— 24 Apr 2020

7 Reasons for Drops in Conversion on the App Stores

Lina Danilchik

You might have already read dozens of articles on 101 ways to improve your app conversion rate. We at SplitMetrics also work on such publications to support you in your endeavors to grow a mobile game or app. But what about a decline in conversion rate? Even big brands face unexpected drops in conversion rates once in a while. You may wonder why it happens and what you can do about that. To help you be prepared for a situation where you suddenly experience a sharp decline in conversions and respond quickly if possible, we share the 7 reasons for conversion drops on the app stores.

Reason #1: Banner ads give a false impression of your app

This is one of the most common causes of drops in conversion. When you use banner ads that do not correctly convey the idea of your app and rather give a false impression of it, users quickly get disappointed and leave your app page without pressing the download button.

Well, it’s hard to blame them. Imagine that something caught your attention in banner ads and you immediately tap on them to check out the app. But on the app store product page you see completely different creatives that have nothing in common with what you expected to see. Will you install the app? Obviously not. So, don’t do that to your own app: be consistent when creating visuals. They shouldn’t be identical but it should be clear that they introduce the same app.

Reason #2: Low-quality ad traffic

Low-quality ad traffic may also be responsible for the reduced conversion rate. In the case of any doubt, you need to check your ad channels, track the funnel from the banner to the app store product page and compare the click-to-install conversion rates. You should also focus on campaign targeting to make sure it is set up properly.

Reason #3: Your app got to the top but you’re not ready

Decline in conversions could also indicate that an app got ranked in the top charts. With the help of paid traffic increase your app got to the top, which resulted in a boost of impressions. Users visited your app page just to leave it right away, since they visited it just out of curiosity, without the intention to download the app, or didn’t like the screenshots. You need to enhance your app store product page by optimizing creatives and other elements – mobile A/B testing will serve you well here.

Reason #4: Getting featured on the App Store

This reason is similar to the previous one. Your app gets to the Featured section on the App Store or, even better, becomes the App of the Day. And you, absolutely sure that your conversion rate will skyrocket, wait for a flurry of downloads, while in reality the conversion rate suddenly drops. The truth is that users start to visit your app page but they are not motivated to install your app. Probably your app is just not what they need.

Reason #5: Competitors stepped in

Changes in the competitive landscape may have a direct impact on the conversion rate of your app. New players reshuffle top chart rankings, and already existing competitors may optimize their app store page elements, in particular, icon and screenshots with the help of A/B testing. As a result, they start ranking higher than your app, get more impressions and consequently more downloads. So, develop a good habit of keeping an eye on your competitors.

Reason #6: App Store bugs

And here is a twist. There can be bugs on the App Store that affect your app conversion rate, which you cannot influence. For example, there has recently been an issue with reporting of impression and conversion rate data from Search and Browse for iOS 13 devices or later. Another issue was related to subtitles: the last word wasn’t indexed if a subtitle included 30 symbols. So, apps that suffered from this bug were not ranked for specific keywords and watched decline in impressions & conversions.

Reason #7: Seasonality and global trends

Seasonality often causes a change in conversion rates: while some apps experience spikes in impressions and conversion rates, others watch drops in conversions. If every year you see drops in conversions on holiday times, prepare in advance and adjust your icon and screenshots to seasonal events.

There are also trends that affect apps, and I cannot fail to mention the situation with COVID-19. Mobile games, work-from-home, physical & mental health apps benefit from this global stay-home trend, whereas travel, transportation and booking apps are, unfortunately, experiencing a sharp decline in conversions.

However, it’s nice to know that most of the issues I’ve mentioned above are manageable. Forewarned is forearmed, they say, so start optimizing your app conversion rate today.

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Lina Danilchik
Lina Danilchik
Content Marketing Lead & App Growth Evangelist at SplitMetrics
Lina is Content Marketing Lead at SplitMetrics. She provides mobile marketers with best practices and tips on app growth, ASO, user acquisition and Apple Search Ads. Lina is also the host of App Growth Talks.
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