Active users vs new users

edited March 2017 in General Discussion
What do you guys think is more important for activity/ad impressions, the amount of new daily downloads, or the amount of active users that the app is able to maintain/grow?

For a long time I thought most of the impressions came from new users. However, I noticed that I have apps that I pulled from the Play Store due to them not being too successful but still kept AdMob for a while and after 2 weeks noticed that they are still generating almost the same amount of impressions as they did when the app was last live.

On another hand, I had great apps that I just couldn't get to be searchable so the amount of users was tiny, which was disappointing as I spent a lot of time on those, while there were apps I made spontaneously thinking they aren't great and don't have much potential that had a lot of users due to magically fitting in popular searches - I had a lot of installs and a lot of uninstalls.
Frankly speaking, I don't want to make "click-bait" apps, and would like to strike a balance between both, but I found it consistently difficult as the Play Store seems to be more of "throw it out there and see if it sticks".
However granted there is a semi-popular app that you have - would you direct your efforts into finding ways to get it more downloads, or would you care more about user retention and the amount of active users?

For ad-supported apps, which one do you consider as more important and where do you target most of your efforts (time spent on SEO and getting your app downloadable or creating engaging content for existing users to maintain active user base)?


  • User retention and time spent in apps is what Google increasingly likes to see. They also released an algorithm update that will reward those kind of games (regular apps weren't mentioned - yet).

    However, user retention rate is a big task to tackle. My app with the best (by far) active vs. total installs has a 1:5 ratio. That's like insanely good (in my case).

    I did lot's of stuff to improve the retention rate and to keep the users coming back, however, with the available time and resources, this is the best I could do: (this is from one of my custom made apps and the analytics are from Fabric, which was recently bought by Google).

    Not exactly an accomplishment worth writing home about...

    Personally, I will revert back to making more apps instead of improving existing ones. As an indie developer/publisher, I think my time and money are better spent this way. I'll just do my best to make more quality and good looking apps (I stopped making my own graphics long ago, I always hire a pro graphics designer and illustrator), publish them, and see what happens. It's basically like you said - "throw it out there and see if it sticks".

    But that's just my own experience... There are of course people who are finding more success that I by doing exactly the opposite.
  • edited March 2017
    Wow, thanks a lot for your input, @hendrixs ;;. That's very helpful.

    See, in my case, my average user retention is 1:5. I was removing apps that were not popular and that's what I ended up with. That's why I was having a dilemma. Between that and increasing time it takes to figure out ideas for new simple apps I was wondering where to invest my time. I think I'll stick with that strategy, as "trial and seeing what sticks", slightly improving what does and moving on seems to work best and now I know it's not just for me.
  • @szymon247
    No problem. That sounds like a good strategy and it's also what worked for me best since 2012.
  • My app that brings in the most money also has the most users (by far). A lot of people actually depend on it, and it's very worthwhile for me to keep it updated. For my apps with not as many users yet, I concentrate more on trying to get new installs.

    And, of course, I also still make a new app whenever I have a new idea.
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