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February 08, 2013

Mobile Apps Trackers Onavo and App Annie Answer the Question, 'How Am I Doing?'

A few days ago, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch died. For those of you not familiar with “Hiz Honor,” you might wish to look him up. Mayor from 1978 to 1989, he rescued New York from financial disaster and in all respects came to be viewed as the quintessential New Yorker. He was brash, outrageous and compassionate. He was the definition of the word “colorful.” Where am I going with this? Simple, the Ed Koch was famous/infamous for always asking, “How am I doing?” It a question I twist a little bit when it comes to looking at technology, particularly trends, since like most industry observers what I want to know is more like the Joey Tribbiani character’s pick up line from the hit TV show Friends, “How you doin?” 

When it comes to the explosion of mobile apps, it turns out there are now reasonably good ways of finding out. Two companies that I now rely on and are worth paying attention to at the moment are Onavo and App Annie.   

What’s hot and what’s not


For those of you who are Apple devotees and hence iOS users, you may have heard of Onavo, and if you are smart you are using the free app. The company, until recently, has offered two valuable apps, Those apps are Onavo Extend, which compresses your data and thereby extends your data plan, and Onavo Count, which tracks the amount of data consumed by your apps. Not surprisingly, knowing all of the info from the millions of app users, the company has launched Onavo Insights which uses data to show real market share and active usage for apps.

Insights is free for the basic version. But wait -- there is also a premium version, “Competitive Insights.” It is designed to help app developers measure their app against rivals based on usage, engagement and retention.  Two other premium products, “Ad Insights” and “Audience Insights,” are also designed to help developers increase conversion rates on ads inside their apps.

Onavo has raised $13 million of funding in two rounds from Sequoia Capital, Motorola Ventures, Magma Venture Partners and Horizon Ventures. While it may seem at odds with the heritage of offering consumers actionable insights on who to save money on their data plans, the addition of Onavo Insights not only makes good business sense but is a good example of how to leverage big data.

The differentiated value you are offering is not just information about downloads, but actual usage data. As many developers have found out the old adage that, “you can lead a horse to water but not make it drink,” is very true in the app business. With embedded ads becoming a principal revenue stream, knowing usage of the app as well as the gross ad numbers from the embedded ads is and important piece of the puzzle and not just to developers.

App Annie

As opposed to Onavo, App Annie is squarely focused on providing developers, advertisers and others a host of information about apps, app stores, app advertising and the analytics behind all of that activity to provide its users with a dashboard on the app world and what the industry likes to call “actionable insights.”

If you visit their website you will see some interesting factoids:

  • 190,000+ Apps using Analytics
  • 80 percent of top 100 iOS publishers
  • 13+ billion downloads tracked
  • $2+ billion revenues tracked

That’s a whole lot of data and valuable, to grab a term from above, “insights.”

The reason I mention App Annie is because they are out with their App Annie January 2013 Index, which leverages the companies premium App Annie Intelligence product. I won’t spoil all of the fun you can have from reviewing the results, but I thought a teaser was in order. 

Let’s just say Google Play is starting to play quite well against Apple.

By all means, read the company blog. Other interesting charts include:

  • iOS and Google Play indexed store revenue including by selected country;
  • Game revenue vs. non-game revenue; and
  • Top publisher downloads by download and revenues.

Here in the U.S. there is an old tagline from the National Enquirer that has become part of urban slanguage, “Enquiring minds want to know.” With Onavo and App Annie, they now can know a tremendous amount about mobile apps, and that is good to know.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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