfYourself app which is popular during Christmas time – rank very highly during the Christmas season, but of course drop off in the rankings after Christmas season is over.