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How to survive Apple’s 7 day cliff and get more app downloads

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After many late nights of hard work & QA, you finally get your app uploaded to the store & the waiting begins.

Getting one of these emails still feels like Christmas :)


Your app is going to be seen & downloaded by millions, and it’s time to buy the yacht now right?

Not quite.

Depending on what category you choose, your app will appear in the paid/free section of that category on the day it’s released. This category is shown on iTunes on your laptop & also on iPhones and iPads. So every app gets a nice ‘lift’ at launch as your app icon is visible to users who are searching that category.


This category updates daily and is really important for indie developers to get exposure for their new apps. We don’t have the big games budgets of the large studios and can’t buy our way to visibility by using paid traffic.

During March – April 2014, and also late in 2013, the app store was broken and this area was not updating daily any more. This had a huge impact on download numbers for new apps with some indie developers reporting getting only 1/10th or less of their expected organic downloads.

7 days after your launch, you can expect the downloads for most apps that do not use paid traffic to drop off dramatically. Welcome to the Apple 7 day cliff.


You may be lucky enough to be hand picked by Apple to be featured in your categories ‘NEW’ section, will will add some downloads but again this is again temporary.


The 7 day cliff is very real.

I’ve experienced this with all my apps. It makes sense too. Once your app is not listed in any new / free charts anymore, it’s much harder to find in the store which results in much fewer downloads.

The aim of the app development business is to publish apps that will bring you reoccurring passive revenue for months and years after publishing.

You want your apps to continue to earn money, long after their initial 7 day launch period.

The alternative is you need to keep publishing apps regularly, which defeats the purpose of a passive income stream if you’re still working all the time!

So my task over the last few months was to focus on battling the cliff. I tested many strategies to increase both my downloads and revenue for my existing apps.

From my testing, I have found 6 solid ways that have had a highly positive impact on my apps performance.

You can find out what I did & use these strategies in your app business today.

Download the PDF here & let me know how you get on in the comments below.

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Elaine Heney is an online entrepreneur, triple #1 best selling author and international keynote speaker. Elaine is an Amazon FBA ecommerce advisor, investor, Hollywood movie producer, online business consultant and CEO of Chocolate Lab Cashflow. Elaine has also published over 300 mobile apps across Amazon, Apple & Google, and enjoyed over 20 million app downloads and over 50 #1 apps worldwide.

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Kevin April 20, 2014, 1:34 pm

    Hi Elaine. Its funny how I stumble upon this blog post when I needed it the most. I have released several apps, most which have fell to a mere 10-20 downloads a day. I finally have one app that has broke the wall and manage to get an average 2000 downloads a day. It was very exciting and so I have decided to continue enhancing this app with updates.

    Funny how after exactly 1 week, the downloads fell dramatically, a fall by 75% downloads. This is a huge kick in the butt and totally demoralises me. My initial plan was to continue building this with updates to add in new contents and features (this is a photo app) but I am feeling lost right now.

    Do you have any advice in regards to what I should do from here? I am afraid of putting all my efforts in on continuing to enhance it hoping to get more downloads but judging from my past experiences, I’m afraid this may be one of those ‘other apps’ of mine again. One thing I notice though is I had 20 reviews but has now gone down to 0 due to my recent update, which coincidentally, was released exactly 7 days after my app launched and also the same day my downloads fell. Not sure if that affects it?

  • Elaine Heney April 20, 2014, 9:49 pm

    Hi Kevin,

    On the reviews, when you release a new version, the reviews tend to reset & you’re back to 0 ‘current’ reviews. It’s not ideal.

    On whether its worth putting effort into doing more work on your photo app, it’s the time V potential reward issue. To be honest, any work I’d put in right now would be on getting more downloads PLUS for a very low cost. Profit = revenue – costs.

    So you’re talking looking at your icon, screenshots & keywords. These things should be pretty cheap to update, I’ll often do mine myself. The keywords I’d definitely advise you to research yourself as this is a really valuable skill to have. I’ve increased my DLs x 3+ by updating keywords. I wouldn’t for now spend much time or money on more features (sounds expensive) as that is much less likely to get you more DLs. Good luck!

  • Kevin April 21, 2014, 12:48 am

    Thanks Elaine. Keyword research seems to be the hardest of all and often I find myself using relevant keywords that has high difficulty. I guess I can give it a shot again by aiming other keywords with less traffic and less difficulty. Tried several times with these keywords researching but just doesn’t seem to work that well for me. Maybe I am just really bad at it.

    On the other hand, it doesn’t look like the PDF file in this blog post is getting sent out? It has been about 6 hours now and it still hasn’t arrive in my inbox.

  • Jean April 21, 2014, 1:32 am

    In regards to your respond to Kevin, in the past I have had experience whereby I find it extremely difficult to increase the downloads once it has dropped dramatically. I have tried several keyword changes but I have never seen my apps perform any better. In fact, it either stays the same or downloads continues to drop. Most of the time, I would just give up and move on to the next app.

    Is it worth the time and effort trying to ‘resurrect’ an app to increase downloads? Or is it impossible to get downloads back up once it hits a new low?

  • Elaine Heney April 21, 2014, 8:28 am

    HI Kevin, email support on chocolatelabhelp AT gmail.com and they’ll send it out. Thanks!

  • Markus April 21, 2014, 5:37 pm

    Great post and “share” Elaine. A lot of devs. I know would keep their research to themselves. Thanks for giving back to the community. :)

  • Elaine Heney April 21, 2014, 5:41 pm

    Glad its useful :)

  • Hayden April 22, 2014, 6:03 am

    Hi Elaine…..You seen to be the only person tackling the #appstorebroken issue and for that I am very grateful. I was really confused when a couple of my apps bombed on launch but found your hashtag and whilst it did not solve the issue, I was glad it was a recognised issue. I have 4-5 apps due for re;lease over the next 2-3 weeks. Do you know if the App Store has fixed the issue so we now at least get a listing in the new section? Also what is your opinion on the best day to release an App? I have always gone for Friday – now starting to think everyone does that. Thanks for your post/PDF and also what to say – I enjoyed the $7 Radio session – some really good stuff there too.

  • Elaine Heney April 22, 2014, 2:00 pm

    Hi Hayden, great to hear the radio show was useful. On release days, it hard to give an exact answer – I usually do anywhere between Thurs – Sat. And I know one guy who swears by Sundays :) I’ve done well on various days, but as there’s a lot of factors its hard to exactly pinpoint why at times. The app store is still questionable… I love to hear from anyone who has published in the last week – how did you get on? Did you get your expected DLs?

  • Markus April 22, 2014, 4:43 pm

    Hi Elaine – I have a steady stream of apps that go up. My numbers are back to normal and checking the App Store what I’m seeing is good. So even if it’s not 100% it is very close. So I’m no longer holding apps, I’m releasing on schedule. As far as best days to release apps…Sat. and Sun. Are normally my highest days for games. Never on Thursdays, as that’s the day Apple updates the App Store itself and a lot of weird things can happen. Mondays are often very good for paid kid games, as that’s when mom’s have to get the kids occupied with something while they catch up from the weekend. ;). Utilities and productivity apps I find do better with weekday launches… Your experience may be different. It’s all about releasing enough apps regularly to track your numbers and improve them. :) Best wishes – wish someone had told me these things when I started…

  • Lycan August 16, 2015, 7:35 pm

    I think having a short but down to point app name is very important. We started out naming our iOS-game “The Cave Cart Runner”, but when sales did not match our goals we chopped the title to just “CARTRUN”. This really made the difference.
    Check out CARTRUN on iOS, its highly addictive, fun and of course totally for FREE:

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