Today's guest post is written by Brandon Brown, the co-founder of Grin Apps.
At Grin we build apps that enhance the world’s most popular social networks. We call them companion apps. We’re a part of a small but growing group of global publishers competing in a new vertical in the app economy. The segment is still very young, but we envision a bright future and are investing accordingly.
With publishers facing more and more competition daily, getting our hands on accurate competitive data has been a key differentiator for us at Grin. As such, we are a partner with Sensor Tower and an avid user of their Store Intelligence product. Here is a brief overview of how this product has influenced our app strategy to date.
Since all of our apps are companions to social networks, it is immensely important that we are aware of the macro shifts taking place on a monthly, quarterly & yearly basis. With breakaway apps like Dubsmash & Periscope seemingly coming out of nowhere, how do you decide where to invest your resources? The amazing thing about having access to download & revenue data for all apps in all countries is that we’re able to benchmark new flash-hit apps versus incumbent apps such as Snapchat & Instagram.
With access to download data & velocity in the store intelligence tool, we can see if an app is on a growth trajectory large enough for us to create a companion for it. We simply take a look at the last 30 days’ download velocity and use this data to “score” it against it’s counterparts. This information helps us make informed product decisions.
Store Intelligence has a handy way for us to look at specific competitor apps and their download volume over a set period of time. You can look at a single app or add apps into one view that stacks the total number of downloads on top of each other. This means if we have a concept we’re targeting, we take some time to find all of the apps that offer similar functionality – ie; competitors. These competitor apps come from all different publishers but have a similar use-case to the concept we are targeting.
We then go into Store Intelligence and look at a single view, which aggregates the lifetime download volume for all the apps. We take this total number, apply industry standard retention metrics and find a broad, vertical-wide active user metric. If the active users are a small enough ratio to the entire market opportunity (for example, 1mm+ possible users, but only 150k total downloads across all competitors) then we know it is not a saturated concept. It’s an early litmus test on how much traction ideas are getting, and how much room there still is to grow in the vertical.
Another Store Intelligence tool we use at Grin is the Publisher View. This allows us to look at the entire portfolio of any publisher in the app stores. As there are literally dozens of publishers we compete with, this is an efficient way to monitor new app concepts they are launching, and the total revenue share each concept accounts for. If we see new publishers entering certain verticals, we like to look at what other products they have built and how successful those products are.
As we move into the final stages of development on an app, we start thinking about ASO & user acquisition. Since we’re an indie publisher, we rely heavily on organic growth and non-paid UA. Therefore, choosing what category to put our apps in is a strategic decision. Entertainment or utility? Productivity or business? We all know organic discovery can’t happen without decent ranking. By monitoring categories in real-time, we can choose where to launch based on our chances of ranking well and being discovered - a must-have for anyone launching multiple apps.
At Grin, we’re committed to improving the smartphone experience for users through our apps. We’re a user-centric business with a focus on mass-market products. Sensor Tower has been instrumental in helping shape our user-centric philosophy and a vital tool in informing our decision making on a daily basis.
Sensor Tower's Store Intelligence product is separate from the App Intelligence (ASO) platform. Store Intelligence is an Enterprise level offering. Interested in learning more? Request a live demo with our team here!