Knowledge Base

The Appfigures Mobile Downloads Index

Analyzing your app download trends is crucial to growing downloads, but when you only look at your trends it's hard to tell if changes are related to your actions or larger market trends.

Historically, the scale of market data necessary to view trends hasn't been easy to access or affordable for most developers. That's why we've created the Mobile Downloads Index, which is available to all Appfigures members on any plan (including Free Forever).

The Mobile Downloads Index provides a normalized view of growth across categories and countries for the iOS App Store and Google Play and provides the context you need to understand if your download trends are a result of your own actions or larger market trends. It also provides insight into how different categories are growing (or shrinking) to help you make more informed product decisions.

The Formula

To create the daily index value we:

  1. Combine the estimated downloads of the top 25 apps in each category and country
  2. Compare the total to the total on January 1st, 2018 (see why below)
  3. Apply a trending algorithm to adjust for the strong seasonality that exists in both the App Store and Google Play.

The result is a value that indicates growth quickly and without having to worry about actual download volumes which are very large numbers that are hard to keep track of. The value starts at 100 and goes up when the volume grows or down when it shrinks.

Different categories and countries show different behavior patterns, where some such as Music have been shrinking over time (Index value 84.62), and others such as Entertainment have been growing (index value of 129.62).

Using the Mobile Downloads Index to Benchmark Performance

Monitoring the download trends in your category adds important context to your own trends by showing you whether changes you're seeing are specific to your app or larger market movements.

For example, if you've noticed a downward trend in downloads for your app, without the index it'd be impossible to tell if that's a result of a market shift or something specific to your app such as a competitor spending more on ads and taking away new users.

Take for example the Sport & Fitness category for Apple and Google in the US. It shifts quite a bit throughout the year:

Downloads index for mobile fitness apps in the iOS App Store Downloads index for mobile fitness apps on Google Play

Earlier in the year there are considerably more downloads across the entire category, so you can expect your app to also see more downloads. As new year's resolutions wear off however downloads drop considerably, so you can also expect your downloads to drop.

If your apps have been in the store for more than a year you already know this. But, how do your peaks and drops compare to the rest of the category? Looking at the mobile Downloads Index you can quickly tell if you're outperforming (or underperforming), and if you're spending on user acquisition, when to push harder.

The index provides insights that are essential to the success of every app business, which is why it's available for free to every Appfigures member.

Adjusting for Seasonality

Different types of apps have different download patterns over the course of the week. Games are downloaded more over the weekend while business apps are downloaded more during the week. This is called seasonality and it makes being able to compare index values for different week days nearly impossible.

To handle that we adjust the daily downloads volume to create a smoother trend line which removes the seasonality and makes it possible to compare days that aren't the same.

F.A.Q

Where can I find the Mobile Downloads Index in my account?

The Index is available for free on any plan as a widget in the Overview report to all members who are actively tracking their apps with Appfigures.

How often is the index updated?

The index and the underlying data that's used to calculate it are updated daily.

Do I have to track my apps with Appfigures to see the index?

Yes. We built the index for app developers and publishers to get better context around their own trends.

Why are downloads compared to January 1st, 2018?

Stores have evolved a lot over the years, changing their interfaces and ways of promoting apps. January 1st, 2018 is a stable point after which both Apple and Google have not made large enough changes that would change download trends.