How Benchmarking Your Competitors Can Pave Your Way to App Success

By George Nader | March 10th, 2015

Competitive analysis is vital to any business - from “mom and pop” corner stores to mega conglomerates. The act of benchmarking and gathering data about competitors can help you adjust to the changes in your surroundings, position yourself to bank in on opportunities and prepare for eventual market threats. The app ecosystem is no different, and being a growing market it is particularly important to keep a close eye on competitors.

What exactly can you learn from conducting a thorough competitive analysis? Let’s go through a few topics that are key to your app success and see what type of insights you can gather.

App Strategy

Competitor research can inform decisions regarding design, features and functionality both before you start developing your app and well-after you’ve launched it. Benchmarking your competitors by previewing their apps and reading their reviews can help you build a case for certain functionality, content or design decisions, but this is just a first step. Dig deeper by taking a look at your competitors user demographics. With ASO intelligence platforms like App Annie you can understand the type of user your competitors are targeting and that can help you understand who your target user is, or it can even direct you to differentiate yourself in a highly competitive app market. Once you’re clear about user demographics choosing colors, menu layouts, social integration and even the app icon can be more strategic decisions.

app-annie- benchmarkinng- app-strategy Caption: Get competitor user demographics Source: AppAnnie


Category Selection

Checking to see where competing apps are categorized can inform your own selections and help you improve your ranking. For example, if you have a fitness app you may want to see if your competitors are ranked under Medical, Lifestyle or even Education categories to try to get a leg up on your organic reach. Focusing on your category ranking and aiming to overtake competition will eventually give you more downloads and higher overall rankings. You can quickly check your category ranking and rank history on App Annie.

app-annie- benchmarkinng- app-strategy Check historical category rank across competitors
Source: AppAnnie

Keyword Optimization

Keywords are one of the most important factors in ASO, and you can gain a lot of insight by benchmarking your competitors. You can quickly track and rank keywords you find by spying on your competitors, and then adjust your own keywords, description and title. Want to take competitor keyword mining one step further? Why not take a peek into your competitors reviews and see what keywords you can pull out of users feedback!

Conversion Optimization

Competitor analysis can definitely help you with improving your ranking but at the end of the day you want users to download your app. Two factors that influence conversion are your appeal and social proof. First, take a look at how your competitors market their app on the stores to build your own promotional strategy. Improving your app screenshots or creating a short preview video can make you stand out in search results and give users more reason to download your app. Secondly, benchmark your competitors ratings and develop a strategy to get more positive reviews and a higher rating than they do. In addition to making users see your app more favourably, you’ll also benefit from eventually increasing your ranking thanks to driving more downloads.

Monetization Strategy

Competitor analysis can also help guide your monetization strategy. Don’t be afraid of being the nosy neighbor - understanding how competing apps are making profits and how much publishers are spending on user acquisition can help you benchmark your own success. Using a tool like SensorTower can show you exactly how much your competitors are earning, helping you justify a paid acquisition budget (since you can model a ROI) or guide your choice of in-app monetization strategies, such as advertising or in-app purchases.

benchmarking- sensor-tower-app-strategy Spy your competitors downloads and revenues
Source: SensorTower

App marketers can learn a lot from looking at their competitors and the insights they gain can help carve out their competitive edge. The key takeaway is to adopt a working process that constantly includes monitoring and benchmarking - that way you can constantly optimize. With so many free (or freemium) tools for getting intel, app success is truly yours for the taking!

This article was originally published on the AppsBuilder Blog and it can be found here

George Nader
This article was generously submitted by George Nader, App Marketer at AppsBuilder – a cloud-based development platform that makes app creation easy. George writes blog posts about app marketing, promotion and user acquisition. Born in Lebanon, he is a mountain and outdoor enthusiast. You can read more of his posts on the AppsBuilder Blog or by following them @appsbuilder.