October 5, 2020 By Matthew Rathbone

Beekeeper Studio was launched in April 2020, and the response to the launch was positive beyond our wildest dreams.

We were so busy in fact that we didn’t even really have time to reflect on the launch and what it meant for the future of Beekeeper Studio.

Well, several months have passed, and we’ve gone from version 1 to version 1.7, hit 3000 stars on GitHub, seen web traffic climb steadily, and improved the app immensely. There seems like no better time to grab a cup of tea, sit in a comfy armchair and reflect on the whirlwind launch of the little side project that could.

Beekeeper Studio Launch Mini-Retrospective

We sort-of launched Beekeeper Studio on April 20th by tweeting at Scott Hanselman, who works at Microsoft. I’d developed a lot of the app on WSL, and thought he would find it interesting. Our ‘launch’ attracted a few hundred visitors from Twitter, which seemed like a huge win for the little effort it required. We patted ourselves on the back and declared it a win.

Importantly, we got some great user feedback and fixed some bugs before posting the app to Hacker News on May 6th. We didn’t really think much about it, and just went about the day, but a few hours later we noticed we’d made it to the front page, so I frantically spent a lunchtime responding to questions and new GitHub issues. This exposure provided a boost of 20k+ visitors to the site per day for the next several days, which was really fun to see.

Pageviews begin to take off:

This became a bit of a snowball and we were also posted to both Reddit and Product Hunt, and became a featured app on the Ubuntu Snap Store.

When the dust settled at the end of May we’d racked up over 100,000 web visits, and over 10,000 app downloads.

Thank you if you tried the app or helped to spread the word during April and May. We are thrilled so many people liked (and continue to like) Beekeeper Studio.

Q3 2020 Beekeeper Studio Metrics

Between May and now we saw steady growth, but were not smart about tracking web metrics.

We started to be more systematic about recording our web and download metrics in August, but because we don’t use any tracking software in our app, we don’t have exact download or active user numbers.

In August 2020 we started using Fathom Analytics, a privacy-focused web analytics product. Prior to then we were using Netlify Analytics which does not record historical data, so all of our analytics data prior to August 11 2020 is lost :-( (if you’re reading this and work at Netlify and you can get our historical web metrics, please let me know).

Time Pageviews Visits Web Downloads New GH Stars
Q2 Avg - - - -
July 2020 - - - 181
August 2020 10,754 5,975 2,121 168
September 2020 21,803 11,475 5,019 218

Additional metrics:

  • On september 29 2020, we had 8,649 active snap installs (note: active, not not new installs)
  • We get 2000+ DEB installs a month from our Apt repository, this is a mix of new installs and upgrades, and the exact numbers vary wildly.
  • Our GitHub download metrics are much higher. For August it was 5500+, but this is probably a mix of new downloads and app upgrades. It’s impossible for us to tell.
  • Our total number of downloads is probably somewhere in the region of 50,000 - 100,000, it’s hard to tell, but we’re ok with that.

Caveats:

  • There are almost a dozen other ways to download Beekeeper Studio outside of our website - GitHub, Snap, Choco, Apt, AUR, Homebrew, etc, so our web download numbers only represent a part of our total downloads, probably around 50%. We don’t track our users, so we can’t know exactly. Many of these alternative download channels are maintained by the community.
  • Because we use privacy-respecting analytics, ‘visits’ isn’t exactly the same as ‘unique users’ for the whole month.

Wrap Up

My goal is to regularly report our quarterly numbers. This is the first post of (hopefully) many.

I’m incredibly proud of our first 6 month growth. Our successful launch started a small engine of search traffic and organic inbound links that has continued to grow throughout the year. As I write this, we’re wrapping up a record month of traffic and downloads, almost 2x our metrics from August.

Neither Gregory or I are working full-time on Beekeeper Studio (less than 5 hours per week each right now), imagine what we could accomplish with more time.