Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Relationship Between Downloads and In-app Purchases

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I've been doing a lot of analysis on my apps, especially the popular ones (BreakFree and Fuel Buddy). One of the points I wanted to dive into was the nature of in-app purchases. How are these related to downloads? At what point do people go for in-app purchases? Does an increase in downloads always translate to higher purchases? 

The common theory is that increase your downloads and your purchases will increase. This is true but with a caveat. Let me explain. 

Look at the graph below. The red bars represent downloads and the blue bars are in-app units sold (the actual number was obviously lot lower, it has been multiplied by x to get both the bars in proportion). Now as you can see the downloads increased from Jan to April, and so did the in-app purchases, no surprise here. But look at June, though the downloads fell drastically the purchases actually increased! The fall in the purchases only triggered in July. This can again be seen in August, though the downloads increased, the in-app purchases fell.

From the above findings we can deduce that in-app purchases do follow the download trend, but there is a lag of a month. The plausible explanation could be that the users only purchase after trying out the app for a fair amount of time (on an average one month).

So the next time you see a jump in downloads but not in in-app purchases, don't worry, it will soon follow :-)

Please keep in mind that this study was done on Fuel Buddy, which is a stable, high utility product. The above study may not hold true for games and novelty products.

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