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Home Blog App Marketing Organic App Installs vs. Paid Installs, Connection between Organic & Paid Downloads

Organic App Installs vs. Paid Installs, Connection between Organic & Paid Downloads

Jan 13 2021

organic app install vs. paid download


Getting downloads is the main purpose of ASO optimization. The download traffic we are talking about is the organic App installs, which is to make the product get more exposure after ASO optimization, so that more users can see it more easily and then download it. So, how many natural downloads can we get after doing the regular ASO optimization? This is the question we will discuss today.

What is organic App installs and paid downloads?


Organic Installs - refers to the app downloads and installs from the natural and free traffic, not belong to ads or other paid promotion channels. Normally, the behavior that users enter the app store to search and download by themselves belongs to organic app downloads. For marketers, natural downloads do not simply mean free app downloads or non-accurate marketing. Many marketers will promote their App’s on multi-channels such as social media or stream media before their apps launched into the app store, and the traffic from these non-paid promotion channels is also called natural downloads or organic traffic.

And with the rise of Internet media, organic traffic actually refers to the maximum extent to the traffic brought by other than advertising. In real terms, organic installs are called as such when a user installs an app without directly responding to a mobile advertising campaign.

Paid downloads - are normally refers to the app downloads from ads or other paid promotion channel, also include the behavior that directly buy app downloads and installs. And the paid promotions that convert free traffic into active downloads included. The action of keeping a certain amount of paid downloads and positive reviews during a period will promote the App's ranking to top in the app store, resulting in organic traffic, which in turn converts into active downloads, which are organic App Installs.

The App store discovery growth loop


The Apple App Store and Google Play Store care about one thing above any other when deciding which apps or games to surface to their users. That is the user experience. Both platforms are deeply invested in getting users to find extremely high-quality apps that will give them the best experience around what they are looking for.

They want to do it as soon as possible (similar to how Google wants to give a user the answer he/she is looking for without them going back to search results and continuing to search).

We analyzed App Store and Google Play data -- Billions of impressions and hundreds of millions of installs -- which showed us that one of the most important metrics the platforms are using to determine the popularity of an app is the come and velocity of first-time installers. Remember, these are App Units in App Store Connect terms, or Store Listing Acquisitions, New Users in Google Developer Console terms.

Both platforms are taking the assumption that the more new users installing the app, the more probable that it's a popular app that users love, as well as the belief that an app that grows in new users very fast is perhaps too trendy and worth surfacing.


Brand volume dictates search volume


Your app store search volume consists of two main "buckets". The first, branded search (searches for your brand name), the second, searches for your "genre" keyword. These "genre" keywords are general keywords that someone looking for an app in your category would use when searching the app stores (for example, "cheap flights").

You can't control the genre keyword volume. It represents the general demand in your category (for example, the search volume for flight keywords dropped significantly when COVID-19 erupted, outside of any flight app control). But, you can control the brand portion of your search volume. We found a strong correlation between specific ad channels and branded search.

Each keyword has a popularity score in the App Store, exposed through Apple Search Ads that reflects its relational search volume (Five being the lowest, and 100 being the highest).

We found that when increasing ad spend in specific channels and campaigns, you can increase branded search. The logic is pretty simple, more users are exposed to your brand, and a portion of those users are not directly responding to the ad but searching for the brand name later on.

But understanding this relationship is crucial to attach the value of additional brand search volume and installs to the paid campaigns responsible for driving it.


Category ranking dictated by total App Units


The second insight is that your total volume of app units dictates your category ranking or first time installs. We saw a strong correlation between how many new installs you're driving to your ranking in your category charts. This doesn't mean there is a one-size-fit-all equation for how many new installs you need to rank #1 in your category. It depends on various factors, such as:

UA seasonality -- the more paid user acquisition (aimed at new users) your category competitors are running at a given point in time, the harder it'll be to outrank them (as you'll need to drive more new installs in comparison to them). It might change over time as companies increase/decrease their paid UA spend. For example, around Black Friday and Christmas, it might be challenging to reach the top ranking in categories such as Shopping as companies dramatically increase their UA budgets around these times.


The category you're in -- our category dictates your rank competitors. Suppose you're competing in a category with many large developers spending millions a month on UA. In that case, it'll be much harder to contest than going after a high ranking in a less competitive category.


This lever you can use directly affects your App Store Browse or Google Play Explore impressions and installs as more browsers will be exposed to your app store listing in Category charts.

Understanding why this happens is also critical; not all paid campaigns will contribute to your new installs volume. A paid campaign exclusively focused on the re-acquisition of lapsed users will not move that needle at all.

Many teams miss the point when trying to pull this lever as they look at MMP installs instead of platform-reported (App Store Connect/Google Play Developer Console) first time installs.

For example, a paid campaign that drives significant new installs (that never open the app)  might be adding value through this lever but won't show up as such in an MMP dashboard as it only reports installs that open the app.

The only way to understand which ad channels and campaigns are driving new installs that help pull this lever is by analyzing the performance of spend on top of new install volume as reported in the app store developers' consoles.


Run App Store creative experiments and testing against new users to improve CVR


Using a paid user acquisition budget to improve organic installs through either of these two levers is only one step of the process.

We also found that marketers of the most successful apps and games create a compounding effect by optimizing their app store page creatives for new users.

By running experiments and finding the creatives and messaging that'll drive new installs from new and broad audiences, these apps maximize the volume of organic installs they get from search results and category charts, even further increasing the volume of new installs and solidifying their position.

This additional lever (that contributes to the other two's success) can be realized through running app store creative experiments and testing against new users and audiences.

The way to increase organic App installs. How to grow the organic installs start from paid download?


How the paid download drive the increase of organic installs?


The connection between paid user acquisition and organic user acquisition is vital to maximizing mobile growth. It doesn't matter if you're working for a mobile game or an app; there is one common thread that flows through most successful apps and mobile games, those who grow faster than all others: They connect between paid and organic installs, and they use it to create compounding growth.

A mobile growth team that'll understand the connection between paid and organic will realize one of the most impactful levers to drive organic install growth. Instead of viewing organic installs as "falling from the sky" without a real way to control and influence them, they take a scientific approach to organic installs. This scientific approach allows them to take advantage of one of the most popular growth loops in mobile -- the App Store/Google Play discovery growth loop.

Ways to attracts more great organic app installs:


  • Asking for reviews and ratings
  • Encouraging shares and referrals
  • Creating a media buzz


1. Asking users for app reviews and ratings will boost organic installs


Organic Installs - refers to the app downloads and installs from the natural and free traffic, not belong to ads or other paid promotion channels. Normally, the behavior that users enter the app store to search and download by themselves belongs to organic app downloads. For marketers, natural downloads do not simply mean free app downloads or non-accurate marketing. Many marketers will promote their App’s on multi-channels such as social media or stream media before their apps launched into the app store, and the traffic from these non-paid promotion channels is also called natural downloads or organic traffic.

And with the rise of Internet media, organic traffic actually refers to the maximum extent to the traffic brought by other than advertising. In real terms, organic installs are called as such when a user installs an app without directly responding to a mobile advertising campaign.

2. Share your app with all their friends?


When people discover something that they enjoy, a craving develops telling them to share this wonderful something with other people. The egg preyed on this very social nature. Its caption was a simple one.

Sharing works extremely well because people trust their friends' and family's recommendations. As with reviews and ratings, you want to prompt your current users to share your app at a point where they would be feeling great about it. The goal is to find the in-app moments that are just right for pulling on those emotional strings, achieving that sharing effect.

3. Get the media buzzing about your app to get more organic installs


Along with sharing, people like to talk or gossip. Again, humans are naturally social beings. People want to know what's going on in the world, what new products are available, what trends are upcoming. So they read articles, watch the news and listen to podcasts.

To get media to work for you instead of against you, we'll need to step into the shoes of a public relations expert. Public relations encompasses a wide range of strategies but right now we're focusing on what is called a press release.

In conclusion


An app growth strategy without a plan for organic traffic is an incomplete one. Organic installs enable your mobile app to benefit from continuous growth, to develop a loyal user base and to increase app retention rates. We've gone over several ways that you can reel in these organic installs. Organic traffic for app is an ongoing process. The work is never done! You should always be responding to user comments and concerns, releasing new press releases along with those updates, and putting ASO into practice to stay ahead of your competitors.

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Comments

  • Timothy Lowe
    How do I increase traffic to my app? Reply
    • June Gibson

      @Timothy Lowe Mobile app marketing relies heavily on downloads to lead to conversions and boosting sales. Improve Your App Store Ranking. Optimization within the app store is key to increasing app traffic. Find an Analytical or Tracking Vendor. Horizontal Distribution. Reply

  • Jeffrey Benson
    How much money does an app with 1 million downloads make? Reply
    • Jose Tucker

      @Jeffrey Benson Now say out of 1 million downloads you have 100k monthly active users, this would make your company valued roughly at $10m. A company valued at $10m should find ways to generate $1m in revenue at least if not more. Reply

  • Larry Townsend
    What are organic installs? Reply
    • Paulette Chambers

      @Larry Townsend Organic installs are app downloads that occur without any direct effort by an advertiser to acquire users via paid or owned campaigns. Reply

    • Paulette Chambers

      @Larry Townsend An install can also be considered organic if a user views or clicks an ad but downloads after the attribution window has closed. Reply

  • Isaac Pearson
    How do I increase traffic to my app? Reply
    • Aubrey Hart

      @Isaac Pearson Mobile app marketing relies heavily on downloads to lead to conversions and boosting sales. Improve Your App Store Ranking. Optimization within the app store is key to increasing app traffic. Find an Analytical or Tracking Vendor. Horizontal Distribution. Reply

  • Jonathan Joseph
    How many downloads should I expect for my app? Reply
    • Blanca Owens

      @Jonathan Joseph Any app receiving 500 or more downloads a day in the App Store Free market with organic traffic. Reply

    • Blanca Owens

      @Jonathan Joseph If I'm hitting 500 downloads a day a week after my app was released, I know I have something to work with. Reply

  • Dave Conner
    hello, I am wondering if the organic search is beneficial for my app? Reply
    • Tabitha Buchanan

      @Dave Conner Organic traffic is important because it is targeted. Users visiting your website from a search engine's organic results have a very specific intent and if you can provide them with a solution or answer to their question, they are more likely to convert. Reply

  • Lori Summers
    What is a good organic search rate? Reply
    • Matt Colon

      @Lori Summers While many factors contribute to a website's organic search traffic conversion rate, a strong marketing strategy and content plan can put you well above the 16% average rate. Reply

  • Kevin Vaughn
    What is organic uplift? Reply
    • Garrett Campbell

      @Kevin Vaughn An organic Uplift is a form of scientific marketing analysis that measures how a campaign affects certain key metrics on individual behavior like engagement, conversions, or in-app spending. Organic uplift also provides a way of predicting user behavior during subsequent campaigns. Reply

  • Catherine Greer
    What is an organic user? Reply
    • Alice Ballard

      @Catherine Greer An organic install occurs when a user downloads an app without directly responding to a mobile advertising campaign. Reply

    • Alice Ballard

      @Catherine Greer These users needed that extra push to be convinced they needed your app. There is a common conception that organic users are more valuable to your business than those from paid downloads. Reply

  • Roy Cortez
    What are organic installs? Reply
    • Marvin Goodman

      @Roy Cortez Organic installs are app downloads that occur without any direct effort by an advertiser to acquire users via paid or owned campaigns. Reply

    • Marvin Goodman

      @Roy Cortez An install can also be considered organic if a user views or clicks an ad but downloads after the attribution window has closed. Reply

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