The outliers: Why App Annie needed a new model to track Puzzle & Dragons' success
Had to be more forward-looking
Taking open data about the positions of games and apps from the various app stores it supports, it's built its business by cross-referencing this with exact download and revenue information from its clients.
With enough data over a long enough period of time, now App Annie reckons it can provide a detailed global picture of how any game or app is performing in terms of daily revenue and downloads in the 46 countries it covers.
At least, almost any game...
Marcus Sanchez, its VP, global corporate communications, says that there are two games App Annie has had problems with.
"We've had to create a custom algorithm, separate from our standard one, to model Puzzle & Dragons and Clash of Clans," he reveals.
The problem with such top grossing titles is unless you can get proprietary data from their developers - GungHo Online and Supercell, respectively - historical data isn't much use to predict the revenues of games that are consistency generating never-before-seen revenues.
Luckily, though, App Annie has had some help. Because GungHo is listed on the Tokyo stock exchange, it has to publicly announce its revenue figures every quarter.
"This enables us to cross-reference with our model and we're happy with its accuracy," Sanchez says.
Got your number
More generally, it's the ability to reveal the daily performance of every app and game that is accelerating App Annie's business.
Depending on how much data you want, the cost of a licence starts at $15,000, rising to $90,000.
But this information is crucial so companies can find out what their competitors are doing, which categories are monetising best, which countries are on the rise, or whether it's better to be free-to-pay or paid with in-app purchases.
App Annie is looking to further improve this clarity, too.
As well as rolling out daily data, it's opened up its App Annie Intelligence product with web access, and has also enabled 25 present visualisations, which you can see using the free viewer tool from industry standard package Tableau.
And it's working on plenty of new features.
One will be to combine iPhone and iPad into a single iOS category, while the company's longterm plan is to enable users to rank publishers' performance across all app stores - App, Store, Google Play, Amazon and Windows Store.
That's a tricky problem, however, in terms of creating an automatic system that will correctly attribute apps.
Each app store uses a different ID system, and plain text identifiers such as a title are not rigorous enough to act as a foundation for such as complex process.
In the meantime, you can check out App Annie's basic market data for free here.