The most downloaded app in the US App Store last week was a colouring book that hasn’t been updated in 7 years. AppFigures estimates that in the past two weeks, downloads of the free colouring book have gone from 15 per day to over 200,000!
My Coloring Book Free is a 13-year-old app published by an indie developer named Jeff. It was last updated a whole 7 years ago, and the release notes for that release don’t make much sense.
It’s safe to say that this app hasn’t received attention in a very long time. One of the benefits of not having updates for years is that it can have the word “free” in its title, which is no longer allowed. Now you’ll see why this is beneficial.
Since the new growth started in early November, the app has been downloaded 924k times, more than half of them in the US, and 219k on Saturday alone.
What caused this to happen? The answer as always lies in the realm of social media, and more specifically, TikTok.
Colouring apps swirled in TikTok, and a lot of users went to the App Store to find their app. This category isn’t too competitive on the iPhone, so it’s not hard to get the top spots in the search results, and this particular app has the advantage of having the word “Free” in its name.
Overall, the app title is very well optimised for the App Store, so collectively it ranked number one and got most of the traffic.
However, it was not the only one! At least 10 other colouring book apps also grew as a result of this trend. Last Monday, for example, downloads of Adult Coloring Book – Pigment went from a few hundred to more than 15,000. No other app got as many installs as these two, but collectively, downloads of other apps more than doubled.
Being in the right place at the right time is important, as is making sure you’re always on top of ASO, but one thing that’s missing is revenue. The My Coloring Book Free app doesn’t monetise directly, but it does show ads, so if Jeff’s AdMob account is still open, the income will come to him. Not as much as the app could earn through in-app purchases, but better something than nothing.
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