Data company App Annie’s new tool can tell you which apps people are searching for

Although both Google and Apple publish top app charts, the algorithm behind them is proprietary. It’s difficult to find out which apps are doing well by design — the download, revenue, and search data is held by the platform. App Annie has been building a proprietary database of app performance data, and now you can see what search terms are driving installations, as well as which apps are trending.

App Annie’s most popular product is called Store Stats, which allows users to look at historical app rankings by country. Tech publications often use it to highlight that an app is rising or falling quickly. App Annie is adding a feature it calls App Store Optimization, which will offer users free keyword search analytics.

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If you’re developing a calendar app, you’ll be able to see App Annie’s estimate of what keywords brought those users to your app, whether it’s “iCal,” or “calendar,” or specific app names. It’s like Google Trends for app searches. For early adopters, you might want to check out this feature because it works with trending app search data — so if there’s another Flappy Bird-type phenomenon, you can be one of the first to hear about it. Alternately, you can figure out which search key is driving all those Flappy Bird clones still littering the various app stores.

App Annie works at the moment as a middleman between ad networks and app publishers. That’s what has led to its new unified dashboard view, which pulls in advertising data, such as impressions and clicks, from platforms like iAd and AdMob and puts them all on one page. As more mobile ads advertise mobile app installations, like Facebook’s new network, I’d be interested to see how App Annie can use its analytics to better target in-app ads for other apps.

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The new features are free for users. App Annie generates revenue through a premium business-oriented product, called App Annie Intelligence, which takes its data and projects how many downloads and how much revenue any given app is generating. That feature is out of reach financially for most users, though, and its high price ensures that only corporate accounts can get a look at it.

App Annie’s database is one of the only reliable ways to get outside information on either Apple App Store or Google Play performance, although it also supports Windows Phone, Amazon App Store, and the Mac App Store. Considering so many enterprises want to boost their app’s performance and are willing to pay, it seems to be a solid business model: in a 2013 round of funding led by Sequoia Capital, the company raised $15 million.