Reminder: iTunes Connect’s Annual Holiday Shutdown Starts Tomorrow

It’s that time again when the trees get lit up and the good folks who run iTunes Connect get a little breather. Although, this year’s shutdown is a little bit different.

First thing’s first, dates. This year’s holiday shutdown will start on Tuesday, December 22nd, and last until Wednesday, December 29th.

What’s different this year is that most of iTunes Connect will actually remain available. This includes all areas we particularly care about, which means you’ll be getting your reports regularly. We’re not sure if there will be any delays, but recommend keeping an eye on our iTunes Connect Status Page for real-time updates.

What you should be aware of is that you won’t be able to submit any new apps, in-app purchases, or app bundles. In addition, you won’t be able to make any changes to your app’s meta data. This includes price changes, so if you’ve got a promotion in mind you should make the change right away.

You can read more about the shutdown here.

We’ll be around this week so don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Happy holidays!

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.

Everything You Need to Know About the New Apple TV App Store

Update: Apple’s Eddy Cue confirmed that there are more than 2,000 apps in the Apple TV App Store and that games are the leading category in an interview with BuzzFeed.

The long awaited Apple TV App Store opened about a month ago, and since we happen to be into apps that got us pretty excited. We started tracking the new store when it had just opened in late October, and have been keeping a close watch on its progress for a little over a month now. Armed with a database full of apps we set out to share some of the things we’re seeing.

We’ve crunched the numbers and have answered some questions we’ve been getting about the new App Store. Read on for details and interactive charts (a brand new addition to our blog), or skip all the fun and go directly to the highlights at the bottom.

How many apps are there?

There are currently 2,624 apps available for download in the Apple TV App Store. That’s quite a number considering the store is just about a month old. With a pretty steady rate of growth so far, we estimate the store will be hitting 5,000 apps in about a month and 10,000 apps in early 2016.

Growth of  TV Apps

As of December 2015

Let’s take a closer look at the category make up. A common question is which category is the largest? If you’re thinking games you’re not wrong! The Games category is the single largest category on the Apple TV App Store with 1,002 apps. This means Games make up roughly 38% of all Apple TV apps.

 TV Apps by Category

As of December 2015

This distribution looks fairly healthy with games leading the pack and entertainment trailing behind. For a device that’s connected to your television this makes a lot of sense. We were a bit surprised to see the Shopping category consisting of just 9 apps. With the holiday season closing in we’d expected retailers to jump on this new opportunity. Maybe next year.

As we look through categories there’s something important we should make note of – while developers can publish apps to more than 20 main categories, only seven are currently visible in the Apple TV. We marked those categories with a darker shade of blue. We’re not sure how Apple is deciding which categories to open up, but did notice all apps are downloadable if you search them.

How are they monetizing?

Monetizing on any app store is as challenge, but due to the lack of ads (from Apple’s iAd or 3rd parties), the options are a bit more limited and so developers are currently forced to monetize by charging for their app, or using in-app purchases.

Looking at the data we were a bit surprised. Our expectation, especially for the early batch of apps, was to see the majority of apps being free with in-app purchases. That however does not seem to be the case — 39% of apps on the Apple TV App Store are paid apps.

Free vs. Paid Apps On the  TV App Store

As of December 2015

If this trend continues it could mean great news for developers, signaling that consumers trust the new device to provide them with an experience that’s worth paying for upfront.

Just how much are developers charging? For that, let’s break down those paid apps by price tier.

 TV Paid App Pricing

As of December 2015

The majority of paid apps cost $2.99 or less. The race to the bottom hasn’t graced the Apple TV App Store, but it’s worth noting that there are a few brave developers that are challenging that, pricing their apps as high as $59.99.

What are consumers downloading?

Now that we know what’s available and what it costs, let’s take a look at what consumers actually want. To do that we’ve looked up the top 50 apps and grouped them by category.

Top Categories on  TV

As of December 2015

While there are more games than apps in any other single category, games don’t seem to dominate the top charts (yet?). Instead, it’s Entertainment that’s leading the pack with Games being somewhat of a distant second. The Apple TV could possibly be a great gaming (depends who you ask), but so far consumers are using it to stream their favorite shows. That’s why the top 10 apps are all streaming apps from popular services and cable channels.

While the Apple TV is still fairly small, it’s showing great signs of growth and with the holidays coming up has the potential to turn into a more substantial revenue source for developers very soon. We’ll be keeping an eye on the new store and will put out an updated analysis in the new year that looks at growth, so stay tuned and join the mailing list to be the first to know about it.


  • There are 2,624 apps on the Apple TV App Store.
  • An average of 447 new apps are added to the store every week.
  • 38% of all apps are games.
  • The categories with the most apps are: Games, Entertainment, and Education.
  • There are more than 20 categories apps can be submitted to but only 7 are currently visible.
  • 61% of all apps are free
  • 85% of paid apps cost between $0.99 and $2.99.
  • Entertainment apps dominate the top charts (28 of the Top 50).
  • Only 8 of the top 50 apps are games.

The data

This analysis was done using our comprehensive app catalog which we make available commercially through Appbase. The catalog contains over 4 million apps from all major app stores, including all Apple TV apps regardless of whether they’re in a category that’s available on the Apple TV App Store or not.

Are you making apps for the Apple TV? Sign up for a free trial and start tracking your apps the right way!

Tracking Sales, Ranks, Top Charts, and Featured Apple TV Apps

Track Apple TV apps with appFigures

Last week the new Apple TV started shipping to consumers. With sales expected to exceed 20 million units, developers haven’t missed a beat, launching more than 1,000 apps for the new hardware. And we’re barely a week in!

We rolled out support for tracking downloads and revenue for Apple TV apps last week, and today we’re adding hourly rank tracking, global top charts, and featured app tracking for Apple TV apps, giving developers precise competitive information in near real-time.

Track hourly ranks and top charts for Apple TV apps with appFigures

In addition to tracking downloads and revenue, we’re now also tracking hourly ranks, top charts, and featured apps from the new Apple TV App Store. Ranks and top charts are available for all categories (including Top overall, Entertainment, Games and all 16 games subcategories), all list types (including free, paid, and grossing), and all countries. With these additions, Apple TV apps can now be tracked with the depth and flexibility you’re used to for your other iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows apps.

To track your Apple TV apps simply link your iTunes Connect account. If you already have it connected the new apps should be added automatically for you and included in all reports.

Happy tracking!!

Now Tracking AppleTV Apps + a New Sales Metric for iOS Apps: Re-Downloads

Happy Friday folks. Apple has been busy lately, launching new devices and enhancing reports, which means we’ve got some updates for you iOS developers.

AppleTV App Tracking

Track your AppleTV apps with appFigures

The new Apple TV has started shipping today and we’re happy to report we’re already tracking Apple TV app downloads, revenue, and more. Your new AppleTV apps will be added to your account automatically. If you have Auto Activate turned on (the default), we’ll start tracking the new apps automatically. If you don’t, simply head into your Apps page and activate them.

New metric: re-downloads

Track app re-downloads with appFigures

Earlier in the week Apple introduced a new identifier but did not explain what it does. We had a theory that Apple confirmed yesterday – the new identifier is for re-downloads. Now that we know what this new identifier means we’re tracking it and have added it to the site. Soon it’ll be available in your email reports as well as through the API.

We hope you enjoy the new features. As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Minor Discrepancy for iOS/Mac Apps

Earlier today we discovered a discrepancy in download for iOS and Mac apps for Oct 26th. We investigated the issue and discovered this is a result of a recent change Apple made to iTunes Connect reports. We are now re-importing the correct data and will re-send any affected email reports.

The technical details:

Earlier today Apple added a new, undocumented, download type to some daily reports which was counted towards total downloads. While we are still investigating what kind data this new type represents, we are fairly certain it should not be counted as downloads, and are in the process of separating it out.

We’ve reached out to Apple to learn more about this undocumented identifier so we can integrate it into our reports appropriately, and will have a separate update about that.

If you have any questions or concerns please get in touch.

New: App Store Ratings in the API

We’ve been working hard to improve the API, and have rolled out a highly requested addition – a route for app store ratings.

With the new /ratings route you’ll be able to get app store ratings for an app broken down by date and country.

You can get ratings for all of your apps by requesting /ratings directly, or get ratings for a specific app by passing in its product id: /ratings?products=5847866 (for Facebook iOS).

And here’s the response:

    "product": 123901123,
    "region": "US",
    "date": "2015-10-23T00:00:00",
    "stars": [

The new route supports several filters and grouping options. Check out the documentation for more details.

The new /ratings route, like all other public routes, will work for any app in any of the major app stores. Apps you own are always free, others require enabling the Public Data API Add-On.

appStrategy: How We Increased Revenue by Listening to Users by Peter Murphy

appStrategy is a series of posts that feature app developers who utilized analytics to make more insightful decisions and get more out of the app store. This latest post is by Peter Murphy the founder of Pocket Prep.

Pocket Prep is an educational app company that creates affordable test prep for a variety of high-stakes exams. With over 150 apps pertaining to 80 different exams, our small team of three uses app store data to make intelligent business decisions each and every day.

EdTech is a funny word. It’s a fusion of education and technology; two things that seem to change and evolve rapidly with each passing day. As developers, we understand the need to stay at least somewhat ahead of the curve, which is no small feat. Throw education in the mix and you have a business landscape whose foundation can feel more like quicksand than anything else. Keeping our heads above the muck requires smart use of data.

Pocket Prep 155 App Portfolio

Our business at a glance

When I roll out of bed in the morning, I’m grabbing my phone and checking the new (and awesome) appFigures iOS app. Before browsing email or enjoying my morning cup of joe, I want to know our downloads, our earnings, and our users’ reviews from the day before since these metrics are the lifeblood of our app business. appFigures makes this a breeze as it quickly pulls in data from both iOS and Android app stores.

Our business is somewhat simple: we marry awesome, affordable test prep with a robust, lightweight app and market it to the appropriate audience. All of our test prep is created in house and our writers use a home-built content management system (CMS) to keep track of their progress. With many of the more niche exams, there’s less competition in the app world but considerably more elsewhere. Because of this, our apps have to be a cut above traditional learning mediums in order for our business to thrive.

When the good turns bad

Earlier this year in March, one of our more popular nursing apps, CCRN, saw a surge of downloads and revenue. We attribute this surge to our app’s landing page ranking up in Google’s SERPS, which meant more people were finding the app and making the decision to download without the need for advertising. Awesome, right?

CCRN Sales for March - May

CCRN downloads and sales jumped when our app’s landing page gained authority in Google, thus increasing our app’s organic exposure.

What was not-so-awesome was the customer feedback that began pouring in around this time. Several one and two-star reviews from angry customers hammered us on both iTunes and Google Play storefronts, resulting in a big uh oh! moment for the team. Only 1.05% of monthly Pocket Prep users bother to leave feedback, good or bad, so the frequency of these unfavorable reviews indicated a serious problem.

CCRN Negative Reviews

It seemed like our nursing writer had dropped the ball in terms of quality. We immediately turned to our CMS to understand just how far that ball had dropped, and we were quite disappointed in what we saw. Some questions didn’t make sense while others had some serious grammatical issues. I couldn’t believe this content had made it past our editors!

Realizing that we couldn’t willfully sell a mediocre study solution that would probably confuse customers more than aid them, we pulled it down from sale and got to work. After a grueling three-month stint, we ended up scrapping all 600 existing questions and created 400 brand new ones that dramatically raised the bar in terms of value to the customer.

Back in action

As of August 11th, the app is back in the store and downloads are starting to pick back up. Interestingly enough, the app only fell a few positions in iTunes when searching for “CCRN exam prep.” We had expected the app to suffer more of an ASO penalty for being off the market as long as it was. Fortunately, the app returned to its top keyword positions within 48 hours of being reintroduced to the store.

CCRN Revenue Growth After Update

Momentum is picking back up despite the app having been delisted for over three months. We expect positive customer reviews to start coming in as well.

When managing such a wide array of apps, the team here at Pocket Prep relies on data aggregation and up-to-date analytics to stay afloat. Had we not noticed these negative reviews when we did, our brand would have surely suffered. Fortunately, with the help of the tools provided by appFigures, we made the call swiftly and turned a bad situation into a victory.

Talking Trends: The Rise of the “Middle Class” Of App Developers, With Martin Macmillan of Pollen VC

For the second installment of this series, we chatted with Martin Macmillan, CEO and Founder of Pollen VC. Pollen VC is a financial tech platform that gives mobile developers early access to their app store revenues. Martin shares his take on the funding gap in the app stores and why he thinks the rise of a “middle class” of app developers will be beneficial for the industry.

Why was Pollen created?

I first experienced the “funding gap” myself after co-founding Soniqplay, a music remixing app company. We found that it could take anywhere up to 60 days for the app stores to pay out on our sales revenue, and this made it very difficult to build our user base and grow the company.

I looked for a solution with some traditional invoice discounters, but I found that they just couldn’t get their heads around the way the app stores work. Traditional invoice discounters are pretty hung up on the fact that there is no paper invoice from a digital store, even though you can readily access all the required sales reporting electronically.
It was incredibly frustrating because we knew the sales revenue was there, we just couldn’t get hold of it, and meanwhile we couldn’t pull together external funding for our user acquisition campaigns.

However, prior to Soniqplay, I had worked in investment banking as a bond trader, so I understood how credit risk assessment works and that the app store platforms – i.e. Apple and Google – are some of the safest credit risks in the world. I realised there must be a way to link the old world of finance with the new world of digital marketplaces, and help developers plug the funding gap. This is where the idea for Pollen VC came from.

What challenges keep you up at night?

Getting the word out there! Pollen VC is a disruptive funding model for app user acquisition, so our biggest challenge is education. Many indie developers are a little worried when you talk to them about financial issues and many see the mechanics of app promotion as a black box – they think marketing is a dark art so they are put off. It’s part of our job to get them through the difficulties of launching their app or game, and one of the benefits of using Pollen is that it can provide the financial breathing space for a developer to test and hone their monetization and user acquisition strategy, especially during a Beta launch, because they can self-fund this with their own sales revenues.

How does Pollen utilize data to empower developers?

We utilize data in everything we do. Pollen’s core service bases credit assessments on sales data taken directly from the app stores, and this feeds into our customer dashboard where developers can see how much sales revenue is due from the app store. They can then see how much is available to spend, and decide to either take the cash out each week, or recycle their sales into their choice of ad network. We work with many of the leading mobile ad networks such as Facebook and Tapjoy to make it easier for developers to set up accounts which are funded with the developer’s sales revenue, rather than relying on ad network credit lines or raising additional equity. This empowers developers to do user acquisition campaigns, which they may have struggled to fund otherwise.

Lastly, what trends occurring right now in the app store ecosystem are most exciting to you, and how do you think they will pan out?

We’ve seen an emerging “middle class” of mobile developers – this is a segment of the app store which might not see overnight millionaire success or hold the top rankings of the charts, but they are making anything from $5,000-$500,000 per month. We looked at data from September 2014 to April 2015 and noted that there was an increase in the number of developers earning between $5,000 and $500,000 per month, which can only be good news. I think that the app store economy is stabilising, you’ll see fewer and fewer overnight millionaires, and the current set of big hitters will eventually loosen their monopoly on the top spots as their audience growth plateaus. The so-called “middle-class” of app developers will grow as they take advantage of niche audiences and gain better understanding of those customers over time. These are the businesses Pollen VC is helping to grow.

Thanks to Martin for providing us with some more insights on Pollen VC, and how app owners can resolve the funding gap in the app stores.

Check out all Talking Trends posts for more industry interviews.

Martin has 20 years’ experience in launching and building technology businesses in FinTech, music and media sectors, and a prior career in Investment banking as a bond trader. Prior to Pollen, Martin was CEO at Soniqplay, CEO at Level Four (acquired by clear2pay) and a Director of UBS in London, where he ran the short term credit trading group and conceived and delivered UBS’ first client-facing electronic debt trading platform.

Amazon to Pay Developers by Usage With New Service Underground

Amazon Underground

Monetizing your app isn’t as straightforward as selecting a price tier these days. Revenue today can come from ads, app downloads, in-app purchases, and even subscription.

Today, Amazon rolled out a totally new way to make money from your Android app – usage. That’s right, not downloads, but usage.

Amazon Underground

Amazon has several interesting requirements for inclusion in Underground. Here’s the gist:

  • The app must already exist and be available on an app store that isn’t Amazon’s (apps can’t be made specifically for Amazon Underground without special permission).
  • The app must already be generating revenue (as a paid or freemium app).
  • The app must be available for download on at least one non-amazon device.
  • You must create a free version of the app, but its gameplay/functionality can’t be different than the original app.

The complete set of requirements can be found here.

If you already have a qualified app jump over to Underground’s Revenue Estimator to see what publishing would mean for you.

85% of Android apps “just work” on Amazon

According to Amazon, 85% of Android apps “just work” when submitted to the Amazon Appstore. That means that the apps you already published on Google Play should “just work” and potentially provide you with additional revenue, especially with Underground.

Amazon has a free testing service you can use to see if your apps will “just work”. Give it a try.

FYI – Last summer we looked into how many developers actually cross-publish their apps and noticed less than 6% of Android developers post to both Google Play and the Amazon Appstore. Amazon is certainly trying to change that with Underground.

What’s the catch?

Amazon has been a bit ahead of Google and Apple with developer tools since their Appstore went live. The main problem is that their user-base, developer-base, and also app-base are tiny in comparison to their competitors. Unlike Apple, Amazon apps are built on Android, which means they can “share” their user-base.

To us this looks a lot like an attempt by Amazon to attract users with free games. It’s a breath of fresh air for users who are getting tired of in-app purchases, and it provides a great incentive for developers to make more engaging apps and games.

if this works (and is sustainable for Amazon) it’d be a win-win for the entire ecosystem.