App analytics and attribution company Adjust has released its App Competition Retrospective Report for 2014, which measured the competition for visibility in mobile app stores. The report found competition increased severely for developers throughout 2014, with 82.8 percent of all apps in the iOS App Store now qualifying as “Zombie Apps.” These are apps that do not rank in the top lists and are “effectively invisible.” That’s an increase from 74 percent at the beginning of 2014.
To put this into better perspective, the number of Zombie Apps almost doubled in 2014, from 657,000 in January to 1.1 million in December. The overall App Store grew by 54.3 percent during the year, from 890,000 total apps to almost 1.4 million.
Zombie Apps, specifically, are those which do not show up on any top list placements (worldwide) for more than two-thirds of a measured timeframe, meaning users would only find them by manually searching for them.
This puts a challenge on developers looking to promote their apps. Christian Henschel, CEO and co-founder of Adjust, commented on the dilemma, in a statement:
If this trend continues – and nothing indicates it wouldn’t – we’ll see less than a tenth of apps attracting any kind of organic user attention by the end of the year, and those that do gain attention will be apps that already have significant traction. The app store, as a source of organic acquisition, has finite capacity. When that’s reached, the app store will be dead.
In response to growing competition, companies have begun to offer ways for developers to create ads with more value for consumers, in the hopes of increasing app discovery and downloads. This includes ads providing instant game demos, and incentivized video ads for rewarding users with free in-app rewards for watching ads for other apps.
Adjust’s full report is available here.