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Transparency Reports

Transparency Report of August 2021

Experiment Disabling the Freemius Opt-In Screen

This is the 29th monthly report for Print My Blog (PMB) WordPress plugin.

What Happened This Month

Plugin Stats

A few releases and spikes this month. Some of the spikes were smaller probably because of their frequency.
Growth was actually slightly negative for one week there; but when I removed Freemius’ “opt-in” welcome screen, growth seems to have picked up quite significantly.

Mailing List Stats

Stats from my MailChimp mailing list.

Email list was growing steadily as before, but then nearly stopped when I removed Freemius’ opt-in welcome screen.

Website Visits

Stats from my site’s Koko analytics (don’t need no Google Analytics, thank you!)

Stats show pageviews have been quite consistent.

Freemius Stats

Freemius gathers other stats about sales and sites using the plugin.

There were a few new sales and recurring payments this month, so revenue was up. And because there were fewer Freemius opt-ins, it thinks the conversion rate was way up.

The growth of active sites (of which Freemius is aware) slowed this month, as did opt-ins. There are still lots more un-installs than I’d like though.
Graph of uninstall reasons. It seems the biggest reasons are “Expected something else’ and “Expected to work differently”.

Business Stats

  • Hours:
    • 108.75 (+2) support
    • 158.25 (+7) marketing
    • 401 (+12) development
    • 68 (+4) management
  • Expenses (Opportunity Cost): $27397.30(+$940.80)
  • Expenses (Out-of-pocket) $105(+$0)
  • Income: $2,609.26 USD (+304)

Plugin Stats

Overview of What’s New

The Details

100th Release and 100,000th Download

PMB 3.4.7, released August 27th, 2021, was the 100th release I’ve made of PMB in a bit over 2 years of work. Coincidentally, sometime during this month there was also the 100,000th download. I think both are things to celebrate, so 🎉!

I suppose the fact both happened this month actually isn’t a huge surprise: the count of “downloads” includes every time a site downloads the updated plugin. So plugins that have more releases will get updated more frequently and so have more downloads. This month I released 7 new versions of PMB (all minor bug fixes) so there were also lots of downloads.

Anyways, it’s a milestone worth celebrating! But I admit it’s not the milestone I’m especially looking to achieve: 5,000 active installs.

Experiment Removing Freemius’ Opt-In Screen

Active install growth has slowed since I introduced Freemius and PMB Pro (lest this be taken as a criticism of Freemius, my email list and income shot waaay up). My pal (and competitor) Ferran gave me the idea of deactivating Freemius’ opt-in screen. Vova Feldman from Freemius showed me how to do that, so I thought I’d do a little experiment. I removed the full screen opt-in screen users used to see when the plugin was activated.

The old Freemius Opt-In screen, shown immediately after activating PMB since version 3.0.0; but removed in 3.4.5.

I planned to just do it for two weeks to see what effect it had. From what I can tell, since August 20th, it’s had a significant impact on active installs. There was about double the active install growth as compared to the previous month.

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Active install growth picked up noticeably mid-August when the Freemius opt-in screen was removed. It also generally sagged a bit since Freemius integration and PMB Pro was added mid-May.

Conversely, my email list growth basically stopped. Likewise, I don’t have as much data on my users (like PHP version, WordPress version, and… whatever else Freemius reports on, none of which comes to mind.) I’m not distraught by that. I don’t think I really need that data on every user, just a sampling is useful enough. So I may re-add a more discrete opt-in message (like a notification, or a footer message). We’ll see…

Bugfixes Galore!

The 7 releases this month nearly all focused on minor bugfixes. You can, of course, read the changelog, but here’s some highlights:

  • Improved hyperlinking and footnotes
  • PDF-built-in table of contents simplified (it matches the table of contents page)
  • Fix dates in Quick Print
  • A security fix (found by WPScan) that allowed unauthenticated to deactivate the plugin
  • Allow using shortcodes in title page content (eg title, subtitle, coverpage preamble, etc)

So most likely if you haven’t noticed any problems related to any of this, I suppose you won’t notice the change. But if you did, I hope you’ll be happy with the fixes.

Thinking Out Loud

Clarification: I Still Love Freemius

So the big development this month was turning off Freemius’ opt-in screen seems to have nearly doubled active install growth. But I don’t mean to criticize Freemius! They have been super helpful, and their software is really smart. I highly recommend using Freemius for establishing a viable business plan for plugins!

I may turn Freemius’ opt-in screen back on later, because turning it off has had some downsides: my email list growth has nearly stopped, and I won’t gather as much data about my users to inform future decisions.

So is turning off Freemius’ opt-in screen worth it? I’m leaning towards yes, but I’d still like to re-introduce it in a more subtle way, possibly as a delayed message or something. We’ll see.

What’s Next?

  • preparing my WPCampus session (which is coming up September 21 and 22 this month!)
  • premium designs
  • ePub support

(Yes, the same priorities as last month… 😣)

Let me know if you have any thoughts!

1 reply on “Transparency Report of August 2021”

[…] Last month I removed Freemius’ opt-in screen from my plugin, and active installs went up significantly. But this month I left it in and the growth has slowed again. So I no longer so certain it was really Freemius’ opt-in screen’s fault. Given how removing that has reduced my email list signups to nearly nothing, leaves me thinking of re-introducing the opt-in screen. […]

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