Are your app downloads dropping? Maybe your app was going full speed ahead and suddenly you realized that your app downloads are dropping.

No matter the size of your app business, sudden drops in download numbers is an issue any app publisher can experience. The best way to avoid these drops is by preventing them from happening in the first place.

If you notice your downloads going down, you may initially be quite confused. This is why we decided to put together a couple of reasons why you might be experiencing unexpected drops in downloads or rankings.

7 Reasons Your App Downloads are Dropping

There are various reasons why your app downloads are dropping. We have compiled a list of the most common and dangerous reasons why you might wake up one day to see that you have suddenly lost %70 of your daily downloads.

1. Algorithm Changes

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This is the most obvious reason you could be experiencing a drop. Most of the time the drops resulting from a shift in the ranking algorithm of Google Play Store or Apple App Store are out of your hands. However, quickly adapting to the changes and maybe updating your keywords will help you mitigate the damage.

Asking fellow ASO specialists, checking various Slack workgroups or forums might help you understand the nature of the changes made. Always keep an eye out for any official statements from Apple or Google to understand what might be going on.

Make sure that you do not simply assume that it is the algorithm and continue as you were. If it is due to the algorithm, you will need to find a way to get your downloads back up. It is good to do your good diligence to make sure that this is the true source of your issue.

2. Quality of App Contents

You put all this effort into building an app. Though you are excited to get it out there you need to work out any problems as they come up. Maybe tempted to just launch your app to get it out there. Nonetheless, you need to make sure that users who find your app and install it are enjoying their experience. 

The quality of your app should meet the expectations of your users if you want to maintain downloads and rankings. Unfortunately, this is one of the main reasons why app publishers experience drops in-app downloads. This can be most evident in newly launched apps. When you launch a new app Apple or Google gives you a short boost to your rankings which will result in some downloads.

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To avoid a drop in app downloads, pay attention to the reception of your app. Try to make updates and adjustments to maintain good usability.

If you have an app that has been active for quite a while, it can be easy to think that your current success should just carry. However, you should remain vigilant. You need to be updating your UI in order to keep users happy. They should have a posative experience as compared to your competitors. 

This doesn’t mean you need to jump on every trend in app development. However, you should be providing the features to your audience that your users expect. If your app is something like a game you may want to add new levels or features that would hold your users’ interest. If you are something like a photo editing app, maybe you want to regularly add new filters and gifs. These things can keep you at the top of your competition. 

Even more importantly, be quick to update and fix any bugs you see complaints from your users. Make sure that your app is running smoothly. Trust me on this, the effect of negative reviews is quite big.

3. Poor Monetization

Of course, many apps need ads to keep the lights on. If you are a big app company or an indie developer, free apps need to make money somehow. However, there is a line after which people will be too fed up with the ads. They may stop playing the game or using the app. You need to be careful that when you are deciding how many ads to include in your application and at what frequency, that you are not losing valuable users who would otherwise love your app. Sometimes users will just switch their phones to airplane mode to avoid seeing the ads altogether.

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Though one of our greatest suggestions seems to always be to look at your competitors, there may be a slight discrepancy in how many ads they can tolerate and still generate revenue and your app. If you have a smaller app it may be more important to keep such a committed user-base. Whereas big companies have a very broad outreach and can afford to have some disgruntled people leaving bad reviews about “too many ads” if the majority of their user-base is still having fun.

Another option, especially for casual game apps, is to have a game that is still operational when the internet is off. This game can have certain in-game incentives or bonuses which can only be reached after watching an ad. This makes it the user’s choice to watch the ad and they may feel less disgruntled about it.

As an example, hyper-casual games on the top charts often have low ratings with the recurring keyword of “ads”. This may seem counterintuitive. Many big game publishing companies are the ones doing this. However, it is such a fast-paced category that this strategy may work for them. This is another strategy that may not work as well for indie game developers. To be sure you should check out your competitors who are also independently published and see if the frequency of their ads is any less.

4. Neglected ASO causes Dropping App Downloads

One other important possibility for why your app downloads are dropping is neglected App Store Optimization. Be careful not to fall into the trap of taking ASO as a set-it and leave-it kind of process.

It is the exact opposite. You must continue to track mobile app competitors. Check which keywords you rank for, they rank for and so on. Initial ASO requires daily care and maintenance should be updated every week or two.

The app stores are can be chaotic in nature and the rankings shift every day.

5. New Competitors

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Thousands of apps get launched to the app stores on a daily basis. Your pool of competitors is constantly growing and it is important to keep tabs on them. Even if your app fills a certain niche, there will be competition.

As mentioned in the point above, constantly tweaking your store standing and staying on top of your competitors is one of the best ways to ensure that you retain your momentum.

6. Keyword Shifts

Another more subtle reason why your app downloads are dropping might be because of the changes in user behavior and search trends.

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People might have started to search for your app by using different keywords. This will lead to drops in rankings and will result in your app downloads dropping drastically.

Therefore it’s mandatory for you to monitor the keywords you and your competitors rank for or could rank for to ensure that you are not missing out on valuable traffic.

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How to keep up with changes in keywords

There are a few things that you can do to keep up with changes in keyword trends to avoid decreasing downloads. You can check what keywords your competitors are ranking for and try to mimic their strategy in this way. If you want to see each way that you can check with your competitors’ keywords you can read our post about The Complete App Competition Research Guide. You can also check the 6 Key ASO Metrics for Success in the App Stores to make an informed decision about which competitors you want to look to for an ASO example. You can also apply these metrics to your own app to measure your success.

Localization for optimal performance

Localization Just Became Easier with our New Translation Module! We have a great translation module to help you easily translate keywords. Use this on keywords that your competitors are using or suggested keywords from MobileAction. This way you can understand if these keywords are appropriate for your application.

Remember that your localization should also be based on popular search terms in the area, not just the direct translation of the keywords you are already using in other countries. For An Ultimate Guide for App Localization (IOS & Google Play Store) you can read our post about this.

Recommended Reading:

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7. Black Hat Practices Dropping App Downloads

Any app publisher has either heard about Black Hat or did some Black Hat practices even if it’s in a minimal case.

No, we’re not pointing fingers or anything. But, if you have ever engaged in some sort of Black Hat practice such as buying downloads.

Chances are these practices will effect your downloads. You will experience ranking penalties or even get suspended thus reducing your app downloads.

One other way Black Hat ASO will cause your app downloads to drop is that some of your mobile app competitors might use their own Black Hat ASO strategy. For example, giving your app a huge number of negative reviews.

In cases like this, always make sure that Google or Apple is aware of this. If you do not, you will be penalized for a low-quality app and your rankings will drop.

You can check our dedicated article about Black Hat ASO to understand what it is and how to combat it.

All in all, we listed the most important reasons why your app downloads are dropping. If you experience a sudden drop in app downloads in the future or if you already have, make sure to check all of these possible reasons. For more information on your competitors, keywords, and more, sign up for a demo with MobileAction.