App store searches are still the dominant way in which consumers discover new apps with free apps being the main reason for customers to download an app, according to a survey by app store search marketing agency Redbox Mobile based on the answers of 1,500 mobile users in the US, China, UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy.
The report found that over half of consumers (55%) downloaded an app based on a paid advert, whilst 57% downloaded an app following an app store feature.
When it comes to search, 39% of app users search for new apps directly within the app store, whilst 16% search online and 15% take a look at top charts.
The app name is the primary search input for 41% of app users, whilst 21% also search by using generic keywords and 17% view top charts. Brand name searches were more dominant in the US, UK and Italy, highlighting distinct regional differences in how users search for apps.
On average, app consumers type two to three words when searching for an app, whilst US and France customers often search using a single word.
App search takes place throughout the day, but occurs more frequently during the late evening, especially in China. Therefore, marketing tactics should accommodate peak times when consumers view apps.
“We know a lot about how many apps are downloaded and how they’re used, but very little research has gone into the core reasons as to how and why consumers download apps,” said James Salins, CEO EMEA at Redbox Mobile.
“For the first time, we’ve been able to shed some light on why consumers act as they do on the app stores. What’s clear from the study is that there is no single factor when it comes to driving app downloads. App developers and publishers need to adopt a blended strategy of paid and organic campaigns to drive success.”
The average app user browses four apps before making a final selection. For app developers and marketers this means that as long as their apps rank within the top four search results, they can achieve downloads. As such, search marketing campaigns should incorporate a broad range of keywords to achieve a top four ranking for various searches.
Following a search, 61% of consumers will view the app’s listing page. If consumers spot an app they didn’t search for above their search result, 41% would check out the new app before proceeding to download their original choice, demonstrating that search advertising boosts app discovery. Just 30% would proceed to download the original app.
Users tend to download apps for a variety of reasons including recommendations from friends and family (30%) and social media adverts (28%). However, free and promoted apps (39%) are still a dominant influence on app downloads, followed by star ratings (32%). Ads within other apps led to 23% of consumers downloading a specific app.
China was the only territory measured where app recommendations from friends and families outscored free apps as the main reasons to download an app.
App developers can also boost the success of their app’s download by ensuring that their product page matches consumer demands. 39% of respondents said they spent the most time looking at ratings and reviews on an app’s product page.
Only in China, users spent more time looking at videos and app icons (37%) than ratings and reviews (35%).
The finding highlights that a quality app is still among the most important factors in getting users to download an app. Therefore, app developers should spend ample time testing their apps as bad reviews can have a lasting effect.
An app’s price is among the top factors including download decisions (65%), followed by a clear description (63%) and app ratings (61%).
Interestingly, a whopping 92% of users would prefer to modify aspects of the app store. Among the more sought-after improvements, users would like to see more detailed listing pages, better app suggestions, a single app store for all devices and more factual and useful apps.
The study highlights that effective search advertising strategies can boost app discovery and downloads. However, the quality of the app remains key in enticing users to commit to download.