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Sudden drop in number of daily installs on Google Play Store

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by AxPetre, Jun 23, 2018.

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  1. langem

    langem

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    Hi, same here. We've got two play store accounts and the downloads for all our 6 games dropped by a factor 0.05-0.1 :(
    Android vitals are good, ranks and keywords are stable. Shiat....
     
  2. AxPetre

    AxPetre

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    Yes, I see that all the "Similar Apps" recommendations seem to show just the same games over and over, whether they are similar to the current app or not. But I think it's just a bug and not some foul play to give the big games a boost at our expense. We'll have to see what they reply.
     
  3. j0hka

    j0hka

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    I'm having a call tomorrow morning with a guy from Google Play's mobile app promotion side so I'll ask if he happens to know anything.
     
  4. AxPetre

    AxPetre

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    That's great! Let us know if you find out anything.
     
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  5. pep_dj

    pep_dj

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    Thank you! We'll be waiting for you!
     
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  6. Jehanzab-Zubair

    Jehanzab-Zubair

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    Which region are u based out of. We have been experiencing the same issue as well. and we are based in Pakistan and Middle East. just wanted to know if google algorithm is effect one region more than the other
     
  7. mmvlad

    mmvlad

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    If this is an algorithm change - man we are screwed)
     
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  8. j0hka

    j0hka

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    Yep. Better start looking for open positions.
     
  9. neufoctobre

    neufoctobre

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    I don't think the algorithm change because keyword ranking and category ranking doesn't move.
     
  10. Tamasenco

    Tamasenco

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    Unfortunately seems that this is the case...
     
  11. neufoctobre

    neufoctobre

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    Hey Tamasenco,

    I'm from france and just by curiosity I checked your games on my computer play store, they are all marked as unpublished.

    Is that normal ?!?
     

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  12. j0hka

    j0hka

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    I'm from Finland and your app shows as unreleased for me too.
     

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  13. mmvlad

    mmvlad

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    This is the last resort)
     
  14. tiburon

    tiburon

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    I see the same (unpublished) on the Spain Store
     
  15. mmvlad

    mmvlad

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  16. neufoctobre

    neufoctobre

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    mmvlad, your game is ok and published
     
  17. bart_the_13th

    bart_the_13th

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  18. mmvlad

    mmvlad

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    Thanks a lot. I was checking Idle tycoon via vpn not logged in - it shows fine, if I check via logged in account - it shows unpublished. Can't trust google now)
     
  19. neufoctobre

    neufoctobre

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    So the unpublished/published thing is not link to the installs drop
     
  20. bart_the_13th

    bart_the_13th

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    Ive just checking my app again and the similar app start to return to normal...
    I said 'start' because there are still some random unsimilar games but I think they are about getting replaced by something more related to my game...
    lets just hope that everything goes back to normal soon
     
  21. j0hka

    j0hka

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    I'm seeing some changes on the similar apps as well. My "Hydraulic Press Pocket" game had wedding games on it's similar games earlier and now it has some sort of hydraulic calculator and CATS (the game where you destroy funny vehicles, so it kinda matches my game) and CATS has been on my similar before this issue which is promising.

    Also my Tuber Simulator now has Vlogger Go Viral on it's similar which is accurate.
     
  22. migrax

    migrax

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    BTW do you guys have any clues as to what are minimal conditions for the game to appear in "Similar" section?
     
  23. j0hka

    j0hka

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    I think it's a big mystery for everyone really. Name, category, description and then it also favours apps with a lot of downloads and trustworthy developers. It would be nice to see which games have my games listed as their similars. Actually, is there a way to see that?
     
  24. Socrates

    Socrates

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    @AxPetre Out of curiosity, I followed your signature link to your game on the Google store. For similar games, it shows me:
    • Flight Pilot Simulator
    • Modern Warplane
    • Gunship Battle
    • War Wings
    • Wingsuit Simulator
     
  25. AxPetre

    AxPetre

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    Yesterday, there were more games shown as similar, most of them being completely unrelated, so they seem to be working at the algorithm right now.
    Also there are two problems with the current similar games listed:
    1. There are only 5 of them, instead of 40+ as they were before this problem arisen;
    2. And the most important issue is that these same 5 games are about the only games that are shown as similar to almost all the other flight games on the store, while my game and many other good games are completely absent from the "Similar Apps" listings.
     
  26. Tamasenco

    Tamasenco

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    Yes our games are still unpublished as they where before but I see that the other developer that they have the same issue their games are published so I dont think that this is linked with the issue. :/
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  27. afftar

    afftar

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    We have install drop to -95%
    One of game go to 1k from 60k installs per day.
     
  28. mmvlad

    mmvlad

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    And the real winner is fcking War Robots.
    Google play madness
     

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  29. snoutup

    snoutup

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    I'm here to get emotional support. Looks like I got it easy with "only" 70% drop in downloads, but ad-revenue from Google Play releases was my main source of income, so things are not looking good now. Looking forward to more information and hoping it will be comforting.
     
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  30. yourstoryinteractive

    yourstoryinteractive

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    dammit
     
  31. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    Have you changed any of your marketing or where you are ding advertising? If you are using the same services like Facebook or a similar aggregator, the changes may be related to that source.
     
  32. yourstoryinteractive

    yourstoryinteractive

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    I wasn't doing any paid marketing at all. Only organic traction.
     
  33. Tamasenco

    Tamasenco

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    All our installs that they are being effected are organic installs and there is not even any update or change these 3 days that we see this dramatic drop to our installs.
     
  34. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    Oh, organics fluctuate all the time, there are a ton of things that make them jump all over the place. If they’ve been consistent then you are fortunate. Popularity in a key word may bubble yours higher. If a big game was doing a heavy ad-spend that was driving sales an had a related key word or reference, then they stopped, that could explain it. We’ve seen this happen several times before. (In both directions). It’s just the nature of the market. Our organics are currently up and rising on play across 3 titles. They occasionally take a sharp down turn and will occasionally spike. When they drop, you do an ad spend to or adjust descriptions/ key words.
     
  35. j0hka

    j0hka

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    I mean yes but having 5000 really stable daily installs for a year and then it dropping by 90% almost overnight is weird. And the fact that it has now happened to multiple developers at the same time.
     
  36. yourstoryinteractive

    yourstoryinteractive

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    I think we're having a completely different situation here.
    - Most of the devs are reporting drastic download drops, sometimes by an order of magnitude
    - Some devs are reporting drops across all their app portfolio
    - Some devs have had a steady daily downloads traction for months and suddenly it drops to nothing
    - In the three threads that I monitor, there are about 20 devs reporting the same issue

    It just doesn't fit into "this happens sometimes" scenario
     
  37. snoutup

    snoutup

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    Most of the people here know it and nobody would be here because of normal fluctuations or an occasional unfortunate shift in rankings. People getting demolished with 90% overnight drops in downloads across the platform is not normal and I'm not sure why are you trying to downplay it. Read the thread, others are mentioning that their keyword rankings didn't change.
     
  38. pep_dj

    pep_dj

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    I'm publishing Android apps since 2011 and I've never seen anything like this. This is not a normal situation.
     
  39. Jenzo83

    Jenzo83

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    This is definitely no normal fluctuation. We've been in the store for 4 years now. And we've never seen drops of 80-90% on all games at the same time. Not even close to what is happening now!
     
  40. langem

    langem

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    yep... 2013 for me... not normal...
     
  41. Butterbean21

    Butterbean21

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    We too, have been doing apps for almost 10 years now, and spoke to another developer who has been doing apps since around 2010, and we have NEVER in the history of google play, or any appstore, seen a significant drop like this. This is not a normal downtrend in organic installs - this is a significant drop, by over 80% in many of our top performing apps, and a very scary scenario.

    What does everyone think the likely scenario is here?: Glitch, or Algorithm change? I certainly hope it's the former, and things get back to normal ASAP, but I'm afraid the damage has already been done in just 3 days....
     
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  42. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    I wasn’t trying to downplay anything, I was questioning because if something is wrong it’s important to know about. And more details help paint a clearer picture.
     
  43. ImranKhalil

    ImranKhalil

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    Same thing happend, 30K downloads to 1K :/
     
  44. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    I’ve been doing this over a decade as well and have seen this several times. (On multiple stores and in both directions). A few days isn’t to worrying, if the trend continues for a few weeks or a month it is something you want to look at adjusting for. It very well could be an adjustment in the algorithms, that has happened before. It could be a normalization or adjustment in thier reporting as well. (Those numbers aren’t always based on raw data, they are projections.). Could be the weather, or world events. (Some countries have filters that change and have an impact.). It could an aftershock of the new eu laws. If it is something that affects everything across the platform, they will definitely be working to correct it. If it only affects a certain segment, it may have been an intentional change. All the platforms are pretty quiet on when and how they adjust rankings, if that is what’s causing it, they likely won’t admit to it, or discuss it in any detail.
     
  45. Nadan

    Nadan

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    This reminds me of Fight Club.

    Three minutes. This is it - ground zero. Would you like to say a few words to mark the occasion?

    In the movie Tyler Durden wants to erase all bank accounts etc. to zero. Maybe it's the new EU laws, maybe something else and they need to make such big changes to the database (at least with the "Similar Apps" sections), that it's all redone in a way that we all need to "start over" with our apps in the store.

    All of you who have greatest impact also seem to have lots of organic loads and maybe for this reason you see this "from scratch" change more clearly than devs with apps that generally don't make that many downloads anyways. You had great organic place in the system for a long time that now went to zero and you no longer get the benefit of organic downloads. And in time things will again rearrange to what it was before, or to a whole new position - better or worst than before.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  46. Kidga

    Kidga

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    Now I know how many downloads I had from search and how many from "Similar Apps" :)
     
  47. AxPetre

    AxPetre

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    To the ones among you that are still not convinced that there is something wrong with the "Similar Apps" sections, do the following:
    1. Go to the Play Store on PC or MAC;
    2. Go to your game's page or to another game's page that you think is similar to yours;
    3. Click on the "Similar" section (located in the right side of the screen on PC or MAC browsers);
    4. When on the "Similar" page, copy the webpage link;
    5. Go on the Google page and paste the link in the search box;
    6. One of the results will be that exact page, but don't click on it, instead click on the small green triangle at the end of the link and choose "Cached";
    7. This will open the cached version of that "Similar" page, and show it to you as it was a few weeks ago;
    8. Compare that version of the page with the one from today;
    9. Save that page for future reference;
    10. Repeat the same action for other games that you think are similar to yours if you still need convincing.
     
  48. Butterbean21

    Butterbean21

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    I agree that a few days isn't worrying, and we have enough apps to have seen all kinds of fluctuations on google play and iOS. Between both stores, iOS is generally more "sticky" in terms of app ranking vs google play. But Google play has been much more consistent over the years.

    THIS fluctuation that happened in prior days, of all the google play algorithm changes, ASO etc. is by far the most jarring one yet. It may not be the case for your apps, and you may not have a large enough portfolio to notice any changes, but we've seen it across several apps. This type of thing doesn't happen, and it is the general concensus right now.

    Most algorithm changes are smoothly transitioned. They had one back in March where all the ranks froze for 3 days, while those changes were made. Usually, most algorithm changes are quiet, and unnoticeable, and if patterns in app ranking do change, it's a tapering effect, not a ripping off the bandaid effect. This one is not one of those instances :)

    This one is markedly different. Let's just hope, whatever it is, we're able to weather this storm ;)
     
  49. Butterbean21

    Butterbean21

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    @AxPetre - you are a genius. I tried your method, and I see the cached results. Crazy to think how many installs we were getting from those "similar apps" clicks.

    Now the question is, will Google play revert the results to that or not?
     
  50. AxPetre

    AxPetre

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    I sure hope so, but it's clear that something is broken.
    And there are many big developers with games that have 10+ million downloads each, that no longer appear in the "Similar" sections. Those devs are probably seeing losses of tens of thousands of USD in just these days, and they will be pissed...
     
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