Is The Telegraph worth more than Derren Brown to app developers?

In May this year we released Magic Tate Ball, which clocked up over 100,000 downloads in a surprisingly short time for an art app. Backs were slapped and highs were fived; we were happy, our client Tate were happy, and Catherine Tate was happy, but completely uninvolved.

Come October and we were still pootling along in the long tail, averaging around 40 downloads a day. Then two statistically interesting things happened that influenced the downloads, and I thought I would share them with you BECAUSE THAT’S THE KIND OF GUY I AM.

Interesting thing #1

MTB in the telegraph is good
First of all, Tate Ball was featured in the Culture section of the Telegraph’s 500 Must-Have Apps pullout on Wednesday 3rd October. The Telegraph has an average daily circulation of 581,249 (as of July 2012, but with how print media is going it’s now probably 9); how would this equate to downloads?

Well, as you can see from this graph below DLs went up to 202 on the actual day of the section coming out, then 115 the next day, 61 the next and a couple more days above the average of 40 before settling back down to their previous rate.


From this we can extrapolate with PERFECT accuracy just how many downloads The Telegraph is worth:

(202+115+61+51+50)-(40*5)=279 downloads

So, how many downloads is an individual reader of The Telegraph worth to us?

279 / 581,249 = 0.00048000082581 downloads per Telegraph reader

Interesting thing #2

All very well and good, but you came for two interesting things and two interesting things you shall have.

A week to THE VERY DAY that we were featured in the Telegraph, what should happen but this?

Derren Brown loves Magic Tate Ball

Everyone’s favourite purveyor of the Dark Arts declares his undying devotion to our app (or something). This is pretty cool, but how do the stats look?

Derren Brown has 1,275,578 followers on Twitter, more than double the circulation of The Telegraph. His tweet was also retweeted 38 times, including by the Tate themselves, who have 731,617 followers.

So, sports fans, how many downloads do you think Derren Brown is worth? Peep the below graph:


The ‘day of the tweet’ (movie out soon), Magic Tate Ball received 599 downloads, followed by 111 the ‘day after the tweet’ (the sequel, featuring Danny Glover) and 48 the day after that (dir: Michael Bay). That means that Derren Brown is worth:

(599 + 111 + 48) - (40 * 3) = 538  downloads

But wait, can we possibly estimate how much the average Derren Brown fan is worth? You bet.

Using TweetReach, we estimated the possible reach of Derren’s original tweet, along with all subsequent tweets, as 1,960,274, thus:

538 / 1,960,274 = 0.00027445142873 downloads per Derren Brown fan

Before you say anything, I would argue that all of the non-Derren Brown fans that may have seen the retweets and downloaded should definitely be included in this figure, as they were directly influenced by the DB fans, so this counts towards their effective download power.

The Results

After much deliberation we can now officially say that the publicity value to app developers:

Derren Brown > The Telegraph

But also that:

The Telegraph reader > Derren Brown fan

On a serious note, nearly all small independent app developers have trouble publicising their work. We were lucky with Magic Tate Ball in having a world-renowned client, but most crucially in getting featured on the App Store. Maybe angling for celebrity endorsement is another avenue worth trying for small indies?


Well shucks, you may say, but I have no frame of reference; how does this compare to other noteworthy download influencers?

The day we won an FWA award (June 12hth):

FWA graph

Not a massive spike, but it definitely bucked the downward trend for a few days.

And the (amazing, beautiful, cuddly) day we got featured on the homepage of the App Store.

App Store Graph

Yeah, that made a bit of a difference.

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