Apple’s apps are always shown first in searches on the App Store, which is unfair to third-party developers. This is what is claimed in a report by the Wall Street Journal that carried out a series of tests. It showed that Apple’s apps, in 60% of the cases, are shown at the top of the results. Apps that generate revenue for Apple, such as Music or Books, appeared in top in 95% of searches.
For example, if a search is performed on the App Store for “maps”, the Apple Maps app is shown first, followed by a sponsored post. Then there are Google Maps, Waze and other apps.The same thing also for “music”. As a first result there is Apple Music and then YouTube Music, Spotify and more. Even with “books” the result does not change.
Apple responded to the WSJ report by running tests that led to different results. According to Apple, the App Store uses an algorithm based on machine learning and consumer preferences. The result of this algorithm is often variable.
Apple Dominates App Store Search Results
According to Apple, its apps rank first in WSJ tests because they are more popular with consumers. All apps are subject to the same algorithm, even the proprietary ones. This is what Apple claims:
“Apple customers have a very strong connection to our products and many of them use search as a way to find and open their apps,” Apple said in a statement. “This customer usage is the reason Apple has strong rankings in search, and it’s the same reason Uber, Microsoft and so many others often have high rankings as well.”
Apple has included its apps in the App Store since making their uninstallation possible. In fact, users can choose to keep or delete them. If they want to reinstall them, they will only need to be downloaded again from the App Store.
According to the WSJ, Apple’s domain of third-party developers and services benefits Apple because its default apps are not treated in the same way as third-party apps. Apple’s apps, for example, have no ratings or reviews, things that usually affect an app’s placement in search results.
There are 42 factors that help determine the positioning of the app in the search, including the download, the evaluations, the relevance and the behavior of the users that is processed based on the number of times users select it from a search and the downloading.