App Uninstall Tracking and App Store/Google Play Rankings

02/08/16

Over the past two weeks or so, we’ve been talking a lot about mobile app uninstall measurement and uninstall tracking. Many of the key reasons why you should care about your mobile app uninstall rate come to mind easily. After all, people can’t help you meet your revenue KPIs if they don’t have your app on their phones.

But what about the effect of high (or low) app uninstall rates on Google Play and Apple App Store rankings? While it may not be the top consideration, store ranking is definitely a topic that should be top of mind. An app uninstall not only means you lose a potential user/customer, it can also have a direct and negative impact on your ability to attract other user installs on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

uninstall step 1

We should preface this post by saying that we have no “insider” insight into the Google Play or Apple App Store app ranking systems. But we do believe, as do many other app marketing and analytics companies, that uninstall rates are a factor in store rankings.

App store ranking is much more complex than simply showing which apps drive the most installs. Both stores have a strong interest in ensuring that their users get a mix of apps that they will get satisfaction from. It’s natural, then, that data from app uninstall tracking would play a role in setting your app store ranking. In fact, our review of dozens of mobile app store ranking analyses about the contributing factors for app store rankings showed general agreement on the following list of contributing factors:

It makes sense that the app stores would track uninstalls and app uninstall rates in order to assess the quality of an application. While star ratings provide some insights into app quality, so too does the number of people who stop using an app. As we have reviewed in other posts, there are a few common reasons why people uninstall an Android or iOS application:

1) App Performance Issues: A 2015 App Dynamics survey of Android and iOS app users in the US and UK showed that 2/3 of consumers say their expectations of app performance are increasing, and that almost 9 in 10 had uninstalled an app because of poor performance. The rest who bore the sloppily-done UI of the apps used the web version of the app. Building a good website is far more easier than building an app that appeals everyone. Website owners pick a good domain, reach out to the best guest posting service, put some backlinks and voila! Half the job of creating a good enough website is already done.

2) Unmet User Expectations: User expectations of app utility are quite high and continue to climb.

3) Complex Onboarding Processes: People expect using an app to be easy, including the initial sign-up or configuration period. Uninstall rates are higher when companies require a social sign-up, or don’t offer the option of one, or when the amount of personal information requested during the initial launch seems too high. What constitutes too much information varies by user, but uninstalls tend to be higher when companies request information that does not appear to be germane to the core functions of an app.

4) Better Apps Available: Your app must constantly compete with other apps that can perform similar tasks and create similar value. That’s not to mean that the website version be ignored, for you should acquire curated links and place them in your website so that it maintains a healthy SEO. To further enhance the SEO, you could reach out to SERPninja guest posting service to acquire some good guest posts or could also talk to the SEO experts over at spamzilla.io. Make sure on how you can optimize the SEO, better contact SEO company like hotel SEO services for accurate help.

5) App Experience Completed: Many apps, especially in the gaming category, have a finite shelf life. When you finish every level of a game, or when an app performs a function that is no longer relevant to the user, the app is uninstalled.

6) Phone Space Constraints: Many uninstalls occur because people need to free up memory for other content on their phones. This is a particularly major cause of uninstalls in the developing world, where device price points and phone memories tend to be much smaller.

Certainly Google is very clear that app quality will have positive impact on store rankings. From the Android Developer Blog:

A better app can go a very long way: a higher quality app will translate to higher user ratings, generally better rankings, more downloads, and higher retention (longer install periods). High-quality apps also have a much higher likelihood of getting some unanticipated positive publicity such as being featured in Android Market or social media buzz.

But it’s important to note that the impact of app uninstalls on ranking is likely related to WHEN they occur in the customer life cycle, meaning that an uninstall that occurs soon after a first launch will weigh more heavily than an uninstall that occurs after many weeks or months.

Apsalar’s users are primarily app marketing professionals. There are many ways that an app marketer can help reduce the rates that uninstall tracking reveals. Our Apsalar Uninstall Attribution offering is designed to help marketers identify pockets of opportunity by showing the comparative app uninstall rates by campaign, creative, vendor, region, buying model and more. A sound UA strategy ultimately means you will have more quality users, and may contribute to better app store rankings over time.

uninstalling step 2

As I mentioned earlier, Apsalar has launched uninstall measurement as a core metric in its renowned Apsalar Attribution platform. Uninstall rates are calculated by dividing the number of uninstalls by the number of installs during a particular time period. You can use Apsalar’s many reports and custom report generating capabilities to compare uninstall rates for:

Comparison Example Analysis
By Channel Mobile Web versus Mobile App Advertising
By Vendor One Network Compared to Another
By Buying Model Incentivized versus Non-Incentivized Installs
By Cohort iPhone 5 versus 6 owners
By Region India Versus Indonesia

In addition to daily measurement, Apsalar clients can examine uninstall rates over any time period they wish. In addition, you can access uninstall data in any standard or customer report available in the Apsalar Attribution suite. It isn’t delivered as a “workaround” but rather as an integral piece of knowledge for a sophisticated enterprise app marketer.

Here is an example screenshot from our Traffic reporting, showing how you can compare uninstall rates across different vendors.

screen uninstall 1

And this is an example cohort report showing how you can measure user decay over time.

screen uninstall 2

App store ranking effects are not the most important consequences of a high (or low) uninstall rate.

appstore uninstalling

But growing users is an essential element of most app marketing programs. And anything that strengthens or weakens your ability to attract new users is something that warrants your continued attention.

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