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Sunday 9 February 2014

Yeah! More info from Windows Phone Dev Center


One of the gripes we developers of Windows Phone devices have had is a lack of insight into the users of our Apps.  Yes, we do get basic information like how many downloads and location but not a whole bunch more.  Well, imagine my pleasant surprise when I clicked on the export button under "Reports/App Downloads" (You do, look at downloads don't you?)!

You used to get the App Name, the Purchase Type, the Country and that was pretty much it.  It gave you enough information to let you know what country your app is popular in.  Ok, it also told you how many downloads you had.  But not much else.  Let me point out that every developer should have been at least collecting and reviewing this limited information on a regular basis.  Knowing what countries are downloading your app and knowing how much each app is being download can be invaluable in figuring out where to spend your valuable time.  Those apps that have 5 downloads total after 20 days either don't need much more attention or desperately need attention. (this is where you download the crash reports, if any and see if it's your fault)

Now, just this last week I opened up my downloads, clicked Reports link from the dashboard and then on the "Export" link.  This downloads the Excel spreadsheet containing your downloads.  Yikes!  They pumped it up considerably with extra data!  Yeah!  Now you get a bunch more bits of data.  Here, I'll outline the new columns and why I think they are useful (or not).

App Version

How many times have you looked at the downloads and wondered whether they downloaded your latest version or the buggy one that just isn't as cool as the current version.  You'll also get a good feel for the adoption rate of your new app.  If you change the reporting period to be several months instead of the default 30 days, you can see what the variance is between version.


Knowing the country is useful, do doubt.  But many countries support multiple languages.  If you know the language you can better target your app.  For example I wrote an app with English as it's primary language. I found that I was getting moderate downloads in Italy.  So I created an entirely different version of the same App but targeted JUST for the Italian market (not an added localization to the existing app) and downloads took off.  It has now surpassed the original English version of the app... who would thought?  Well, I might have, had I the information now provided by Language.

Age Group

I'm sure you see endless television rating where the target audience is 18-25 or something like that.  Well now you can do the same thing.  Does your app have advertising?  If you app has advertising, then you want it downloaded by the very people that advertisers what to reach.  This will get you a higher eCPM (ad rate) and therefore higher revenue.  Checkout the downloads to see who likes what apps and build it up!


Same as above.  The more you know about your audience the better you will do.  If you have apps being downloaded by females, then maybe you can add features that might be more popular with that demographic.  Tune to the audience!

Phone Manufacture & Operator

This is really two fields but I'm more concerned with the one.  Knowing what phone your customers use may let you get an idea of what abilities the customer's phones might have and what they might want.  Maybe Nokia downloaders might like camera apps as Nokia's generally speaking have the best cameras so maybe they got the Nokia to take pictures.

The More You Know

The more you know the better.  If you know more about your customer, you are better able to provide them the apps and services (and in-app purchases) they would like.  I'm very pleased with the uptake.  I would next like to know what customers have "updated" to the latest version and what customers have "uninstalled" my app.  Give me those two things and I'll be even happier.  There are more things but that would be a good next step.  This new step was a good thing though.

Remember that, in Excel, the Pivot Table is your friend.  Try selecting the table, tapping "Insert" then "Pivot Table".  Drag and drop App to the Rows quadrant, Downloads to the Values quadrant then anything else you might want to the Columns quadrant.  You can learn much with this tool!  Don't forget to sort by the Count of Downloads to find out what is the most popular Language/Age Group/Gender/etc...

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