Interview: Jason Hill von Appscatter zur Übernahme von Priori Data aus Berlin.

Jason Hill, Chief Revenue Officer bei Appscatter (Fotograf: Daniel Jones)

Es war die wohl größte Nachricht für die App-Szene im April: Das britische Unternehmen Appscatter übernimmt Priori Data, einen Spezialisten für App Intelligence aus Berlin, für rund 15 Mio Euro. Seit wenigen Tagen nun ist die Transaktion abgeschlossen und Priori Data wird in die Strukturen von Appscatter integriert. Ein guter Anlass für uns, mit Jason Hill zu sprechen, dem Chief Revenue Officer von Appscatter. Er stellt sein Unternehmen vor und spricht über die Pläne mit Priori Data: „Appscatters kostenlose Management-Plattform ist der perfekte Ort für Mobile-Profis, um ihren Tag zu beginnen. Sie führt die Daten aus über 30 verschiedenen App Stores zusammen und bietet einen Überblick darüber, wo die Apps in den Stores platziert sind“, so Jason Hill. „Künftig wollen wir Prioris Tools für die Wettbewerber-Analyse und Marktforschung sowie die ASO-Suite als zusätzliche Module innerhalb der Appscatter-Plattform zur Verfügung stellen“, sagt Hill weiter. Appscatter hasn’t be a household name in the German app industry yet. So what do you do and what’s your footprint in the German market?

Jason Hill: appScatter formally launched in December 2017, after debuting on the London Stock Exchange in September 2017, so it’s not surprising that we’re not well known in Germany yet!

The appScatter platform has been developed to help independent developers, digital agencies and global brands manage increasingly complex app portfolios.

The platform distributes apps to the world’s top App Stores – not just Apple and Google – but emerging stores like Amazon, Russia’s Yandex, Aptoide and Nexva. Although these stores are not that well known in Europe yet, we are seeing a growing opportunity of unrivalled audience reach, particularly in hard to reach regions of the world.

The platform also enables efficient app management of portfolios by offering the ability to search all instances of an app or publisher, so that rogue or inconsistent apps, names and other metadata can be fixed. Centralised reporting helps app teams see all their download and revenue data across multiple stores in one place, and by integrating with the biggest ad networks users can analyse the best stores for ad revenue too. What’s the main reason for Appscatter to acquire Priori Data?

Jason Hill: Since our IPO, the monetisation of app data has always been part of our roadmap. Our clients are increasingly demanding a complete app management service with holistic coverage of public, private and device data. We needed data intelligence software and a higher volume and better quality of data.

To build a data offering in-house would have taken 2-3 years and several million pounds, so the acquisition of Priori Data strengthens our overall offering to the market. We also believe that there’s a great cultural fit between the two teams that can drive growth across the whole appScatter Group. How do Appscatter’s and Priori’s solutions fit to each other?

Jason Hill: Appscatter’s free management platform is the perfect place for mobile professionals to start their day. It allows the unification of data from disparate sources (more than 30 app stores are integrated), provides an overview of where your apps are in the stores (for example, if you’re a insurance company, you really don’t want to risk someone pirating your app and placing it on another store – you could be up for a huge fine), and makes keeping track of your app properties much easier. Appscatter already provides premium services on top of this free dashboard, including distribution, security scanning, and enterprise app management. Priori’s competitor and market research tools and ASO suite will provide additional modules to the Appscatter offering, and the Priori team’s data know how will enable the combined entity to produce further tools at a more rapid pace. What does the deal mean for App Marketers?

Jason Hill: Going forward, marketers and product managers will be able to take advantage of a single login for managing their app properties – from building customized reports of their internal data, to app update management across many stores worldwide, scheduling app binary security scanning, and conducting market research, competitor research, and ASO research.

Additionally to the combined functionality of the two services, Priori’s data know how and Appscatter’s development resources will allow us to scale our next generation of machine-learning models for estimating app and game performance, which will mean better data on competitors and the market, as well as opening the doors to new metrics like sessions, time spent, ad revenue, and so on – metrics that are nearly impossible to accurately estimate with current methods, but are perfect problems for ML. Developing these technologies will also pave the way for entirely new product lines that we can’t talk about yet – but we’re sure you can imagine where one could go with very accurate predictive models for mobile performance! According to a financial statement, Priori had revenues of €1,056,000 and recorded EBITDA losses of €410,000. How sustainable has Priori’s business model been in the past and will be in the future, after the completion of the deal?

Jason Hill: That financial statement was from last year – Priori was profitable in Q1 2018. Like most startups, we invested heavily early on to bring our first product to market, but were fortunate that through low churn and several strategic partnerships we were able to get to break-even less than 2 years after launching our commercial offering (which for a SaaS business is not that common – payback periods are very long in SaaS. Appscatter is paying 13.5 mio GBP for the acquisition, partly in stocks. How important is it to Appscatter to keep Priori’s management aboard?

Jason Hill: It’s really important to retain the management and indeed all of Priori’s excellent team. They’ve built an amazing company with an awesome product, so the deal is about taking Priori Data onwards and upwards!

We see huge potential in growing the product and expanding reach and we’re depending on the existing team structure help us do that. We’ve all been working away behind the scenes as the deal went through (appScatter officially completed the acquisition on 29 June 2018) and we’re super excited to be working with a great team with mutually beneficial skill sets. Which App Marketing trends are on the rise? And how will you help publishers to keep on track?

Jason Hill: Although it sounds trite, as a mobile marketing community, we are still trending toward working in a more data driven way. Many firms have implemented data into their workflows, but one of the major trends we see in our clients is the unification and usage of disparate data sources at scale. Not only does this allow better decision making, it lays the groundwork for further learning, and use of internal and external data with new acquisition, segmentation and messaging tools that are making organizations more efficient. One of our core goals moving forward is to provide a space for developers to collect their data from multiple sources and understand it. We’re already capable of receiving store data and ad data, and we have a roadmap to expand the types of data our clients are able to integrate going forward. We’ll be looking to integrate 3rd party tools directly into the platform as well, so that once marketers have understood from their data what they need to do, they’ll be able to drive action immediately.

For example, ASO is still top of mind for many marketers. We’re seeing unprecedented levels of competition in all categories within Apple and Google, so standing out from the crowd is extremely tough. Naturally, appScatter believes that alternative stores should be a consideration, but the importance of the Big Two isn’t lost on us. Priori’s ASO services provide us with a great starting point to help marketers better understand the dynamics of being found in the stores, and we’ll be working to expand these tools to better fulfil the needs of our users. As a first step, we’re allowing developers to update metadata on multiple stores at once, so that users can spend more time working on what to communicate on the stores, and less time fighting 25 store interfaces to say what they need to say.

Another example is audience segmentation. We’re partnering with large players in the mobile marketing space to allow users to analyse their audiences and competitive audiences, and have already signed the first partnership to enable users to push that targeting data directly to their network of choice.

To sum up: today’s mobile marketing landscape is all about data, so we are too. We want to help people collect, organize, and leverage their data, and help them connect it to the actions that can make a meaningful difference to their businesses. Thanks for the interview!

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