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A friend and I have been having a giggle at Aptoide's "live" download counter which is actually just completely fake, goes up at some constant rate while you watch it and goes up or down by tens of thousands whenever you reload the page.

I'm wondering what the point of live download counters is in the first place? Do they actually affect user behaviour?

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Do they actually affect user behaviour?

Yes

Live downloads counters are a form of social proof.

Seeing that others have committed to something increases the chance that we will commit to it, and as can be seen, for example, in the results of tests overseen by the people at goodui.org, "adding social counts increases conversion rate".

Some implementations of this, like the fake ones you've described, will obviously be less convincing to some percentage of users, but don't assume that because you're not fooled by something that others won't.

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  • Beat me to it. You also see this in smaller eCommerce retailers, they'll have popups every X seconds saying "Bob from Minnesota just purchased a blah" to convince you to trust them. These methods work like customer reviews except you don't have to convince the customer to leave one.
    – DasBeasto
    Jan 3, 2018 at 20:36

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