7 Reasons Why Your App Downloads are Dropping

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Your app is going full speed ahead and suddenly you realize that your app downloads are dropping. Or, you haven’t experienced such a drop but one day you might wake up to bad news too. No matter the size of your app business, sudden drops in download numbers is an issue any app publisher can experience.

Recently, a change made to the Google Play Store algorithm caused many of our users to suddenly lose a great number of app downloads in a short period of time.

Most of those who were affected by this were quite confused so, 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 to why your app downloads are dropping but 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


the app store ranking algorithm might be a reason why your app downloads are dropping

This is the most obvious one and most of the time the drops resulting from a shift in the ranking algorithm of Google or Apple are out of your hand. 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.

2. Low-Quality App

Sadly, this is one of the main reasons why app publishers experience drops in app downloads. This is more evident in newly launched apps. When you launch a new app Apple or Google gives you a short boost to our rankings which will result in some downloads.

Low Quality Apps on an iphone

But, if your app does not have the quality to be up there, you will experience a huge drop in app downloads.

If you have an app that has been active for quite a while, you might think that you are safe from this. I’m afraid, you are dead wrong. Your app might be an interesting one and you might have attracted a lot of traffic.

However, if your app is not a high-quality one, those users won’t stay for long. Even worse, they might leave those bad reviews that every app developer dreads. Trust me on this, the effect of negative reviews is quite big.

3. Poor Monetization

Everyone wants to make some money from their app be it your hobby or your main line of business. However, more often than not, publishers over-do it.

Poor monetization represented by lots of shops

Let me get this straight, people don’t like ads, they don’t want to pay money to a virtual service or buy in-game currency with real money. While most of our daily activities are now online, people are usually still quite skeptic about paying money to an intangible commodity.

Yet, you still need to make money, right? Well, people don’t mind some level of ads or some premium features that are only accessible by paying. The only thing to avoid is to overdo such monetization strategies.

As an example, you can check some of the most downloaded games and see that some of them have very low review ratings and when you check those negative reviews you can see many reviews such as ‘too many ads’, ‘can’t enjoy the game because of constant ads’, etc.

These might cause you to lose your current users and even further, might deter other people from downloading your app.

4. Neglected ASO

One other important possibility for why your app downloads are dropping is neglected App Store Optimization. Most publishers make this mistake, they think of ASO as a set-it and leave-it kind of process.

The reality, however, is the exact opposite. You always have to track competitors, check which keywords you rank and always search for better keywords and higher rankings.

The app stores are extremely chaotic in nature and the rankings shift every day. If you don’t constantly tweak your store standing to adapt, eventually you will fall behind and your app downloads will drop.

5. New Competitors

Thousands of apps get launched to the app stores on a daily basis. Chances are, at least some of them will be your future competitors. 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.

Keyword shifts affecting your app downloads

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.

7. Black Hat Practices

Any app publisher has either heard about Black Hat or did some Black Hat practices even if it’s on 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 ‘let’s buy a couple thousand of downloads on our launch week, what can go wrong?’.

Well, as harmless as it seems to boost your rankings on the launch week or after a major update, these are black hat practices and they will be punished (as they should be). Chances are that 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 competitors might be jealous about your success and will engage in a much more offensive, dirty Black Hat ASO strategy that is giving your app a huge number of negative reviews. In cases like this, always make sure that Google or Apple is aware of this as 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 you the most popular 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 to figure out what went wrong with your app.

Keep Optimizing!

Mobile Action Team

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