With Windows 8, we provide you powerful tools in Visual Studio, and a rich API set to help you build great Metro style apps. But we know that you don't want to build just a great app—you want to build successful apps. We understand we have a responsibility to provide you with substantive data about your apps—data that gives you the ability to make customer-focused, data-driven decisions. In this post, Deepak Mukunthu, a Program Manager on the Developer Analytics team, describes some of the app reports we provide. This post is the first in a series that will cover the app and Store data we make available to developers to help developers succeed with their current and future apps.

--Antoine


When we started to build the analytics reports we include in the Windows Store, we spent a lot of time talking with the developer community. From these conversations, we learned that the information you need falls into three categories:

  1. Adoption: These reports help you track download trends for your app and listen in to customer feedback.
  2. Quality: These reports help you improve the quality of your apps by tracking and investigating any crashes, hangs, or exceptions in your app.
  3. Finance: These reports help you track your earnings in the store.

In this post, we're going to focus on the Adoption reports. With these reports, you can gain deep insights into your apps' performance in the market. You can examine the data across interesting pivots like user demographics, device architectures and form factors to gain deeper insights. In addition, the Explore store trends page helps you understand how customers are adopting apps at large. We’ll cover quality and finance reports in future posts.

Accessing analytics for your apps

When you log on to the Windows Store Dashboard, the app tiles give you a quick overview of how your apps are doing in Windows Store. The data displayed on the tile are total downloads since release and average star rating across all markets. If your app is either a paid app or free app that supports in-app transactions using our Store transaction services, you also get to see the total revenue earned by the app. We refresh this data once a day and the data itself is typically 24 to 36 hours old.

A image of a typical Windows 8 app tileFigure 1 - App Tile

Clicking on the Reports link on the bottom right corner of the tile opens the app summary page that summarizes the key data-points for that app. Again, based on what we learned from the developer community, we designed the App summary page to give you a quick overview of how your app has been doing over the last 30 days. The app summary page shows you download trends, ratings breakdown, and quality overview for this app. Here's an example:

A representation of the content displayed in the Windows Store's App Summary page.Figure 2 – App summary

You can dive deeper into any of these by clicking the Details link at the top right corner of the corresponding report. You can also use the navigation pane on the left hand side of the screen to view other reports you might find useful.

Let's look at Adoption reports in more detail.

Conversion

Customers go through multiple stages of decision making before purchasing an app. These stages include viewing the app in the Store, downloading the app (including the trial version, if your app supports it) and eventually purchasing it (if it is a paid app). By comparing the number of times people view your app in the Store against the number of downloads, you can get a good idea of how well your app's listing page in the Store is encouraging customers to try your app. By comparing the number of downloads against the number of purchases, you can see how well your trial version is doing. In fact, we provide a Conversion chart to provide you this information. In addition, the purchase numbers are further broken down to let you know the number of users who chose to try the app before purchase.

A typical eample of a conversion report.Figure 3 – Conversion

You can use this chart to determine where you need to focus to improve adoption. For example, a low conversion from app listing page views to downloads could indicate that your app description is not effective enough to get customers interested in trying out the app. Alternatively, negative reviews from existing customers could be discouraging new customers from trying the app. We provide you with data on customer reviews and quality reports to explore and identify areas for improvement.

Listing views by referrer

The Listing views by referrer chart helps you track referral sources for your apps. It displays the top five sources from where users have landed on the app listing page. Our intent here is to help you understand where traffic is coming from so you can tune your marketing appropriately (for example, spending more on SEO if traffic from search engines is low). Keep in mind that this chart doesn't report discovery through internal referrals on the Store client through search or browse.

A sample report showing the listing views by referrerFigure 4 – Listing views by referrer

Downloads

The Downloads report helps you easily track number of users downloading your app from Windows store.

A sample of a Windows Store downloads report.Figure 5 - Downloads

We understand that it is very important for you to know where you stand with respect to your competition. The Average of this subcategory’s top 5 apps trend line provides you a useful reference benchmark for your app. We respect developer privacy by not showing a reference benchmark to other developers if we detect that it can reveal data about a specific app.

Release markers (such as the grey square showing 8 in the above screenshot) help you correlate trends with your app releases—you can clearly see how each of your app releases impacted the download trend.

You can further analyze the download trend using filters.

filtersFigure 6 – Filters

There are two types of filters to help you analyze download data. The time filter on the top right corner allows you to tune the time duration of analysis starting at a day granularity for the past 30 days all the way up to monthly granularity for the past year.

The demography filter allows you to examine the data based on Country/region of download, Age and Gender of the users. In addition, the demographic charts provide a quick look into the demographic profile of your customers for a chosen filter setting.

A sample of a bar and pie chart.Figure 7 - Demographic charts

The customer age and gender data in the Downloads by age group chart is assimilated using the Microsoft account profile of customers. The country information is gathered by using reverse IP lookup of the download clients.

To help simplify the demographic analysis of download trends, we use data mining techniques to detect demographic patterns and present these to you in an easy-to-read format. In the example shown below, the app is being downloaded mostly by males in the age group 22-40 across all countries. You can click on Apply filters to easily apply the demographic pattern to the download chart and see the download trend.

An example of a demographics patterns reportFigure 8 - Demographic patterns

In-app purchases

In the blog titled Licensing apps, my colleague Alwin Vyhmeister explained how you can use in-app purchase to sell additional functionality to customers from inside the app. The In-app purchases report helps you understand the number of in-app purchases happening from your app, and more specifically tracks the top five purchases in your app.

An example of an in-app purchase line graphFigure 9 - In app purchases

Usage

The Usage report helps you understand the amount of time users are spending on your app per day and compare that against the average usage for the subcategory your app belongs to.

An example of a usage reportFigure 10 - Usage

The usage data for the report is collected from a random sample of PCs, ensuring that the data collected is representative of your customers’ usage pattern. The usage time is the total time that the app was running on the user’s PC. This does not include the time your app was in a suspended state on the user’s PC (information on suspended state for an app can be found here).

You can use the time filter to see the change in usage trends for your app and compare the same with the average for apps in the same subcategory. You can also filter the usage report on form factor of the machine on which your app was used. The data in this particular report can be up to 14 days old and is refreshed once a day.

Ratings

Direct customer feedback is a great source of information, and we wanted to make it easy for you to access this.

An example of a ratings reportFigure 11 - Ratings

The Ratings report allows you to look up customer ratings and reviews for each of the markets that you are selling your app in. The breakdown chart shows ratings for your app in the last 30 days, allowing you understand your customers’ perception of your app in the recent past.

Explore store trends

Besides helping you understand how your current app is doing in the market, we also wanted to give you information to help you decide what type of app to build next, and which customer segment to target. The Explore store trends report provides insight into download trends across all categories and subcategories for both free and paid apps. You can access this by clicking on the Explore store trends link on the Dashboard.

An example of how to filter store trendsFigure 12 - Explore store trends filters

Here's an example of trends for the News & weather category.

An example of a trends report using a News and Weather appFigure 13 - Explore store trends for News & weather category

After you select an App Type, Category and Subcategory, you can see the download trend for your selection. As you can see, we provide both time- and demography- based filtering, as well as demographic patterns. This information can help you quickly identify the categories (and subcategories) for your app, and which demographic segments you should target.

We know that great apps demand great tools. We've designed our analytics to include a lot of reports that allow you to not only refine and improve the sales and downloads of existing apps, but also to determine what types of apps to consider building next. And as a vital part of the service, we’ll continue to listen to understand how we can improve these reports so that both you and your customers have a great experience with your apps.

As we talked about in the beginning of this post: we understand the critical role data plays in helping you make decisions about how to position and improve your apps. The Adoptions reports we described are one way we get this data to you. But that's just the beginning—there’s also Quality and Finance reports. We'll describe those reports in upcoming posts, so stay tuned!

--Deepak Mukunthu