The old adage “nothing exists in isolation” is especially true when it comes to apps. Understanding your competitors will give you critical insights into where you can improve and what you should be measuring yourself against.
We’ll look at the keys to good competitor analysis, and how you can leverage this to ensure that your app succeeds.
Reasons To Research App Competitors
There are a number of compelling reasons to use competitor research when it comes to ensuring success for your app. These include:
It’s of vital importance to stand out, especially among the sheer number of apps on the app stores. Google Play has around 2.1 million apps available, and the Apple App Store has approximately 2 million apps available.
This means that even within your niche or category, you’ll have to do a lot to stand out. Additionally, it’s important to note that it’s not only about the fact that you do something that others don’t – you have to inform users of this, and make it very clear to them in the brief opportunities you have to give over your message.
The app store is the greatest opportunity to explore competitors’ strategies and incorporate learnings from these into your own approach. For example, just looking at Uber and Lyft on the App Store: Uber has gone with a strategy of sophisticated colors and graphics, while bringing in some lifestyle imagery and subtle text. Lyft on the other hand has tried to differentiate themselves with more eye-catching colors, bold text, and has decided to only show screenshots.
Showcasing how you are different – and better, of course – starts with researching your competitors.
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Another area of interest is untapped potential. This is where competitors are missing out on a market or segment, and where you can capitalize on this opportunity.
You might find that competitors haven’t localized their app pages, and therefore you’ll be able to steal the march on them when it comes to a more diverse geo set.
Some apps focus so much on a particular segment (for example Snapchat with younger millennials) that it leaves an opportunity to engage with an audience that is looking for the features offered by a particular app, but just isn’t being appealed to.
What Is/Isn’t Working
With the competitor research tools available today, you’ll also get a glimpse “behind the curtain”. You’ll be able to see the campaigns being run by your competitors, install numbers, and changes that they have been making to creative assets and descriptions.
This can give you a ton of useful insights into such things as where best to invest your marketing budget, what benchmark ratios like CPI should be, and what creative trends are hot right now.
Why waste your own resources on trial and error, when somebody else has done a lot of the hard work for you?
What To Look Out For
What to look out for when it comes to competitors? In a word: everything. Web presence, social presence, types of campaigns, creative strategy, how often changes are made to the app page, promotions that are run, rankings, reviews, and general strengths and weaknesses.
It’s helpful to keep both an overall, strategic picture in mind, as well as more specific insights. These could include the target audience of competitors on one hand, and actual performance of individual competitor ads on the other.
An Important First Step
Competitor research is a critical first step when launching or re-launching your app, as well when maintaining momentum. One thing to be sure of, is that your competitors are looking at you. So it’s important to move quickly and leverage competitor research to get – and stay – ahead.