App Store Rankings Impacted by iOS 6

Last week’s release of Apple’s iOS 6 brought with it a fairly serious change to the App Sore algorithm, as evidence by the out-of-nowhere upheaval that many app rankings endured in the days that followed.

BTIG Research reported ahead of the weekend that Apple has apparently changed its algorithm to a significant but unspecified degree.

“While the iOS app store ranking methodology has never been fully disclosed by Apple, we believe it has been heavily influenced by the velocity of downloads, not overall popularity/installed base,” BTIG stated on its blog. “In iOS 6, the layout of the App Store has changed with categories demoted as a sub-tab inside Charts with a Genius (recommended) apps replacing it on the main app store tool bar running along the bottom of the screen.”

“These changes likely are already affecting the velocity of downloads for different apps. Nonetheless, from what we see now, the changes are quite profound and make us believe other factors beyond velocity of downloads are now heavily influencing the rankings algorithm ranging from social activity around the app, search activity and potentially the speed of upgrading of apps.”

According to BTIG, the App Store fluctuations may have also been impacted by the new recommendations features and other platforms – like Passbook – which have been deeply intertwined with myriad aspects of iOS 6.