Push Notifications for New Reviews and Sales Reports

Since rolling out Alerts last year we’ve sent more than a million emails and Slack messages. Our members love them, and use them to stay on top of their reviews without having to constantly be looking at their reports.

With the latest update to our iPhone app, Alerts for new reviews and sales reports can now be sent directly to your device as push notifications.

Real time alerts for app reviews from Appfigures

Enabling alerts from within the app lets you select the type and the frequency (real-time, or daily). Our goal was to keep the setup simple, and in the future we’ll bring more flexibility for filtering.

We’re already hard at work on new alert types that will go beyond reviews, which we’ll be rolling out in the near future to the site as well as the app. If there’s a specific type of alert you’d like to see please let us know.

This update also includes a few other improvements:

  • Force Touch support, so you can quickly peek at (and pop) reports.
  • Sharing a review now shares a direct link to its card.
  • Simplified login with Touch ID, password manager support, and the ability to login with your Google account.
  • Support for iBooks.

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We Now Support JSON Feed

A popular feature built into the reviews report is the ability to create custom RSS feeds for new reviews. Set relevant filters, press a button, and get a unique RSS feed you can import into your favorite reader or your own code.

Today we’re excited to release a small but fundamental enhancement to our reviews feeds: JSON Feed support.

We have a lot of technical members and we know they like to integrate app reviews into their existing tools and workflows in creative ways. If you’re still reading, you’re probably one of them.

RSS feeds are great for consuming content and also for working with data programmatically. Our API gives full access to reviews, but sometimes you just want something simple to hack on. The advantage of using the RSS feed is that it doesn’t require an authentication step and is super simple to set up right from the reviews report. The downside from a programmer’s point of view is that XML can be a bit of a hassle to parse with modern tools.

JSON Feed, co-authored by long time Appfigures member Manton Reece, provides a format that’s very similar to RSS but uses JSON instead of XML. For example, here is a JSON feed that’ll show you the latest reviews for our iPhone app:

https://appfigures.com/reports/reviews/json/10193:lzkbrYQos50pkfoMV03TOQ/?sort=-date&products=41308333846

We think this is pretty neat, and hope this new format makes it even easier to consume data. Porting our existing RSS feed into a JSON one was actually quite simple as well. It probably took more time to write and edit this blog post.

For us, supporting JSON Feed serves two purposes. In the long run, we’re doing our part to help replace XML with JSON, and in the short run we’re giving our more technical users a simple way to interact with their data.

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App Store Cleanup Continues – 50,000 Apps at Risk

Apple is getting serious about cleaning up the App Store. The first wave came in the fall of last year and resulted in thousands of “abandoned” apps being removed from the App Store. Apple is at it again, this time targeting apps that mention their price in their name.

We analyzed more than 2.2M free and paid iOS apps, looking for apps that use their price in their name. 

The Gist

  • More than 50,000 apps and games mention “free” in their name.
  • About 2% of those aren’t even free.
  • Games are the largest group both in absolute number of apps (a tad over 33,000) and as a percentage of total apps in the category (7.5%).
  • Spotify, Disney, Zynga, and EA Games are among the popular developers that use “free” in the name of at least one of their apps.

We started our analysis by looking for apps that mention their price in their name. Although Apple didn’t single out a specific term, running a few queries showed “free” has the most hits and is most likely the term Apple dislikes the most. This analysis focuses on it.

Offending Apps by Category

Let’s jump in. Here’s a category breakdown of the apps we identified. 

Games, as you probably could have guessed, are the largest offending category by far. More than 30,000 games use the term “free” in their name. While most use it once (kind of ok?), we came across quite a few that use “free” twice and even three times. 

Although it’s the largest category, it’s not the only category. Education and Entertainment follow games, with Utilities and Photography right behind them.

Not All “Free” Apps Are Actually Free

You’d expect apps that mention the term “free” in their name to actually be free. But they’re not always. In our analysis we found that roughly 2% of apps are actually paid, and about 40% that use in-app purchases.

The Impact

Continuing on this thread, let’s look at the number of offending apps as a percentage of all apps in their category to gauge the impact this cleanup has.

7.5% of all games are currently in violation of this new rule. The Photography and Entertainment categories could be thinned by about 3%, with Music, Education, and Reference standing to lose more than 2% of apps. Lifestyle, the category with the most apps, stands to lose the least — just under 1%. 

Why Is Apple Doing This?

On the App Store, apps rarely show without their price, so adding the price in the name isn’t really helping the customer. Instead, developers are primarily using this technique as an optimization for search results. It’s obvious why Apple wouldn’t be thrilled about that.

In addition to ASO, it’s also making the App Store look bad. While many developers use the terms gracefully, in our analysis we came across a few that weren’t. Those developers were stuffing their — otherwise simple and customer-friendly — names with two or three instances of the word free making them much harder to read and much less customer friendly.

Who’s Doing It?

You’re probably thinking this technique is something less popular developers are using to gain an edge. We thought so too, but in our analysis we found apps from several well ranking developers that do this, including: Spotify, Disney, EA Games, Zynga, Big Fish Games.

Not a Sweep. Yet.

Unlike the last clean-up, Apple isn’t actively removing apps from the store but rather rejecting new apps and app updates through the review process. 

This means that the App Store still has thousands of apps that are in violation of this new rule. It’s not clear whether that will change, and if so how quickly. What is clear is that Apple is serious about cleaning up the App Store, so if you’re a developer you should keep to the rules.


About the data

These insights came directly out of Explorer, a platform we’ve built to identify trends and get to know apps, developers, and SDKs. Try it out for yourself →

Viewers Can Now Manage Email Reports

Email reports for your mobile apps

Email reports are a core component of the Appfigures platform, giving you a summery of key metrics. They’re so useful, that many of our members rely on them for keeping tabs on their app portfolio daily, some even collect them.

For legacy reasons, we’ve always treated email reports as an account feature. This meant only users with the “admin” permission were able to manage them. We’ve now removed this restriction, giving viewers complete control over scheduling email reports for all of their apps.

If you’re a viewer and would like to manage your email reports simply head into your Account setting area and select the (new) Email reports tab. There you’ll be able to see any reports already scheduled, modify them, create new ones, and remove ones you no longer want to receive.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch.

A New Overlay to Make Visualizing Performance Over Time Even Easier

Visualizations make data analysis simpler and more intuitive, that’s why they’re a core component of the Appfigures platform. From the get-go we set out to build reports that enable you to quickly recognize trends and provide the flexibility to combine multiple metrics.

Today we’re adding one more: Prior Period, a new overlay for easy data comparisons over time.

The Prior Period overlay does what it name suggests, and plots the metric you have selected for the date range prior to the one selected so you can see how your app grows over time, across any of the 25 sales, ads, and usage metrics we support.

Using the new overlay you can quickly visualize before and after effect. Easily visualize things like whether an ad campaign had an impact on downloads, if a new feature increased session duration, how revenue compares to last month, and many other types of analyses.

The new overlay is available now to all members on all plans, so go ahead and try it out!
Not tracking with us yet? Get started free.

Lyft Dethrones Uber for First Time

It’s official, transportation tycoon Uber has been surpassed by its competitor Lyft. In response to this weekend’s events, Lyft has shot up into the Top 5 free apps in the US for the first time ever, currently ranked at #4, while Uber, which currently sits at #13 looks up from below. Not only did Uber lose the lead in overall rankings and incite a flux of numerous new poor reviews (read more below), but Lyft has also taken the #1 spot in the Travel category for the US, with Uber now at #2.

Lyft overtakes Uber in the App Store

The news can heavily affect the outcome of businesses and their apps, something that Uber is no stranger to having previously risen in ranks during another taxi strike in the UK in 2014. While it worked in their favor then, this time Uber isn’t having the same luck. While it’s a notable event for Lyft against Uber, time will tell if this is merely a fad brought on by political unrest and protest or if indeed Uber will start to see a drop in business due to any insensitivity they may have caused over the weekend.

It’s Not Me, It’s You

To add salt to the wound, Uber is also seeing a spike in negative reviews. Not a total surprise but who’s writing these? It could be customers leaving poor reviews before deleting the app or it could be new users downloading the app to simply share their views in light of the situation.

Uber gets trashed in app store reviews

One thing is for sure, as expected, the reviews being written have a common voice. “Trump” was the third most used word among the negative reviews, with “CEO” and “Ban” being in the top 10 most used words. Included in many of the new reviews are mentions of “ACLU”, “JFK”, “Immigrant” and “Strike”. Some even go as far as including negative phrases such as “Facist” in their reviews. All in all, more than 95% of all reviews for Uber, meaning 1 or 2 stars reviews, have been negative over the last few days.

What Went Wrong With Super Mario Run — Analysis of 120,000+ Reviews

Nintendo released its first mobile game last week, and with unprecedented levels of support from Apple, Super Mario Run was poised to become the most successful mobile game the App store has seen so far. However, eager players were less than thrilled once the game hit, sending Nintendo’s stock down 14% in the first few days.

We’ve been covering the release from day one and have noticed its not-too-stellar performance, so we analyzed all of the game’s 120,000 App Store reviews to get a better understanding of what went wrong. 

More Than Half Of All Players Aren’t Happy

To start our analysis, let’s take a look at how the game is rated so far. We collected all 120,000+ reviews available (as of 12/21), and grouped them by star rating. 

What Went Wrong With Super Mario Run — Analysis of 120,000+ Reviews by appFigures

Boy are people unhappy. Overall, 71% of all players gave the game a 1 or 2-star review. That’s harsh. As of right now, Super Mario Run’s average rating is just 2.1 stars. That’s really low for such a well crafted game.

Is this unhappiness widespread, or isolated geographically? To answer this question we looked at all reviews by country and analyzed the top 10 countries with most reviews. In the chart below you’ll see the ratio of negative (1 and 2-star reviews in red) to positive (4 and 5-star reviews in green) and neutral reviews (3-star reviews in gray).

Russia, France, and Italy Are Very Unhappy

What Went Wrong With Super Mario Run — Analysis of 120,000+ Reviews by appFigures

If you thought 71% was high, check out Russia. 85% of reviews from Russia are negative compared to just 10% positive. France, Italy, Japan, and Germany have an above average negative rating as well. The bottom of the top 10 list comes in below average, but not by much, suggesting this isn’t isolated but rather a problem that spans different cultures and languages.

So, what’s upsetting so many players around the world?

It’s All About The Money!

A text analysis of all reviews in English shows the most common topics mentioned include different variations of “price is too high” and “not enough free levels”. The most common words those reviews included were: pay, free, money, price, and purchase.

What we found interesting is that many of the negative reviews were emotionally charged, using words such as sad and disappointed. This just goes to show the expectation Nintendo set when announcing the game in September.

So players don’t want to pay $9.99 for the game. That’s certainly a higher price point than most other games, however we don’t think that’s the only issue. Super Mario Run is free-to-download (demo), and not a free-to-play (freemium), which is a much more common monetization strategy in the App Store.

Demos, unlike freemium titles, limit how much you get access to very strictly, enticing you with a bit and putting up a paywall for the rest. Freemium titles on the other hand, give you access to most of the game for free but offer you upgrades along the way. Successful free-to-play game, like Candy Crush, use consumable in-app purchases so that players need to buy more to continue. They don’t have to, but they can, and that’s a very important difference.

If you’d ask 10 different people whether they like free-to-play titles, 8 would probably say no but would still play those games and won’t leave them extremely negative reviews. That’s why 4 of the 5 Top Grossing apps in the U.S.right now are freemium games.

For a quick comparison, let’s look at similar games from a similar company:

What Went Wrong With Super Mario Run — Analysis of 120,000+ Reviews by appfigures

SEGA’s Sonic Dash, arguably similar in terms of brand recognition and casual nature, has an average rating of 4.5 stars with nearly 3 times the number of reviews. Sure, it’s been around since 2013 and has a head start, but with more than 75% of reviews being positive it’s hard to argue. To make the comparison even more objective we added Subway Surfers, another comparable game with a similar number of reviews. This title also has an average rating of 4.5 stars.

Demos Are A Harder Sell

Why did Nintendo choose the more traditional demo approach and not freemium is hard to tell. Keeping things simple is what the company said publicly, but it’s also possible they relied on the brand a bit too much. In a different world, where Super Mario Run launched as a free game with consumable in-app purchases, things might have been significantly different. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Remember, A Rocky Start Doesn’t Mean Failure

This report paints a pretty unpleasant picture for Super Mario Run, and while that’s true right now, it’s possible (and likely) that between new users, strategic changes, and updates to the game, in time, Super Mario Run will gain momentum and retain players for longer periods of time. Enough to get them to tap that buy button. 

We’ll be keeping an eye on that and report if we see it change, so keep an eye on the blog, follow us on Twitter, or subscribe to our mailing list.

Happy holidays.

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Super Mario Run Is App Store’s #1 App in 138 Countries

Super Mario Run Is App Store’s #1 App In 138 Countries by appFigures

Just about 48 hours ago Nintendo’s first mobile game, and one of my personal all-time favorites, hit the App Store and quickly showed that the iconic plumber is pretty much everyone’s favorite.

The title has been released in 150 countries and is ranked in all of them, in many leading the pack as the №1 free app. Below are the latest ranks for Super Mario Run from all around the world.

FYI — Check our LIVE post benchmarking Super Mario Run’s release.

#1 Free App In 138 Countries

Undoubtedly the season’s most anticipated release is off to a start like no other. Super Mario Run took the №1 spot in 138 of 150 countries. It is in the Top 5 in 144, and in the Top 10 in 148. The renegades — Guinea-bissau and Palau. View all countries/categories.

#1 Grossing App In 46 Countries

Downloads are nice, but revenue is nicer. Especially if you’re Nintendo right now. Super Mario Run quickly seized control of the App Store’s Top Grossing chart in 110 countries, taking the №1 spot in 46. The game is currently in the Top 5 in 82 countries, and Top 10 in 91. View all countries/categories.

Sticker Pack Climbs Too

A few months ago Nintendo released a free Super Mario Run sticker pack to the iMessage App Store. The sticker pack has been doing very well, but since the game’s launch on Thursday it’s doing even better.

Super Mario Run Is App Store’s #1 App In 138 Countries by appFigures

Did Super Mario Run Live Up to the Hype?

Last update: Dec. 23rd 8:00pm EST

Is Super Mario Run Living Up To the Hype?

It feels like 1985 again. As Nintendo hopes to satisfy nostalgic generations (and pull in a whole new set of players) by releasing their first mobile game, Super Mario Run, gamers have been eagerly awaiting the release of what’s sure to be the game of the season.

Filled with classic Mario features and an unprecedented amount of hype, we’re expecting a massive consumer response. Over the next week we’ll be following Super Mario Run’s debut and benchmarking its engagement against some of the most successful game releases of 2016: Clash Royale and Pokémon Go.

How’s Mario Doing So Far?

The chart above plots the number of new reviews for each app by hour. As the app just went live there’s none yet, but with ~20 million people signed up to be notified of its release (as of October), that’ll change very quickly. We predict the first few hours to break the record set by Pokémon Go in August, and maybe even crash the App Store.

12/16 1:30pm – Nearly 24 hours have passed since the game was rolled out and it looks like Apple is heavily delaying releasing reviews written by users. Most likely because of very aggressive caching. We were able to grab the first 6 minutes worth of reviews and while that’s not at all a meaningful way to predict, that number is 500% larger than Pokemon Go’s number for the same time period. And these aren’t estimates but rather actual numbers.

12/17 10:30am – After nearly 48 hours Apple seems to finally be letting some reviews through into the App Store, and we got our hands on them. Check out the charts. So far the game is getting a decent number of reviews in the US, but not that much more than Pokemon Go. Considering the controversial price and the need to be online to play we expected much more chatter. It’s too early to tell if the numbers reflect quick churn or not, but that’s something we’ll be watching closely.

12/17 9:30pm – We’re starting to get a more complete picture of the first 24 hours and so far Super Mario Run is on the same track as Pokémon Go. We expected much higher results, but since Pokémon Go was a completely free game during launch and had the AR twist it’s probably gotten more engagement and thus reviews.

12/19 10:30am – As new data is coming in it seems that Mario is holding on to a lead when compared to both Pokémon Go and Clash Royale. However, that lead isn’t as large as we thought.

12/20 11:00am – Reviews for Mario Run are starting to slow down. In fact, with a total of 27,721 reviews in the U.S., it’s now running behind Pokémon Go which had a bit over 30,000 at this point in the launch.

12/21 5:30pm – Reviews have continued to slow down, indicating engagement is dropping off rapidly. Many users have been complaining about the game’s cost, and that seems to have plagued the launch of this otherwise fun game. Stay tuned for our conclusion on Friday!

12/23 12:00pm – We’ve reached the end of our live coverage, and there isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said before. With so much buzz leading up to the launch, expectations were at an all-time high, but were met with harsh criticism over pricing. Was this a misstep by Nintendo, or is all we’re hearing noise? It’s hard to tell without knowing Nintendo’s goals for this launch. We can’t wait for Super Mario Run to launch on Android, where Nintendo will have a chance to rethink their strategy.

What To Expect

To get an idea of what’s to come, we’ve charted the total number of new reviews Pokémon Go and Clash Royale got in their first week, and will be adding Super Mario Run’s data as it becomes available.

Is Super Mario Run Living Up To the Hype?

Our Conclusion

It’s been a whole week since we started tracking Super Mario Run’s launch. The expectations were exceptionally high given the amount of press the game has been getting from Apple over the last few months. Very quickly however, players started complaining about the price. Those complaints continued, and then the press caught on, sending Nintendo’s stock down ~14%.

Overall, Nintendo’s choice of monetization strategy was somewhat of a risk. Going with a free-to-download demo as opposed to the more common free-to-play freemium model. Based on the last week of data and news it seems this was a mistake, but with the holiday season upon us I’d rather wait a few more weeks until making that claim.

About The Data

Data in this post includes reviews from the App Store for all three apps. Our collection engine retrieves every review that’s available, on an hourly basis.

Why reviews?

We like to use reviews to benchmark app launches because they provide a strong indication of a combo metric that includes both downloads and engagement.

Track every review for all of your apps with appFigures. Start your free trial

Introducing: iMessage App Store Analytics

Track iMessage app downloads, revenue, reviews, and ranks with appFigures

Have you already jumped on the bandwagon and started developing iMessage apps? If so, it’s only natural you’d want to help you keep track of how things are going like you do for your iOS and Android apps. To make that possible, we rolled out complete tracking support for the iMessage App Store.

appFigures now enables you to track downloads and revenue for your iMessage apps and in-app purchases as well as reviews, hourly ranks, and Top App lists for any app.

Data for your iMessage apps will sync automatically if you have your iTunes Connect account linked and is available throughout the platform, including in email reports, through the app and API, as well as Alerts.

We used our new iMessage ranks dataset to dissect the most profitable iMessage apps, and one of the interesting discoveries was that most of them apps are paid sticker packs.

Dissecting the most profitable iMessage apps | by appFigures

Check out the complete report for more details.

iMessage app tracking is available now to across all plans. Don’t have an account? Get started for free.