Top 200 iOS apps sees 30% drop in March

Krystal Peak · April 27, 2012 · Short URL:

Apple's download bot crackdown changed the whole makeup of the App Store charts

Despite the growing number of people converting to smartphones, adding tablet devices and turning to apps as valuable tools and entertainment, downloads for the top 200 free apps in the App Store experienced a 30% free fall in March, according to mobile app marketing company Fiksu.

Fiksu dug a little deeper than just finding out how many downloads the top apps were getting, it blames a let up after the busy holiday season and Apple's crackdown on download bots.

What are download bots, you may ask. Download bots are these shady automated programs that download apps in order to help them break into the top of the charts -- crafty and icky tactics, if you ask me.

Th top 200 free U.S. iPhone apps saw 4.45 million downloads per day in March -- down drastically from 6.35 million per day in February. Apple put out a notice to developers during the first week of February, stating that these services that help push apps inorganically to the top of charts will not be tolerated.

This report from Fiksu comes just as the Mac App Store has passed 10,000 apps, according to AppShopper.

Apple has been seeing substantial business via digital goods it sells and rents in iTunes and the App Store. The iTunes store generated $1.9 billion in revenue in the second quarter of this year  and last month, Apple announced that it saw 25 billion apps downloads, showing just what a robust audience and catalog it has built in just two years.  

The crackdown has had huge implications for the types of apps that make it to the top of the charts -- it looks like this Apple warning will change the makeup of the top charts greatly to reflect what is actually getting tried and tested by the general public and should offer a greater service to the app ecosystem.  

Since most people downloading apps don't bother to look any further than the top 25 or 50 apps in a given category, many apps do a lot of scrambling to get into that top tier -- not to mention, once an app gets to the top, the rate of downloads speeds up exponentially.

Despite the noticeable decline, the price developers have to pay to get a good mobile app user (one that has used the app at least three times) stayed fairly steady at $1.30 -- down a penny from $1.31 in February. 

Back in December, with so many people snapping up new devices and downloading through the holidays, the price to acquire a user was significantly higher. 

The price of adding a new user jumped up to $1.81 per user (from $1.43 in November), according to the index updated by mobile ad firm Fiksu. That more than 25% jump is a significant change, especially in a single month. The previous spike in customer acquistion pricing was in September when it was $1.64 per person. 

Fiksu gains its analysis by looking at mobile traffic, app store behaviors of 11 billion mobile app launches, registrations and in-app purchases.


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