As someone with a small, niche app I never expected to be hightlighted in any way on the App Store.

I was eating my lunch one day and got a notification that I had a message from my friend Jordi Bruin, who is used to being featured in the App Store as the developer of Soosee. Soosee has rightfully gotten a lot of attention and is a godsend for people like me with food allergies/restrictions who like to travel. Jordi sent a screenshot of Museum Shuffle with some other apps on an App Store page.

I was confused what he meant at first because I opened the App Store on my phone and didn’t see it. I overlooked the very important “Dutch” part of the sentence. 😃 Museum Shuffle retrieves random artwork from the Rijksmuseum, a Dutch national museum in the Netherlands, so it certainly makes sense that there would be interest in the app there. I had released an update recently but I had no idea what I had done to get a feature in the “New Apps, Features, and Content” section.

My usual impressions/downloads/etc statistics on the App Store are tiny. We’re talking less than ten a day. I stopped looking at them a long time ago. If Jordi hadn’t told me that I was listed on the Dutch App Store I would have been VERY confused by these statistics from App Store Connect. It was showing over 25K impressions!

Day 1 statistics

25.7K impressions on the first day.

Day 2 statistics

I checked again when woke up and the number of impressions had more than doubled to almost 55K!

54.8K impressions on the first day.

I got a nice congratulatory message from David Steppenbeck and it was my absolute pleasure to inform him that his McClockface app was listed in the same section as my app! The McClockface app creates fun clock widgets. The one inspired by Back to the Future is my favorite one. Make sure you check out David’s app!

The McClockface app was also featured.

Having friends around the world is fun!

I couldn’t help but notice that there was a spike in downloads from Germany. I’ve made friends around the world from iOS Twitter. Stefan Blos, world famous SwiftUI YouTuber, is from Germany and was able to let me know that Museum Shuffle was also listed in “New Apps, Features, and Content” on the App Store there.

My app featured on the Germany App Store.

Emin Grbo, developer of RunnyEgg and the SwiftUI Views website was able to confirm that it was showing up in Norway also!

The app was listed in Norway as well.

The full list

I was eventually able to use Appfigures to determine what countries the app was featured in.

List of featured countries.

Day 7 statistics

When day seven rolled around I made a post about how it had been a crazy, fun week and I was going to top off at ~63K impressions. This was my expected end of being featured.

54.8K imressions on the first day.

WWDC Lab

All of this happened right before WWDC 2021. I applied for a WWDC lab with App Store business and marketing. In my application I mentioned how I had been recently featured, how I had no idea what I had done to make it happen, and how I would like some suggestions about the App Store in general. My request was approved and I was really excited for my lab. The Apple employees were wonderful and also congratulatory about my app being listed in the “New Apps, Features, and Content” section in several countries closer to the Rijksmuseum. They explained that each region has editors that are constantly looking for apps to feature. Getting on their radar is actually something you can help with sometimes. The biggest takeaway I got is that you really need to let Apple know when you’ve added new features OR when there’s a relevant cultural event (in my case say a “museum week”) that pertains to your app. Here’s the URL where you can let Apple know about changes to your App. I have been completely clueless and really missed the boat on this when I added features. This is especially true for when I completely rewrote my app’s user interface in SwiftUI using the latest SwiftUI features when iOS 14 was released. It makes me sad that I missed this opportunity but there’s always the future! Here’s another great link they shared that has tips about getting featured on the App Store.

Full month’s statistics

My assumption that the feature would last a week ended up being incorrect. A good while after the week I was still seeing nice impression numbers. I ended the month with over 111K impressions! 🤯

The app got over 111K impressions in June!

That translated to 99 app units over the month. That’s chump change compared to some of the amazing indie developers I interact with on Twitter but for me it’s huge. I launched the app in April 2018 and up until this feature in June 2021 I had only had around 250 units downloaded in the app’s lifetime. I really wish Apple would add some form of notification that lets developers know when they are featured. It was such a fun experience (that I’m really appreciative of) and I would have had no idea it was happening if Jordi had not told me.

I can’t help but marvel at how different things are from when I created and launched the UIKit version of my app. I didn’t know a single iOS developer. I didn’t tell anyone besides friends and loved ones who don’t know anything about iOS development when it went live on the App Store. When I was rewriting the app in SwiftUI I shared a lot of my struggles and successes on Twitter and that spawned some great interactions. Plus I could brainstorm with other devs about using the beta features we were trying out. When I posted on Twitter about Museum Shuffle being featured on the App Store I had lots of fellow devs cheering me on. I enjoy doing the same when I see iOS devs making wins (and there has been a LOT of that recently). I love the iOS dev community!

iOS Dev Monday

Speaking of the iOS dev community, a year ago Josh Holtz created the Indie Dev Monday newsletter that highlights indie app developers. To celebrate the one year anniversary for a limited time you can buy shirts with icons of the apps highlighted (including Museum Shuffle 😃). The profits from each shirt go Girls Who Code.

Josh in the shirt for sale.

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