Pushing to the top of the App Store

by michaelzaletel

When Apple opened up Push Notifications to developers, they forever changed the dynamics of App Store economics.

Although push notifications are intended to be used for important messages relating to the primary purpose of the App, some developers have utilized this messaging platform to push further game play or encourage in-app purchases. However, the real power of push is in notifying users of new versions or even entirely new, related apps.

In an electronic age where emails are often ignored and text messaging is considered sacred ground off limits to advertisers, push notifications allow top developers to instantly inform millions of users about an App’s launch.

The larger these opt-in push notification lists get, the higher (and more quickly) a developer will be able to push their new version or related app to the top of their respective category and in some cases the top of the entire store.

Currently this activity has only a minor effect on the top lists because very few developers have this power and because their releases are relatively infrequent. One day soon, as more top developers grow these lists, the app store top lists will likely look a lot like the Theater Box Office. The charts will be dominated by a select 100-200 developers with the power to drive a thousand paid downloads an hour thru push notifications to their millions of opt-in push subscribers.

Those with the most users and largest opt-in push lists will be essentially untouchable in the same way Paramount, Sony and Disney are in the movie business today.

In fact, the last three #1’s in the App Store just happened to be launched by developers with very large push notification lists who just happened to notify their users of their new app the moment it came out. Other apps on the list didn’t stand a chance.