Just few days ago I've launched a small Facebook community focused on Indie Games Marketing. We've already gathered over 100 active users who started a couple interesting threads discussing mobile and PC marketing and monetization. One of our group's members, Mark, posted an interesting article where its author analyzes apps' reviews to create better description for her app in order to generate more interest and potential revenue. I thought it's brilliant, but why not take it even further and analyze your app's potential based on estimated downloads?
Obviously, official Appstore statistics are impossible to get unless you're an Apple employee. However, there are certain websites which, based on various algorithms, make an estimated guess. It's not a perfect system, but since there's nothing better on the market at the moment it's definitely worth trying. I used this method once when I was working at a sales department for one of my previous employers.
Let's say you're making a free to play game. You want to know more about your direct competitors. For the sake of this example let's assume we're looking at a F2P endless runner. Website that's going to help us out here is called xyo.net. Many will argue that it's not the best resource, but again - it simply has to give us a genera idea of what we're dealing with.
You enter xyo.net and pick iPhone as your core device. Now what? Search for a game similar to what you're doing and voila - you get an estimated number of downloads for this app, but there are also links to similar ones, which you can instantly click. But 10 or even 100 apps is not enough, you want more information and you don't want to manually find all of them. What then? Meet Import.io!
Import.io is an amazing tool built by a team from the UK, which allows you to crawl, scrape and extract data from various websites, including xyo.net. I won't explain how to use Import.io in this article. For more information on its features please visit Import's website!
Once you get familiar with Import, it's time to finally get some information from xyo.net. How do we do that? Choose 5 random apps more or less connected with your game. Make sure to copy their URLs. Now, install Import's desktop app and launch a crawler. Train 1 row (the main rectangle with game's title, genre, price and estimated downloads number) and columns that you think might be useful for all 5 apps.
Once the teaching phase is over, it's time to run the crawler. Make sure to choose advanced settings. Then setup page depth to 10, make sure to save your STREAM automatically and press "Go." Import will start crawling the whole xyo.net website and pulling all the data. I've tested this before, so I'm sure it'll scrape the correct information, but please bare in mind that some websites, after the crawling begins, might start pushing fake data. Be careful!
Run your crawler for a couple of hours or even days to get plenty of results you can download later as .csv or json files. Once you have everything on your PC, you can start analyzing data. This will definitely help you out. Good luck!