Plenty of developers have found success on Apple's App Store. Hits like Angry Birds and Temple Run have sold millions. It seems like anybody can become a success on the App Store, but those success stories are actually the exception to the rule.
A new mobile analytics firm, Adeven, has just revealed that there are over 400,000 apps on the App Store that have never been downloaded. There are only 676,252 apps available in the app store. That means that over two-thirds of the app store is not even being engaged by consumers. The illusion of anybody making it on the App Store comes crumbling down.
Those 400,000 apps that nobody cares about have been dubbed "zombie apps" by Adeven. So what constitutes a zombie app? They found that all the affected apps have two things in common - they have no ranking and are overlooked by search engines. It creates an ecosystem where only those who can afford to be discovered have any kind of success on the App Store.
Speaking to Gigaom, Adeven CEO Christian Henschel says that Apple's closed system is to blame for these zombie apps. He says that there is no "proper search" on the App Store so consumers go to the top ranked apps to find new experiences. He also says that apps not in the top 25 lists are going to have a rough time in getting discovered.
It's not only a problem that strictly affects the App Store. I've found the same problem when navigating Google Play. Sure, it's easier to search for lesser known apps, but you're still going to rely on the top rankings. Neither store gives consumers much incentive to find lesser known apps, but instead pushes apps from the same few developers.
As for Adeven, their new tools will help developers track the success of their app. Their new software, apptrace, has daily charts that look at the rise and fall of apps on the global and local markets. It's also interesting that games make up the top 95 apps. Google Chrome and Pinterest are the only non-game apps in the top 100 according to apptrace.
In short, your chances of being discovered on the App Store are slim. Most of the top 300 apps are established games and brands that will not be knocking down anytime soon. That being said, your chances of being discovered are much higher if you make games. They are the most popular type of app and some clever marketing might lead to some discovery.