Mobile App Terminology

Organic Installs

What are organic installs?

Organic installs refer to app installs that occur without marketers using paid advertising to acquire users or customers. Organic installs arise from people discovering the app through other marketing activities such as search engine optimization (SEO), app store optimization (ASO), or word-of-mouth. 

It’s important to note that these marketing activities can, and often do, still have an associated cost to them. For example, with ASO (app store optimization), SEO, and content marketing, app marketers will still have expenses related to acquisition. The difference between organic installs and paid installs is that there is no direct ad spend on an advertising platform to acquire the user.

Similarly, it’s important to note that an organic install can occur if a user clicks or views an ad, but the actual install occurs after the allotted attribution window. For example, if a user clicks an ad and installs an app 8 days later and the company had a 7 day attribution window set up, this would still be considered an organic install.

Uses of organic installs

While many app businesses rely on some form of paid advertising, growing organic installs is an important part of any mobile marketing plan. As ad costs continue to rise across ad platforms, organic installs are becoming increasingly important for app businesses. Since organic traffic and installs can take time to build, it’s recommended to have a plan to drive users without paid advertising before the app launch. If the company does build up organic traffic prior to launch, this can be an excellent way to validate the app before investing heavily into paid advertising.

In short, organic installs can help marketers qualify their product as they target users with genuine interest in their apps.

In terms of the ROI on marketing activities and LTV of customers, organic installs can also be some of the most valuable. That said, organic installs can be notoriously difficult and time consuming to scale compared to paid acquisition. With an estimated 1.96 million apps on the App store and 2.87 million on the Google Play Store, relying solely on users discovering your app on their own can result in much slower growth. 

As the app marketing company App Radar highlights, four common ways to increase organic installs include:

  • Review requests: Since app stores rely heavily on user reviews, it’s important to have a plan to request reviews from current app users. Not only can this increase your rankings in app marketplaces, but can also increase conversions as users can verify that others have had a good experience with the app.
  • Shareability: Another tactic to drive organic installs is to make it as easy as possible for users to share the app with others. Similar to review requests, you want to prompt users to share with others at a point in time where the user is enjoying their app experience.
  • Media outreach: If you’re launching an app and don’t have a lot of earned media built up, another tactic to increase organic installs is to use media outreach and press releases. With media outreach, focus on telling a story about the app that in turn may be shared by those who read it.
  • App store optimization (ASO): Finally, one of the most common ways to increase organic installs is by optimizing the app store listing to rank for keywords that users are already searching. By using the tactics above such as requesting reviews and increasing shareability, the app will often naturally rise in the app stores ranks.

Another key metric to keep note of in attempting to increase organic installs is your app uninstall rate, as highlighted in our article on app uninstall analytics:

The impact that a high app uninstall rate has on rankings on Google Play and the Apple App Store [is significant]. That’s something to take incredibly seriously, since it has an impact not just on the users you’ve already acquired, but also on future users that you hope to acquire organically.

Regardless of whether app installs come from an organic or paid source, it’s important to track and attribute each customer’s journey in order to prioritize marketing efforts. In addition, a marketing attribution provider like Singular helps determine the exact ROI of each marketing channel. 

How Singular helps with organic installs

In order to determine the number of organic installs and the ROI from organic channels, Singular provides several tools to app marketers. In particular, a few of the most relevant solutions the platform provides include:

  • Marketing analytics: By taking a scientific approach to your growth strategy, marketing analytics enables businesses to know exactly which channels are driving the highest ROI.
  • Mobile attribution: Organic installs are typically just one part of an app marketing strategy. By collecting data and reporting on each channel with accurate mobile attribution, this allows marketers to track and analyze the user lifecycle and determine their most profitable channels.

In summary, organic installs play an important role in driving growth to new and established app businesses. With the right marketing analytics and mobile attribution in place, marketers are able to quantify the value of each channel and make more informed decisions about their growth strategy.

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