Now that you’ve done some initial research to validate that there’s a market for your app idea with strong potential to build a business, it’s time to do a deeper dive into the competition. If your idea is a good one, you probably aren’t the only one to have thought of it — and that’s ok. It’s just as likely that competitors haven’t executed the idea to its fullest potential. Your task is to be sure you’ve identified who the competitors are and how you can build an app that’s substantially different. It’s not as hard as you might think. Here’s how to search for app competitors and brainstorm ideas to make your product better.
First, you’ll want to create a way to organize the information you collect for easy analysis later on. There are a plethora of free options, including spreadsheets, Trello boards, and project management tools like Asana. You’ll want to track the following details for each competitor you uncover:
Industry search terms they’re ranking for in Google
App name and website URL
Pros (things to emulate)
Cons (things to improve upon)
Additional notes (miscellaneous discoveries, ideas that strike you, or things to follow up on later)
Choose a tool to track your data. Feel free to customize the information you track to fit your needs. Just make sure you’re gathering enough quality information to make informed decisions.
Search For App Competitors
Your goal is a thorough search that will uncover any other apps currently attempting to solve the same problem you aim to solve with your app idea. These competing apps may target the audience you currently have in mind, or they may not. Part of your sleuthing is to determine if you’ve chosen the best target audience. Keep an open mind and search with a wide net. Use the following in your search.
Take a look at your app’s industry. Are you building an app for entertainment, education, health and wellness, or some other niche? Google your industry with the word “app” after your search term. Also, search for different variations of your terms, such as “health app” and “health and wellness app.” Take note of your top search results and add what you find to your information tracker.
App Store and Google Play
Spend some time exploring the App Store and Google Play. Search for terms your target audience would search or terms around problems your ideal customer is trying to solve. Use search term variations again. Pay particular attention to the apps’ reviews. Look for what people rave about and what they complain about. Add your insights to your tracker.
Do Keyword Research
When you’re searching for your competition, you need to know what keywords their customers (and eventually yours) are using to find them. Drill down to specifics. What questions are your ideal customers asking that will lead them to your app? Do long-tail keyword research and see what results you’re getting in the top spots. Keyword research is not only valuable when searching for competition, but also for determining search terms to incorporate into your app marketing strategy.
Explore How Competitors are Operating
Once you have a thorough view of the competitive landscape, you’ll want to learn more about each of the apps you identified. Here’s what to look at.
Scour your competitors’ social media pages to learn more about their marketing strategy, customer satisfaction ratings, and product evolution. Look for reviews, comments, questions, and functionality issues so that you can apply what they’ve learned to your app development. Take note of what you discover in your tracker.
Search news stories to find out what your competitors are up to. They may be advertising a new app launch that isn’t online yet or be reeling from a launch that didn’t go well. Add your findings to your tracker.
Analyze Your Data
Now that your tracker is full of valuable data, it’s time to analyze it. Look for overlaps, similarities, and differences. Make note of what’s working well for your competitors and what isn’t. Ask yourself the following questions:
What problems are your competitors solving? What problems aren’t they solving that they should be?
Which features do they have in common and what’s different between them?
What is most important to their customers? What functionality do customers not seem to care about?
Where are your competitors succeeding and where are they failing?
What opportunities have they missed? Is there a market that’s being underserved? Key functionality that’s missing?
Improve Your App Idea
With the insights you gained from this process, you now have an advantage. You’ve determined what’s making your competitors’ users happy and what their users don’t yet have that they want or need. You’ve uncovered new opportunities. Now you can tweak your app idea accordingly. Consider the following questions based on what you learned:
Should you target a different market than you originally planned?
What important problems are not currently being solved for this market?
What functionality is missing in the current landscape that would revolutionize how problems are now being solved for this market?
Are there missed opportunities in how the competition is currently marketing their apps?
What about opportunities in different monetization strategies or billing structures?
Knowing how to search for app competitors and being sure that you’re building a product that’s substantially better than what’s already out there will greatly increase your chance of success. It will make marketing the app easier when the time comes for launch. Users will be able to clearly see why your app is the right choice for them. And investors will understand that your app idea is worth betting on.
Want to learn how we help you hone your app idea through our SolutionLab workshop? Get in touch, and we’ll schedule a call.