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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. Antony-Blackett

    Antony-Blackett

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    We weren’t talking about platform share, but the upfront cost.
     
  2. BackToPanda

    BackToPanda

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    It will stay like this... I wrote to Google Support and got the following answer:

    "
    As part of our continued effort to deliver the best possible Google Play experience, we regularly update the Play Store to help people find and discover safe, high quality, useful, and relevant apps and games.

    Over the last year, we’ve been enhancing our search and discovery algorithms to better reflect app quality. Recently, we increased its importance in our recommendations. This results in more high quality titles being surfaced in the Play Store, which has positively impacted the overall user experience and engagement, which in turn helps developers.

    We hear the concerns expressed by some developers about these changes, but we believe that focusing on users will encourage a healthier apps and games ecosystem, and create better opportunities for developers. Developers who focus on app quality can see improvements in their user ratings, and ultimately their retention and monetization.

    We encourage all developers to review some of the suggestions in this post and on developers.android.comto learn how to improve the overall quality of their apps and games.

    Hope this clarify everything.
    "

    It is super sad I have 2 apps which did considerably well and both dropped -80% download rate, although the Android Vitals are below threshold and ratings are 4.5*+...
     
  3. Bala87

    Bala87

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    Yes, I can see same 20 apps getting repeated endlessly on the developer page. Checked Gameloft and others.
     
  4. rabbitmountain

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    Indeed the simular section of an app/game page seems broken or removed.

    In the past there used to be about 3 rows or more of 'simular', 'you may like'-type content.
    Now you only see one (ore none) row which has the [ad] notice included. These are simular apps for which Google Ad campaigns are running.

    I think the lack of these sections easily accounts for a significant drop in downloads if you has a popular app.
    Besides this there are likely other changes in the overall algoritme at work.

    Regarding the simular section I see 3 possible scenarios:
    1. bug in simular section and it will return at some point.
    2. re-work in the simular section and it will return at some point (possibly in different fashion)
    3. simular section as we know it is gone and only ad-based simular will remain

    You could agrue that 3 is interesting for Google as to boost you app only advertising with them will work. I do however think that a simular section with truely valuable content to the user is in the high interest of the end user and therefore likely to return in some fashion. Although clearly Google and most large companies are out to make money, if they do NOT center around whats best for the end-user they fail.

    Just my 1 cent assessment after some digging around.
     
  5. Sky-Slider

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    https://discord.gg/Da9a2NV russian server about this issue. Русский сервер для мобильных разработчиков, обсуждаем ситуацию.
     
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  6. yourstoryinteractive

    yourstoryinteractive

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    Well, I wrote again to Google, and as everyone, received the same answer:

    Thanks for your patience.

    As part of our continued effort to deliver the best possible Google Play experience, we regularly update the Play Store to help people find and discover safe, high quality, useful, and relevant apps and games.

    Over the last year, we’ve been enhancing our search and discovery algorithms to better reflect app quality. Recently, we increased its importance in our recommendations. This results in more high quality titles being surfaced in the Play Store, which has positively impacted the overall user experience and engagement, which in turn helps developers.

    We hear the concerns expressed by some developers about these changes, but we believe that focusing on users will encourage a healthier apps and games ecosystem, and create better opportunities for developers. Developers who focus on app quality can see improvements in their user ratings, and ultimately their retention and monetization.

    We encourage all developers to review some of the suggestions in this post and on developers.android.com to learn how to improve the overall quality of their apps and games.


    Nothing unusual, right? Yeah, but I also did include game's KPIs in the email, as proof of a game of a very good quality.

    upload_2018-7-2_7-32-12.png
    upload_2018-7-2_7-32-24.png
    upload_2018-7-2_7-32-34.png
    And they're telling me to focus on app quality???

    **** *** Google!
     
  7. i9mobile

    i9mobile

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    Our main game also got an 80% drop, with users rating at 4.34 stars.

    At the end of last year we had this game reviewed and approved by Google team to enter the New and Updated category, where it stayed for 1 week and with positive reviews from users ...

    We also do not know what might have happened. I emailed the Google Play team and got the same response as you guys.

    I just replyed back with screen shots of user reviews and stability indexes and I am waiting for the answer ..
     
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  8. pnyxtr

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    I got a response from Luna again. Who is Luna, a bot? Anyway she states that nothing is wrong.

    Thank you for your reply with additional information.

    We understand your frustration about the install drop across all your apps.

    As you have noticed that we’ve been enhancing our search and discovery algorithms to better reflect app quality, this is the reason behind the impacts of your apps' recent install decreases.

    We see that your apps have been performing well. 'Similar Apps' section is algorithmically selected and changes regularly. Over time, the apps that list your app in their Similar Apps section will change, and vice versa. Please rest assured that our system is working in a normal and stable status.

    We would also like to thank you again for your continued effort to deliver the best possible Google Play app experience for users.

    Please let me know if you have other questions. I will be happy to help!

    Regards,
    Luna
     
  9. einEntwickler

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    For some people the downloads are returning back to normal. I think we should just wait for the new algorithm to adjust.
     

    Attached Files:

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  10. rigidbuddy

    rigidbuddy

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    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
  11. pnyxtr

    pnyxtr

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    Ok so what are good retention rates?
    If retention rate is so important, we should all bomb our users with notifications and add waiting mechanisms. Is that really increasing the customer experience?
    And what about games that you enjoy for a couple of hours, like "game dev story", then never play it again. It was still a nice experience thouse hours. I think you should promote games with a lot of average play time.
     
  12. rigidbuddy

    rigidbuddy

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    I don't know. Just found that official post from Google which explains the reason behind our drop.

    We have puzzle game which has dropped it's install rate by 96%
    Day 7 retention: 6%, Day 30: 1.5%
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
  13. pnyxtr

    pnyxtr

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    Ok I have D7: 14%, D30: 4%. Which also is not enough apparently. Average daily playtime per active user: 23 min
     
  14. Prometheusheir

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    I don't think any of the data points we see in the developer console is what this is about. I think they are simply somehow determining if the app is a 'clone' of some sort and then you are out of the loop for organic traffic altogether.

    One of the two apps I have that are killed off at the moment has day 7 retention of 53% and day 30 of 27%. Crash rate is 0.13%. Rating average is 3.75. Daily installs are down 95% since 21 June.

    The only thing it has going against it is that it is a (functionally improved but) similar app to one I published 2 months earlier.

    For me, this is either an obvious and horrific bug, or a very deliberate 'F U' to the smaller developer community. And given it took so long and we still have no change, I can only assume it is the latter.
     
  15. BrandLibel

    BrandLibel

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    Retention shouldn't matter; I also saw 90% daily install drops while having retention numbers of Day 1: 62%, Day 7: 46%, Day 30: 31%

    Additionally I don't think it's just clones they're targeting. My game is extremely original, actually causing others to make cheap clones of my game.
     
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  16. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    It’s going to take many things into account, there won’t be any single thing that ensures it does well. Including many numbers other than typical kpis that we look at.
     
  17. pnyxtr

    pnyxtr

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    I don't think they can target clones. 1) AI is not that far yet. 2) It's a grey area, from a total ripoff to subtle inspirations.
     
  18. bobisgod234

    bobisgod234

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    I don't have a game on the Play Store, but for me as a user, Similar Apps is now useless and just lists major apps that have no relevance to my currently installed apps or interests.

    It's a shame as its really the niche games/apps that are going to suffer, and I don't really want to play the 400th Clash of Clans clone, even if it is more quality-er.

    I am also getting the issue where viewing a developers games just loops the same set of games over and over. I can't seem to find a way just to list a developers games in chronological order.
     
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  19. Stan22z

    Stan22z

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    Then complain directly to google support please. Because they don't obviously listening developers,still answering non-sense template message something about quality,their system is just broken, if users will complain about their "upgrade" , they might do something with that or at least to listen them.
     
  20. Stan22z

    Stan22z

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    it is your chart? what genre of the game it is please?
     
  21. langem

    langem

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    soooo... now the search results are repeating as well... can't be good for visibiltiy either... wtf
     
  22. Antony-Blackett

    Antony-Blackett

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    Yeah, I tried to report the problem as a regular user but it just froze my computer.

    Edit: Tried again and it worked this time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
  23. robotjam

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    New one from google.... so they have actually admitted there's an issue in an official reply.

     
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  24. Antony-Blackett

    Antony-Blackett

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    Yeah, I got that one too. Then later got one saying it was expected behaviour. So who knows.
     
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  25. robotjam

    robotjam

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    I got the first one saying we had a new algorithm and then 10 minutes later saying its an issue.
     
  26. red_unit

    red_unit

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    upload_2018-7-3_11-31-58.png

    How do you like that? Seems like after all, they've lost players too, but not on 20th of June.
    At the same time Clash Of Clans lost a good portion of installs (judging by reviews).

    upload_2018-7-3_11-51-9.png
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
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  27. Stan22z

    Stan22z

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    they sent you after 10min new answer that it is a issue?
     
  28. einEntwickler

    einEntwickler

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    Some more apps went back to normal:

    IMG_20180703_131938.jpg IMG_20180703_131954.jpg

    IMG_20180703_132005.jpg
     
  29. AppFamily

    AppFamily

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    I just noticed that similar apps block on my app listing and category pages work properly if I'm not signed in to Google, but if I sign in, they are blank.

    Signed out, works as expected:
    upload_2018-7-3_13-57-6.png


    Signed in, similar apps are blank:
    upload_2018-7-3_13-57-19.png


    Reproducible, and reported to Google.
     
  30. Gaurav511

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  31. robotjam

    robotjam

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    Anyone who thinks this is a quality algorithm designed to stop clones. Those 3 duplicate icons are actually 3 different games with the same icon.
     
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  32. robotjam

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    Yes, the first one said it was algorithm updates and then they said its an issue.
     
  33. Stan22z

    Stan22z

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    t
    thanks for reply. Ok so hopefully they really realize that there is a problem. worse would be if they answer in oppposite way which they've been doing that until now with templapte answer. PLease when they answer you,share it here. Wish to know what they are going to tell you (us). Cheers
     
  34. Stan22z

    Stan22z

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    google improvment :D :D :D
     
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  35. nitrogen777

    nitrogen777

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    The situation with orders for our paid games. On the screenshot, typical orders list for previous week and for this week. No any updates has been released at this period. 'New Installs' value lower for about 15%.
    There's about 80% 'new installs' lost, all of our free apps are affected. For example, app with 500k installs, 4.50 stars (about 6500 ratings) have 79% 'new installs' decline for a last week.
     
  36. Stan22z

    Stan22z

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    did you sent it to gg?
     
  37. wwenthin

    wwenthin

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    It makes me wonder why, as a 1 man shop, I pay money to Unity. It seems they now have a good relationship with google and tout themselves as the Indie Dev's choice. Maybe they should be tossing some weight around to find out why their devs are pissed?
     
  38. Murgilod

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    You pay money to Unity because that's the terms of the license you chose. Unity isn't a publisher, they aren't a liaison for you.
     
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  39. nitrogen777

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    Yes, waiting for their reply.
     
  40. _mra

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  41. robotjam

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    I've found someone at google who actually appears to be a human....


    HI Pete,

    DO you also know that the "not interested" button doesn't work. If you press not interested on a game it blacks it out and then next time you load up it comes back.

    Also the developer pages are also showing only 15 games in an endless repeating loop, even googles own developer page.

    You can see the bug on the video below.



    Thanks for your message Pete, its been a fairly stressful time seeing downloads fall off so badly for the thousands of developers effected.

    Rob.

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for your reply.

    We're aware of these other errors as well, but thank you for mentioning them - it helps our engineers determine to what extent this issue is affecting users.

    I'll be in touch again when I hear that the issues are corrected. Please let me know if you have other questions in the meantime.
     
  42. wwenthin

    wwenthin

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    This is true but if they want to promote themselves as the "Anyone can be a game developer" they should at least be asking why the indie guys are getting whomped by the change. Maybe they are. I don't know. They are just as opaque as Google sometimes.
     
  43. doubletapsoft

    doubletapsoft

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    What is the latest on this issue? Our top game has been hit very hard, even though we have great Android vitals, ratings, and retention.
     

    Attached Files:

  44. robotjam

    robotjam

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  45. Antony-Blackett

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    Has anyone noticed that store listing experiments don't seem to be working? I started one on the 1st of July and still there's no data. They usually update every day.
     
  46. bart_the_13th

    bart_the_13th

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    Has anyone also noticed that "total installs" in All Application view is not increasing? I have to select the application and change from the default "last 30 days" into "lifetime" to view the correct total installs...
     
  47. LilGames

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    I'm chiming in a bit late here. I think I was part of an early A/B test of this algo change. I had a game getting hundreds of organic downloads a day suddenly fall off a cliff like everyone here, but this happened in February!! Exact same pattern. No recovery though.

    Re similar apps; I tried AxPetre's steps (from page 2 or 3 of this thread) to view similar apps and the cached version for my Easter game "Cracky Egg" and it's quite striking what the algo change has done. I can understand wanting to eliminate clones, but they've also inadvertently eliminated "themes" such as seasonal themes. My game's similar apps used to all be Easter or egg themed and now it's mostly unrelated games. Screenshots:

    similar-to-cracky-egg-easter-fun_april28-2018_cached.jpg similar-to-cracky-egg-easter-fun_july5-2018_live.jpg

    BTW ZombieGorilla, a few pages back you said this isn't a Unity problem, but surely this would affect Unity's own Unity Ad revenues? So it is in Unity's interest to be involved.


    *edit: I incorrectly said it originally got thousands of downloads a day; It was hundreds, down to tens.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
  48. Antony-Blackett

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    If total downloads total playtime has remained unchanged on aggregate then Unity ads revenue on aggregate probably has not changed either. The distribution of the revenue might have, but overall it probably hasn't.

    That said, the number of Indie devs making $100k -> $1,000,000 a year that may now not be viable and therefore cancel subscriptions due to staff reductions could be significant.
     
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  49. AlexFreeman

    AlexFreeman

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    The same for me.
    And the same now. But it takes more time then in the first time. Downloads has not returned still.
     
  50. mentolatux

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    google begin now to close account, i have 4 account 3 years and i login with eparate internet and separate browser
     
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