Introducing Review Alerts: Your Reviews Delivered to Slack and Email

Introducing review alerts to email and Slack | from appFigures

TL;DR Review Alerts notify you when your apps get new reviews from any store or country, with support for powerful filters. Visit the reviews report to get started.

We love app reviews. Sure, they can get a little ridiculous, but they can also be delightful and at times even touching. Regardless they usually provide very valuable feedback to app makers. With so many app stores and countries that user reviews can come from, finding the useful ones might require a little help though.

Our Reviews Report makes it easy to search through all your reviews, and Review Cards are a beautiful way to share them with the world. Today we’re unveiling another important convenience: Review Alerts, to make sure you never miss important user feedback.

Integrated with Slack and email

We’ll automatically send new reviews to where you and your team are hanging out. We’re launching with support for Slack and email and we’ll be adding more convenient integrations in the near future.

App reviews sent automatically by email and to Slack

Track multiple apps from every store and country, and in every language

Every app store has its own way of doing things, which can be a real challenge when releasing apps on multiple platforms. As usual we worked hard to make sure those disparities become completely invisible. We’ll seamlessly notify you about reviews for multiple apps at once, across every store we track and every country. In other words, we’ll let you know about any review from anywhere. For extra convenience we’ll also automatically translate reviews to the language of your choice.

Super simple set up

To get started just configure the reviews report as you normally would, then hit the new Create an alert button. You can mix and match several powerful filters to make sure you only see the reviews that matter to you and your team. You can filter by keyword, star rating, and country.

Set up a review alert for all of your apps in seconds

Filters that save you time

Filters let you customize what kind of reviews you’d like to be alerted about. Below are some filter combinations to give you a taste of what’s possible:

  • Just 4 and 5 star reviews – Get only positive reviews. Useful for marketing. Even better with Review Cards.
  • Reviews mentioning “Crash” or “Bug” – Reviews your developers may be interested in.
  • 1 and 2 star reviews – Reviews your support team may want to take a look at.
  • Negative reviews mentioning “John Stamos” – If you decided to try something new for April Fool’s and wanted to see if it backfired.

What interesting/crazy/useful alerts have you come up with? Tweet them @appfigures so we can share them with the world.

Even more coming up

We’re very excited about the possibilities that Review Alerts open up and we have a lot more types of alerts planned. Soon you’ll be able to receive notifications whenever anything notable happens with any of the apps you track.

We’re also working to integrate Review Alerts with more third-party services so we can send them exactly where you need them to be. We’d love to know which ones would be most helpful to you and your team. As always you can tweet at us or send a good old email.

Unleash Your App Reviews With Review Cards

Share app store reviews with Review Cards from appFigures

As online consumers we’re always looking for the best deal. Whether buying a car, a toothbrush, or an app, we always feel more comfortable reading a review or two before making any purchasing decisions.

As app developers we know the flip side is true as well: most apps live or die by their app store reviews. To stay on top of things, we often need to share them with our team or our users, but we resort to taking screenshots or copying text, which leave a lot to be desired.

Here at appFigures we think reviews deserve better than that, and we’ve set out to make them easier to share with everyone. Today we’re officially unveiling Review Cards and we’re excited to tell you how they will change the way you use reviews.

Share your reviews with anyone

Until today your reviews could only be viewed by members of your appFigures team, but with Review Cards you can easily share them with anyone. For example you may forward your team a bug report, show off a glowing testimonial to your twitter followers, or just have a hearty laugh with your friends.

Every single review is sharable. Just click ‘Share’ on the bottom-right: Sharing user reviews is easy with Review Cards from appFigures

Designed to be social

Review cards look great in every browser and on every social network. In fact, any app that utilizes Open Graph will automatically know how to render beautiful previews of the links you share. For example this is what a review looks when tweeted, or shared on Slack: Share app store reviews to Slack, Twitter, and other social networks using Review Cards from appFigures

Stays on brand

With Review Cards we set out to create something developers will actually want to share. Whether linking to it internally, tweeting it to your followers, or using it as a marketing tool, we figured you’d need it to look great.

More importantly, we wanted it to connect with your brand. So we put on our thinking caps and created an algorithm to do just that. Each review page is automatically themed based on the colors of its app, and the result is a unique experience that feels tailored to each product.

App store reviews are easy to share with Review Cards from appFigures

(You don’t have to take our word for it, try it out for yourself)

Supports all major app stores

Review Cards are built on top of our reviews engine, which means they’re available for all your apps in every major app store including: The iOS App Store, Google Play, Mac App Store, and Amazon Appstore. Windows reviews are coming soon too!

Built-in translation

When you share a review with someone you can optionally translate it to a language of your choice. Anyone viewing the review can also change the translation language on their own. That means you can send any review to a large multi-lingual group and feel confident that everyone will know what’s going on.

Try it: Original · Spanish · German · Chinese · Hebrew

Powerful traffic analytics

Share Your User Reviews and track stats

If you’re going to share reviews for marketing purposes you’ll need to know how effective they are. Because we love analytics so much, we built them right into every Review Card. Just append /stats to the end of any card’s URL to see how many people visited it, from which countries, and from what sources.

Drive more downloads

To make the most of every page view, we’ve included an app download badge in each card. It’s designed to be prominent, yet tasteful, which helps make Review Cards a great marketing tool. In fact we’ve already seen them make a significant impact in our own testing.

Stay on the lookout for more

We’ll be adding more ways to share your reviews, and to more places. You can also expect review sharing to show up in our app soon.

As always, we’d love your hear your comments. Get in touch directly or tweet @appfigures.


Log into your account to start sharing your app store reviews. Not tracking with us? You’re missing out on the most advanced report for your app store reviews. Sign up for a free trial now.

Introducing the appFigures iPhone App

appfigures_dashboard_half

I’m very excited to announce that appFigures for iPhone is available on the App Store right now!

For the past several months we’ve been hard at work building an entirely new analytics experience that’s designed for mobile from the ground up. Our new iPhone app is centered around visualizing important figures at a glance for when you’re on the go, while also allowing to drill-down and learn more about your data with ease.

Here are some features we think you’ll love:

  • View your combined revenue from app sales, in-app purchases, and ads.
  • Easily read all your reviews, translated to your language.
  • See quick totals for your entire app catalog or just a single app.
  • Pivot any dataset by date, product, country, store, and more for easy comparisons.
  • Report sharing, offline mode, and more.

appfigures_revenue_graph_half

There are many more handcrafted features for you to explore so head over and download it now. The app is available for free to all appFigures members, free or paid.

As always, we’d love to know what you think. So email us, tweet @appfigures, or send us feedback right from the app.

Brand New: Track Incoming Payments for All Your Apps in One Place

Ask developers why they make apps and you’re sure to receive a full spectrum of responses ranging from entirely rational to truly inspired. But no matter which way you slice it there’s one reason that’s certain to be ubiquitous: getting paid.

But how can developers know exactly how much money they’re supposed to get paid?

As anyone who’s tried to answer that question before can tell you, reliably calculating incoming payments from different app stores is no simple task. There are different financial calendars to consider, varying exchange rates to account for, multiple payment policies to keep track of, and the list goes on.

The details are certainly enough to make anyone’s head spin, and a lot of developers are feeling the pain. Several months ago, after many user requests, we set out to solve this problem, and today we’re thrilled to announce our solution: the Payments report.

The new Payments report shows you exactly how much money you’ve received and can expect to receive, by month. It automatically includes data for all the app stores and ad networks you use. payments-report

Why you need it

  • Accuracy first: Every app store has its own set of intricacies (different payment calendars, exchange rates, regions, etc.), so we built a system to diligently normalize the complexity of all the stores we track into a single data source you can always count on.
  • Totals at a glance: Start off with a single number that sums up all your revenue (including app sales, in-app purchases, and ad revenue), and dig in for more information.
  • Detailed breakdowns: Easily view payments grouped by individual stores and by individual products. If you ever tried to figure out the payment total for a specific iOS or Mac app, you know the reports Apple provides make it quite difficult. Our new Payments report does all the magic behind the scenes to give you accurate totals per app for every store.
  • Fill in the blanks: Most stores release their financial reports at the end of each month, but no one wants to wait that long. When you choose a month that hasn’t ended yet the Payments report will automatically figure out if there’s another, less accurate data set it can use until the real data becomes available. Such numbers are clearly denoted as “Estimated”.

How is this report different from the other revenue reports?

Our other revenue reports are built around showing the most up-to-date information. While this information updates frequently, it isn’t 100% representative of what your bank statement may read at the end of the month (due to varying exchange rates and app store limitations). In contrast the new Payments report is all about total accuracy. It is based on the less frequently updated (monthly) financial data that’s provided by the individual app stores.

Where can I get it?

This report is available in the reports section of the site, alongside all of our existing reports. If you haven’t already click here to check it out.

Looks pretty simple, right? That’s the culmination of countless iterations by our engineering and design teams, as well as invaluable feedback from several pioneering members. We took great care to make sure we always present the most accurate data, and that it’s wrapped in a delightful interface. We already have some nice additions planned for this report, but first we can’t wait to hear your feedback!

New: Automatic Backups to Dropbox

appFigures + Dropbox

You know that sinking feeling you get when realizing you lost something you didn’t back up? That’s actually one of the reasons we started appFigures as a cloud platform. Our trusty servers provide redundant storage for your important data just in case you ever lose it.

While this type of convenience has pretty much become an industry standard since the wild west days of the App Store, we decided to take it even further. We’re really excited to unveil our new automatic integration with Dropbox, available to all premium plan members.

To turn it on, just head over to Account Settings → Add-ons and enable Dropbox Backup.

Once it’s enabled all the data in your appFigures Archive (new and existing) will be delivered to your Dropbox account automatically. After all, you can never have enough backup.

Data Bits: App Reviews Are Warmer and Fuzzier Than You May Think

We recently introduced a brand new section to the blog called Data Bits. This is where we choose an interesting set of data, analyze it, and turn it into bite sized blog posts for your reading pleasure.

Last time we looked at app reviews and how many of them a typical developer can expect to have. This time we’re diving a bit deeper into the data to find out exactly what sort of message those reviews are trying to communicate.

The data

While there are tons of reviews in almost every language, in this post we’ll be focusing specifically on ones written in English. Most text analysis tools are built around English which makes those reviews easier to analyze. It also happens to be the language we’re most familiar with.

After some internal discussion over the best way to slice the data by language, we decided to grab a slice of iOS and Mac App Store reviews from these major English-speaking countries: US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Our sample comes out to roughly 25 million individual reviews–more than enough to give us an idea of what’s going on in there.

Visualizing it all

Next we needed to decide how to analyze and present so much content. After much brainstorming we settled on a method which is both simple and effective: word clouds. Once all the pieces were in place, we threw all 25 million reviews into the blender and here’s what came out:

all_ios_reviews_word_cloud

click images to enlarge

We were pretty surprised at how positive this word cloud seems to be. Being app developers ourselves, we’re quite familiar with how picky reviewers tend to get, and we assumed that reviews would have been a bit less glowing and slightly more critical. So we ran the numbers again but the same results came out. ‘Great’, ‘love’, ‘fun’, and ‘good’ are used way more often than words like ‘poor’, ‘useless’, ‘waste’, and ‘sucks’.

And that’s it… NOT

Just because a word is positive or negative on its own doesn’t mean there aren’t other words in the sentence modifying it. While evolution has fine-tuned us humans to identify such language nuances, it’s not so easy for a computer. So we started tinkering with the data to see if there’s anything clever we can do to get a better idea of the context around each word.

We started off by sectioning the reviews according to their star rating. We figured that the star rating (1 – 5) of a review is usually a good indication of its overall sentiment.

We turned to the blender once more, this time creating a cloud of words from only 5-star reviews.

five_star_ios_reviews_word_cloud

Compare that with a word cloud of all 1-star reviews:

one_star_ios_reviews_word_cloud

There’s a definite contrast here, showing that words like ‘love’ and ‘beautiful’ aren’t thrown around as much in very negative reviews, while words like ‘crashes’ and ‘waste’ aren’t very popular in positive ones. We did the same breakdown with star ratings 2 through 4, and, as expected, there was a gradual change in the use of positive and negative words.

Adding some color

Armed with this new information we decided to try something crazy: We’ll assign a ‘positivity’ score to each word depending on how often it appears in positive (highly rated) reviews and how often it appears in negative (low rated) reviews. We then recreated the original word cloud, this time coloring words with a high score green, those with a low score red, and everything in the middle gray.

all_ios_reviews_colored_word_cloud

We weren’t sure what to expect out of this experimental analysis method, but it turned out to be pretty spot-on. We were surprised at how well the algorithm does at coloring words with a negative connotation (such as ‘crashes’, ‘waste’, and ‘useless’) red, while highlighting the positive ones (like ‘great’, ‘love’, and ‘good’) in green.

So it looks like what we suspected originally about the critical and picky reviewer was wrong, and that the first word cloud above was pretty telling on its own: there are way more positive things being said about iOS and Mac apps than negative. Who would have thought?

Data Bits: Less Than One Percent of iOS App Developers Have Half of All Reviews

Not too long ago we built a completely new way of tracking app reviews by caching data for speedy full-text search and advanced filtering. That means we’re now downloading every single review for more and more apps every day in addition to the aggregate review data we already have. As you can imagine, that data occupies a lot of bits on our servers, but it also leaves us with tons of juicy data to analyze. In the coming weeks and months we’ll be writing several blog posts analyzing this data set and others.

It’s no secret that a few popular apps get a lot of reviews while most don’t even come close. We wanted to quantify this sentiment and figure out how many developers get how many reviews. We’re happy to share this information in the hope that it gives developers some insight into how their portfolios compare with those of other developers.

Our data set

There’s a lot of app review data out there from numerous countries and several stores, so for the sake of keeping this post short we decided to focus on a pretty specific slice of data, containing only iOS apps. Our sample consists of over 70 million aggregated reviews from 151 countries, which is enough to show some interesting and meaningful data.

DistributionOfRevsByDeveloperSize

Looking at this chart, three interesting points immediately jumped out at us:

  • A typical iOS developer can expect between 1 – 5,000 reviews for their entire portfolio (a pretty huge range if we may say so).
  • Half of developers have more than 500 reviews.
  • 5% of developers don’t have a single review for any of their apps (not even from mom!).

Also, the chart has three fairly equal slices inside the 1 – 5,000 range. This means that an almost-equal number of developers fall into the 1 – 100, 101 – 500, and 1,000 – 5,000 ranges. In which camp do you belong?

Looking at the extremes

A lot of developers would agree that a very large portion of reviews is held by a small portion of developers (that group in the small green slices in the above chart). Again, we wanted to quantify this amount, so we took various-sized chunks of the developers with the most reviews and saw how many reviews they held (out of total reviews).

ProportionOfRevsByTopDevelopers

So it looks like a quarter of reviews are held by just one tenth of a percent of all developers. These are the developers in the extremes of our previous chart. In this case, the extremes are huge, with some developers having portfolios with millions of reviews.

What’s next?

This is all we have the time for today but there are still some unanswered questions: what types of apps are those 0.1% most-reviewed developers creating? Do specific genres or prices of apps draw more feedback than others? Are these reviews largely positive or negative? Next time we’ll explore some of these questions and more.

Almost everything we do is inspired by you, our members and readers, so please share your thoughts on this blog, twitter, or any of the other virtual hangout places out there.

Introducing Pinned Views

We’ve been hard at work the past few months adding new reports and more data sources to the platform. The more we add though, the more there is a need for a simple way to navigate between reports while retaining the chosen filters, selected apps, graph toggles, etc.

We put a lot of thought into creating a simple solution, and today I’m happy to introduce the result: pinned views.

A view is made up of all of the options and filters a report has to offer (such as the selected apps, dates, type of graph, etc.). Once a view is pinned it becomes available from every report, making it easy to jump between views with a single click.

When pinning a view you’ll be able to share it with everyone in your account. This can be a great time saver if you have a lot of sub-users.

You can use pinned views on every report on the site: simply open the pinned views menu (), click the button, and name the view.

We quietly rolled this out a couple of weeks ago and today, after thorough testing, we’re making it official. If you’re interested in reading more about the nuts and bolts check out the FAQ.

This is another feature that’s a direct result of user suggestions, so please keep them coming.

The Brand New Featured Report

Believe it or not most developers have no clue if their apps are featured. Unless you’ve just had a huge sales spike you’re probably not in the mood to go looking through every featured section of every store and country. And when you are in the mood there is just no easy way to do it.

That’s why we’ve spent the past several months perfecting the new featured report. It’s one of the coolest reports we’ve ever built and you can give it a try right now.

How we made it

Much like a delicious sandwich, a great report starts with the best ingredients. First we set out to create a system to collect as much juicy featured data from the app stores as possible. Like most prototypes it took more than a few iterations to get right, but we wound up with a robust engine that scans all the featured areas from iTunes, iPhone, and iPad stores.

When first looking at all the data we gathered, we were surprised at just how much featured data is out there. We found that being featured isn’t uncommon and that even an unknown app is likely to get featured somewhere.

Making it look right

We quickly realized that featured data is unlike any other in our system and decided to come up with a fresh idea to visualize it. After what felt like an endless amount of iterations here’s what we came up with:

Am I featured right now?

Our primary goal was to immediately answer the question “Am I featured right now?”, so when you open the report that’s the first thing you see.

For these screenshots we randomly picked a few apps that are currently featured

We automatically search through all the apps in your account instead of asking you to pick specific ones. We believe that being featured is special enough that you’d want to know if any of your apps are in the spotlight. This also keeps interaction simple and the UI light. If as time goes on we see a real need for picking specific apps we will add that functionality.

Viewing historic data

Some may say it only really matters where your apps are featured right now, but there are good reasons to check out where they were featured in the past (finding trends, showing off, etc.). To make this task a bit easier we automatically look up and display historic data, grouped by week, immediately underneath today’s data.

Because data gaps aren’t uncommon when it comes to being featured we automatically collapse empty time spans.

That frees your from playing the date guess-and-check game to figure out which date ranges contain data. For this very reason we were able to do away with the standard date range picker and the complexities it adds.

Traversing the past with style

If you want to know more about the featured history of your apps, but you’re not looking for any particular date, you can just scroll to the bottom of the timeline and press “Load earlier weeks”. Alternatively, If you have a specific time period in mind you can change the starting date of the timeline from today (the default) to any other date in the past.

As you can see this isn’t a traditional date picker. It’s a simple yet powerful new way to pick dates that we’re introducing with this report. Instead of asking you to choose a date on the calendar grid it lets you type it in plain English.

To make this work well we built our own natural language parser for dates. It understands organic and relative dates like “first week in april” and “last week” as well as formal formats like “11/4/12” and “Oct 4”. When first testing it out we fell in love with how easy it was to communicate dates to the machine that we decided to completely do away with the calendar. We include some examples of acceptable input in the report, though they only scratch the surface. We invite you to play with it and try different things.

Drilling down to the details

To save you some time when looking through the timeline we aggregate the number of lists an app is featured in and place it in a badge by the app’s icon. Clicking an app fills the right side of the screen with details about where exactly the app was featured.

If the app was featured in more than one country or category you’re given the option to group the lists accordingly.

To drill down further, each section can be expanded to show the exact locations at which the app was featured.

More to come

We’re currently tracking featured data for iOS and Mac apps, and are working to download data for Google Play and the Amazon Appstore.

Also coming up is an indicator in your email report to let you know when your apps are featured.

What do you think?

We quietly rolled out this report several days ago, and have already gotten some great feedback. Please share your comments with us by suggesting features, sending an email, tweeting, or just leaving a comment on the blog.

Android Market Tracking Now Available for Members Outside the U.S.

As you know we started tracking apps from the Android Market (now Google Play) about 3 months ago. Shortly after, we began finding out that some of our members from outside the U.S. were having trouble syncing their market accounts with appFigures.

It turns out that when our servers, which are located in the U.S., attempt to extract data from Google accounts originating from outside the U.S., Google tends to ask for extra verification to prevent unauthorized access. The problem is that we don’t know exactly what sort of extra information will be required ahead of time, and we don’t want to ask you for any more information about your account than the bare minimum required (the account credentials).

This turned out to be a pretty challenging issue to solve. Sure, we could find some hacky work around, but we wanted to do it right. We put a lot of time into creating a secure and reliable solution. Here’s how it works:

Next time you add a Google account to appFigures and our servers recognize that Google is asking for further verification, a verification window will pop up. There you’ll be able to complete the verification step with Google directly, after which we’ll attempt to import your data.

If you add a Google account and no further verification is required, you’ll never see that popup and everything will work as usual. Easy.

So if you’re outside the U.S. and have been having issues connecting your Google account with your appFigures account, now is a good time to try again.

Although we’ve been testing the new verification system rigorously, there are certainly a few more rough edges left to smooth out. So for now we slapped a ‘beta’ label on it. Please contact us if you experience any issues or have questions.