The New 2021 App Store Connect Metrics That Will Help You Better Understand Growth

In early October, Apple released an update to App Store Connect that finally features the new metrics discussed in WWDC 2021. Storemaven's Jonathan Fishman on the significant shift that these metrics will bring.

This is a quick note to update you on the new metrics released by App Store Connect in October 2021.

In early October, Apple released an update to App Store Connect that finally featured the new metrics that Apple discussed in WWDC 2021 back in June. 

These metrics kind of bring a significant shift in the way you can perceive, measure, and understand your App Store installs.

New mobile app and game “Downloads” metrics

Up until now, Apple provided two metrics to understand how many people install an app. 

The old metrics

  1. App Units – this was first-time app installs (more accurately, people that tapped the GET button, regardless of whether they finished the installation), not including any user that re-installed the app after uninstalling it previously. This metric was measured based on unique Apple IDs. 
  2. Installations – this was the number of users who installed the app on their device (successfully finishing the installation process). The total number of installations were only people that opted-in to share data with app developers when they first set up their iPhone. 

These metrics mean that you, whether a mobile marketer, ASO person, or UA person, couldn’t definitively tell how many people actually installed your app because re-downloads were invisible to you.

The new metrics

With the new metrics, Apple, for the first time, is sharing with you the total number of downloads which consists of re-downloads and first-time downloads (that you can filter accordingly). As first-time downloads are basically a new name for App Units, you should see a higher volume of total downloads compared to what you saw prior by looking only at App units. 

This would be the only source in the world for verified volume of downloads and re-downloads – the most accurate there is.

  1. First-time Downloads – The total number of first-time downloads of your app.
  2. Re-Downloads – The total number of re-downloads of your app. Does not include auto-updates or device restores.
  3. Total Downloads – The total number of app downloads including First Time Downloads and Redownloads.
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With these new metrics, you can gauge your ability to drive new vs. lapsed users through different sources (Browse, Organic and Paid Search, Web and App Referrer). This provides you with powerful insights that will help you evaluate your marketing efforts by their intended goal (which audience were you aiming for with a featuring, keywords change, product page creative change, paid campaign? New or Lapsed users?) 

Small, little changes

Apple announced a few other “new” metrics. However, these are less powerful for measuring, monitoring, or analyzing your app’s paid and organic acquisition performance. Just skim through the following to familiarize yourself. 

A Facelift for Conversion Rate 

Instead of having to create a custom ratio to calculate conversion rate, you can now choose to view it on a graph as a pre-made metric. It’s calculated by taking total downloads (which are now more accurate) and dividing the number by unique impressions (or unique product page views).

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You can now see breakdowns of who updated your app according to dates, regions, territories, original source by which the user found the app and installed it, device, and iOS versions. This could be useful for teams gauging the success of update rollouts and pinpointing any problems preventing users from updating their app version. 

Proceeds (sales minus Apple’s fee and taxes)

This is a simple metric that takes the old Sales metric and subtracts from it Apple’s fee and taxes, to accurately reflect your app’s revenues.

Proceeds per paying user 

Monitor and analyze your app’s monetization prowess. Taking the new proceeds figure, you can create a custom ratio and divide it by paying users to measure over time the proceeds per paying user.

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Preparation for new App Store Features 

So to conclude, Apple made a big change with Total Downloads and Re-Downloads, and providing you with a much more accurate figure to understand: 

  1. How many people really downloaded your app? 
  2. What’s the mix of lapsed vs. new downloads for each and every source?

In my view, Apple took a crucial step forward in preparing us for the launch of the new iOS 15 App Store Marketing features: Custom Product Pages (CPP), Product Page Optimization (PPO), and In-App Events (IAE). This is due to the fact all of these features were announced and they include new metrics that will allow you to measure their performance and your success with them. 

Now that this week Apple released all these metrics, the only thing that still remains unreleased are the features themselves. I don’t expect it to be too long before they’re out though.

Jonathan Fishman
About Jonathan Fishman
Jonathan is Storemaven's VP of Marketing and Growth. Before joining Storemaven he spent ten years commanding tanks, working on Wall St., consulting high-growth companies, and exploring Black Rock City. In his spare time, he likes building things from wood, listening to Frank Zappa, and spending time with his daughter.

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