Could 2018 spell the end for mobile app intelligence as we know it?

Could 2018 spell the end for mobile app intelligence as we know it?

This year could well see the weakening of app intelligence companies servicing the mobile industry, claims MobileDevMemo’s Eric Seufert.

The user acquisition expert laid out his predictions for 2018 which includes the “end of app intelligence”.

Seufert argued that a number of things already happened in 2017 to diminish the relevance of companies that sell estimates of revenue, install numbers and other engagement metrics for mobile apps.

Not least of these was the abolition of the top grossing chart by Apple on the App Store frontend - though this data is still currently available for companies to mine.

The growth of advertising revenues and subscription pricing mechanics has also made it more difficult for app intelligence companies to accurately track metrics, said Seufert.

He added that advertising revenues are “almost impossible for any intelligence company to estimate for a given app with any serviceable accuracy”, while subscription pricing has skewed the top end of the revenue spectrum “to a degree that makes many of the estimates for the top 20 grossing range provided by these companies almost farcically unreliable”.

“These two forces will grow stronger in 2018, meaning the estimation power of many app intelligence companies will grow weaker,” said Seufert.

“But even beyond that, the use case for this intelligence has never really been alluring beyond pure curiosity, especially for developers but even for investors, and the fact that many top grossing apps (Tinder, Candy Crush Saga, Pandora, Madden NFL Football, etc.) are now published by public companies makes triangulating revenue data to an extent that is actionable fairly trivial.”

"Value buried in the details"

There are numerous companies that offer app intelligence services of course as part of their offerings, including the likes of Sensor Tower, App Annie and Apptopia, to name a few.

Many such companies have over the years raised millions of dollars as they expand what services they offer and their regional footprint.

Apptopia COO and founder Jonathan Kay sent a statement to outlining what he thinks the future holds for such companies and the services they offer. His company raised $2.7 million in November 2016.

"I agree completely that core metrics like revenue, downloads and usage are becoming more of a regular commodity," he said.

"This is why many providers are giving this away on the cheap. However, that is not (nor was it ever) where the actual value lies in app intelligence.

"The value is buried in the details. Which countries are your competitors seeing the highest LTV (ARPU plus retention plus cost to acquire users) in? How does this evolve over time? What advertisements are my competitors having the most success with? Are there certain apps my competitors are advertising on the most, and acquiring the highest quality users from?

"Answers to these questions are extremely difficult to get to without an app intelligence solution and are often changing daily/weekly."

Got any thoughts on the topic? Let us know in the comments below.

Senior Editor

Craig Chapple is Senior Editor of and He was previously Deputy Editor at Develop and Online Editor at Nintendo of Europe.


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