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Using (Free!) App Annie data to optimize your next game

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This presentation describes a framework for using the free data indexed by App Annie to make an informed decision about which audience segments represent the largest opportunities in the mobile marketplace.

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Using (Free!) App Annie data to optimize your next game

  1. 1. Using (Free!) AppAnnie Data to Optimize Your Next Game Eric Benjamin Seufert Heracles
  2. 2. WHO AM I? Partner, Heracles Owner, Mobile Dev Memo Author, Freemium Economics
  3. 3. YOU CAN’T SIMPLY MAKE A GAME. YOU MUST MAKE THE RIGHT GAME.
  4. 4. • MARKETING COSTS ARE INCREASING BECAUSE SMARTPHONE SALES ARE SLOWING AND PEOPLE AREN’T DOWNLOADING MANY NEW APPS; YOU CAN’T SIMPLY MAKE A GAME. YOU MUST MAKE THE RIGHT GAME.
  5. 5. US MOBILE AD SPEND: 2015: $32BN 2016: $44BN 2017: $53BN 2018: $61BN 2019: $69BN 2020: $77BN
  6. 6. • MARKETING COSTS ARE INCREASING BECAUSE SMARTPHONE SALES ARE SLOWING AND PEOPLE AREN’T DOWNLOADING MANY NEW APPS; • YOUR COMPETITORS EITHER 1) MONETIZE USERS VERY WELL OR 2) HAVE MASSIVE IP ATTACHMENTS; YOU CAN’T SIMPLY MAKE A GAME. YOU MUST MAKE THE RIGHT GAME.
  7. 7. • MARKETING COSTS ARE INCREASING BECAUSE SMARTPHONE SALES ARE SLOWING AND PEOPLE AREN’T DOWNLOADING MANY NEW APPS; • YOUR COMPETITORS EITHER 1) MONETIZE USERS VERY WELL OR HAS MASSIVE IP ATTACHMENTS; • MAKING GAMES IS EXPENSIVE. IF YOU DEVELOP & RELEASE THE WRONG GAME, MASSIVE LOSS. YOU CAN’T SIMPLY MAKE A GAME. YOU MUST MAKE THE RIGHT GAME.
  8. 8. HOW TO VET A GAME BEFORE LAUNCH
  9. 9. ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS: HOW TO VET A GAME BEFORE LAUNCH
  10. 10. ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS: 1. WHO WANTS TO PLAY THIS GAME? HOW TO VET A GAME BEFORE LAUNCH
  11. 11. ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS: 1. WHO WANTS TO PLAY THIS GAME? 2. ARE THERE A LOT OF THESE PEOPLE? HOW TO VET A GAME BEFORE LAUNCH
  12. 12. ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS: 1. WHO WANTS TO PLAY THIS GAME? 2. ARE THERE A LOT OF THESE PEOPLE? 3. DO THEY HAVE DISPOSABLE INCOME? HOW TO VET A GAME BEFORE LAUNCH
  13. 13. ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS: 1. WHO WANTS TO PLAY THIS GAME? 2. ARE THERE A LOT OF THESE PEOPLE? 3. DO THEY HAVE DISPOSABLE INCOME? 4. ARE THEY COMPETITIVE? SOCIAL? HOW TO VET A GAME BEFORE LAUNCH
  14. 14. ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS: 1. WHO WANTS TO PLAY THIS GAME? 2. ARE THERE A LOT OF THESE PEOPLE? 3. DO THEY HAVE DISPOSABLE INCOME? 4. ARE THEY COMPETITIVE? SOCIAL? 5. WILL THEY RESPOND TO THIS GAME’S ADS? HOW TO VET A GAME BEFORE LAUNCH
  15. 15. THE SOONER YOU CAN ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS, THE LESS RISK YOU BEAR! HOW TO VET A GAME BEFORE LAUNCH
  16. 16. DEVELOPMENT CYCLE CONCEPT STAGE SOFT LAUNCH GLOBAL LAUNCH $ $$ $$$ VETTING A GAME: THREE OPTIONS RISK / SUNK DEVELOPMENT COSTS
  17. 17. WHAT DOES AN OPPORTUNITY LOOK LIKE?
  18. 18. TOPGROSSINGCHART 100 50 20 “BASIC” UA SYSTEMATIC UA AND / OR GENERAL RECOGNITION SOPHISTICATED UA AND / OR WIDESPREAD RECOGNITION MASSIVE UA AND / OR HOUSEHOLD NAME RECOGNITION BREAKING DOWN TOP 100 GROSSING
  19. 19. BREAKING DOWN TOP 100 GROSSINGTOPGROSSINGCHART 100 50 20 “BASIC” UA SYSTEMATIC UA AND / OR GENERAL RECOGNITION SOPHISTICATED UA AND / OR WIDESPREAD RECOGNITION MASSIVE UA AND / OR HOUSEHOLD NAME RECOGNITION Massive developer with huge balance sheet
  20. 20. TOPGROSSINGCHART 100 50 20 “BASIC” UA SYSTEMATIC UA AND / OR GENERAL RECOGNITION SOPHISTICATED UA AND / OR WIDESPREAD RECOGNITION MASSIVE UA AND / OR HOUSEHOLD NAME RECOGNITION BREAKING DOWN TOP 100 GROSSING
  21. 21. BREAKING DOWN TOP 100 GROSSINGTOPGROSSINGCHART 100 50 20 “BASIC” UA SYSTEMATIC UA AND / OR GENERAL RECOGNITION SOPHISTICATED UA AND / OR WIDESPREAD RECOGNITION MASSIVE UA AND / OR HOUSEHOLD NAME RECOGNITION Large developer, usually operating big portfolio Massive developer with huge balance sheet
  22. 22. TOPGROSSINGCHART 100 50 20 “BASIC” UA SYSTEMATIC UA AND / OR GENERAL RECOGNITION SOPHISTICATED UA AND / OR WIDESPREAD RECOGNITION MASSIVE UA AND / OR HOUSEHOLD NAME RECOGNITION BREAKING DOWN TOP 100 GROSSING
  23. 23. BREAKING DOWN TOP 100 GROSSINGTOPGROSSINGCHART 100 50 20 “BASIC” UA SYSTEMATIC UA AND / OR GENERAL RECOGNITION SOPHISTICATED UA AND / OR WIDESPREAD RECOGNITION MASSIVE UA AND / OR HOUSEHOLD NAME RECOGNITION Developer successfully scaling viable game Massive developer with huge balance sheet Large developer, usually operating big portfolio
  24. 24. TOPGROSSINGCHART 100 50 20 “BASIC” UA SYSTEMATIC UA AND / OR GENERAL RECOGNITION SOPHISTICATED UA AND / OR WIDESPREAD RECOGNITION MASSIVE UA AND / OR HOUSEHOLD NAME RECOGNITION BREAKING DOWN TOP 100 GROSSING
  25. 25. BREAKING DOWN TOP 100 GROSSINGTOPGROSSINGCHART 100 50 20 “BASIC” UA SYSTEMATIC UA AND / OR GENERAL RECOGNITION SOPHISTICATED UA AND / OR WIDESPREAD RECOGNITION MASSIVE UA AND / OR HOUSEHOLD NAME RECOGNITION Small developer with great game Massive developer with huge balance sheet Large developer, usually operating big portfolio Developer successfully scaling viable game
  26. 26. TOPGROSSINGCHART 100 50 20 “BASIC” UA SYSTEMATIC UA AND / OR GENERAL RECOGNITION SOPHISTICATED UA AND / OR WIDESPREAD RECOGNITION MASSIVE UA AND / OR HOUSEHOLD NAME RECOGNITION BREAKING DOWN TOP 100 GROSSING
  27. 27. BREAKING DOWN TOP 100 GROSSINGTOPGROSSINGCHART 100 50 20 “BASIC” UA SYSTEMATIC UA AND / OR GENERAL RECOGNITION SOPHISTICATED UA AND / OR WIDESPREAD RECOGNITION MASSIVE UA AND / OR HOUSEHOLD NAME RECOGNITION Large developer, usually operating big portfolio Massive developer with huge balance sheet Developer successfully scaling viable game Small developer with great game
  28. 28. FILLING IN THE MATRIX Could fill it in by hand based on intuition... MALE FEMALE MASS APPEAL NICHE APPEAL
  29. 29. MALE FEMALE MASS APPEAL NICHE APPEAL FILLING IN THE MATRIX Could fill it in by hand based on intuition...
  30. 30. MALE FEMALE MASS APPEAL NICHE APPEAL FILLING IN THE MATRIX ...but that’s subjective, tedious, and not very scientific.
  31. 31. TWO OTHER PROBLEMS: FILLING IN THE MATRIX ...but that’s subjective, tedious, and not very scientific.
  32. 32. TWO OTHER PROBLEMS: • Recency bias. Will likely only place games that are popular now or in recent past, but really we’re looking for games with long lifetimes; FILLING IN THE MATRIX ...but that’s subjective, tedious, and not very scientific.
  33. 33. TWO OTHER PROBLEMS: • Recency bias. Will likely only place games that are popular now or in recent past, but really we’re looking for games with long lifetimes; • Very likely to focus on one point in time, when in reality we want to see the app’s trend in grossing (viability = ability to reinvest into marketing). FILLING IN THE MATRIX ...but that’s subjective, tedious, and not very scientific.
  34. 34. A BETTER APPROACH
  35. 35. A BETTER APPROACH USE (FREE) APP ANNIE DATA TO FIND OPPORTUNITIES, SCORE THEM, AND PLACE THEM ON THE CHART.
  36. 36. USE (FREE) APP ANNIE DATA TO FIND OPPORTUNITIES, SCORE THEM, AND PLACE THEM ON THE CHART. OPPORTUNITY FORMULA: A BETTER APPROACH
  37. 37. USE (FREE) APP ANNIE DATA TO FIND OPPORTUNITIES, SCORE THEM, AND PLACE THEM ON THE CHART. OPPORTUNITY FORMULA: 1.REACHED TOP 50 IN PAST YEAR; A BETTER APPROACH
  38. 38. USE (FREE) APP ANNIE DATA TO FIND OPPORTUNITIES, SCORE THEM, AND PLACE THEM ON THE CHART. OPPORTUNITY FORMULA: 1.REACHED TOP 50 IN PAST YEAR; 2.NOT FROM STUDIO WITH ANY TOP 20 GROSSING GAME (THEY CAN AFFORD TO MAKE GAMES BIG IF THEY’RE VIABLE AT TOP 10 GROSSING!); A BETTER APPROACH
  39. 39. USE (FREE) APP ANNIE DATA TO FIND OPPORTUNITIES, SCORE THEM, AND PLACE THEM ON THE CHART. OPPORTUNITY FORMULA: 1.REACHED TOP 50 IN PAST YEAR; 2.NOT FROM STUDIO WITH ANY TOP 20 GROSSING GAME (THEY CAN AFFORD TO MAKE GAMES BIG IF THEY’RE VIABLE AT TOP 10 GROSSING!); 3.ON UPWARD TRAJECTORY IN GROSSING CHART. A BETTER APPROACH
  40. 40. CAN BE TAKEN FROM FREE APP ANNIE ACCOUNT (EITHER WRITE A SCRIPT OR HIRE AN INTERN): • 70mb JSON file, 365 days of Top 100 charts; • Number of apps in Top 100 Grossing (US / iPhone) in past 365 days: 355 • Number of excluded developers: 56 • Apps classified as representing “opportunities”: 33 THE DATA
  41. 41. SCORING APPROACH: • Use app descriptions to classify M / F (-10 to 10); • Use app icons and screenshots to classify mass / niche appeal; THE DATA
  42. 42. FILLING IN THE MATRIX Heat map based on results of analysis MALE FEMALE MASS APPEAL NICHE APPEAL Darkness (color) = grossing trajectory (simple linear regression of grossing values, controlling for # of rankings and r2); Size = density of titles.
  43. 43. MALE FEMALE MASS APPEAL NICHE APPEAL FILLING IN THE MATRIX Heat map based on results of analysis
  44. 44. WE ARE LOOKING FOR GAMES LIKE TOY BLAST Rank Position (US / iPhone) Top Grossing Last 365 Days
  45. 45. PEAK GAMES • No games in the Top 20; • 6-person UA team (as per LinkedIn); Didn’t get into Grossing position from brute-force marketing but rather appeal + viable unit economics WE ARE LOOKING FOR GAMES LIKE TOY BLAST
  46. 46. MALE FEMALE MASS APPEAL NICHE APPEAL WE ARE LOOKING FOR GAMES LIKE TOY BLAST
  47. 47. IF I MAKE AN EXCELLENT GAME FOR THIS AUDIENCE, I KNOW THEY CAN: TOY BLAST’S AUDIENCE FACILITATES A TOP 50 GROSSING GAME.
  48. 48. IF I MAKE AN EXCELLENT GAME FOR THIS AUDIENCE, I KNOW THEY CAN: • Click ads; TOY BLAST’S AUDIENCE FACILITATES A TOP 50 GROSSING GAME.
  49. 49. IF I MAKE AN EXCELLENT GAME FOR THIS AUDIENCE, I KNOW THEY CAN: • Click ads; • Invite friends; TOY BLAST’S AUDIENCE FACILITATES A TOP 50 GROSSING GAME.
  50. 50. IF I MAKE AN EXCELLENT GAME FOR THIS AUDIENCE, I KNOW THEY CAN: • Click ads; • Invite friends; • Spend money. TOY BLAST’S AUDIENCE FACILITATES A TOP 50 GROSSING GAME.
  51. 51. UP AND TO THE RIGHT
  52. 52. UP AND TO THE RIGHT
  53. 53. UP AND TO THE RIGHT
  54. 54. CAUTIONARY TALES
  55. 55. BIG CELEBRITY CO-BRAND
  56. 56. KIDS’ SHOW IP LICENSE
  57. 57. MegaBigDeveloperCo’s New Brand Launch
  58. 58. WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO IMPLEMENT THIS FRAMEWORK?
  59. 59. 1) USE APP ANNIE DATA TO FIND YOUR OPPORTUNITY WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO IMPLEMENT THIS FRAMEWORK?
  60. 60. 1) USE APP ANNIE DATA TO FIND YOUR OPPORTUNITY a) Which games are achieving grossing positions without financing marketing from other Top 20 titles? Which audience are they targeting? WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO IMPLEMENT THIS FRAMEWORK?
  61. 61. 1) USE APP ANNIE DATA TO FIND YOUR OPPORTUNITY a) Which games are achieving grossing positions without financing marketing from other Top 20 titles? Which audience are they targeting? 2) CLICK TEST YOUR CONCEPT BEFORE DEVELOPMENT WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO IMPLEMENT THIS FRAMEWORK?
  62. 62. 1) USE APP ANNIE DATA TO FIND YOUR OPPORTUNITY a) Which games are achieving grossing positions without financing marketing from other Top 20 titles? Which audience are they targeting? 2) CLICK TEST YOUR CONCEPT BEFORE DEVELOPMENT a) Does our game concept capably reach that audience? Will they click on ads? WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO IMPLEMENT THIS FRAMEWORK?
  63. 63. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
  64. 64. “If you know YOUR AUDIENCE and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred LAUNCHES. If you know yourself but not YOUR AUDIENCE, for every RANK gained you will also suffer CPI > LTV. If you know neither YOUR AUDIENCE nor yourself, you will LOSE MONEY in every LAUNCH.”
  65. 65. eric@hrcls.co @eric_seufert hrcls.co mobiledevmemo.com THANKS!

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