December 19, 2014

Android Market cuts active installs

Crashing counts

Yesterday I was unpleasantly surprised when I saw active counters on my seemingly ever rising HireAdroid drop a whopping 30 percent.

This morning I visited the Android Market forums to find out if I was the only unlucky developer experiencing this drop, and low and behold, there was a bunch of developers screaming bloody murder. After two days, this message popped up in my developer’s market page:

So what was the official explanation?

Recent change in active installs calculation in the Developer Console

As of 18 October 2011 developers may notice a decrease in the active install counts displayed in their Android Market Developer Console. Some app updates were being counted as active installs. We are now using a different calculation methodology which does not incorporate installing an app update. Going forward the active installs metric will correctly reflect the device installations. Please note that total install counts were not affected.

And in case you wondered, dear Google… (and you did wonder); yes we have noticed, and so did our screaming clients. Not cool.

Please let us know if your apps have been affected by this change and what you think of the latest Market truc bizarre?



  • John Palgut

    I can’t speak for other developers, but I know I would rather have accurate statistics about my apps. If these new statistics are correct that means that you never had that many users; you just thought you did. My app revenue has not gone down (its gone up slightly). I don’t know why people are “screaming bloody murder”.

    • Bo S.

      Me too. But I would appreciate a little advanced notice and something like “sorry for the inconvenience”. Nothing like your client frantically calling you with questions  you are not able to answer

    • Fred

      Statistics for Android Marker publishers are more accurate now. Yes that’s good. But, it means that the previous statistics are rubbish. And, if Google is not able to compute active installs, how can a developer trust Google about number of applications sold on the market ?
      For an amateur developer it’s not a big deal. But for lots of professionals, that’s a big issue.

  • ViciousCircle

    I’d have to agree with John’s comment.  If it wasn’t representing accurate numbers prior to this, why is it a bad thing that it now is?  I’d rather know actual install numbers than something that looks good, but isn’t reflecting reality…

    • Geert

      Sure, but it would be nice if Google informed you immediately that they’ve changed their algorithm and that you can expect some drops in active installs. Now everybody is informed only two or three days after all their numbers have gone down…

  • http://twitter.com/petersinnott psinno

    Lets be honest the guys running the market have no clue what the numbers mean. That is why they retcon the numbers changing after it happens instead of informing developers before it happens. Accurate numbers are important but you would be foolish to put any faith in what Google provide.

  • quadddd.com

    Was pretty clear to me that the numbers were inflated – I have a small paid app and the active install numbers had been exceeding my Google Checkout invoices since mid-August. The clue should have been that I had an app updating once monthly that was getting massive numbers of downloads the first day of an update even after the “Just In” system was removed. Wish they could go back and correct previous numbers to “real” values but that data has probably been lost.

  • SBStreater

    I have a Cloud service (for video editing), so I know exactly how many people are using it at any time. The number physically installed on phones and tablets is less relevant, as people can remove it while they are not using it (all their data is held in the Cloud).

    Like others here, the old figures were flattered by my frequent upgrades. But the new figures, which reflect devices, will also flatter my Cloud service, as people will install the software on all their tablets and smartphones!