Thursday, March 17, 2011

Using the New Android Market Stats for Fun and Profit

Earlier this week the Android Market Publisher site was updated to include some cool new statistics for your apps. You can now see the user distribution of your app in terms of the countries, languages, operating system versions, and devices on which your apps are running.

Better still, you can compare your app's distribution in each of these categories with the overall distribution for all apps in the Market.

What does this mean?

There are two axes for gaining insight from these figures:
  • The distribution of languages, OS versions, devices, and countries of your app users.
  • The variance between your app and the overall (expected) distribution.
I looked at the statistics for my three most popular / successful apps: Earthquake, Animal Translator, and Gyro Compass, and have the following observations, conclusions, and action items.

Action Items and Conclusions
  • Create a Japanese and Spanish translation of Earthquake.
  • Translate Animal Translator into Japanese.
  • Modify culturally sensitive place names for Korean users.
  • Confirm Earthquake works on small-screen devices.
  • Drop platform support for Android 1.5 and 1.6 on Animal Translator.
  • For new apps, it's may not be worth supporting Android 1.5 or 1.6.
  • For new apps, it's worth launching with localized language support for Korean and Japan.
  • When promoting apps, be aware of time-zones.
  • Build tablet-targeted versions now to get first-mover advantage.
Observations: Location and Language
  • All my apps do disproportionately well in the UK. I'm based in London, so it's likely that my tweeting and blogging have driven more people in my time-zone to my apps.
  • The proportion of Japanese and Korean users is effected by how long the app has been around. The older apps have disproportionately more US users and fewer Japanese and Korean users, so  for new apps it's worth building with Japan and Korea in mind at launch. 
  • Japanese users account for 10% of Animal Translator users (double the normal distribution). They clearly like the concept, so a japanese language version should help drive popularity.
  • Around 70% of Earthquake! users are from the US (expected distribution if 60%). This is likely due to a lot of Android users in the San Adreas fault cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  • Earthquake has 1.5% South Korean users versus an average of 10%. Many South Korean users have complained about the USGS use of the name "Sea of Japan" which they believe should be "East Sea". This appears to have a direct impact on their usage of the app.
Observations: OS Versions
  • My apps show a trend where older apps have disproportionately more 1.5 / 1.6 users, and new apps have disproportionately fewer. This seems to suggest that owners of these older devices aren't downloading as many new apps. As a result, it might not be worth supporting 1.5 / 1.6 users for new apps.
  • Earthquake! already has 0.2% of users running Android 3.0. This suggests that building tablet-optimized versions now can give you first-mover advantage.
  • Only 8 people are running Animal Translator on a device running 1.6 or earlier, so I can probably drop support for for < 2.0 in the next update.
Observations: Devices
  • Based on the devices, there are no small-screen Earthquake! users. Does the app work on small screens?
  • The popularity of devices seems heavily affected by the country distribution of users. For my apps the HTC EVO 4G and Droid series of devices seem very popular in the US, with the HTC Desire and Samsung Galaxy S very popular in Korea and Europe.
What patterns did you see?

What observations and patterns did you find looking at your app statistics?


  1. Neat stats! Maybe doing so well in Japan actually means you *don't* have to translate it to Japanese. Isn't English mandatory in school in Japan, for example? Maybe most smart phone users there already have some level of English. It would help to make a Japanese translation, but it might not help as much as doing a translation for a country where things like that don't hold.

  2. It's great to see the stats pages.

    Are they based on the 'Build.Fingerprint' property? or does it involve a combination of factors? I'm sure you're aware that many home-made ROMs spoof their build.fingerprint identity so they can see a wider selection of apps. I'm wondering if that could cause misleading stats.

    What happens for devices that are not officially endorsed with the Android Market but have had it hacked on. Do they become factored into these stats?

    I'm surprised there isn't a chart listing the different screen resolutions.

    Are there any plans to offer referrer stats for the Android Market webpages? It would be great to see which blogs are linking to our Android Market pages and other web-traffic analytics.

  3. Interesting, thank you for the app, I just noticed the distribution for househelp app on android. Translation has helped its acceptance in multiple langauges. Whoever said Google translate does not work.

  4. @Falken: The number of home-made ROMs in use is a tiny fraction of the overall phones so they're not likely to skew the stats. Don't know if there are plans for making referrer stats available, but agreed that it would be very useful!

  5. Anonymous4:08 pm GMT

    There was a 7.0 Earthquake in Myanmar this morning. Your earthquake app failed and still hasn't shown it. Why would anyone bother getting an app that will detect all kinds of 2.5 and 2.6 earthquakes, but when something huge happens, it doesn't show up? BULLSHIT.