Statistics, statistics, statistics · 2008-02-19 12:39 by Wladimir Palant

Of course, we all knew that Addons.Mozilla.Org was sitting on a huge pile of statistically usable data. But honestly, I never really believed we would ever see a significant amount of it. Do you remember that server that would pull publicly accessible extension download counts from AMOv2 every day and display the data in graphs? I missed that one a lot now that the download counts are considered private.

But the unbelievable happened — and thanks to fligtar’s hard work we now have more statistics than ever hoped for. Have a look at the statistics dashboard for Adblock Plus:

That’s lots of interesting data. In particular, it is interesting to see 3 million users in this statistic, I just recently gave exactly that number to a Forbes reporter as an estimation for the number of Adblock Plus users.

But before you start seeing trends in here, let’s remember what this “active daily users” number is. Firefox tries to check for add-on updates daily, and these checks are registered and counted at Addons.Mozilla.Org. But not everyone uses Firefox every day meaning that the real number of users is certainly higher. According to John Lilly, the number 3 is a conservative multiplier for Firefox. Even though users who install extensions are more likely to use Firefox often, meaning that a good multiplier for Adblock Plus is probably lower — the real user numbers seem to be way higher than I estimated.

It is also interesting to note that all extensions show the same basic trend. There is some good time around mid-July, then there is a peak again on first of September, and the numbers only really start to rise in December with very strong improvement now in February. This trend is obviously caused by fluctuations in Firefox usage, the peaks often coincide with minor Firefox releases (though some of it might also be caused by AMO’s caching issues). I hardly see the important Adblock Plus events have an influence on the statistics, even though those are clearly visible in my own statistics. I wonder whether normalizing the “daily active users” by the Firefox numbers would give you a better idea of the trends.

But with all that said, there are some important findings here. First of all, there are at least 3 million Adblock Plus users in the world. That’s something I can be sure of now. Second finding: the update mechanism in Firefox works, great work. 90% of the users install a new Firefox release within 1-2 weeks. For Adblock Plus this number is 75% in the first 2 weeks, with the numbers of those using old versions declining slowly. The latter is somewhat suboptimal yet only a year ago my statistics indicated that it takes at least two month to get 75% of the users migrated to a new version.

Third finding: there are at least 2000 people using development builds. That’s much more than I hoped for, thanks a lot to everybody doing that! Don’t hesitate to report issues you find with those development builds.

Applications: there are about 30 people using Adblock Plus on Flock. Given that Adblock Plus has been supporting Flock from the very beginning — wow. Songbird numbers go along the same lines (not quite unexpected). We have one user on eMusic Remote — thanks for staying with us. Somebody actually tried Adblock Plus on Midbrowser, good to know. And apparently, somebody created Adblock Plus ports for KompoZer, Prism and Sunbird.

And finally, something totally unexpected: there are at least 115 thousand people using Element Hiding Helper! That’s a lot. Actually, that’s definitely too much. I am pretty sure that most of those people don’t know what to do with it. I just wonder how many of them installed it simply because they installed Adblock Plus, and how many installed it because they thought it was Adblock Plus.

Now to my wishlist, the statistics dashboard can certainly be made even more useful. First of all, I would like the scale to adjust to the graphs displayed right now. I want to be able to see trends for Thunderbird or for development builds — but right now the scale still goes to 3 million even if I hide the total number of downloads. Then, I would like to have a breakdown by languages, this is interesting to see how much media coverage affects add-on usage. Having the stats sampled daily rather than weekly would really be helpful (I know that this is already in progress). And finally a small annoyance: version “0.7.5.3+” is displayed as “0.7.5.3%2B” and length restrictions make it impossible for me to see the exact development build number.

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Comment [8]

  1. IceDogg · 2008-02-19 18:27 · #

    “let’s remember what this “active daily users” number is. Firefox tries to check for add-on updates daily, and these checks are registered and counted at Addons.Mozilla.Org. But not everyone uses Firefox every day meaning that the real number of users is certainly higher.”

    Also, some of us turn off auto check for add-on updates.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Users who tweak preferences are always a tiny minority. Those who switch off automatic checks should have similarly negligible effect on the stats as those who check for updates manually.

  2. insignificant · 2008-02-19 23:29 · #

    I have Firefox configured to check for extension updates more often than the default. I wonder if that would affect the stats. (I know one person is statistically insignificant; you know what I mean.)

  3. malte · 2008-02-22 19:02 · #

    “I just wonder how many of them installed it simply because they installed Adblock Plus, and how many installed it because they thought it was Adblock Plus.”
    From the status page you can see that there are about 7500 users (not counting SeaMonkey or old Toolkit apps) with EHH but without ABP. (userEnabled,ne should be userEnabled,needsDependencies).

    Oh, and the statistics for the Filter Uploader show that it’s installed way too often as well. I doubt there are 25k persons really using it (or 112k who’d want to test it):
    https://preview.addons.mozilla.org/de/firefox/statistics/addon/4042

  4. CvO · 2008-02-26 15:08 · #

    And… maybe office workers should be considered : one computer at home, one computer at work. Could sunday statistics be more significant ?

    Anyway, good “score”.

  5. Sethop · 2008-02-28 12:42 · #

    60,000 downloads a day?? Hey, did you hear that? I think it was some advertising guy’s head exploding! :-)

  6. Зелёный ёжик · 2008-03-09 03:10 · #

    Вот только из-за этого расширения пользуюсь Mozilla Firefox.
    Как только сделают подобное для Safari for Windows уйду на него.

  7. Ali · 2008-03-22 05:06 · #

    You have all my support. Thanks for the great piece of software man :)

  8. Pandu E Poluan · 2008-04-29 18:56 · #

    Wladimir, you said “I just wonder how many of them installed it simply because they installed Adblock Plus, and how many installed it because they thought it was Adblock Plus.

    Maybe you ought to change the name to “Element Hiding Helper for AdBlock Plus

    The current name “AdBlock Plus: Element Hiding Helper” may be misunderstood as “AdBlock Plus — the extension you want if you want to hide elements on your web page!”

    Just my 0.02 :)

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Good idea, I might actually do that.

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