Observations on Google Play graphs and rankings

Google Play 30 day graph

I noticed something a few days about the Google Play website “last 30 days” graphs that I did not know before.

I had thought those were total downloads - and used that presumption to argue that it counted uninstalls also possibly because some apps have it going down.

Now from my own app I am able to see that the graph is actually a daily download graph. Thus you could have increasing downloads and because your daily download rate is going down it will show that as a declining graph.

Google Play rankings (as observed on appannie.com)

Another thing I would like to share is my experience (or close encounter with the rankings on Google Play) - some folks have mentioned that Google gives a “30 day” window in which your app is allowed to run up the rankings and then after the 30 day period you experience a sharp drop - are basically evicted from the rankings.

And I can confirm much the same - after 30 day period my app experienced a persistent drop in rankings as well as daily downloads (the downloads were probably influenced by the rankings - since downloads would not drop after 30 days unless it is related to Hurricane Sandy - and probably is the ranking drop leading to download drop).

However, the 30 day rule is not exact - as the app is rising in some other countries. Which suggests that Google’s algorithm may kick in at a certain ranking level or some such thing.

But the effects are quite drastic.

In my AppBrain stats (hourly) I also noticed a prominent periodicity - related to U.S. time zone user activity probably - as the app falls in the U.S. rankings I see a diminishing periodicity and slump in the “new install” AppBrain stats as well. The daily active user stats are more robust (probably because of recurring users) - but new installs are going down. And this suggests a direct link to “app discovery” issues (as you fall in rankings you lose visibility or “eyeballs”).

The value of changing package names

This suggests that the strategy mentioned in some articles - of releasing a part 2 of your app - like Angry Birds 2 - may be a possible strategy. This presumes of course that you have sufficient new features to attract old users over to the new app - but having a new app allows you to ask old users to move - that may create a sudden volume. Secondly you lose the negative ratings you may have acquired from your first app (which you COULD consider in a way as a beta test). Presumably Google will once again give your new app a chance and if all goes well you may do even better in the rankings (?).

The “30 day rule” is only for the ‘New’ category in Google Play. The New category will only list apps which are 30 days old or younger. So if you for example were 1st in the new category for Arcade games then on day 31 you will be out of it no matter what.

As far as I know the age of your apps has nothing to do with the other rankings.

Edit: Of course, as a result of being out of the New category your downloads might be lower which will make your application go down in the other rankings as those are mostly based on daily downloads (according to my own experience and what I’ve seen on Google Play). So yes, the 30 day might have an effect on the other rankings as well, I guess.

Ok, I had thought Google had removed the “New” section - but it seems there is a “New” section and a “Trending” section there.

I had also missed the “Top New Free” column (requires clicking on arrow to see) in the “Top Charts” webpage on appannie.com.

However appannie.com does not show “Top Free” or such for my app in the “Daily Ranks” - just the category where I listed my app shows up.

So it is possible that my app was in another list and an eviction from there is impacting downloads - just that appannie.com is not showing it.

The old “New” section - which listed all new applications - is gone. The rankings for new applications are however still there.