Ebook Analytics Part 1: Can App Annie Challenge Amazon’s Data Preeminence?
For all those who attended the Publishing Business Conference & Expo two weeks ago, you have by now heard quite a bit of new information about data and its import on the industry. As Jason Merkoski, author of Burning the Page and former Amazon Kindle developer, pointed out in his keynote address, many publishers have not set up ways to effectively track ebook engagement and sales, while Amazon has been tracking Kindle ebook interaction nearly since its inception. What's more, Amazon keeps much of that data mum, leaving publishers with little guidance.
Today app analytics company App Annie announced its first foray into the ebook sphere with App Annie for Ebooks. This free analytics service allows publishers to track ebook sales in both the Kindle and iBook stores on one central dashboard with more bookstores to be added in the future. App Annie tracks ebook data in perpetuity, meaning data is never deleted or lost in transition from App Annie to users.
Marcos Sanchez, VP of Communication at App Annie, says the transition into ebooks was a natural one.
"Originally we provided app analytics to developers. Apps, like ebooks are all about data, and we realized during our product and beta testing that publishers and authors have the same problems as app developers. They had no tool for tracking and pulling in their data."
App Annie for Ebooks provides two services. The first, "Analytics," allows authors and publishers to track their own ebook sales, ratings, rankings and reviews. The second, "Store Stats," helps users size up the competition and track ebook trends through rankings and ratings across genre, category and time.
"I think platforms like App Annie bode well for publishers," says Merkoski, "It's a great start to have all sales data aggregated together. In my experience with Amazon and other sales platforms, sales data is persistent for many months and years, though often hard to interpret. Tools which help visualize this can only help!
"But the Holy Grail for publishers, I believe, is analytics about the way customers read a given book. Who are the customers? Where do they live? What chapters engaged them? I think it's only a matter of time before innovators like App Annie move deeper into this space."
Although there's no word yet on whether App Annie will attack reader data on such a granular level, Sanchez does promise that if the free analytics services prove successful, a more in depth, premium ebook app will be made available.
"There is a chance that we could add a third product, App Annie for Ebooks Intelligence," says Sanchez, "which uses our secret sauce of algorithms to project competitor sales."
With these tools in hand, publishers seem to finally have a way to combat Amazon's data supremacy. Although they may not know at what chapter readers' lost interest, publishers will know that on the week they discounted an ebook, sales skyrocketed among audiences they had not yet tapped. That information, moving forward, is invaluable.
To read the full App Annie press release, click here.
Note: You can look forward to more stories in our continuing series on ebook analytics in the coming weeks. If you have an analytic system you would like to share, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.