How Do Users Download Apps?

Understanding how users download apps is a key step to improving your chances of making it in the app store. There are only a certain number of ways you can improve your app downloads without truly understanding exactly why and how a download is made.

In this article, we focus on some of the key points to learn about why and how users download apps, and hopefully, after reading through this you’ll have picked up some new knowledge to help improve the success of your mobile application.


The Biggest Contributor – Organic Search

As always, organic search is still an incredibly powerful tool for app marketing. In fact, 53% of Android users download apps via organic search, and a similar 47% of iOS users find apps through organic search too.

It’s been said many times that the higher your app appears in search rankings, the more downloads you pull in, and this is 100% true. The top three spots of a search result will bring in more downloads than any of the other listings, so trying to increase your rankings for search terms is very important.

Learning this teaches us a couple of strategies for increasing our app downloads. Firstly, app store optimization is paramount for the success of your mobile app, and there are many great tips out there to ensure you optimize your app page to the best of your ability.

Secondly, by using burst marketing and advertising campaigns, you can quickly draw in more downloads to artificially boost your app to a higher search spot, which will in turn bring in even more downloads from organic search.

The Second Biggest Contributor – Word of Mouth

Whilst 47% of iOS users download apps via organic search, there is still half of the picture missing, and it’s important to learn where other download sources are coming from, even if they do not pale in comparison to organic search.

The second-largest contributor to your app downloads will be word of mouth. Around 15% of app users download apps from a recommendation or conversation with a friend or family member. 11% of users download apps after reading about them on the web, and in most cases, this can be linked back to social media and online communities such as Reddit or StumbleUpon.

This shows that word of mouth is the second largest contributor to why users download apps, and you must use this knowledge to your advantage.

As a first tip; stay social – remember to share your app online, post to online communities, and reach out to any media portals that may be interested in reviewing your app.

Secondly, make your app worth talking about – give it a feature that makes it stand out, and this will speak for itself when users share this app with their friends and family.

The Third Biggest Contributor – Featured Apps in App Store

There are two ways to bring in an extra wad of downloads from the iOS app store, and they involve one of two processes. Firstly, around 10% of iOS users download apps from a category top chart, but to reach this you will need to have a large number of downloads in a short period of time.

Secondly, 9% of users download apps after seeing them in the Apple featured apps area – once again, this is something that can happen after your app already receives a significant amount of positive exposure.

Burst campaigns can be a good way to get your app on the top charts, especially if you have just released an app, and this can in turn lead to getting your app seen on the featured area.

We’d suggest focusing on other download funnels as both of these methods are typically based on the roll of a dice in many circumstances (see here mid funnel marketing activities).

Other download funnels

In this section, we take a quick look at other download summaries that make up the rest of the download pie.

● Featured Apple categories – 2% of downloads
● Internet searches – 2% of downloads
● Ad from Facebook, Twitter, etc – 1% of downloads
● Social network shares – 1% of downloads

Hopefully, this information has proven useful to you, and after reading you should now have a good understanding of how users download apps.

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