Some Interesting Graphs

Written by David Frampton @ 10:42 pm, February 18, 2011

I’ve often been asked how various events have changed sales/revenue. So I thought I would look back through my sales stats and share what happened over a few key moments.

All of theses graphs are generated using the invaluable App Store sales tracking app AppViz.

First up, the launch curve. This is a curve that I have seen in every single launch of any app on any platform, and looks like this:

Sales tend to halve every week or so, then after a month or two it starts to level out. There are exceptions to this rule, which I think can mostly be chalked up to a large amount of post-launch hype or a feature or other marketing. But as I said, every single product I have launched has followed this curve. So (even though the temptation is overwhelming) don’t bother multiplying launch day sales by 365!

This next graph is of Chopper for iOS’s sales during a period where nothing much was going on:

Each of the spikes is a weekend. Without any external influences, Chopper (and Chopper 2) always have troughs from Monday to Wednesday, and spikes around Sunday. Thursday and Friday are usually a bit better than earlier in the week. It’s still too early to isolate whether this effect is also present on the Mac App Store, though early indications are that it probably doesn’t.

iOS games and entertainment apps will probably all see graphs like this. From what I have heard, productivity apps see the inverse.

This graph is a little silly perhaps, but it compares sales of Chopper 2 and DuckDuckDuck:

I have seen little to no effect on DuckDuckDuck when Chopper is selling well. It’s worth noting that I don’t have a ‘More Apps’ advertising page in any version of Chopper, which might help, and the games are targeted at totally different audiences. But I think the lack of any transference at all is interesting, as it shows customers are currently not in any way being influenced by the Majic Jungle brand to try another one of my apps.

On the other hand, Chopper 2 had quite an influence on Chopper 1’s sales (not to scale):

I worry a little that this is partly due to people downloading the wrong app. But I also expect that there is a certain number of people who bought Chopper 1 first, wanting to experience that before Chopper 2, as well as those who after having played Chopper 2 then bought the original.

This next graph has a couple of interesting points. It shows revenue in the UK only for the Mac version of Chopper 2 compared to the iOS version:

The surge in early Jan is the launch of the Mac version on the Mac App Store, combined with the 99c sale of the iOS version. It’s hard to isolate the effect of the sale vs. the effect of the launch of the Mac version during this time, but iOS revenue did go up substantially. It pales into insignificance compared to what happened two weeks later however, when Chopper 2 got ‘game of the week’ on iPhone and iPad in the UK and Europe.

Game of the week isn’t something that developers have control over, but it is clear to me that it is by far the best out of all the feature spots, and drives an insane number of sales. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that it happened just after the surge (and high Mac App Store presence) in early Jan though. On the App Store, success breeds success.

It’s a little hard to see, but Mac sales did also increase with the iOS game of the week feature, though not by much. Where iOS sales went up to around 20x previous levels, Mac sales were doubled.

This graph shows Chopper 1 sales over the Christmas period 2009 (again not to scale):

This was another interesting period. Late November I dropped the price to 99c. This increased the number of sales leading up to Christmas, though decreased revenue. Then just before Christmas I put the price back to $2.99.

I’m not sure how much of an effect this strategy had on revenue, because once again there are more than just one factor at play. However If you ignore the blue line and just focus on the yellow/green one, it’s pretty clear that revenue not only went up substantially on Christmas day, but stayed much higher for an extended period. In fact this post-christmas increase lasted about 3 months before returning back to normal levels.

I put this down to two things. Most importantly there are a large number of new iPod Touches and gift vouchers out there on Christmas day, and both of those can last a long time. And secondly, the previous year (2008) Chopper had been the number 1 game over Christmas. To some extent (possibly a crack-pot theory, but possibly not) Chopper may be associated with Christmas as a result.

And one last graph, this is Chopper 2’s revenue on the Mac App Store to date:

It follows the standard launch curve, however it is perhaps a little steeper than normal, leveling out at a much lower point. I put the steepness mostly down to there being two product launches being multiplied together. It was not only Chopper 2’s launch, but also the Mac App Store’s launch. And the launch couldn’t have gone better, with Chopper 2 being at #1 or #2 in nearly every region for the first couple of weeks. So I very much felt the effects of the initial boom, then quick decline of interest in the Mac App Store as a whole.

I’m still very happy with the revenue in this tail end though. The increase in the past week is due to a ‘Staff favorite’ feature, and it currently sits at around #30 in paid apps in the US. I don’t think many people are currently making huge amounts of money on the Mac App Store, but it’s off to a healthy start, and will only get better from here.

So hopefully these graphs are of interest. I intentionally didn’t post any actual numbers, which might be a little disappointing, but doing so always seems to lead to ‘Developer makes $X overnight’ posts, which I’m really not keen on. So sorry about that, but hopefully this post has still been interesting anyway!

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