Where do installs on Google Play come from?

I am experiencing a situation that I can’t figure out an answer to: one of my games is getting about the same number of downloads as another one even thought there is a big difference in rankings on Google Play.

Game1: Jigsaw Puzzles Journey (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.Puzzle)
Downloads yesterday: 451
Average rating: 4.21 / 480
Release date: 27.03.2013
Top charts on Google Play for Brain&Puzzle: 0 countries (hasn’t been listed in top charts since april 2013)
Listed around #40 in different countries when searching for keywords like “jigsaw” or “jigsaw puzzles”

Game2: Jigsaw Puzzles Saga (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.wms.jigsaw.puzzles.saga)
Downloads yesterday: 586
Average rating: 4.25 / 937
Release date: 24.12.2013
Top charts on Google Play for Brain&Puzzle: 12 countries
Listed around #8 in different countries when searching for keywords like “jigsaw” or “jigsaw puzzles”

So Game2 seems to be a lot more visible than Game1 on Google Play, has a slightly better ranking and has strong Facebook integration (post image, share comment, etc) which should all generate a lot more downloads.

Also, Game1 always starts with a full screen interstitial ad about Game2.

There seem to be a lot more advantages for Game2 compared to Game1 but the downloads are not too different.

Does anyone have an explanation for this, maybe a theory I am missing?

I’ve been asking that question myself lately and there is no answer to that. I wish there was a tool like google analytics for websites that could show me “Refferal Traffic” but there isnt

Game2 is obviously promoted better than Game1 and I think the reason they get about the same amount of downloads is because Game1 is available in more countries/languages, while Game2 is just better but is not localized?

Game1 is not localized. Game2 only has translation for Dutch.

Game2 is also using Google Game Services so that should generate extra downloads.

wait hold on, i just noticed that game2 is fresh, it is probably getting downloads from top new free list, wait another week, it should drop a little

That’s the problem: Game2 is still fresh, about 36 days old, is still present in rankings for some countries but it’s getting the same number of downloads as Game1.

So my question was: Why are Game1 and Game2 getting the same number of downloads if Game2 has a lot more pluses compared to Game1?

The data is nor right. Same situation happens to others

Now Game2 is getting less installs compared to Game1. This doesn’t make any sense!

I have seen this many times. Lets say you have an app that doesn’t rank but for some reason in several countries blogs or app directories have your game front and center, then that game will get consistant downloads vs. the game that is ranked but is only visible in google play. Thats were I seen this happen before with other developers.

Now the problem is google doesn’t show where downloads come from. 2nd problem is google alert doesn’t do a good job of indexing your keywords but try google alert and maybe you can find where someone else posted your game on thier blog or directory. Most of the time it doesnt work but when it does you will get a clear picture of where downloads come from. Thats how it was discovered in the 1st place that this happens so maybe you get lucky and find the source.

In Google I/o 2014 someone raised this question. This feature is soon coming to play store.

So, that may lead to one conclusion - most downloads don’t come from top list or search terms you provided.

So, when they may came from?

Maybe another search terms, like “Birds puzzles”, “fruits” - first game contains birds in description, second doesn’t.
Or maybe your first game is on “similar” list on some other popular game, while second isn’t. We don’t know how much impact similar list have on downloads, but maybe it’s important.

Another source of downloads that is hard to figure out is the “you may also like” or “similar” link to your app from other apps page.