Download source tracking now available on AMO

Justin Scott

14

With the release of AMO 5.2 a few weeks ago, we made a tiny change to every add-on download button on the website that made a huge impact: we can now see what parts of the site add-ons are downloaded from.

This was previously a gaping hole in our metrics, and a subject of much contention among Nick and myself (see also: relevance of my add-on’s icon to its functionality).

With the help of Daniel Einspanjer on our metrics team, we’re now able to analyze whether an add-on download came from an AMO search results page, the add-on’s display page, the Firefox Add-ons Manager, or one of around 12 predefined sources we are tracking.

Some of the results were surprising, so without further ado, this is the breakdown of downloads for a single day on AMO (yesterday, in fact).

Pie chart of AMO's download sources

Keep in mind that this covers 1.7 million downloads, so even sources that only have 1% of the pie can be up to 17,000 downloads. We’ll be digging into where our unknown downloads are coming from, but right now we think they are mostly downloads coming from other websites.

We didn’t want to keep all this data to ourselves, so add-on developers will find a new view in their Statistics Dashboards called “Download Sources” where the sources for each individual add-on can be dissected.

But wait, there’s more!

Our source tracking system also allows developers to add their own tracking codes for external links to their add-on. By simply adding a src parameter to any add-on’s URL or download URL, that source will start being tracked and appear in the Statistics Dashboard.

For example, when we launched the Add-on Compatibility Reporter a couple weeks ago, we had tracking codes in all of the most important places: the announcement blog post, the Firefox 3.6 beta first-run page and release notes, the hacks.mozilla.org post, etc. You can see the results of our efforts below:

Screenshot of the Add-on Compatibility Reporter's Download Sources

There are some caveats to external source tracking, so be sure to read the full instructions by going to your Download Sources dashboard and clicking “learn how to track external sources”.

Have fun with the data, and if your research sparks an idea for how we can improve download conversions on a particular AMO page or another great idea, let us know!

14 responses

  1. Justin Scott (fligtar) wrote on ::

    To preemptively answer a question I know will be asked, these are some explanations of the pie chart sources:
    * Add-on Details – main listing page of an add-on
    * API – AMO API, almost entirely consumed by the Firefox, Thunderbird, and Firefox for mobile Add-ons Managers
    * Search – Downloads from a search results page on AMO (not an external search engine)
    * Recommended – The recommended page on AMO
    * Homepage – The homepage browse box, with tabs for Recommended, Popular, Just Added, and Updated add-ons. Does not include the rotating promotion box at the top of the page.
    * Category browse – Downloads from a category’s browse page
    * Meet the Developers – the page explaining why a developer created an add-on. Downloads can only occur from this page when the add-on has enabled Contributions
    * Collections – downloads from a collection’s page or downloads from an add-on’s display page accessed through a collection
    * Homepage promo – the rotating box of add-ons in featured collections at the top of the homepage
    * Add-on Collector – downloads from the Add-on Collector extension
    * External – custom external source tracking

  2. Vin wrote on ::

    Fantastic!!!! Such a great way for addon developers to now track return on marketing spend from external sources when the download occurs on their website or even microsites they setup with publishers they are buying media from.

    Great job guys!
    -=Vin

  3. Vin wrote on ::

    Any chance we could get statistics from uninstalls as well? The idea being: what is an addons attrition rate by source? this would be super helpful for addon developers spending money to drive downloads (whether via google adwords, banner ads, etc).

  4. Jay Meattle wrote on ::

    Guys, this is absolutely awesome! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this appear in the dashboard a few days ago :) Been using is ever since to track downloads originating from shareaholic.com in addition to the defaults. Bravo on the locale breakdowns as well!

  5. Vadersapien wrote on :

    The “Download Source” area for my add-on “Pacfox” only has 3 options: “Unknown”, “Null” and “Add-on Collector”…any idea where the rest are?

    Also, on the drop down lists under “Application”, whenever I change a value it gives me this:

    [The page at addons.mozilla.org says:]
    Caught exception: undefined

    Details: [Exception… “An invalid or illegal string was specified” code: “12” nsresult: “0x8053000c (NS_ERROR_DOM_SYNTAX_ERR)” location: “https://addons.mozilla.org/js/simile/amo-bundle.js Line: 8255″]

  6. Daniel wrote on ::

    This is great and should help with working out where my add-ons are getting installed from.

    One question, at this stage I am exclusively a Thunderbird add-on developer, is there a way to simulate the src= parameter when supplying addons from my own or 3rd party websites for Thunderbird Addons?

    At the moment the catagories I see are “Unknown” and “null”. Is there there any way this can be clarified? And what do these mean specifically for Thunderbird?

  7. Turk3 wrote on ::

    Any chance we could get statistics from uninstalls as well? The idea being: what is an addons attrition rate by source? this would be super helpful for addon developers spending money to drive downloads (whether via google adwords, banner ads, etc)…

  8. Andre wrote on ::

    Hello,

    I have a problem with my firefox add-on: https://addons.mozilla.org/de/firefox/addon/46375

    I can no longer track external sources with the parameter “?external-sourcename”. It seems that all downloads appear under the “unknown/NULL” source.

    This makes it impossible for me to pay my partners per download any longer.

    Could you please help me or tell me where to open a ticket for this issue?

    Kind regards,

    André

  9. Butunkizlar wrote on ::

    I can no longer track external sources with the parameter “?external-sourcename”. It seems that all downloads appear under the “unknown/NULL” source.

    This makes it impossible for me to pay my partners per download any longer.

  10. Mandy wrote on ::

    A great way to track return on marketing spend from external sources!

  11. Maik wrote on ::

    i have the same problem with the parameter “?external-sourcename”… is there an update available?…how ever…great job!

  12. Gutschein wrote on ::

    This is really great for addon developers! So we can now track return on marketing spend from external sources!

  13. Downloadce wrote on ::

    I can no longer track external sources with the parameter “?external-sourcename”. It seems that all downloads appear under the “unknown/NULL” source..

    This makes it impossible for me to pay my partners per download any longer…

  14. Simon wrote on ::

    great job on tracking marketing spend from external sources!

    Keep up the good work.