Incipia blog

How much does it cost to reach Top 50 in the app store?

Bryan Sharpe | August 7, 2016

Image Credit: App Annie

It is a question that undoubtedly lives at the forefront of every app marketer, developer and founder's mind: "What would I need to pay to get my app into the 50?" Far from just securing bragging rights, a top ranked app can help secure investments, produce incredible marketplace visibility and increase chances of getting PR, which all translate into acquiring even more users.

Per a recent article by ASO thought leader Peggy Salz, based on data from a study by Midia Research, the answer to this question (which may come as no surprise) is that advertising your way to a top 50 rank these days is prohibitively expensive for anyone other than - well, the current top ranked apps, like Pokemon Go, Supercell or King Games. Per the Midia study, the price of reaching a top 50 spot amounts to $2.4 million; in other words, for the price of ranking in the top 50 for one month, you could buy two homes in San Francisco.

The price of ranking top 20 climbs to $7.9 million per month (based on an assumed CPI of $2); that's up from a reported $96,000 to reach a top 10 position per a VentureBeat article posted in 2013 (caveat: the study in the 2013 VB article does factor for the benefit that each paid download drives in terms of free, organic downloads, especially for top category-ranked apps, known as the organic multiplier).

Peggy Salz's article also calls out the benefits of pairing proper ASO with an acquisition strategy in order to reduce costs, citing that ASO can enhance advertising campaigns and "deliver an uplift of at least 20% and as much as 80%.."

In addition, given the retention challenges that apps can often encounter, it is important to focus, not only on creating an efficient funnel from impression to install, but on other factors, such as an effective activation and retention strategy (downloads don't equal quality users), a motivating and scalable referral system (users advocates are the key to profitable growth) and a roadmap to help your app remain useful and competitive over time (without a steady flow of new features or content, users will lose interest and move on).

The Bottom Line: With average CPIs hovering around $2, paying your way to the top 50 charts (excluding the organic multiplier effect) starts at $2.4 million per month, which amounts to wasted budget without having product-market-fit (to ensure a high organic multiplier), an efficient acquisition funnel (to reduce paid CPI) and a proper user retention strategy (to fight leaky bucket syndrome and benefit from word of mouth growth).

Original Source: Peggy Anne Saltz for Pollen Insights

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