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Discovery and Referral, Part One

Let’s break down the differences between the two installation paths in more detail and talk about how to maximize your opportunity for both.

The Discovery path: are people converting when they find your app page?

They key thing for app developers to understand about the discovery path is that your app details page has a conversion rate.

What’s that you say? You didn’t think about the conversion rate? You assumed that most people who saw your app’s details page were installing your app?Less than 33% of people who view the details page actually install the app.

That’s understandable – most developers don’t think about this piece of the equation and even fewer think critically about how they can truly impact the conversion rate.

Part of the problem in today’s app stores is the lack of insight into the views of your app’s details page and the resulting activity. We are hopeful that this lack of data will be addressed over time.

Regardless of if more data is forthcoming from the app stores, the end results of your efforts to improve your conversion rate are shown in your installation volume. Your efforts to improve your conversion rate will have a direct impact on your installations.

It’s absolutely critical that you understand that the majority of the time, when someone looks at your app’s page in the app store, they’re choosing to not install your app.

Our studies of activity around app details pages and work with various third party app stores gives us two pieces of unique data that you should understand:

  • For free apps, fewer than 1 in 3 views of the app detail pages result in a download.
  • For paid apps, fewer than 1 in 10 views of the app detail pages results in a purchase

The reality is this: whether your app is free or not, most people choose to pass on your app.

The decision points for a discovery consumer

The good news is that you can meaningfully impact the conversion ratio because there are 3 decision points for a consumer who is in discovery mode:

  • Your app’s description
  • Your app’s screenshots
  • The consumer ratings and reviews for your app

Experimenting with your app’s description, from the way you describe what the app does to discussing recent updates all play a hand in swaying a consumer’s decision to install your app. Well-written copy, with an emphasis on benefits and the consumer’s use cases will serve you well.

It’s also important that you optimize the layout of your app’s description in order to optimize the readability. Long blocks of text that run together are much tougher to read than sections that are broken up with line breaks and that use Unicode characters for bullets, checkmarks and the like. Compare the 2 below:

An optimized layout of text improves readability on the App Store details pageText layout that is not optimized for the app store decreases readability

We recommend making that sure you’ve viewed your app’s description on the phone, tablet and web and revised it so that it presents well in every situation. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the effort! See details about the limitations on characters and “above the fold” behavior in various environments in our Appendix.

The screenshots can make the words you share much more real for a consumer and give them a sense of what to expect on their screen. We highly recommend experimenting with the screenshots and descriptions and measuring the impact on your app’s installation rates.

The silver bullet in driving downloads and purchases of your app are, however, the ratings and reviews. Specifically, the overall ratings volume and the most recent reviews you’ve received are important indicators to your potential customers.

This appears to be because the ratings and reviews are social proof about your app. Excellent ratings or significant complaints are much more reliable indicators for the average consumer. A review from another customer is much more convincing that what the app developer has to say. 15 years of reviews on Amazon, Yelp and the like have taught us to trust our fellow consumers more than anything else.

Continue to Chapter 4 — The Referral Path