Sensor Tower’s platform offers multiple data-slicing options based on time, country, device, and more, but it can also dig deeper to uncover surprising insights. When leveraging our App Intelligence and Store Intelligence products, you should think about making use of Custom & Global Fields. This useful feature allows your team to filter down millions of data points and tailor your data view to specific cohorts of apps.
There’s so much value to be found in Custom and Global Fields, so we’ve identified a few key areas where your team can immediately jump in and use them to start getting more out of the platform today. Take a look at four ways that utilizing Custom and Global Fields can augment your team’s work.
To gain an understanding of a game’s performance in the wild, game developers have increasingly looked to “soft launch” their upcoming titles by testing out an app’s mechanics, advertising strategies, IAP pricing. Soft launches also used to gauge user feedback in a smaller market with comparable user behavior to larger ones.
For example, a game that’s looking to understand potential performance in the United States may soft launch in New Zealand, Canada, or Finland to test mechanics and squash any last-minute bugs encountered by players.
Sensor Tower offers two fields, “Soft Launch Date” and “Soft Launched Currently,” that help your team understand where target companies or competitors are testing their latest apps. These two fields surface titles that are in a soft launch state or were in soft launch during a specific time period.
From there, your team can look more closely to see where the app has soft-launched and view changes that have been made across versions. You can also set up a Custom Alert for the app, so you’re automatically notified when a change has been made, or growth has reached a particular milestone.
For example, narrowing down the top apps of Q1 2020 in the gaming category with the “Soft Launched Currently” tab generates a list of games that have yet to be released but are gaining traction in soft-launch markets. One of those apps is the latest installment in Electronic Arts’ popular Plants vs. Zombies series, Plants vs. Zombies 3, which is only in the Philippines at the time of this article.
Custom and Global Fields for soft launch can also be used to find new prospects for sales teams, and aid in lead generation for marketing and client support. Additionally, game publishers may find these fields helpful to uncover potential developers and games that are ripe for distribution or acquisition. Finally, investors may be able to use these parameters to identify potential opportunities for portfolio-ready companies.
With Custom and Global Fields, teams can also see which apps are brand new to the App Store or Google Play Store by leveraging the “Release Days Ago” field. This field filters by date range, so in addition to viewing apps that had official launches as recently as the prior week, the field can segment apps that released within certain date ranges, up to three years or more ago.
Monitoring recent releases naturally coincides with soft launches, as teams can follow when and how soft-launched titles execute on a worldwide launch. The tag can also quickly identify the age of successfully performing apps and games on a store, narrowing down which apps have managed to maintain engagement and downloads for a year or more. It can also show whether or not a recent change to an app has yielded an especially significant increase in new downloads or revenue.
For example, Netmarble's new RPG gacha game, The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross, sits atop the unified view of Store Top Apps by revenue, following a new release just a week prior. Looking deeper into the game reveals that it experienced a significant spike in revenue following the update, which added new heroes and events.
The Release Days Ago field can also be valuable for lead generation across a variety of industries, quickly surfacing which new apps are gaining traction and could be ripe for adding SDKs or acquisition.
Revenue Per Download
Sensor Tower already offers Revenue Per Download (RPD) as a metric to quickly identify how companies are meaningfully monetizing their apps, both individually and via side-by-side comparisons with competitors. Custom and Global Fields builds on this with a “Revenue Per Download” filter that can provide a quick view of how top-performing apps in a given category are building revenue on a per-download basis.
The “Revenue Per Download” field filters for all-time RPD, showing what apps have managed to deliver positive revenue through IAPs throughout their entire lifetime. Note, though, that the field filters for worldwide revenue; under certain conditions, including employing country filters, it could surface an app that is performing well overall, but doesn’t have much clarity.
For example, looking at top Entertainment apps across both the App Store and Google Play, HBO Now is far and away the most downloaded app with an RPD of greater than $20. This view also sets up some extra information: HBO Now experienced year-over-year growth in downloads of 73 percent compared to March 2019, but a revenue increase of only 7 percent. Although the numbers don’t take in the complete picture—HBO Now is a subscription service that can be purchased online in addition to in-app—it’s nonetheless an excellent way to see how changes in downloads have affected the app’s overall revenue.
These fields are best leveraged when you already understand the top performers in a certain category, as RPD is generally a good indicator of successful monetization strategies. This can be especially helpful for product and engineering teams seeking to analyze an app’s monetization strategy or feature implementation—for example, understanding how a live-ops program or great news cycle can boost revenue. Leveraging this field with other signals could provide added insight into how competitors are setting up for success, and critical learnings on how they may be gaining an edge on monetization.
Revenue/Downloads First 30 Days
Custom and Global Fields can certainly uncover newer apps that may not be immediately visible in Top Apps or Top Categories. Still, they can also tell compelling stories of apps or games that have been in the stores for some time. When you filter through “Revenue First 30 Days” or “Download First 30 Days,” you’ll be able to see which apps had either over-performing or under-performing launches, and how that compares to the app’s growth over time.
Both fields include incremental tags—from zero to millions—that show how an app performed in either installs or revenue at launch. Right away, these fields can tell an interesting story of app growth, highlighting which apps enjoyed runaway success from the start or struggled at launch. Apps that over-performed or "under-performed" at launch can provide key takeaways about not only the apps themselves but the capabilities of their publishers overall.
For example, when looking at apps that had 5,000 or fewer downloads in their first 30 days, popular gaming chat and voice app Discord netted the second-most overall downloads across both the App Store and Google Play in Q1 of 2020. Accessing the app’s download history shows that from that meager beginning, it experienced a steady gain of installs before spiking in February and March of 2020.
These fields can be used in a variety of powerful ways. Their filters can help uncover apps with high acquisition potential that had strong launches but weak performance over time. Additionally, the signals can help determine which app developers or publishers may be worth partnering with for game IPs or other business partnerships.
And More! 🚀
These fields and examples represent only a small portion of what Sensor Tower’s expansive selection of Custom and Global Fields are capable of. Leveraging our full offering, your team can filter our millions of points of data based on your individual monitoring needs and overall goals. There are unlimited insights to be gleaned via Custom and Global Fields, so we strongly encourage exploring this feature and the platform alongside a Sensor Tower expert to discover learnings that will help grow your app business.