App Annie: “App discovery is getting better AND worse…”

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App store intelligence firm App Annie has been very busy over the last few weeks, announcing a free analytics and ASO tool, acquiring rival analytics firm Distimo and securing $17 million in funding. We caught-up with the company’s VP of global communications, Marcos Sanchez, to discuss consolidation, iOS 8 and more. Read on for the Q&A.

Interview: App Annie on analytics

Marcos Sanchez, VP of global communications, App Annie

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What was the strategy behind your acquisition of Distimo and what kind of value will this deal bring to App Annie?

The Distimo acquisition will bring a great deal of value to App Annie. After the team spent time with the Distimo founders, we were convinced that their vision was extremely complementary to ours and that acquiring them would help us further accelerate our product plans. The company also possesses a talented team that is built of individuals that are passionate about mobile apps and about the role data can play in making the entire app industry better – very similar to the folks here at App Annie. The new Netherlands R&D office will also expand our presence in Europe, which will bring great value to both sales and engineering.

We’ve seen a fair bit of consolidation in the app analytics space recently, such as the recent Kontagent/PlayHaven tie-up, how do you think this will play out and do you have any thoughts about how the app analytics sector is evolving?

As the mobile analytics space grows and evolves, it will become clear that a fair number of disparate technologies are complementary and would do better to join forces than to remain separate. This is typical of any maturing industry, and we think it is great for app analytics in particular; the more useful we can be to developers and publishers, the better we can help them understand their apps data and use it to make informed business decisions. That said, it’s a very large market and there is still a lot of growth that will happen.

Do you think the issue of discoverability is getting worse or better for publishers/advertisers?

The issue of discoverability is getting better and worse for publishers and advertisers. It is getting worse in the sense that there is and always will be a lot of competition and noise in the app store – it is the nature of the beast. It is getting better in the sense that there are many more tools available today to help publishers and advertisers optimize their ads and keywords in order to maximize visibility, something that wasn’t available just a few short years ago. Any app stands a much better chance of success if its publisher is taking full advantage of the (many free, like App Annie) ad analytics and ASO tools out there.

App Annie’s new mobile ad analytics tool

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What’s the driving force behind a successful app analytics platform? What is it that you guys prioritise?

The driving force behind a successful app analytics platform is the data, and a love of data. We prioritize hiring the best and brightest developers and data analysts to ingest massive amounts of data to be sure that developers can get an accurate picture of their own businesses and so that industry influencers can get an accurate picture of the bigger market. It is imperative that the quality of the data and insights is extremely high, and it takes the best and brightest to manage.

What do you think about Apple’s iOS 8 announcement and its impact on app marketing? Was there anything in particular that got you excited or caught your eye?

The announcements were really exciting for developers, whether it’s better access to in app analytics, which gives them deeper insights into their consumers, or deeper access to functionality through APIs, more console like gaming experience through metal or faster time to market with the new programming language swift. Of course, the promise of more tools and quicker time to market means that app discovery is going to continue to be a challenge. That said, these things should all drive more usage and an improved consumers experience.