AppFollow: Data-Driven App Store Optimization Insights

A one-on-one conversation with AppFollow CTO and co-founder, Pavel Vlasov reveals the value his company derived from targeted data collection
5 min read
data driven app store optimization with AppFollow with Pavel Vlasov

Many startups who are heavily invested in their application software are constantly looking to increase their performance on app stores. But what happens when you combine App Store Optimization (ASO) with cutting-edge data collection? We had a conversation with Pavel Vlasov, the CEO of AppFollow to find out. A second before we jump into the interview, let’s first take a look at what ASO is and why it is so important.

What is App Store Optimization?

App Store Optimization (ASO) or App SEO is the practice of improving the ranking of an application or app within an app store such as Google Play or iTunes. In addition to this primary goal, many ASO efforts are aimed at:

1. Increasing app download rates and activations

2. Engaging new audiences

3. Gaining brand exposure through an additional channel

Mobile app downloads showing strong signs of growth

Some people may be wondering why it is so important to put such a strong emphasis on ASO. As with many questions in our highly digitalized economy, the answer lies in numbers. According to Statista, the quantity of mobile app downloads is on a growth trajectory. By 2022, app downloads are set to hit a record 260 billion downloads, compared with 205 billion downloads in 2018.

Number of mobile app downloads worldwide from 2016 to 2019 (in billions)

graph of the growth of mobile downloads from 2016 to 2019

Image source: Statista

What role does data collection play in ASO?

Data has historically played a central role in different forms of optimization practices, be it Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or App Store Optimization (ASO). ASO-focused businesses can benefit in a number of ways from data collection and data intelligence. These include:

Empowering decision-makers – Data collection is somewhat like a puzzle: you collect the information you need and then have to piece it together for actionable insights both for your product and your clients’ benefit. So, data is a very powerful tool for making quick decisions and taking actions that will have a big impact.

Need-based customization – Different customers have varying needs (especially in the B2B arena) and in many cases require highly customized data sets in order to attain specific business outcomes. It is for this reason that many ASO solutions require the collection of accurate real-time data which can be integrated into their internal systems as changes occur.

Scalability – Growth-focused companies, typically startups but not exclusively so, require high-quality data sources that can expand and mature alongside both customer and corporate needs. Flexibility and agility are the name of the game in this respect.

Catching up with Pavel Vlasov – CTO & Co-Founder of AppFollow

We sat down with Pavel Vlasov for a brief chat about his company, AppFollow, including their corporate goals as well as their data collection activities.

Pavel Vlasov CTO of AppFollow

Pavel used to work on the award-winning Alerter app, but now he is a master coder and CTO at AppFollow, the best platform for managing apps. Vlasov also prides himself on finding time for extracurriculars such as running marathons, swimming across the Bosphorus, and traveling around the world.

So, tell us a little about AppFollow

AppFollow is an app management platform that enables timely decisions and actions. At every stage of an app’s life cycle, we help mobile businesses find insights they can use to speed up product growth. We support five major app stores (the App Store, Google Play, Microsoft Store, Mac App Store, and Amazon) and send critical app data and updates to services like Slack, Zendesk, Helpshift, and 34 more. To date, we have over 30,000 market leaders using our services, including companies such as HBO, BitMango, Airbnb, HubSpot, Sony, Square, among others. AppFollow was started at a hackathon in 2014. It now has over 60 employees who work from home in 10 countries, and its headquarters are in Helsinki, Finland. At the moment, we’re seeking a Series A round of funding.

When looking for a data collection enabler – what were you looking for?

We were looking for a network that would allow us to seamlessly collect data from multiple online sources, that could be customized, as well as be easy to use and integrate with our systems. We were also looking for a trustworthy vendor with proactive customer support who could help us set it all up.

Why did you choose Bright Data?

We’ve been working with Bright Data (formerly Luminati Networks) for about 18 months. As our company grows, so do our data collection requirements.

We are very pleased with the flexibility of the Bright Data service as well as the ongoing dedicated support we receive. Issues that arise are easily and quickly resolved!

Tell us about your data collection operation – what are your main goals?

As our customers frequently use app data from different sources, we need to be confident in our data quality – with Bright Data we are completely able to do that.

We work together all the time to improve the quality of the data so that we can meet the highest expectations of our customers.
Prior to Bright Data, we used multiple IP addresses generated by different machines. This limited us as it led to some of the IP addresses being banned. Now that our company and customer base have grown, we turn to Bright Data to gather high-quality data at a faster and more efficient pace.

Summing it up

Startups and well-established businesses both need to find a reliable data collection facilitator with a large global network. It is the key to being able to give clients custom solutions and keep a competitive edge in the market. This was certainly the case as far as AppFollow was concerned.