Download to Install Conversion Ratio - Are these numbers 'normal'?


Got to know about this forum through Jason Cohen blog. I actually just sent a similar email to Jason as well.

I have a bit of an issue that is proving to be very challenging and I thought of asking in here to see if I can get some insights.

I own a small software company the develops and sells consumer and professional backup software. I won't mention the name here as I don't want this post to seem like an advertising post. I would mention however if the mods are ok with it.

So .. my challenge.

I have an issue right now where I invest money in banner ads on reputable sites ( i don't believe that there is any click-fraud) and I am only getting 15% that download the product to actually install. I have a relatively good tracking system that can track most of these.

As an example - if I get 100 downloads then I only get 15% of those downloads that actually install.

I also created a funnel for a particular campaign I ran -I am attaching it to this post. Actually being new I'm not allowed to post images so here goes:

A 100,000 Banner Ad Campaign (Banner delivered 4.5% CTR)

Landing Page Visitors > 4574

17% of Landing Page Visitors clicked download button (781)

15% that clicked download button actually installed (114)

39% that installed actually configured the product (3 step configuration wizard)

37% are still reported to be running after 7 days

Actual Sales - 3 Units!
My question is: Is this type of conversion rate 'normal'? I find it hard to understand how-come so many people decide to download but then do not even try to install the product.

We don't have any reports from customers of having installation problems (we track installs by automatically opening a getting started page once the product installs successfully).

I am destroying myself thinking about this stuff .. I would love some insights if possible.


asked Oct 13 '10 at 05:12
561 points
  • The number that installed the app after downloading it seems very low to me (but not basing this on any experience). Just seems weird that 1 in 7 download it and let it sit. Is there something complicated about the install, or can it not be installed unless you are an Admin on the computer? – Martin 13 years ago
  • The install is dead simple - just asks you in which directory it should be installed and uses the 'standard' MS MSI packaging. It does not need Admin but if the user has UAC enabled then the UAC prompt will come up - but that's like standard with any type of installation. – Vellad 13 years ago

4 Answers


First- how are your measuring the number of actual downloads? Your web site log files will often show a single download as if it was several separate download attempts. In other words, your web logs might show 5 downloads, but those "downloads" actually all consitute a single download button click by your customer.

Second, how do you know the log files are reporting complete downloads, and not partial downloads (which can never be installed).

Third, how do you know the customer has not clicked on the download button several times in quick succession?

Finally, the point of your web site should be to sell your product right then and there, not to encourage people to download a trial version and maybe install it later. This will change your statistics to:

A 100,000 Banner Ad Campaign (Banner delivered 4.5% CTR) Landing Page Visitors > 4574 0.5% of Landing Page Visitors clicked the buy button (23) 65% that clicked the buy button complete the purchase (15) 1 asks for a refund Actual Sales - 14 Units!

answered Oct 14 '10 at 02:42
Gary E
12,510 points
  • I am tracking manually using IP (and Excel) through the IIS web server logs. Just finished conducting some further stats and these are some updated stats. Of the 781 that clicked to download - 319 downloaded the full file (based on data transfered) - the rest didn't get all the file (i also took in consideration download accelerators). These new stats mean that 35% that get a full download actually end up installing. Still weird how come 60% that click the download button end up not cancelling the download. – Vellad 13 years ago
  • I like the feedback on asking for a sale right away and not waiting. – John Bogrand 13 years ago
  • The whole point of a web site is to sell your product or service. The more steps you put in the way of the sale, the larger the number of people who stop trying to buy before completing the purchase. – Gary E 13 years ago


I have the same problem. But my numbers will shock you, as they shock me :-) For example - we are now running 3-4 PPD campaing on cnet, brothersoft, tucows etc. And our download - install ratio is 5% !!! How that can be? We are monitoring the installation proccess from it's first start. So if, supose, there is some error during the install we would see it. We use a standarnd ino isntaller. And the install - activate trial ratio is 21%. So the download - activate trial ratio is 1% or less !!! maybe you guys take a look at this mess :-) How you understnad we can not have any issues with tracking downloads, 'cause the PPD sites do all the job. We can hardly imagine that mac users can dwonload from win section :-)

answered Aug 31 '12 at 19:10
11 points


Gary E has some good points. I think there is a flaw in determining an actual download.

I don't know enough about crawlers, but are you sure these are actually people accessing the file:

Follow-up when they leave the optional email address. What is the percentage?

Have the install complete in two steps. Instead of having the entire 17 mb download all at once, download a small file < 1MB that initiates the downloading and installation of the rest of the application.

Why does the backup-download.php have a link at the top back to itself? Too many download buttons.

I had to hunt down your System Requirements to find out that it only works on Windows. Are you getting false downloads from Apple users?

answered Oct 14 '10 at 09:31
Jeff O
6,169 points
  • Hi Gary. Actually the landing page from where the users downloaded was not the main website but this landing page - This landing page does not have a form but I am now trying to collect email addresses through a form and to follow them up with a drip campaign to see if that can somehow increase conversions. The link your posted asking if people are actually accessing the file - that's only 2 days old - still need to process the data there. – Vellad 13 years ago
  • Re the install in 2 steps - i see your point and looks to be a good idea. Need extra development for sure and will have to see how easy or difficult that is. You're right about the download button linking back to itself. Will fix that asap. – Vellad 13 years ago
  • From dataset I posted at the start of this page, 58 out of the 781 that clicked download where Apple users. Something to keep in consideration yes. – Vellad 13 years ago
  • I appreciate your help Jeff. I'm getting way too many sleepless nights on this. – Vellad 13 years ago


If these are C2B then a good funnel gets 2% to 6% conversion from landing page. So a bit low at first glance. But I just noticed that you are getting 2.6% from those that actually installed. Appears that you has some funnel issues that you can improve on and I really like Gary's feedback on a quick call to action. The banner ads you are doing might not be focused properly either though 4.5% seems like a good copy conversion rate.


answered Oct 27 '10 at 01:48
John Bogrand
2,210 points

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