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Frustration

CoDEFRoCoDEFRo Posts: 643New Users @ @ @
So at the end of May I had another random plummet. From then till now I've dropped between 20 - 30% which makes my revenue exactly the same as it was last June. So I spent a full year adding features and making changes that worked very well to increase my downloads and revenue, only to have it all scaled back when the App Store boogeyman zapped my downloads on numerous occasions.

I have a spreadsheet which I use to keep track of my app stats with relation to all of the changes I make. I look at average downloads, average proceeds, and money per download across both my lite and full version for different devices and countries. From all of this it's easy to see the culprit is decrease in downloads.

I'm just not exactly sure what is causing the drop. I noticed I did drop about 15 spots in a main keyword in late May but I'm not sure that's it. I don't see any new competitors. I don't think it's seasonal, I've never had this big of a drop at the beginning of summer, and last year I had a mysterious drop at the end of summer. I don't believe the app store in its entirety is down in downloads?

I feel like Sisyphus, I keep working hard to improve the app and the changes I'm making are working, but ultimately it seems like there is a ceiling on my app that knocks me back every time I make progress lately.

And here I am again tonight working on help videos to provide a better experience for my customers, and adding more features and changes that I'm pretty sure are going to improve sales and possibly downloads, and yet I'm almost certain that I won't be able to hang onto it for very long before the downloads boogeyman gets me again.

Am I just a sucker or what? Or possibly I'm insane if I keep getting the same result over and over when I expect a different one?

Replies

  • dev666999dev666999 Posts: 3,618New Users @ @ @ @ @
    edited July 2016
    You're not a sucker or going insane. Your problems are very common among Indie developers. I had that same drop in May, with no understanding as to what caused it. If you love what you're doing, then you stay the course. Eventually, that hard work should pay off positively.

    Remember this thread from 2013?

    http://iphonedevsdk.com/forum/business-legal-app-store/115951-important-ios-developers-ask-apple-to-pleasefixtheappstore-com.html#latest

    Things really haven't gotten much better for Indie developers since then. This is the rock that you as Sisyphus are constantly pushing uphill, only to have it roll back down once again. The trick is to not let it crush you on the way down. If it does, that's the time to call it quits.
  • anappdev2anappdev2 Posts: 104New Users @ @
    CoDEFRo wrote: »
    So at the end of May I had ....
    Same situation here. Keep improving apps and getting lower downloads.
    @dev666999 "If you love what you're doing, then you stay the course." That's of course true just hoping that it will improve. Not sure how though :(
  • apppicker.comapppicker.com Posts: 452Registered Users @ @
    @coDEFRo There would be several reasons for the drop in downloads.

    1. Although it's only 1 main keyword that fell 15 places, the butterfly effect of appearing for long tail search terms for that keyword comes in to play. Your app doesn't only appear for the keywords chosen.
    2. Apple is still improving it's search engine and so minor tweaks in it's algorithm can have major impacts on your visibility.
    apppicker.com top 10 App review site where developers can post videos, place promo codes and announce apps on sale and gone free.
  • CoDEFRoCoDEFRo Posts: 643New Users @ @ @
    Thanks for the responses guys.

    @dev666999 Regarding the rock, it's kind of hard not to. It just seems like no matter what is done to increase downloads, they always normalize to a certain level at some point. That threads interesting, I remember it but it was just when I was getting started so it didn't make as much sense to me as it does now.

    @anappdev2 Are you ever able to find the exact reason?

    @apppicker.com I've looked at some of the long tail search terms and they haven't had the same effect as the single keyword (though sometime it's hard to tell).

    Do you guys ever receive increases in downloads from the download fairy? I don't ever recall getting a huge uptick out of nowhere. It just seems impossible to maintain downloads once you've acquired them, I've been at or around the same rate since I started. It seems like the only hope is to increase $ per download, but I'm running out of ways to do that.
  • angelappsangelapps usaPosts: 261New Users @ @
    Same here roughly, since April I have seen a significant decrease in free downloads across all apps.
  • anappdev2anappdev2 Posts: 104New Users @ @
    CoDEFRo wrote: »
    Thanks for the responses guys.
    @anappdev2 Are you ever able to find the exact reason?

    No. Couldn't really put a finger on it so far...
  • jvicjvic Posts: 27New Users @
    Big drop in downloads here too. And it seems to have happened right after i released a new version of the app.

    I updated the app with a new feature, hoping it would get more downloads, and precisely the opposite happens. How f--- up is that? I just don't understand what happened. Now i wish i hadn't updated the app. Talk about frustration.
  • swifter22swifter22 usaPosts: 92New Users @
    jvic wrote: »
    Big drop in downloads here too. And it seems to have happened right after i released a new version of the app.

    I updated the app with a new feature, hoping it would get more downloads, and precisely the opposite happens. How f--- up is that? I just don't understand what happened. Now i wish i hadn't updated the app. Talk about frustration.

    That happened to me too. I was getting close to 1000 downloads a day and after the update it went down to 300 lol.
  • anappdev2anappdev2 Posts: 104New Users @ @
    Same here. New updates are somehow getting less downloads than ever... and I can't figure out other than of course the lost ratings :(
  • efndzefndz SpainPosts: 13New Users *
    In my case the big drop happened just after I got a rejection, that means before even updating, after several months of steady downloads.. Feels like they have a button to f*** you up.
  • apppicker.comapppicker.com Posts: 452Registered Users @ @
    Apart from the obvious effect from more and more apps being launched, thinning the ratio of downloads per app, there may be a pause as people are waiting for the iPhone 7? If many of your downloads are coming from people buying new phones then I would guess there is a connection.

    Also, we have experienced a huge shift in behavior in our readers, with most now looking for "the best" apps in a category which might mean that the higher ranked apps are getting more and more of the ratio with the lower ranked apps getting less and less. It would be interesting to hear from someone who has a #1 ranked keyword comment on that.
    apppicker.com top 10 App review site where developers can post videos, place promo codes and announce apps on sale and gone free.
  • Crichton333Crichton333 Posts: 278Registered Users @ @
    Wasnt the App Store down atleast once a week from the beginning of 2016 ? That should cut in the download count. Blame Apple Music on the servers.
    "Smoke me a kipper i'll be back for breakfast." -- iOS: Nebula Virtual Reality
  • anappdev2anappdev2 Posts: 104New Users @ @
    Apart from the obvious effect from more and more apps being launched, thinning the ratio of downloads per app, there may be a pause as people are waiting for the iPhone 7? If many of your downloads are coming from people buying new phones then I would guess there is a connection.

    That would explain over all slow down but what I meant was effect of App update. Apps, which are not updated, are going steady but ones, which are updated, are badly impacted :(
  • apppicker.comapppicker.com Posts: 452Registered Users @ @
    @anappdev2 Of course we can only speculate on what goes in to Apple's "secret sauce" algorithm in determining what factors to include and how much weighting to give to each factor, but my guess is that while doing all the testing on "improved" versions of their search engine, someone has done the maths wrong.

    My guess is that too much emphasis is given to "overall" downloads rather than the current rate. I see this anomaly in the ratings being displayed. An app with 5 stars for previous versions but only 2-3 for current version seems to "keep" the benefit of the old versions for too long.

    In the situation that you mention, it could be that an app update loses some value in the scheme of things precisely for the wrong reasons. Users have only visited the new version of your app "Once" for example, as against many times for the previous versions due to the fact it's new.
    apppicker.com top 10 App review site where developers can post videos, place promo codes and announce apps on sale and gone free.
  • markofjohnsonmarkofjohnson California USAPosts: 133Registered Users @ @
    Earlier this year we speculated that one of our apps had started slipping in its keyword rankings because it had not been updated and did not support iPhone6 screen size natively. We updated and there was no effect :-(.
    markj.net & focusedapps.com
    Hit Tennis & Super Txt
  • jhonkjjhonkj Posts: 150New Users @ @
    in April, I had the best month ever, since then, I am losing about 20% a month, at this rate, I should have about 0 sales per month in the next two or three months. it is easily traced to page views at the App store, Apple changed something to "improve" the app store, either in keyword search, or ranking or both, and it has been a disaster. the Worst part is they see their App store Revenue or download increase because of pokemon, and figure they did something correctly. So no hope, no light at end of tunnel coming from them, This is worse than last summer, yet I added an app that has brought in more than all my previous apps, updated everything, and now I have less sales than last summer, last summer I figured I had about 5 months before hitting zero sales... this Summer I've seen 25% drops in downloads at various times... Apple has changed something and I am pretty sure it is not for the better. The Same people want my app, they are not getting to it because of some change on Apple's side that I have not figured out yet.
  • CoDEFRoCoDEFRo Posts: 643New Users @ @ @
    I think when you don't update your app, you're grandfathered in to whatever the algorithm was at the time. If they're going to penalize people who update their apps by connecting them to a less beneficial algorithm and holding them to a higher standard in the review process (i.e. rejecting updates for little things while apps in the store get away with murder) then they should force everyone to update their apps at least once a year.

    @jhonkj It does seem this way that over time, your app is just going to drop and drop if you don't constantly update and add new things. I spent a lot of time working on my current app and now that I'm close to being finished, I was hoping I could just leave it in the store and hopefully have the income stay steady for a couple of years. Really doubt that now, anytime I leave my app in the store for some months without improving it, the downloads steadily decline.
  • iekeiiekei Posts: 602Registered Users @ @ @
    I think it's the number of downloads that matter, some combination of total and recent, and there isn't any bonus given to apps built to modern standards. The App Store lets the market decide.

    Summer has traditionally been a slow sales season for me.
  • angelappsangelapps usaPosts: 261New Users @ @
    edited August 2016
    I have found download numbers are key and then it's matching search keywords to app title, the more words that match the better.
  • jvicjvic Posts: 27New Users @
    When I said downloads dropped after I updated the app, i mean: precisely the day after the update went live, that's when the dropping started. It *can't* be a coincidence. But why? How the hell am i penalized for updating an app?

  • markofjohnsonmarkofjohnson California USAPosts: 133Registered Users @ @
    We usually see dls drop a little upon update, until ratings & reviews start showing 4 1/2 again.
    markj.net & focusedapps.com
    Hit Tennis & Super Txt
  • angelappsangelapps usaPosts: 261New Users @ @
    jvic, I believe reviews are waited more heavily if they relate to the current version, so an update reduces the value of existing reviews.
  • Crichton333Crichton333 Posts: 278Registered Users @ @
    angelapps wrote: »
    jvic, I believe reviews are waited more heavily if they relate to the current version, so an update reduces the value of existing reviews.

    I think you just get a hit because users down see the star rating anymore for the updates, but you still keep the rank.
    "Smoke me a kipper i'll be back for breakfast." -- iOS: Nebula Virtual Reality
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