Top Reasons Users Download Apps in 2017

Photo of author

What drives a user to download an app? By looking at top-performing apps and existing metrics, it’s surprisingly easy to map out exactly what reasons drive users to download apps in 2017.

In this article, we explain the biggest factors to drive an app install within the app store and how you can use that information to increase your organic app download count.

user app install

How Users Find Apps

The first thing users need to do before they can download your app is to find it. And what motivates over 50% of app installs? Interesting ads about apps that have a feature the users are looking for, according to Tune:

how users find apps

Organic users, i.e. users finding your app on their own by browsing the app stores or through a friend’s recommendation are obviously the highest quality users you can get. However, with over 2 million apps competing for top app store placements and editor’s picks, it’s really not feasible for many developers (especially new ones) to rely on just good luck if they want to build a significant user base.

Mobile and App Marketing campaigns help here a lot. By combining good-looking ad creatives (20% of users find apps through interesting ads) with targeting based on search intent (37% of users are looking to complete a specific task) you can reach a huge amount users who are very likely to download your app. You don’t have to sacrifice quality either, as you can acquire high-quality users through precise targeting and lookalike audiences.

4 Star Rating at Minimum

The first gate for any new potential user on the app store is the average user rating – this is the first thing that users will see when searching for an app. This early on in a user’s app search, your using rating will have the biggest impact on whether it’ll lead to an app install.

You should work hard to increase your application rating to at least 4 if you can. With a 4 star rating or higher, new users will put trust into your high user rating and consider it over apps with lower ratings.

If you have a niche app, having a high rating can improve your organic download rate massively – your high rating will stand out like a sore thumb when compared to any other competitors. If you’re competing against a broader range of apps, the rating becomes less of a factor once you’ve reached 4 stars or higher.

Before then, though – listen to your user reviews and look at how you can improve your application to increase your overall user rating. This is an incredibly important part of app store optimization in general and it will help boost your organic install rates.

Clearly Defined Main Feature

The biggest action that drives new app downloads is when a user is looking to complete a specific task or to find an app to provide a certain feature.

You can take advantage of this by including the top features of your app within your app description as keywords. You can also include the main feature of your application within your app title to make the most out of your App Store Optimisation. By doing this you’ll be ranking higher when a user is searching the app store for that specific feature.

This will help you to get found by more users within the app store but the additional benefit of helping users find the specific feature or task they’re looking for will help to boost your app install rate.

Informative App Description

Once a user has found your application, you’ll be relying on the information on your app listing to bring in an app install. This may seem like one of the most precious moments for gaining new users, but a decision to download your app has already been influenced heavily by your app store rating and your user reviews.

A high-quality app icon paired with some expertly picked screenshots will help to encourage users to tap that install button, but the amount of benefit they’ll provide over other factors is actually quite negligible.

In fact, the description on your app listing will do more work to encourage a user to download your app at this point. Creating high-quality screenshots is important, but you should focus your efforts on creating a well-written app description that covers your app features clearly.

In 2017, the app description is considered to be the second highest-ranking factor to drive new app installs.

Use of App Videos

In 2017, app videos are providing a lot of value for bringing in new organic downloads. Surprisingly, a lot of businesses still aren’t taking advantage of this feature. The value of video ads on mobile has a proven track record and the video slot you have on your app store listing is essentially a free spot to plug your app as hard as you can.

All businesses should make the absolute most out of their app video slot on their app store listing. If you do not yet have a high-quality video trailer for your app, you can kill two birds with one stone by creating one today – it can also serve as media for any video ads in the future.


Whilst the data varies between platform, gender, and demographics, the elements that rank the highest for driving users to download an app are the same across the board.

For example, women typically pay more attention to high ratings and user reviews than men, but both still rank it as the most important element in their decision-making for installing new apps. This information is based on a study provided by Tune.

After the rating, the second-highest-ranking element that gives users a reason to download apps in 2017 is the app description. Among 4-5 star rated apps, the app description is arguably the most important factor in making a user’s app install decisions.

Following the app description is the presence of an app video. The app title also plays just as an important factor as an app video can. Finally, screenshots and app icons do lend their help to encourage users to download an app, but they’re the least important factor in 2017.

Photo of author
Author: Richard Buettner
B2B SaaS marketing a challenge? Not for me! With my proven track record, I'll execute inbound and content strategies that deliver. Let's grow your business - and enjoy the ride!

1 thought on “Top Reasons Users Download Apps in 2017”

  1. Hey, would you say that the search ranking results for an app are therefore irrelevant for the app promotion and you should focus on ads instead of app store optimization?


Leave a Reply