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How many downloads does it take to hit No. 1 in the App Store?

A marketing director counts up the number of daily downloads by country and reveals what it took for his company's app to top Apple's charts.

App Store top charts
The App Store top charts are always changing. Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

There are certain eternal questions that continue to vex humanity. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? How do you explain the existence of Jar Jar Binks? How many daily downloads does it take to get to No. 1 on Apple's App Store? We may have an answer of sorts for that last one.

Denys Zhadanov is the marketing director for Ukrainian app company Readdle. Among other apps, it developed Printer Pro for iPhone, a handy piece of software that lets you print from your iPhone to a wireless or USB printer. Usually, it costs a few bucks to buy, but for 48 hours, that price was dropped to free. That price cut rocketed the app to No. 1 on the free apps charts for over a dozen countries.

Here's where Zhadanov lets us in on a secret: he shared the number of downloads it took to reach the top on April 14, 2014. Germany was the steepest climb, taking 88,310 downloads to conquer the app mountain. Russia was another tough one, taking 74,000 to claim victory. Denmark, on the other hand, was a relative cakewalk at 18,300 downloads.

Printer Pro didn't manage to conquer the US. It hit No. 45 with over 50,000 downloads. It took just over 25,000 downloads to reach No. 27 on the Japan chart.

One thing these figures don't tell us is how many downloads the second-place apps had in each country. These numbers just happen to be the totals that propelled Printer Pro over the competition during a small snapshot of the App Store's history. Still, it can at least give you a sense of what it takes to top the charts, based on one app developer's experience.

So what's the lesson here? If you want to hit the top of the free app charts with the least number of downloads, then you should pin your hopes on Ireland. It only took 4,100 downloads to become king of that country's free app hill.

Printer Pro app
Printer Pro for iPhone hit No. 1 in a lot of countries. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET