Doing Competitor Research is a Must for Better App Marketing

Posted by Juned Ahmed on December 20th, 2017

In the highly competitive mobile app market, though your competitors are not exactly your competitors, you need to know and understand your competing apps from analysis. You may be able to create a mobile app, but the real task begins after that when you have to market it. For this, you need to know how your competitors attract the attention of users you want to be in your user base. This is a very important variable determining the success of your app as it helps you track your competition and understand what makes them strong or weak. You can then learn from their strengths and exploit their weaknesses. You may overlook some very important aspects of your app's performance as you have not compared it with competing apps. Here we discuss all about competitor research with respect to apps – why, what, and how.

Why do you need to do competitor research?

  • Helps you expand to new markets: It provides you insights into the size, leading players, and entry points to new markets. When you have a clear understanding of these, you can expand your marketing domain.
  • Supports the creation of a winning ASO strategy: You can uncover keywords that drive traffic to compete and similar apps. This will help you optimize the App store visibility for your app.
  • Aids discovery of emerging apps: By tracking apps on a daily basis in local markets you can discover newcomers, potential threats, and investment opportunities.
  • Optimizes your campaigns: You get to know websites and apps that are generating quality traffic for your competitors or similar apps. You can use this information to advertise your campaigns on these websites and apps to optimize your marketing campaigns in your industry and market.
  • Helps you set benchmarks for performance: You can uncover the weak points in your engagement and retention efforts and evaluate your app’s performance against that of your competitors to improve its performance.

What needs to be analysed in competitor research?

  • App category analysis: You can search for leading iOS and Android apps based on store rank and engagement. This can be used to explore the competitive landscape for exploring new markets.
  • Target audience and brand: You need to research on what are the target audience of your app by looking into the target audience of other similar or competing apps in the same industry or market.
  • Keywords: You need to discover the keywords most commonly used by the target audience in their search. These high-ranking keywords need to be referred to all further ASO strategies and campaigns.
  • Audience interests: You get to know the apps that are commonly being used by same users as the app being analysed. You can use this to explore in-app advertisement opportunities and partnerships.
  • Usage analysis: You can get to know the app’s usage by hours of the day or days of the week and use this information to reveal the peak usage times of your competitors.
  • Marketing campaigns: By analysing the marketing campaigns of your competitors, you can get to learn a lot about the websites and apps giving the maximum quality traffic and use them in your campaigns. You get information about the unique selling points of your competitors and can do a SWOT analysis to compare your app to that of the competitors. Social media and content marketing strategies of the competitors should be analysed.
  • App engagement: You can track the active users, current installs, and usage time of your competing apps and use it to track the effectiveness of potential investments, promotions, app updates, and retention efforts.
  • Technical performance and UX: You can evaluate the user experience and the technical performance of your competing apps to check the quality of the apps and your potential user’s expectations of something better than what already exists.
  • App-store analysis: You get an idea of the distribution of in-store and external traffic sources to an app store page. This information can be used to discover active user acquisition strategies of your competitors.
  • Competitor’s monetization models: Learn about the sources from where most of your competing app’s revenue comes from. Analyse if the price of your app or any service or product provided by it is lower, higher, or equal to that of the market price for a similar product. If higher, what’s the additional value proposition? If lower, how do they cope with it? And if same as the market price, can it be set as a benchmark?

How do you perform competitor research?

  • Simply search in the app store: You can easily find your competitors by searching the Google Play and Apple iTunes app stores for the keywords and phrases most relevant to your app. The top five search results generated by simple app store search are most likely your competing apps, and you should add these to your list of competitors for further research.
  • Check your competitor’s main function and target audience: After an app category analysis, once you determine your main competitors, you need to focus on and compare the main function and target audience of the competitor apps and your app and see how your app stacks up against the competition.
  • Focus on your key features: Though your app may be feature-rich, one key feature or a combination of features may set it apart. Depending on your target audience modify and enhance this/these features as it is your target audience who will define your app’s brand. This will impact the design, monetization model, and even user acquisition channels. Focus on your key features and make them the selling points in your app’s marketing strategy.
  • Keep an eye on detail: Mobile app competitor research requires attention to details. This includes not only a list of direct competitors but also a wider selection of apps. Analyse what has made the apps popular in case of market leaders but also look more broadly at how similar mobile app ideas are implemented in different countries.
  • Study reviews and ratings: Go through the reviews of your competitors’ apps. Check out what are the users complaining of or what are they appreciating most about your competitors. These can guide you quite a bit about what your audience expects and appreciates.
  • Read the release notes: Though you need to look at the update frequency of your competitors’ apps, you also need to focus on the content of these updates. Read about the new features and improvements added by your competitors to their apps.


App marketing is a never-ending process of trial and error, but you need to know your competitors to start with it. Competitor tracking is a must for all app categories as it helps you understand the reason for your competition’s success and how you can get a competitive advantage. If you are not tracking your competitors till now, be sure to get started right now.

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Juned Ahmed

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Juned Ahmed
Joined: July 26th, 2017
Articles Posted: 9

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