App Annie Interview
Below is the text of a brief email interview conducted with Oliver Lo, VP of Marketing at App Annie, for an article about app analytics that will be published soon to the XDA Portal. If you have any experiences with specific analytics providers, post them in this forum.
What are the most valuable pieces of data that come out of your product? Why? Give examples of how I might get actionable data, make a change, and improve results.
Our philosophy at App Annie has always been to simplify data, so that time-pressed execs in product, marketing or strategy can easily extract a trend, insight, KPI and recommendation from any App Annie product. We've had a massive outpouring of approval from many of our 100K App Annie fans who use the product regularly. A few examples of how real life people make better business decisions through real-life App Annie data:
• Monitoring all your apps across platforms, countries and categories seamlessly. App publishers and developers are the lifeblood of App Annie. There are well over 200,000 apps worldwide using App Annie Analytics to simply track their apps sales. By being able to track all of their apps across multiple platforms, countries and categories and analyze their downloads, revenues, in-app purchases, rankings, and reviews, they can both monitor their app store performance and figure out in real-time where the key opportunities are for them to better market their apps globally. Many app developers tell us that the App Annie Analytics Daily Email Report (which tells them how their apps fared in the last 24 hours) is the first thing they read when they wake up and grab their smartphone.
• Many app developers also use our free Store Stats tool for app store market research. This tool is the largest app store rankings database of its kind, and it's used by more than 80% of the Top 100 publishers worldwide. Developers from Brooklyn to Beijing use this to check rankings history charts of other apps, spot rankings trends across different countries and categories, and figure out the promotional strategies behind some of the most commercially successful apps out there. From international expansion strategy to marketing strategy and product portfolio strategy, this tool has become the go-to in the industry for app store market research.
What most differentiates you from your competitors (features, pricing, etc)?
With App Annie Analytics, the key thing that differentiates us is the combination of having the best quality product with a completely free price tag. Since we as a company monetize off enterprise level market data, it means that we can afford to offer best-in-class analytics tools to developers without ever asking for a dime. And our Analytics tool is by far the most well-designed and the most feature-packed, making it the most popular app store analytics tool worldwide. With everything from hourly rankings, data export, app sharing and an Analytics API, you really can't do much better anywhere else. At least that's what more than 30,000 app publishers worldwide believe.
Explain your range of pricing and, if you have a low tier or free option, what features are only available to premium users?
Just as app publishers have embraced a truly freemium model for their consumers, we do the same here at App Annie with data. Our products Analytics and Store Stats are completely free for all features and then we have a premium product called App Annie Intelligence, which is an enterprise market data product, providing deep macro insights for app store analysts. This premium product starts at US $15,000 for a one-year subscription.
Are there any technical aspects of implementation that would be helpful to explain?
We believe in hassle-free products with minimum implementation. App developers have enough to worry about with multiple SDKs and app upgrades, so we've made our Analytics product as easy as a two minute sign-up. We connect to an app publisher's data through their developer account credentials (e.g. iTunes Connect or Google Developer Console), meaning they can upload their data to our dashboard and access it easily, reliably and confidentially.
What advice would you give to help make new independent app developers more successful?
You're quite right - there's more to app store success than just using App Annie products! It's a good start, but it's not the whole pie. The best advice we can give is to combine a rigorous approach to data with a passion for creating unique and joyful user experiences. The most successful app developers we've seen have combined those two things into the core of their team philosophy. And they've got that balance right. The data tells you what's going on, but it's not your sole objective. App developers should never lose sight of the fact that they exist to create moments of joy for people downloading these apps, whether they are games, social apps or photo apps. And it's those moments of joy that generate downloads, revenues, in-app purchases, Top 10 ranking positions and through-the-roof virality. The data just helps you get there, but it should never become your be all and end all goal.
Related to the above, in your mind what makes an app successful? Why do some "great" apps not get noticed?
Product idealists would have you believe that you can just make a great app, and the rest is history. To be honest, there's a fair bit of truth in that. However, one cannot underestimate the importance of app store research and app store marketing.
Why app store research? No successful content creator makes content in isolation. In the same way that a fashion designer has their pulse on whether pink is the new black, an app developer should have their mind on what apps are exploding in the US compared to Japan. That's exactly why we created Store Stats - to provide a free tool for anyone to do that research and find their niche.
Why app store marketing? One needs to be very mindful of the structure of the app store as a content distribution mechanism compared to say the web or TV. Some would describe it as a meritocratic rankings system that puts great content in the hands of hungry app downloaders. The reality is that it means you're going to need to adapt your marketing strategy from the one that you were used to in the web days. There are a number of channels driving app discovery - rankings, app search, web search, user virality, social distribution etc. If you're finding your great app is just not getting noticed, then you need to analyze how well you've invested in these channels and figure out whether your defined target audience actually has multiple opportunities to download your app.