One of your worst nightmares as an app developer or app owner is to see app downloads are dropping. Just when you think better days are ahead, you suddenly saw your graph going down the hill.
Your immediate question is, “Why?”
Why would the number of my downloads go down? What could be the reason? What should I do?
Don’t worry as we got you covered.
In this post, we will share with you some of the likeliest reasons why your app downloads decreased or are decreasing. Not only that, but we will also share with you some effective solutions to get your app back to the competition again!
No. 1: App Quality
When trying to figure out what might be the reason your app downloads are dropping, you should start with your app.
Obviously, if you have a great app, you would attract more people to download it.
The problem is that having a great app at the start won’t guarantee you a lifetime of success. You need to maintain your app’s quality or else people will walk away.
In the Apple App Store, newly launched apps are given an initial boost of exposure. This means that the App Store allows a new app to get featured in various places so it gets enough visibility to get a headstart. This gives you an increase in app downloads during the first few days of your launch.
After a week, the App Store would start to mellow down the boost of visibility it is giving you. Eventually, you’ll be on your own. Thus, it is crucial that you take advantage of the time when the App Store gives you the boost.
Now, if your app proves to be great, then people would continue to use your app, allowing you to get more visibility even after a week or two of going live.
On the other hand, if your app’s quality is poor, people will not only uninstall your app, but they may give you poor ratings. This could lead to a sudden drop in the number of your app installs.
1st solution to prevent app downloads from dropping
The best solution is to invest in creating an incredible app. If you already have a high-quality app, then that’s good. Nevertheless, don’t rest on your laurels. Keep on improving your app so that it would sustain its popularity among your users.
No. 2: You made changes to your metadata
If you have made a recent change to your metadata and you saw app downloads are dropping, then that might be the culprit.
Metadata refers to the details of your app. These include, but not limited to, app name, app description, title, developer name, icon, promotional images, and videos.
You might think that your metadata isn’t that important in your ranking. However, that might be a wrong conclusion. You see, a change in your metadata could lead to moving your app from the center stage to the sideline of the app store.
2nd solution to prevent app downloads from dropping
Check what changes you made in your metadata. Be sure to document the things you have changed. Take note of the time you made the changes.
Once you made any change, monitor your app downloads and other key performance indicators (KPIs). If you see a negative shift, then you might need to immediately revert the changes you have made.
No. 3: Errors in your app
Your app might have been running smoothly but errors can happen at any time. Without regular updates and maintenance, your app may come across various problems every now and then.
Errors, bugs, unresponsiveness (ANRs), and crashes can easily turn off users. The problem with these errors is that they won’t simply affect only one or two users, but almost all of them. Thus, if you have a major error going on with your app and you don’t address it quickly enough, you can expect your app downloads will drop.
3rd solution to prevent app downloads from dropping
The solution is easy. Make sure you keep your app up to date. Ensure that codes are free of bugs. Always check customer reviews as they often tell you whether your app is ridden with bugs or not.
Better yet, hire a professional app developer or engineer who can always check your codes for any possible problems. This should help you prevent app downloads from dropping.
No. 4: Google Play & Apple App Store algorithm changes
We are done checking our app, it is time to check the app stores.
If you are sure that it has nothing to do with your app and metadata, it could be that Google Play Store and Apple App Store made some changes in their algorithm.
What makes things extra challenging is that app stores typically don’t announce algorithm updates. This is especially true when they do minor changes. Thankfully, they announce major updates, which could potentially have a great impact on the app store and their customers.
However, that’s not very comforting when you are an app developer. You always want to know when updates are made, whether they are minor or major updates.
Regrettably, algorithm updates are among the most common reasons app downloads could drop. On the other hand, it can also be a reason for your app downloads to go up. You just hope that the effect on your app is more on the positive side.
Let us give you an example of how algorithm changes would affect your app’s performance. In 2011, Apple made a change in how they rank apps in their platform. Before, they take into consideration the number of downloads that your app is getting. But after the update, app downloads don’t matter anymore as they now take into consideration the daily/monthly user metrics.
One more recent example was the antitrust investigations and anti-competitive lawsuits filed against Apple. The company traditionally favors its own apps more than other apps.
So, usually, you’ll find their apps on the top chart even though there are better apps. This practice has changed after more and more people complained. They changed their algorithm to give competitors a chance in the App Store.
Now, these are just some examples of how algorithm updates could affect your app downloads.
4th solution to prevent app downloads from dropping
The best thing you can do to prevent your app downloads from dropping is checking forums and communities to see if other app developers are experiencing the same dip in their download rates.
Since most of the time app stores don’t announce updates, your best bet would be to consult with other app developers. If you and others are experiencing the same problem, then it should strengthen your suspicion that an app algorithm update might be the problem.
Unquestionably, it won’t hurt as well to keep yourself abreast with Apple’s or Google’s official announcements and statements.
You can also reach out to the app stores. In most cases, app stores are responsive and are more than willing to help.
Number 5: Poor ASO strategies
If web search engines have Search Engine Optimization (SEO), app stores have App Store Optimization (ASO).
If you have been enjoying a great number of downloads for quite some time, it could be that you have been using ASO strategies. Whether you know it or not, ASO plays a vital role in your app’s success.
What most newbies don’t realize is that ASO is not a one-time event. It is not something you set once and you’re done for the rest of your life.
You have to keep on doing ASO to sustain the popularity of your app.
If in case you stopped performing effective ASO strategies, then you would surely find a dwindling download rate.
5th solution to prevent app downloads from dropping
The solution is simple. You need to put your ASO effort back on track. If ASO got you in the number one spot, then ASO is the same thing that will bring you back there.
Things are constantly changing in app stores. That’s why ASO becomes a crucial piece of your app success.
Now, this is a huge topic. So, be sure to read our definitive guide to app store optimization. It will walk you through the different aspects of ASO, how to perform it, and what makes a successful ASO campaign.
Number 6: Arrival of new competitors
Consider the following statistics from BuildFire:
- The Apple App Store has an estimated 1.96 million downloadable apps.
- The Google Play Store has more apps, though. It has about 2.87 million apps available for download.
Now, those are huge numbers. Remember, when Apple App Store was launched in 2005, it has only about 500 apps. This should give you an idea of how app stores have explosively grown during the past years.
With this in mind, it’s not a remote possibility that when app downloads are dropping, it could be due to the arrival of new competitors.
6th solution to prevent app downloads from dropping
You must keep your eyes peeled for new competing apps especially within your niche. Regrettably, it might be difficult to do this without the use of an ASO tool. Yes, you might be able to know when a new app arrives, but you may not know how exactly it is affecting your app’s performance.
So, in this case, investing in the best ASO tools should help you crack the code and spy on your competitors.
Number 7: Existing competitors improved their app
It is not only new apps that you should be concerned about. You also need to keep an eye on your existing mobile app competitors. While you might be ignoring them in the past, you might not be able to do so when you see your downloads going down.
Sometimes, the reason you’re not getting a lot of downloads is that people are going in the opposite direction. Instead of going to you, they have seen a similar app that has better capabilities than yours. So, naturally, people would use something that is better than your app.
7th solution to prevent app downloads from dropping
You need to study your competition. As Sun Tzu said, “Know your enemy.” In this case, your “enemy” is your competitors. By knowing what they are doing, what led to an increase in their popularity, and their best practices, you will have a better chance of dominating the competition.
Again, in this case, you will fare better if you have an ASO tool to help you track and gather all the needed data necessary to make the right changes in your app.
Number 8: Competitors doing paid ads
Another way competitors can cause damage to your app downloads would be when they perform effective and aggressive paid ads.
Paid ads in both Apple App Store and Google Play Store can quickly and easily boost an app’s visibility. When that happens, people will go to your competitors — people who normally would have landed on your app page if it wasn’t because of the paid ads.
8th solution to prevent app downloads from dropping
There are a few things you can do to prevent app downloads from dropping. First, you can also run your own paid ad campaigns. Hopefully, this would be enough for you to counteract your competitor’s ads.
Another thing you can do is simply improve your app, its metadata, and other elements that make it successful to the point that no matter what paid ads your competitors do, you still stay on top.
Number 9: Too many ads
We get it, nobody likes ads. However, most people can endure some amount of ads in exchange for the value they are getting. The problem is when your ads become a nuisance to the point that it is not worth keeping your app anymore.
This happens to some app developers. They create an impressive app. Once they see that the app is getting a lot of attention and more people are downloading it, they tell themselves, “It’s time to add more ads.”
It’s totally understandable for you to run ads in your app. After all, we all have bills to pay. The problem is when you overdo it. That’s why you need to be careful in running various ads. If not, even if your app is popular, it can easily go down to oblivion if ads keep on turning off your users.
9th solution to prevent app downloads from dropping
Keep the number of ads in your app as minimum as possible. Not only that but be sure to only show what is relevant to your users. If your ads have nothing to do with your target audience or your users can’t relate to your ads, you’re just training them to ignore your ads. Don’t wait until they get annoyed and simply uninstall your app.
Another important factor you must consider is the timing. You can’t simply show ads any time you want. If your ads always disturb your users, especially crucial app use, it can stop the momentum and destroy the mood.
You may need to experiment to know what ads to show, when to show them, and how many times your ads should appear. So, be sure to do your research and prevent app downloads from dropping.
Number 10: Black hat practices
If it sounds illegal and scammy, it probably is. Black hat ASO practices shouldn’t be something you should do and even consider doing.
Basically, black hat practices refer to various techniques and methods app developers and marketers use to manipulate app ranking. These black hat techniques could lead to short-term successes, but long-term negative consequences. In fact, many apps have been banned forever in app stores just because of doing black hat practices.
Some competitors would use a black hat ASO technique to bring down your app. For example, if a competitor wants to rise on top, they can simply send people or use bots to provide fake bad reviews for your app. This of course would decrease your app’s popularity and tarnish its reputation.
10th solution to prevent app downloads from dropping
The solution is obvious: don’t use black hat ASO techniques to increase your app downloads or defeat your competitors.
If you are receiving a lot of fake reviews and it lowers your app downloads, you can report it to the app store admin.
You see, there are a lot of ways black hat ASO can destroy your app. So, before this happens, read more about how black Hat ASO works and learn how to combat it.
Number 11: Change in keyword ranking
In the app store, keywords are too important to ignore. People use different keywords when searching for apps. If your app metadata has the right keywords, it can easily rank high in search results.
If you have already established a considerable presence in keyword ranking, chances are, you are effectively preventing app downloads from dropping. You should be getting a lot of app downloads as more and more people discover your app.
Now, imagine if your app keyword rankings are dropping. Instead of you getting the first spot in search results, you end up in the second, third, and even in the last place. This would lead to a sudden drop in your downloads.
11th solution to prevent app downloads from dropping
If the cause of the drop in your downloads is a shift in your keyword ranking, then the solution is to improve your keyword ranking.
The question is, “How?”
You must track the keywords you are ranking high and those keywords that you aim to get a higher ranking. You must have the right list of keywords you want to target and the tools to measure your success.
If you wish to learn more, please read our guide that lists the crucial factors that affect your app keyword rankings. In this post, you should get more familiar with how you can dramatically improve your visibility through the use of the right keywords.
Number 12: Seasonality
If your app downloads suddenly decrease, it could have something to do with seasonality. For example, some apps increase their download rates during a special time of the year.
Think of dating and relationship apps. These apps tend to increase in popularity during February. How about travel or booking apps? They tend to increase in downloads during holidays. During December, shopping apps also get more popular because people are buying gifts and other items they don’t normally buy during the rest of the year.
12th solution to prevent app downloads from dropping
There’s not much you can do here because demands depend on external factors. You can’t control the seasons or time of the year and avoid app downloads from dropping during off-seasons.
What you can do though is to compare the performance of your app for the same months of the year. If you see a sudden spike in your download apps during December, then you can expect a sudden drop as well once the month is over.
Be sure to take advantage of these seasons of popularity as this the perfect time for you to get as many new users as possible for your app.
Number 13: Current events
Current events can either increase or decrease your app’s popularity. One good example would be the coronavirus pandemic. There’s no doubt that it has affected a lot of businesses worldwide. Apps are no exception.
Some apps have been hit badly by the pandemic. Travel apps have seen a great decline in downloads as the world tried to curtail travel locally, nationally, and internationally.
Another event that could increase and decrease demand would be natural disasters. For example, a typhoon or earthquake could lead more people to download safety, survival, weather, and earthquake apps.
As you can see, current events can surely affect your download rates. So, be sure to consider current events as possible reasons for a decrease in the number of your downloads.
13th solution to prevent app downloads from dropping
Again, current events are beyond your control. There’s not much you can do but take either paid or unpaid action to minimize the damage it can do to your app’s performance by keeping a close eye on it.
Number 14: You stopped using paid ads
When you want instant results and get immediate exposure, you can use paid ads. It can dramatically increase your downloads as more and more people know about your app.
Now, paid ads can be done not only in app stores, but also in external sources such as in search engines, websites, YouTube channels, social networking sites, and other places. Thus, paid ads have a great potential for you to drive more traffic to your app page and persuade people to try your app. You can prevent your app downloads from dropping with the use of ads.
If for some reason you stopped paying for ads, you will definitely see a dip in your download rates especially if you have been depending on ads to give your app visibility.
14th solution to prevent app downloads from dropping
The most obvious solution would be to keep using paid ads. However, if this is something you really need to stop, then you need to focus on other strategies that would sustain your download rates. These strategies may include various ASO techniques that are proven to increase app ranking.
Number 15: App stores stopped featuring your app
There are various times when app stores would feature an app. For example, Apple App Store lets new apps get a certain amount of exposure during its first few weeks. Google Play Store has various featured apps on their app store home page categorized under “Recommended for you,” “Top free apps,” “Top paid apps,” Top grossing apps,” and a lot more. Aside from that, app stores feature apps in search results and when users browse through the app store.
When you get featured, you get increased visibility and therefore a higher chance of getting downloaded. If you don’t get featured anymore, then you can expect your app downloads will drop.
15th solution to prevent app downloads from dropping
App stores commonly feature apps that are of high quality. So, if you have been being featured already, then you are doing something right. To keep your app getting featured, you simply need to maintain the quality of your app, consistently get positive reviews, and keep improving your app.
Keep on improving
These are just some of the possible reasons app downloads are dropping. You can always go back to this list when you see a sudden and unexplained drop in your download rates.
While a decrease in your downloads is perfectly normal at times, you just need to know the reason why. When you know the cause, you can better respond and do the necessary adjustments. Having the right data gives you the right solution.
If you want to ensure the success of your app, be sure to use Metrikal. It is among the best ASO tools that would help you gather your much-needed information. From keyword performance to paid ad campaigns, Metrikal is there to track app data and display them in one intuitive dashboard.
With that said, we wish you all the best. Don’t just know why app downloads are dropping, but also know how you can improve your app.
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