The app store is great because it is one of the few markets in the world where you can so easily find valuable information about your potential competitors. They are just a search away.
Looking at reviews, sales rankings and marketing materials of competing apps can give you great insight into the market. It is a great way to see the market for your app, how much people are willing to pay for it, what features to include, and a slew of other insights. Websites such as App Annie even enable you to analyze your competitors’ rankings over time.
You need to develop a clear picture of the competitive landscape for your app. Knowing your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses also allows you to focus on where you should position your app in the minds of your customers and prospects.
You want to take about 10-12 of the best competing apps and analyse their strengths and weaknesses and look at the ways you can be better.
There are a few sites that can provide useful information from a statistical perspective although neither the Apple App Store or Google Play provide exact sales or download numbers.
- AppAnnie – Accumulated data and statistics to predict download numbers
- Xyologic – Monthly download numbers and country percentages for apps
- Applyzer – Follow competitive apps, read their reviews and track their daily position
- AppMonsta – Raw data about app rankings, ratings, reviews and publisher information
Competitive Research Tools
One of the tools that you can use to check the number of competitors is AppCod.es. You can even use this function of theirs for free. Go to http://www.appcod.es/ and click on “demo account” and on the next screen where it asks for your email you can just press “skip”.
In the search bar on the right, type in your search term, for example “guitar” and you will see the total competitor count displayed (in this example “110”, which essentially means there are more than 110 apps).
This tool also includes a useful stat, which is the “Max Chance” to rank within the top 16 results on the iPhone and can give you a quick indication if you have a chance of ranking in a meaningful position.
Beyond just the total number of competitors, also look at the strength of the competition. To do this check out the number and quality of the app ratings and also whether the top results are paid or free apps.
You also need to find low competition phrases to target, and make sure that lots of people are actually searching for this in the first place. Appcodes again provides you with important data to make an educated decision.
To get an indication of the search volume, look at the total number of ratings of the top apps, with the number of ratings being proportional to the download numbers. AppCodes also pulls in data from Xyologic, displaying a download estimate on a monthly basis and overall.
Another important piece of data is the previous month’s download estimate. Your “ideal” keyword will have very few competitors and the top results will have hundreds of ratings, with previous month downloads in the tens of thousands, indicating high search volume.