Experiment Results: Changing Keywords to Increase Downloads

Earlier this year I wrote about changing the keywords for Reminder+ (App Store link) – an experiment to see if I could increase downloads via App Store search.

This is what I wrote back in January:

Whilst I’m confident I can make an improvement, I don’t know how big the improvement will be. I’m not expecting anything dramatic, but I do think double digits is a possibility.

It’s taken a while but I now have some results…

Before and after download numbers

Before:

  • Period: 05/01/2016 – 17/03/2016, 72 days
  • App version: 2.0
  • App price: free
  • Downloads: 467
  • Downloads / day: 6.5
  • In-App Purchase: Send via Messages
  • IAP price: $1.99 (Tier 2)
  • IAPs: 37
  • IAPs / day: 0.51
  • IAP conversion rate: 7.9%
  • App Store views: 1411
  • Views per day: 19.6
  • Conversion rate: 33.1%

After:

  • Period: 01/04/2016 – 03/05/2016, 33 days
  • App version: 2.0.1
  • App price: free
  • Downloads: 280
  • Downloads / day: 8.5
  • In-App Purchase: ”Upgrade Pack”
  • IAP price: $1.99 (Tier 2)
  • IAPs: 7
  • IAPs / day: 0.21
  • IAP conversion rate: 2.5%
  • App Store views: 720
  • Views per day: 21.8
  • Conversion rate: 39%

Not quite double figures, but I’d say the change from 6.5 downloads per day to 8.5 downloads per day, is a positive result. (And, though the data only spans a month, the trend is rising slowly.)

The download increase comes from a slightly higher number of views per day and a better conversion rate. The new keywords have higher traffic, but the improved conversion rate suggests that the new keywords are more relevant to the application. I’m pleased about that.

Whilst this experiment was based on an app that has (relatively) a tiny amount of downloads1, I still think the process of reviewing, researching, and iterating on keywords2 – is worth the time investment.

Negative results: In-App Purchases

You may have noticed in the numbers above, that the IAP conversion rate has all but dropped off a cliff, dropping from 7.9% to 2.5%.

To facilitate the keyword change for Reminder+ I made a small bug-fix update to the app so that I could submit v2.0.1…

Unfortunately, the app was rejected. The rejection required a couple of innocuous changes along with one that became bothersome. The IAP Send via Messages was deemed unsuitable as it provides access to built-in iOS capabilities3.

To cut a long story short, I had to change the name, presentation and content of the IAP. Send via Messages became Upgrade Pack.

I anticipated that a less direct IAP would lead to a lower conversion rate – and that’s exactly what happened 😉


For more download and IAP numbers for Reminder+, look at the Downloads and Sales page.


  1. This app has a tiny amount of downloads: will factor into the changes to App Store views and ultimately, downloads.
  2. Researching keywords: if you’re curious about how I go about changing keywords, look at Researching (iOS) App Store Keywords with Sensor Tower.
  3. Rule 11.8 – Apps that use IAP to purchase access to built-in capabilities provided by iOS, watchOS, and tvOS, such as the camera or the gyroscope, or Apple-branded peripherals, such as Apple Pencil or Apple Keyboard, or Apple services, such as Apple Music access or iCloud storage, will be rejected.
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