Google has always been more sophisticated than Apple when it comes to app store ranking algorithms and they did a major change towards the end of March when a lot of apps lost their rankings and some apps jumped on to the top spots overnight. A quick analysis of those movements showed that the Android Market ranking algorithm was rewarding apps with higher user engagement compared to the ones that had huge volume of downloads but poor user retention and engagement. In fact a “sticky factor” was generating a lot of buzz among Android developers which was calculated as a ratio of daily active users to monthly active users.
While developers were just settling to that it seem Google might be rolling out another major updated to the ranking algorithm, especially for keyword searches in Android market.
Two of our client’s apps for which we offer app marketing seem to have gone through extraordinary ranking changes for their targeted keyword searches in the Android Market. For some of the keywords where these apps were ranked in top 5 has now slipped to positions between 11 to 21. The biggest move however, has been one of the keywords that was in position 12 and now slipped to 120. We also saw some positive movement where another keyword moved from position 78 to position 17.
At this point we have just observed the changes and the nature of the changes tell us that this is not one of those regular ups and downs but probably a new Android Market ranking algorithm that we will now have to figure. We would need a lot more data to substantiate the assumption and have a better understanding of what these changes might be.
While this updates are targeted towards improving the overall experience in the Android Market and rewarding truly good apps it will make life difficult for app marketers and also developers who have utility apps that are not required so often or cater to a very small niche.