When a colleague asks you, ”What is a good mobile app conversion rate?” The correct answer is these two simple words: “It depends.”
Yep, an annoying answer, but we promise that by the end of this article you’ll have everything you need to answer this question in the most scientific and logical way.
Let’s start breaking it down:
App Store Conversion Rates
In the data that the App Store provides through the App Store Connect dashboard, there are several metrics that are important to define.
App Store Impressions – this includes the total number of impressions your app listing had over a certain period of time. It includes not just visits to your full product page but also the number of times users viewed your search result listing, as well as your listing on the top charts and various featuring placements.
App Store Product Page Views – this includes only the number of users who visited your full product page. They got there either from a deep link to your page (most likely from an ad) or from App Store search results, top charts, or features.
App Units – This is the metric Apple uses to define first-time installers (users who hit the “Get” button). Please do not confuse this term with “installs,” which is a metric that only counts installations from users who chose to share data with Apple (20%- 25% or so of all users).
In order to calculate your App Store conversion rates, you’ll need to divide app units by either impressions or product page views as follows:
This will, in fact, yield two conversion rates, which brings us to the important distinction between traffic sources in the App Store.
Let’s define these as well:
App Store Browse – Users who view your listing on either the top charts, featuring placements, or the sections that appear at the bottom of an app’s product page.
App Store Search – Users who view your listing on the Apple search results page (counts also paid search).
App Store Referral (web and app) – Users who land directly on your app’s product page by tapping on a deep link. Apple separates the link sources from apps (for example, a link in the Facebook app) and the web (for example, a link in a mobile website that was accessed through the Safari browser).
So, after sorting this out, the right conversion rate to look at depends on the source. For example, for referral as a traffic source impressions, equal product page views because the user landed on your product page without seeing it anywhere else in the store.
For search or browse, users may install your app directly from the top chart, the featuring, or the search result listing. So, your impression of the app unit conversion rate reveals more than the product page to app unit conversion rate, which might be higher than 100% (if many users installed without going through the full App Store page but are still counted as an app unit).
Google Play Conversion Rates
In June 2020, Google Play announced that it is releasing a new version of its Google Play Developer Console (GCP) which will add more options and visibility to developers around conversion rates.
In the acquisition report, you can access the conversion rate for store listing acquisitions only, which means installs directly from the Google Play search result page or various editorial content won’t be counted.
Similar to App Store Connect, you can filter through different traffic sources, such as search, explore (what Apple calls “browse”), and third-party referrals.
Running the conversion rate calculation in the acquisition report will show the power of your store’s listing to convert after users land on the full page. It won’t cover the potential conversion rate power of your assets in the search results or in editorial content (on the ‘For You’ tab for example).
Now that we’ve untangled this, you can be sure you’re looking at the correct conversion rate.
Calculating your conversion rates in the wrong way and then trying to compare them with a different ASO team or different “benchmarks” will result in wrong conclusions and a lot of stress when there should be none.
Why should you care about app store conversion rate benchmarks?
Benchmarks are tricky. Many times, teams or entire companies aim to surpass the benchmark when the business value of doing so is very small.
Humans are driven by benchmarks. It’s why we’re always interested in the color of other people’s grass, the grading system in school, our salaries, height, weight, our score in probably every sport ever played, and so many more examples. We always compare ourselves to others.
Showing that you are “above the benchmark” usually elicits praise from colleagues and friends, but very rarely do people actually ask themselves, “What is this benchmark? What type of data is in it? Where did that data come from? Am I comparable to this data set?”
In ASO, there is no universal benchmark for you to use. The only companies in the world that have this data are Apple and Google. And before we go to the sources and the actual benchmarks, it’s important to make sure you’re comparing yourself to the right group of peers.
What Are App Conversion Rates Affected By?
- Traffic mix – blended conversion rates (without segmenting to traffic type) mean very little. An app that does a lot of paid UA from Facebook won’t be comparable to an app that gets organic traffic.
- UA quality – extremely targeted traffic from Facebook ads will convert at a higher rate than a low-quality ad network, for example.
- Category – a mobile game and a utility app aren’t comparable as the user’s intent is completely different. A ridesharing app that people need to install to get a ride will probably have a higher conversion rate than other apps.
So, when using benchmarks, ensure that the apps you’re using have similar characteristics to your own app and only then proceed. Of course, as this isn’t really scientific, getting a “feel” of how your conversion rates compare to those of close-enough peer groups would also be valuable.
First and foremost, you need to make sure you’re improving compared to yourself. It’s very unlikely that you’re at “peak conversion,” as there is no such thing. The app store creatives (and all ad creatives) are plagued by the phenomena we call “conversion rate decay.” This means that over time, your audience will grow used to your creatives, which will start to lose their power to convert. This will materialize in the form of gradually decreasing conversion rates.
That being said, conversion rates are a competitive edge. If your competitor is converting higher than you for the same paid Facebook audience, it means it’s able to acquire these users for a lower cost and “steal” your installs and growth.
Armed with this knowledge, let’s look at what you can do to understand if your conversion rate is good by triangulating several data sources.
Ten actionable tips for increasing App Store CVR
Mobile App Conversion Rate Benchmarks by Category for App Store & Google Play
Thanks to our friends at AppFollow who publish a dynamic dashboard with conversion rates from a large sample of more than one billion impressions in the App Store, we can get a great view of conversion rates per category. It’s not a complete picture, but it gives you some idea of where you stand at a category level. It still doesn’t help you understand your true peer group: a puzzle game isn’t comparable to a strategy game.
The data below is from March 2020 and is based on the US only.
App Store Search:
App Store Browse:
App Store App Referrer:
App Store Web Referrer:
Google Play Organic Conversion Rates:
Google Play Conversion Rate Benchmarks
The Google Play Developer Console released conversion rate benchmarks in 2019 and started giving developers access to their peer groups.
Within acquisition reports in the Google Developer Console, you’ll also see an option to view conversion rate benchmarks based on pre-curated lists of apps and games (for example, adventure games or ridesharing apps).
You’ll also be able to choose monetization peer groups showing you a peer group that includes apps with the same monetization mechanic as your own app (free, paid, or in-app purchases/subscriptions).
But remember, this does not show which apps are in that peer group or the traffic mix they’re getting, so this number might include apps that you’re not comparable to (for example, an app that does significant Facebook UA as opposed to your app that relies on ad network traffic for growth).
So, what to do from here?
After untangling conversion rates and diving deep into what app store conversion rates are, you now know that the type of data they show is only directional. They can’t be taken at face value because you don’t know if the apps that make up the benchmarks represent your own reality.
Our recommendations are:
- Focus on correctly monitoring your own conversion rates and benchmarking them to your past, while taking into account changes in your traffic or UA mix. You’ll rarely conclude that your conversion rates can’t be improved. But by benchmarking to yourself, you’ll be able to show a gradual improvement in conversion rates over time, which is the only correct benchmark to look at.
- Use external benchmarks with caution. Take them as an anecdotal data point that shows you if you’re significantly below all available benchmarks. Being lower than the benchmark can be explained in many ways that don’t necessarily mean you have a problematic App Store or Google Play creatives.
How to increase your app’s conversion rate?
Once you’re monitoring your conversion rates properly, it’s time to improve on your own benchmark.
The only scientific and proven way to improve your app conversion rate, be it your paid or organic conversion rate, is through an in-depth process of testing and experimenting with different creatives and messaging directions.
This process goes through four main stages:
- Creating hypotheses for creatives and messaging that’ll improve conversion rates based on in-depth research around your users, competitive landscape, and more.
- Designing creative assets that fit with the way users make decisions in the app stores.
- Running a scientific experiment to test which creatives drive more users to install.
- Analyzing the results to understand exactly why certain creatives worked better and then re-hypothesizing to continue testing and improving.
Storemaven has developed the technology and methodology to help you do just that: feel free to check out it here.
I hope that you enjoyed tearing down the app store conversion benchmarks and that you’re now equipped with everything you need to understand how to use them and, more importantly, how to improve your conversion rates compared to your own true benchmark.
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