App Metrics Mobile Developers Should Care About

No matter where you look, articles are flooded with headlines about mobile growth. But how quickly is mobile actually growing? At Branch, we’re all about data, so we wanted to provide you with some important app metrics to give you some insights into the app ecosystem. For instance, last week, 7,700+ apps were released to the App Store alone. This week, 9,800+ more were released. What does this mean for app developers? For one, it means that the competition isn’t just the apps in your vertical and that it’s harder than ever to make your app stand out.

Mobile Ecosystem Analytics

The graph below, provided by the team at MightySignal, plots of the number of apps released in the iOS store each month for the past 7 years.iOS Apps Released Per Month in App Store

Note: These numbers represent apps that are still available in the App Store.

Key takeaways from the data
Sustained year over year growth

Every month has seen growth from the year before. In laymen’s terms, the year lines never intersect. This steady and consistent growth signals a market that has momentum. In July 2008, 564 iOS apps were released, and that has grown every single year to July 2015 when 56,327 iOS apps were released.

App growth acceleration

As more and more of the world comes online, they’re doing so through mobile devices. Going back to the graph, one will notice that the space between the lines is growing. Each year, more and more apps are being developed and released to drive amazing mobile experiences and meet the needs of new mobile subscribers. What used to be a year over year growth of around 1,000 new apps in a given month has now accelerated to growth rates of 10,000+.

How this impacts mobile app developers today
Standing out is harder than ever

Before Branch, our founders started Kindred, a photo book making app. Kindred was lucky to have their app featured in the iOS App Store the day after launch which led to strong initial growth. However, it’s worth pointing out that very few of the other 27,000+ new apps that launched in October 2013 received featured status. Today, an app developer is competing with 1.5 million other apps for attention and downloads. Additionally, up to 56,000+ new apps will be rolled out the same month they launch. How will you stand out?

Non-paid, organic growth is crucial

Any app can buy users. Facebook and other players in the space make it easy to do that. However, apps that can achieve sustained organic growth maximize their growth potential in an already crowded ecosystem. It’s essential that developers and marketers understand where organic installs come from so they can double down on channels that work.

How can you retain users from their first session
Provide value to your users right away

Consumer attention is fleeting and expectations are high. If someone clicks to download and open your app, and you don’t provide them with the content they were expecting, you will probably lose that user. Put another way, think about providing new users value during their first moment in your app. If you do provide them with the right content, you may have won a referral or a sale. It’s the difference between winning or losing a champion for your app.  

Measure growth and double down on success

Branch’s universal links support the ability to tag links, and the installs that result from clicks, by channel and campaign. Like all marketing and advertising, some channels will work better than others. Branch provides mobile analytics that tell you which channels, campaigns, links, and even users are driving the most clicks, opens, and installs.

On the Partner Growth team, we meet with app developers and company founders daily. We think deep linking is really impactful because it can provide app developers and their users a better experience right now. With an increasing number of apps, there is most definitely another app that does what you do. Apps that are unable to provide users immediate value and a delightful first experience face an even big challenge of retaining that user. Deep linking to content is one of the easiest ways to do this. Code-less referral programs and personalized onboarding are two big ways Branch helps apps increase (and track) organic growth.

Branch’s goal is to help all of its partners delight and retain users. Our mobile metrics help apps understand their growth and users better.

Pop quiz: Do you know who holds the spot as the oldest app launched in the app store that is still available today? We’ll give you a hint, it was a bright idea that launched on July 11, 2008.

Specific thanks to the MightySignal team for their help with data for this post. MightySignal provides crystal-clear insight into the mobile app economy. In addition to helping our Partner Growth team identify potential partners, MightySignal helps us understand the overall app economy and its growth on the macro level.