How to Tell If App Store Search Is the #1 Download Driver for Your App

Posted in May 2017 by Silke Glauninger

App Analytics

There are different ways for a user to find and download your app. The importance of different app discovery methods was already widely discussed in the app business sector during the last years. While Apple advertised Apple Search Ads, they proclaimed, that 65% of downloads result from organic app store search, others claimed that this couldn't fit for all kind of apps. However, you can now find out the exact percentage of organic traffic on your app page for your very own (iOS) app.

App Analytics expands insight possibilities

Great news came from Apple last week! By the beginning of May, Apple let us know that App Analytics got new data sources. That means, as an iOS developer, you now can gain information about where users discover your app. This was a long-awaited expansion for App Analytics, since it's nice to know the effects of your App Store Optimization efforts.

Example App Analytics Source Types

In App Store Connect (iTunes Connect) App Analytics toolkit, you can measure user engagement, marketing campaigns, and monetization for your iOS apps. In the Sources tab, you could already discover basic information about where app page traffic comes from. But what's new, is the more explicit representation of source types.

App Analytics now breaks down critical app marketing metrics like Impressions, App Units, or Product Page Views in more detail for the following source types:

App Store Browse

Customers viewed your app or tapped to download it for the first time while browsing the Featured, Categories, or Top Charts sections of the App Store.

Customers viewed your app or tapped to download it for the first time from Search on the App Store. Includes Search Ads in App Store search.

App Referrer

Customers tapped a link in an app that brought them to your App Store product page. Includes apps that load your product page with StoreKit API.

Web Referrer

Customers tapped a link form a website that brought them to your App Store product page. Based on websites visited in Safari on devices running iOS 8 or later.

Quick Orientation: How to get there

For everyone, who is not familiar with App Store Connect (iTunes Connect) App Analytics, this is how to get to this new dashboard:

  1. Login to App Store Connect (iTunes Connect) and click on App Analytics
  2. Select an app
  3. Go to Sources tab
  4. Select the metric you want to break down
  5. By clicking on one of the values, you can further drill down the data and filter results (for example per country)

Where your downloads actually come from

Basically, you can use this data to find out which app discovery channel works best for you. But there are more aspects, which are good to know for optimizing your app marketing.

App Store Featuring and Top Charts Ranking

What now can be seen, is the effect of App Store featuring and top charts positions. In the following picture, you can see an example of a lifestyle app, which was featured by Apple at the end of April. The app has a rather specific use case so they decided to concentrate on growing their ranking in Top Charts positions and sought for getting into the Featured section in the iOS App Store.

Example App Analytics Source Types App Store Browse and Featuring

App Store Search

For most of our apps and games, we proudly discovered, that App Store Search brought the most traffic and app installs. The graph shows us, that in average, 92% of users discover this app while searching or browsing the App Store. This number was held high using Search Ads campaigns and regular keyword optimization updates. Furthermore, for this app, we mainly concentrate on increasing search rankings instead of acquisition campaigns to keep the ROI as high as possible.

Example App Analytics Source Types: App Store Search

Referral Campaigns

What was already to measure beforehand, was web referrer. This value considers blogs, websites and other online sources, that link to your app's product page. New, however, is the display of app referrer numbers. That means, App Analytics counts users that come from a link within another app to your app's product page. This example app, recently started user acquisition campaigns. This can now be seen in the graph below.

Example App Analytics Source Types: App Referrers

More Insights for better results

App Analytics gives a quite good basis for knowing which channel brings the most users. Though, you still can't find out how to improve your app visibility. Since, App Analytics is not able to show data on keyword-level, you will need to combine these insights with an App Store Optimization Tool to get further insights for better ASO results.

App Radar App Store Optimization Tool Preview for Keyword Rankings

App Radar ASO Tool, shows the exact keyword rankings and popularity index per search term in various languages and both leading app stores (Google Play Store & Apple App Store). This way you know for which search terms, your app is ranked high and probably brings more downloads. In combination with App Analytics, you can find out if your ASO keyword optimization bears fruits until App Store Search is number one app discovery method for your app.

What motivates users to download an app and how to improve app discovery

What drives users to install your app and where to reach them? – This stays a crucial, yet tricky question for your app marketing strategy. Since apps do not apparently install themselves, something must motivate people to download it. What this is, and how users then find the way to the download button, is important to know in order to improve your App Marketing and App Store Optimization Strategy.

Even though, this new data gives insights into app discovery, you still have to rethink these numbers carefully. When starting app marketing efforts, think about your target audience and target the right channels to drive better results. App ranking statistics and traffic source charts, however, are some good basis for improving marketing strategies.

Silke Glauninger
Silke is Marketing Manager at App Radar. When not writing about app marketing, you can find her looking for new places to explore or watching series with a cup of tea and chocolate.

Related Posts

App Radar
Features Pricing Learning Blog