Download / Sales Insights

Discussion in 'Pleco for Android' started by mikelove, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    Some tidbits after the first 2 weeks for those of you who are interested:

    • Free-version downloads are running about 3x what they did our first few weeks on iPhone. Not sure how much of that is due to the free handwriting promotion and how much due simply to the fact that there are a lot more people using Android Market now than there were using App Store 2 years ago, though - probably a combination.
    • Aggregate sales are actually very close to what they were our first few weeks on iPhone, but the day-to-day standard deviation is a lot lower - not nearly the same spike that we saw on iOS after its launch - perhaps because the people who were eagerly anticipating our Android app already bought it months ago during the beta. But iPhone also had spikes after we released flashcards (which came a few months after the initial iPhone launch) and OCR (which came almost a year after it), so it may also be that our sales on iPhone are inherently less steady.
    • About 60% of our sales are coming from our own store rather than Android Market; not sure how much of that is attributable to Android Market problems (the dreaded "took too long to deliver" errors - sadly entirely Google's fault and impossible for us to fix) versus people being in countries that don't support paid Market apps versus people reading our website and deciding they'd rather not tithe 30% of their purchase to their cell phone carrier, but it's definitely a good thing we're offering it as an option anyway.
    • Sales are only about 50% of our current iPhone sales, however, so while that holding steady would probably be enough to justify the time / expense of an Android port, we're hoping there's still some room to grow there.
    • In spite of those two things, we're currently ranked 340 in the Market-wide "top grossing" list, while on iTunes we generally hover around number 500. So in other words, even though Android Market is only registering about 20% as much gross revenue from Pleco as iTunes is, our gross rank is still 160 points higher. Which certainly fits with the general perception that people are making more money on iOS.
    • Our free app download ranking in Reference is hovering around 165, which is almost exactly where it is on iTunes. Again, though, we're at that position with considerably fewer downloads than on iOS.
    • Nonetheless, it appears that we can already claim to be the top grossing Chinese dictionary on Android - in fact it seems likely that we've been in that position since last summer - and the second most heavily downloaded.
    • The special "CN Pleco Chinese Dictionary" version for the Chinese market hasn't exactly set the world on fire - about 10% as many downloads as the regular app - but we've gotten quite a bit of positive feedback / email about it, and now that we've streamlined its build process down to just a few minutes we think launching it was probably a good move. (though it sure would be nice if Google would let non-paid-app countries download free-with-IAP apps...)
    • In device usage, Samsungs appear to be utterly dominant - one in every seven Pleco users has a Galaxy S2, and one in every fifteen has a Galaxy Note. (we really need to get one of those here for testing...) The Galaxy Ace / S / Tab / Nexus / Nexus S are also all in our top 10; the remaining three spots are all HTCs, the Desire HD, Sensation 4G, and (making an impressive showing for such an old device) the original Desire.
    • Android 3.x/4.x remain a minority at the moment - around 10% - so our initial focus on 2.2/2.3 appears to have been a good choice. That 10% is a lot higher than the Market average, though, and the 14% of our users on 2.2 are about half the Market average, which suggests that our users skew towards newer devices and hence that skipping Android 2.1 was probably a good move - Market-wide, 2.1 is only 7.6%, and it would probably be considerably less than that in our case.
    • Regional distribution is very similar to iOS - as it has been pretty much since 2001, Singapore is our second biggest market after the US. Though we're actually getting more downloads from Australia than the UK at the moment, which is a bit unusual.
    • The ability to update instantly is a wonderful thing - there are minor bugs that we have / would put off fixing on iOS that we've dealt with immediately on Android because there's no 2-week review delay, and no fear that we might introduce a new and more serious bug and have to wait another 2 weeks for an update that fixes it. In fact I'd say that outside of OCR, this largely cancels out the negative impact of Android platform fragmentation on our software's typical level of bugginess.
    • The perception that user reviews are much friendlier on Android than on iOS seems to be holding true in our case - we're currently at 104 5-star reviews and 1 4-star review with an entirely reasonable complaint about flashcard system complexity. One reviewer actually gave us 5 stars in the same review that he was reporting a serious crashing bug (which we've now fixed, but on iOS that would be a 1-star "Latest update crashes! Fix it now!"). We really appreciate all of the kind words, though, especially as we've been bludgeoned with about 60 fake 1-star reviews on iOS this week. (we know they're fake because every other top-ranking free Chinese dictionary got about the same number, and none of them came with any comments attached - a thoroughly mediocre competitor from Hong Kong is trying to spam their way to a high ranking)
     
  2. sui.generis

    sui.generis 探花

    Re: Download / Sales Insights After 2 Weeks

    I prefer to use the Amazon app store for my purchases for a variety of reasons, but the reviews there are NOT friendly, in addition to Amazon's other downsides. FYI. People there are complete idiots who 1 star for anything and everything. The only positive of that is that folks know the reviews are crap and don't pay them too much heed, but still, beware if they ever loosed the reins and you look that direction again. I prefer even more to purchase direct from the dev precisely because I think you earned the money and carriers didn't, and I want small devs to survive and thrive while I'd rather most carriers rot in a dark place.

    I've already bought the OCR addon, but for the record I also bought an extra $100 in dictionaries way back in the days when you were mulling android to encourage you to take the dive. I doubt it helped persuade any, but when considering how worth it android dev was, don't forget some of us old-timers are still good for some purchases down the line.

    Also, cool post. I don't exactly know why this stuff interests me, but I find it fascinating to read all the same.
     
  3. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    Re: Download / Sales Insights After 2 Weeks

    There's no way we'd ever list on Amazon - Amazon's market has policies that make Apple look downright laid-back. There's a 2-week review period, they can rewrite your description however they want, you have to set your prices there as low as on any other market but then they also have the right to discount your app by up to 80% without your permission (meaning that we'd actually have to raise our prices in other markets just so that that discount wouldn't leave us potentially losing money on items that we have to pay fixed per-copy royalties on), you need their permission before you can remove an app from their catalog, and any app you release in any other store has to be offered in theirs too… I'd rather give up app development altogether than submit to a regime like that.

    Thanks, we'll keep that in mind. iOS sales have been very good lately too which may have something to do with people now knowing that they can move over to Android in the future.

    Thank you!
     
  4. xaze

    xaze Member

    Re: Download / Sales Insights After 2 Weeks

    If sales are nearly 50% of IOS and 60% are from your own site, then isn't your android profit nearly at the same level as your IOS profit? It seems to be a pretty big testament to the power of the android ecosystem that in two weeks the profit is closing in on the IOS level profit despite having years of blogs, forum posts, and thousands of IOS users to market your IOS product every day and not having nearly the same for android yet.

    I imagine that in the coming months as hundreds of blog / forum posts advertise your android offering and thousands of android users begin showing it to their friends that your android sales will overtake IOS easily in revenue and profit.
     
  5. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    Re: Download / Sales Insights After 2 Weeks

    Sorry, I should have clarified - those numbers are after store commissions, so I was saying that what we make on Android after Google's cut is about 50% of what we make on iOS after Apple's. ("sales" was ambiguous, I should have said "revenue" or something like that) And actually it's been a bit less than that in the 3 weeks since I posted this, not because Android sales have fallen off (they've held quite steady) but because iOS has been doing extremely well lately - February was just about the best month we've ever had without a major new add-on release to boost sales.

    As far as the "Android ecosystem," the problem with that argument is that we're already getting about the same number of free downloads of our Android app as we are of our free iOS one, which makes me worry that Android users are naturally a bit less inclined to pay for software than their iOS counterparts. Giving away handwriting for free isn't helping on that front, but the main reason we're doing that is because anyone can install a perfectly good free fullscreen Chinese handwriting IME on their Android device in about 2 minutes, so it's still an Android ecosystem problem.

    I'm hoping that either a) we end up with a lot more downloads on Android than on iOS, in which case even at the same revenue per user we're getting now it would come closer to matching iOS sales, or b) our income per user goes up (all sorts of reasons that might happen), but one of those things has to happen for Android to catch iOS Pleco-revenue-wise. That being said, given how much of our code is cross-platform and how much of our non-programming work (licensing/adapting dictionaries) is applicable on both platforms, even if Android holds steady at 50% of iOS revenues it's certainly still pulling its weight.
     
  6. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    Re: Download / Sales Insights After 2 Weeks

    A few updates:

    • Download numbers continue to climb; while it's tough to make an exact comparison because several of our competitors are in different categories (and hence we can't simply look at who ranks higher), based on how other apps in those categories place relative to each other in the top 480 Market-wide, and on how apps that have jumped between categories have seen their rankings translate, and on a rough estimate of apps' daily download numbers according to how long it took them to go from 1000 to 10000 to 50000 and so on, I think there's a pretty good chance that our app is now the most popular Chinese dictionary in Android Market, in spite of the fact that our use of in-app purchases prevents it from being easily downloaded in China and Taiwan. And when we factor in download numbers through our website (often almost as high as those through Market - a LOT of people have Kindle Fires) and those of the alternate "CN" version, there's a very strong argument that we're now the most popular Chinese dictionary on Android in general.
    • Revenues continue to be good-but-not-great; there hasn't yet been a single day where Android exceeded iOS, though it's gotten pretty close on one or two occasions. There wasn't really a "spike" with the launch because anybody who was really eager for our Android app probably bought it during the beta period, so this isn't all that surprising.
    • Lots and lots of platform transfers, though, and many if not most of the Palm/WM ones are immediately snatching up the stroke order and OCR add-ons, which makes me optimistic that Android will really start pulling its weight revenue-wise when our new licensed dictionaries launch.
    • Singapore's still just behind the US in download numbers, and would actually be ahead of the US if you count the sizable portion of our downloads from Malaysia that are likely from JB or other cities in the greater Singapore metro area.
    • Device breakdown is almost unchanged from where it was after the first 2 weeks - Galaxy S2/Note/Ace are still the top 3 and at about the same percentages, only real change is that the Galaxy W displaced the Nexus S.
    • OS breakdown likely remains about the same, though 3.x/4.x have gained about 3 percentage points at the expense of 2.3/2.2. We expect a big spike in 4.0 users in the next few weeks as the Galaxy S2 starts to get updated.
     
  7. knoxploration

    knoxploration Member

    Re: Download / Sales Insights After 2 Weeks

    Registered to chip in here, and note that some of us Android folks are more than happy to pay reasonable prices for apps, and would love to give you our money, but are waiting for the precise features we need to become available. :) (My last app purchase was a US$30+ app a couple of days ago, and one I'll only be able to use for a 12-month period at that price, too. Us Android users aren't all cheapskates, no matter what Apple would tell you. Many of us made our choice because we favor openness, not because of pricing.)

    Personally, I've been watching Pleco closely (well, every couple of weeks or so) since midway through the beta program. Although on the free version I've not been able to try it for translation, I'm particularly thrilled by the OCR feature. It's clearly stable and accurate; although I don't know what the individual characters are yet, I can easily see that it is quickly and accurately identifying characters on a surprising range of surfaces and backgrounds.

    The only thing causing me to hold off is that I specifically need Cantonese support. I'm learning to speak Cantonese along with my wife, and would like to use Pleco to help me learn to recognize at least some of the simpler characters by myself, be able to look up others when curiosity grabs me, and be able to ascertain the Cantonese pronunciations. While I can of course look them up currently, I can't yet get the pronunciations in my dialect of choice.

    Once I can, I'll be right here to purchase at least one copy, and depending on how pricing works, perhaps two copies so my wife and I can have a copy each on our separate tablets / phones. Adding to your pool of devices, she's got a Samsung phone, I'll likely pick one up sooner or later (still using a dumbphone myself but will be forced to upgrade soon), and we both currently have Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101 tablets.
     
  8. Alexis

    Alexis 状元

    Re: Download / Sales Insights After 2 Weeks

    A good number of my friends seem to be quite happy with the free version of Pleco, mainly because 1) it is already better than all the other available android dictionaries out there, and 2) they don't know what the available add-ons really do. A number of them did not buy the OCR because they didn't know it existed, or didn't really know what it was. Once I showed them OCR on my copy, a good number of them bought the add on.

    I like the policy of not spamming the user to buy add-ons, but I think more could be done to market the available add-ons. Within the add-on screen, I think it would be helpful for the add-on descriptions to be expanded upon (with examples), and include a professional-looking youtube video (or a link to one) that showcases each individual add-on (one video per add-on).

    I would also suggest incorporating one comprehensive Youtube video directly in Google Play (aka Android Market). For example, the video could start with a brief showcase of all the features in the free app, continue with a clearly labelled segment outlining (again, briefly) what can be done with the paid add-ons, then end of with how to access the add-ons and get more details in the add-ons page of Pleco. It would be nice to go beyond "handheld cam of person using app while talking", I think a good example of this type of video is seen in the Google Play page for the "Camera Zoom FX" app.
     
  9. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    Re: Download / Sales Insights After 2 Weeks

    Oh I certainly wasn't suggesting that Android users are cheapskates; I think there are probably a lot of issues at work here, even after its various revisions Google Play (worst corporate re-branding idea since Qwikster - who goes to a service called "Play" to download a Chinese dictionary or a GPS app?) still doesn't quite seem to make purchasing as effortless and friendly as App Store does, and Android fragmentation makes it hard for developers to create the sorts of apps that users buy more-or-less based on screenshots alone as on iOS. The latter is mostly just a natural tradeoff for Android's openness, and that openness benefits us on the developer end along with benefitting users, but it probably isn't doing our sales any favors.

    Thanks!

    There's actually motion on that in several areas now - we already have one new monolingual dictionary that covers Cantonese-specific words but doesn't have Cantonese romanizations yet, and there are a couple of other things pending for Cantonese-English and Cantonese-Mandarin, so one way or another we expect to have a robust set of Cantonese offerings soon.

    FWIW, there actually is a little tiny bit of Cantonese support in Pleco now; if you go into the 字info tab of a dictionary definition and "Add new field," you can add Cantonese as one of the available fields. It'll only give you the pronunciation for a single character at a time, and will list multiple pronunciations if the character has more than one, but it might be enough to sound out a few things at least.

    Interesting... perhaps we should adopt the approach we have on iOS of popping up an alert message on startup until people have found the Add-ons screen at least once.

    That would certainly help, yes, as would some upgrades to our website. We'd been thinking we'd do this in an integrated way with the big iOS update but it might be worth doing a little more of it even now.

    Ah, yes, that one's long overdue. Bit tricky with YouTube being inaccessible to our (many) prospective buyers in China, but we could always provide an alternate version on our website, which is where they'll have to go anyway since they can't make in-app purchases.
     
  10. Alexis

    Alexis 状元

    Re: Download / Sales Insights After 2 Weeks

    In addition, maybe a discrete alert whenever new/updated add-ons are released. Not necessarily suggesting a dialog box, but maybe just change the "add-ons" icon to indicate that there are new/updated add-ons. At least this way the user may notice the icon when they press the "MENU" key. The icon could reset once the add-ons page has been opened (I bring this up because I didn't realize there was a CFDICT or a Feb CCdict release until I looked just now).
     
  11. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    Quite right - we'd probably want to make this optional for people who are worried about using up bandwidth, but something to check every week and let you know if any of your add-ons have been updated would be a good idea.
     
  12. Alexis

    Alexis 状元

    Also thought it would be good to let you know if there are NEW add-ons. Otherwise, you have to rely on people randomly checking out the add-ons page to discover if there any new add-ons.
     
  13. gato

    gato 状元

    For China audience, you can post the videos on Youku. Should save you some bandwidth that way.
     
  14. radioman

    radioman 状元

    Something where an alert message pops up, but you have the option of whether or not to opt out of future messages, by category. That is:
    - for new products
    - for updates
    - message center


     
  15. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    True, but that happens about once a year while updates happen once a month so the latter is a higher priority for the moment. (but it's probably a lot of the same code)

    Quite right, don't want to shell out for expensive China download bandwidth for people to watch videos.

    Using notifications for this seems like a bad idea - whenever other apps do that I find it extremely intrusive, even if it's just coming up in a subtle little note at the top of the screen. Maybe for updates, but if we do it for new products we're going to get a whole lot of 1-star reviews.
     
  16. radioman

    radioman 状元

    ... or perhaps the notification by way of a yellow 148 point bold arial font on a full screen blinking safety-orange background optimized for retina, a full volume "Ta-Da!" sound clip, followed by initiating a command via some iOS hook to fully reboot the iOS device of interest after 5 seconds of blinking. (sorry... been a long week here... :D!)

    Yeah, not sure what I was thinking. I personally do not like any notifications whatsoever. And really don't like the the ones that roll in and out at the top. I turned them all off long ago.

    Twitter is enough for me. And be it a service interruption or a product rollout or update, thats where I typically look. Seems to be the de facto standard as of late. And I have that set to fetch rather than having any notifications "pushed". As for the iOS store with all the updates for any given product, I only go looking for those updates if something is broke or highly anticipated.

    Tactical to Pleco, seems to me just a badge that is cleared after a one time look would not be too bad, as long as it wasn't more than once every 2 to 3 weeks on average.

     
  17. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    I'm wondering to what extent that has to do with one's first "modern" mobile platform being iOS versus Android; they're a whole lot more annoying on iOS, and even though they're not quite as annoying now as they used to be, I for one was so hardened against them in the pre-iOS-5 days that now I always turn them off even when they're potentially useful.

    Twitter's great for this, yes - pity it's inaccessible in China. (we're getting very limited interest in Weibo)

    Badges bug me almost as much as notifications do, though I suppose we could make them an option. My inclination, though, would be to have an alert pop up before the first update check asking users if they want to check for updates; they can tap on a button then and never be bothered again, otherwise it'll keep checking every week or so and pop up another alert / notification if it sees a change.
     
  18. Alexis

    Alexis 状元

    Just curious how android vs. iOS sales are doing, if you wish to share.

    A number of recent market surveys seem to suggest that Android has the highest market share, but iOS has the highest profits.
     
  19. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    Still about 1/3, holding pretty steady actually. It's unlikely to change much until we launch our new dictionaries - sales of those will mostly be to previous customers and will be be very closely tied to their enthusiasm for Chinese and for Pleco, so the fact that iPhone users seem generally more willing to pay for apps may not matter as much as it does with our sales to new users.

    Android download numbers have been ahead of those on iOS for the past 2 weeks or so, but some of that may have to do with dealnews (a very popular site I've been reading for ~10 years) featuring our free handwriting promotion last week - we racked up our best two Android download days ever because of that and the fallout is still lingering. Though US downloads remain generally higher on iOS - they were the main recipient of the dealnews boost, but the Android version gets a ton of downloads from Singapore and Malaysia and without that baseline it's unlikely it would have exceeded our iOS numbers even with that spike.
     
  20. burdenofhope

    burdenofhope 进士

    Any hints on when the new dictionaries will be available?
     

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