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Raising the profile of your app on Windows Phone Marketplace
This article provides tips and tricks to make it easier for users to discover an app on the marketplace.
With more than 105000 apps on Windows Phone Marketplace (windowsphoneapplist.com) in September 2012 it is already important to make your app easy to discover. No one will buy the "best app they never found"! This article provides suggestions for increasing your app's discoverability.
Application name matters
The marketplace search algorithm appears to give greater weight to the first word in the application name: e.g. a calculator application named "Calculator Powerhouse" would show up higher in search results than one named "Powerhouse Calculator".
This is useful for applications like converters, calculators, task managers, file browsers - it is not so useful for branded applications where the name can't reflect a specific function.
Note: This tip is supported by anecdotal evidence. In 2011 Ultimate Poker Manager and Ultimate Poker Manager Free (ad funded) were released. As this was not as successful as less appealing apps with names like "Poker XXXX" a duplicate version called Poker Hands & Timer was released. The version with the new name appears higher in searches and consequently has over twice the download rate.
Contact relevant media
Lots of us developers build a great app, put it in the Store and wait for people to pick it up in the What's New section. Relying on the Marketplace alone just isn't enough, you will have to market it more directly. While contacting big news outlets like TheVerge or Engadget would give you a lot of exposure it is very hard to have them feature your App. Windows Phone targeted Blogs are far more likely to run a story on your App, which especially in the beginning will give it a big boost in download numbers. This in turn will help you with better placement in the marketplace search.
Ask people to rate your App
App Reviews also factor greatly into the Store ranking. Ordinarily especially people who are dissatisfied tend to rate an App after installing it. Therefore you should suggest to users to give your App a rating if they enjoy it. This can be tied to some metrics like frequency of usage or time of error free execution, so you don't ask someone to rate your App after he has just lost all his data.
There are multiple ways to ask for a rating. Many Apps display a MessageBox asking the user if they cared to rate the App now. This is a rather intrusive approach although it might work well. An alternative would be to display a simple link at the bottom of the main application page with a text like: "Like the App? Rate it on the store". It's up to the developers gut feeling to decide which approach will resonate best with the target audience.
There is guidance on how to add app rating functionality to your app in the article How to Rate Windows Phone App.
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