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App Downloads From Search Trending Upwards After Recent Decline (chart)

The manner in which people end up finding apps that they would like to download is a really important thing for industry professionals to try and pay attention to. It can help determine where ad money is spent, and it can also help determine which apps end up being successful in a big way. For a couple of years, the practice of searching for apps that you might want to download was starting to lose ground to app referrals, with the other two discovery techniques of browsing and web referrals remaining more or less consistently underused.

It is important to note that the covid-19 pandemic has ended up changing quite a bit about the app landscape. Business and education apps, previously considered underdogs when compared to social media apps, gaming apps and other similar categories started to see a huge surge in download. In 2019, the percentage of app downloads that came from people searching for apps had dropped to 56%, but it is now up by 3 percentage points, i.e. according to ST data.

In 2020, 59% of app downloads came from users searching for those specific apps which is even higher than in 2018. This means that word of mouth marketing for apps has become a really big deal. Users have been coping with lockdown in different ways, and other people in similar situations talk about the apps they use to cope which then drives even more downloads.

This says a lot about the democratization of app downloads. Regardless of how much money you put into marketing, it seems that the quality of your app will be what ends up determining success once all has been said and is now out of the way. A good app will have people talking about it, resulting in people searching for it and subsequently downloading it.

Video conferencing apps, health and fitness apps as well as other categories have seen a huge surge thanks to covid-19. Some are arguing that this is mostly temporary, but they are not taking into account the fact that this is now the new normal. People are getting used to working from home, and their dependence on apps has increased.

The volume of apps being downloaded through searches is increasing as well, which will place pressure on app developers to focus on things that will result in more word of mouth marketing. The search feature is particularly important for non-game apps, which are the ones that have seen the biggest boost after the coronavirus pandemic changed the world as we know it and resulted in things being quite different from how they used to be.
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