In a word: Inauspicious. 🙁
On Wednesday, Demolish! Pairs FTP was released on the App Store. Here are the initial results for this launch, keeping in mind that, so far, it has been fairly low key to remain in line with the initial launch of Demolish! Pairs to allow a comparison between “paid” and “free-to-play” editions.
Day 0: partial day
The app was first available on the (US) App Store shortly after 5:00pm EST, and it became searchable/discoverable about a hour later. Therefore, the results, which are reported around 7:00am the next morning, represent only a partial day. I am not sure when a “day” actually ends in Apple-land, but I assume it is around midnight in the Pacific time zone (3:00am here), so this data probably represents about a third of a full day. Also, this also means that the release only hit part of the globe in prime app time.
That last part proved particularly true, as all downloads for the first (partial) day were from only two countries, the United States and Mexico. Interestingly, and disappointingly, when compared to first day sales of the “paid” edition (at $1.99 each), free downloads only exceeded this figure by ONE. This is, of course, an apple and oranges comparison, but I still would have expected more downloads.
One primary reason for the low download count was the huge number of “free” releases every day (even relative to paid submissions), so while Demolish! Pairs FTP was on the category front pages, it was beyond the “fold”, so users would have to scroll right to even see the icon. I also discovered that, unfairly, the free releases are not put in chronological order, but alphabetical order, so beginning with D put us off the visible part of the main page, and the poor bastards whose apps start with I through Z never have them appear on the front page at all. This meant that, while the “paid” version had a couple of days visible on the main category page, the FTP edition never had that at all, and partway through day 1, it was swept off the page entirely by the next group of freebees.
Day 1: first full day
As stated, day 1 (Thursday) was the first full day of downloads, and things looked a little bit better. The first indication, via hourly iAd updates, was that the number of countries requesting ads went up significantly throughout the day. When the final results came in, there were downloads from 24 countries, which exactly matched the iAd country count (though, oddly, iAd also had a few “unknown” requests).
In sheer numbers, downloads for the second (first full) day were up 544%, which was more than double the expectations if day 0 were 8 hours (and downloads were level), so the trend is positive. Also positive (I guess 🙂 ) is that the number of day 1 downloads exceeded total (lifetime) purchases of the “paid” version, which means that our free-to-play edition is now in more hands than the original (and, as iAd shows us, almost all of them have been played, not merely downloaded).
Now the Bad News: I have not mentioned IAP sales because, thus far, they equal precisely $0.00, so our game is being played more, but nobody has paid us anything. Of course, some of the incentives may take a while to work, so I am not jumping to conclusions yet. Not at all unrelated (as a causal factor) is the fact that iAd has received thousands of ad requests yet has served exactly 0 ads. None. Nada. Not one. I have lots of strong words and strong feelings about this, but I will compose them (and myself) in my next post.
It is actually far too early for any conclusions (except that the iAd 0.00% fill rate is a major problem), but the data is enough to decide to delay the next marketing step for at least one more day, to see what kind of falloff we get for a full day with Demolish! Pairs FTP not on the front pages of each category. After that, experimentation continues!
For the scientifically-minded of you, please do not worry about skewing our data, and just download Demolish! Pairs FTP from the App Store already. 🙂