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VSCO is a mobile app that helps you create beautiful, professional-looking photos and videos right from your mobile phone. They offer extensive high-end photo and video editing features, including 200+ presets, and access to a vibrant global community that inspires people to create and to share their diverse experiences with one another.
As VSCO became the app of choice for creators around the globe, it became increasingly important to understand their competitive landscape, dive deeper into competitor performance in new markets, and gain insight into which marketing partnerships could drive revenue for the company. In particular, VSCO wanted to improve performance in Japan, India, and Indonesia. They required in-depth insights to determine what adjustments were necessary to gain traction in these markets. This meant that VSCO needed a complete view into the competitive landscape to understand downloads, effective creatives, revenue, pricing, and more.
With the help of robust marketing data that App Annie collects, VSCO was able to open the platform and quickly see the creative assets and app store descriptions competitors were using in the photo and video category in Japan. VSCO Director of Growth Marketing, Brendan van der Vossen, and his team noticed that competitors in the same category were highlighting the beautification, blemish removal, or sparkle features and ranking for different keywords when compared to the US market.
In contrast, VSCO was highlighting aspects of the app that resonated in English speaking markets, such as professional editing tools. In light of this competitive insight, VSCO began finding creators in the Japanese market whose photography focused on portraiture, providing creative that was authentic to the brand but also in line with local editing norms. As a result, they were able to significantly improve downloads in Japan.
VSCO learned from their competitors’ app pages in the Japanese market, and the insights they derived allowed them to adjust their pitch, positioning, and creatives. van der Vossen explains, “App Annie helped us drive downloads because we were able to see competitive information quickly and easily, and realize where we were missing the mark on how we were presenting ourselves in that market. After implementing new creatives, we also noticed a significant portion of our app store search impressions were driven by VSCO branded keywords while our competitors were ranking for popular photo related keywords. Armed with these insights we were able to optimize our keyword strategy and increase app store search impressions.” All of this was possible without having to make any changes to their app, which saved VSCO a significant amount of time and cost.
Coming off of the success in the Japanese market, van der Vossen’s team expanded this approach in other key international markets including Russia, Brazil, Sweden, and South Korea, all using App Annie data and insights.
In addition to app store creative and keyword testing, VSCO sought to improve revenue in India and Indonesia. When competitor revenue eclipsed VSCO’s in these markets, they took to App Annie’s platform to understand what their competitors were doing differently. The initial hypothesis was that the VSCO price point was too high. However, App Annie data showed that competitors in those regions were actually priced higher on an annual basis. The key difference was that these competitors also offered monthly subscriptions compared to VSCO’s annual pricing only, and this was clearly more appealing to price-sensitive app users in these regions since it broke down the payments into smaller amounts.
With this concrete data in hand and the ability to understand which subscription types were most common by region, the VSCO team looked at the pricing packages they offered and made the decision to add a monthly subscription for more customers. “In App Annie it’s really easy to pull a single page with a complete list of a competitor’s prices in an efficient way. Instead of Googling for hours, I can look at the data in App Annie for 15 minutes and get the complete picture,” states Whitney Hagan, Senior Business Operations Manager at VSCO.
Expanding into international markets is a must for growing businesses. Hagan notes, “App Annie helped us understand our global business and think through how we could best succeed in different markets. Eighty percent of our users are outside of the United States. Our business is global and App Annie provides the data and personal touch needed to grow our presence around the world.”
Over time, VSCO has used App Annie more and more, increasing their scope from gathering competitive intelligence to fueling their entire global business strategy. Whether it’s understanding how competitors are monetizing their apps, or gaining insight into which app store optimization strategies they might want to test, App Annie serves as a partner to further VSCO’s growth and partnership initiatives.