Why users aren’t downloading your app – and what you can do about it

Low download numbers are a problem for any app – it means that users either aren’t seeing the app, or they’re seeing it and not liking it. Fortunately, it’s not an insurmountable issue – there are many factors that could lead to low download numbers, and each of them can be addressed.

These are some of the biggest issues that can prevent users from downloading an app, as well as solutions to each of those issues. Once you identify your problem, you can find a way to address it.

Poor ASO

Users can’t download an app they can’t find – that much is obvious, but the question then becomes: how do users find the app in the first place? App store optimisation is the key there – by optimising your app’s metadata, descriptions and creatives, along with relevant marketing strategies, you can improve your app’s rankings for relevant keywords in the app stores. It’s essential for discoverability.

A poorly optimised app will have difficulty ranking in any searches, making it difficult for users to discover without searching specifically for it. If users aren’t downloading your app, it may be that they’re just not finding it in the first place.

Unreadable descriptions

Once your users find the app, is the description making it clear why they should download it? A good description should explain the app’s features and benefits in an engaging manner, thus encouraging users to install it. Some apps barely even explain what they do, making users uncertain whether or not they’ll be useful or relevant, while others say too much at once and become an unreadable mess.

A good description should be concise and easily readable, accompanied by bullet points for its features that list what it does. Ending with a call-to-action will also encourage users to install the app and give them the last push they need. However, the formatting varies based on whether the description is on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

On Apple, each line of a description should be short, just 1-2 sentences, so it can be easily read on mobile devices. Google Play apps have a little more leeway in their description length but should start off each line with a relevant keyword in order to appear as relevant to that keyword for Google’s algorithm.

Descriptions that are long paragraphs of text, or those that go on at length about why people should get the app without actually discussing its features, will turn users away. Read through your description and imagine you know nothing about what the app is or does, then see if you’d want to download it from the information it gives you.

Ineffective creatives

How are your screenshots and preview videos? Each creative should demonstrate a different feature or aspect of the app that appeals to users, accompanied by callout text that incorporates keywords and quickly describes the feature’s value.

Both app stores allow for multiple screenshots and each one is an opportunity to tell the user something important about the app with visual examples. Failing to include proper screenshots, or using ones that don’t properly sell the app, will fail to properly encourage users to download the app.

When possible, a video can be a powerful tool for increasing installs. Like the screenshots, videos demonstrate the app’s features and functions, but they can show them in action. The video requirements for Google Play and the Apple App Store are also different, though; while Google Play’s videos can be like a commercial, showing people using and enjoying the app, videos on the Apple app store can only show in-app content.

If you’re still seeing low download numbers, be sure to test your creatives and determine what appeals to users most. A bad video can hurt downloads as much as a good one can help them, and you’ll want to ensure the screenshots you use will appeal to users.

Negative reviews

Users tend to trust fellow users, which is why reputation management is so important. Positive reviews can encourage potential users browsing the app store to give your app a chance. However, negative reviews will turn them away.

Yet there are ways to make a negative review into a positive opportunity. Respond to your comments, work with your users and make it clear that you’re listening and improving based on their comments. If users feel listened to, they’ll trust your brand and your app, and if they see you’re interacting with users and responding to their concerns, it will build a level of trust.

To conclude

If your app isn’t seeing downloads, there could be several causes. The description or creatives could be turning them away, the poor reviews could be a warning sign, or maybe they’re just not finding it in the first place.

No matter what the cause, there is a solution. With proper app store optimisation, your app can overcome its setbacks and begin driving new downloads and installs. Without it, users will keep clicking somewhere else.

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