How to Conduct Mobile App Competitor Analysis Before Development
Entering the market with a new product, having conducted no mobile app competitor analysis, is a risk for a company. If any strong players already exist, the whole business plan will probably collapse, and losses will follow. Also, you should not underestimate existing competitors when the business has been operating for a long time. To remain competitive, you need to “run faster” than other companies with a similar product or at least keep up.
Competitor research takes time and resources, but in the end, it pays off because the company reduces uncertainty, understands how to grow the business better, and makes fewer planning mistakes. Here we talk about how to conduct a detailed competitor analysis leaving no pitfalls and earning a scope of all necessary basics needed to launch the product able to compete.
Why Is It Important to Conduct the Mobile App Competitor Analysis?
Competitor analysis is needed when you take on something new and don’t know how to approach it. Whether you start to promote a product in social networks, make a new mobile app, or expand the set of features for an existing one — first, see how your competitors dealt with similar tasks. You can avoid their mistakes and do better. Even following a quick mobile app competitive analysis template can save you from many errors.
When Should You Do a Mobile App Competitor Analysis?
The purpose of competitor app analysis is to understand the disadvantages and advantages of competitors, their marketing features, and work strategies in order to create or edit existing planning within your business correctly. Competitors are analyzed and evaluated at the launch of new products and regularly to maintain market positions and improve products and services.
To stay afloat and become a leader, you need to know your opponents in detail. Thus, completing a competitor analysis is necessary whenever you start a new project, add a fresh feature, or scale an existing product.
How to Do a Mobile App Competitor Analysis in 8 Steps
Before proceeding to a comparative analysis of competitors, carry out a number of preliminary works. Firstly, clearly define your competitors. Secondly, define the objectives of the competitive analysis so that you do not analyze “extra” information that will not answer the necessary questions. Thirdly, conduct a survey of consumers in the market to form an understanding of what ideas the target audience has about competitors’ products and assess the level of knowledge and loyalty.
Step 1. Carry Out Market Analysis of an App
At this stage of mobile app competitor analysis, determine the number of players, the rate of market growth, and the dynamics of the emergence of new products in the industry. Conclusions at this stage should be drawn regarding the intensity of competition, the prospects for its tightening, and forecasts of market changes for the next 3 years.
4 main indexes for understanding of the market volume of your products:
1. PAM — potential addressable/available market
2. TAM – total addressable/available market
3. SAM – serviceable available market
4. SOM – serviceable and obtainable market
Step 2. Find Competitor Apps and Profile Current Competition
The straightest way to identify your competitors is to browse app stores. Searching for apps based on niche or keyword is most relevant. Thus, you should target them in your analysis.
Making the mobile app competitor analysis, you should draw your attention to the following groups:
- direct competitors provide products similar to yours;
- indirect competitors’ products are different from yours but fulfill the same customer need.
So, your competitors are all the apps that fit into your category, offer similar services, or get ranked in the search results for your specialized keywords. If you run out of ideas concerning which keywords to search, tools described further in the article will come in handy.
Also, don’t forget to do a Google search, read articles like “best apps” or “top apps” and watch videos on YouTube. Analyze how competitors position themselves on the app page. How they demo their app. It is important to analyze the following:
– Appearance of the application icon;
– Description of functionality;
– Application screenshots;
– What features are emphasized (if they are prioritized, we analyze them more deeply because this is the main functionality).
We include here the top competitors, middle-class, and outsiders — this will help to understand what makes the tops the tops and the outsiders fall behind in the market.
App store rankings of your competitors’ apps are also vital in preparing the competitive scope. App rank is the place it occupies in the search results after you enter the thematic keyword or query. Apps are ranked in Apple App Store and Google Play Store based on multiple factors: keywords. Identify what keywords your competitors use to get a better ranking and how high they are in the search results to optimize your marketing strategy.
Step 3. Research the Competitor’s Business Models
This step falls into studying the next indicators:
- Revenue Model — shows how a startup business will generate revenue and cover operating costs. This model measures the company’s pricing strategy and profitability of product sales.
- User Acquisition Model — this is a marketing activity aimed at attracting users to an application. The more people know and use the application or service of the company, the higher brand awareness and organic growth of the target audience.
- Retention Model. User retention is the best way to grow your app. Advertising, attracting new customers, and increasing the number of downloads require large investments. That is why, in the long run, retaining users is much more profitable than attracting new ones.
- LTV Model. LTV is needed to track the process of attracting customers for a long time, build relationships with them and form growth hypotheses. This is the customer’s value in terms of money that he is expected to bring to the company during his life as a buyer.
- Loyalty & Awareness Model. Brand loyalty refers to customers who make repeat purchases from your brand, build trust in your brand, and consistently choose your brand over competitors. Study how loyal your competitors’ clients are to know how to make them switch the product already existing on the market for yours.
- User Exit Model. What makes a user stop using a competitor’s app? Knowing this, you can avoid these mistakes and create an application that users will use repeatedly.
Step 4. Study Competitor’s Unique Value Offering
You will need to find out exactly what it is that makes the competition’s apps appealing to customers. Ideally, your app should include these selling points – and then go one step further with something new that makes it unique and more appealing than others. Be sure to highlight the key features and UVPs.
A unique value proposition (UVP), or unique value offering (UVO), is a concise, straight-to-the-point statement about the benefits you offer customers. In other words, it’s an explanation of what makes you different. The value proposition is usually a block of text (a headline, sub-headline, and one paragraph of text) with a visual (photo, hero image, graphics).
Evaluate your competitor’s current value proposition by checking whether it answers the questions below:
- What product or service is their company selling?
- What is the end benefit of using it?
- Who is their target customer for this product or service?
- What makes their offering unique and different?
Then, to develop competitive strategies, it is also very important to understand competitors’ technological capabilities, ability to achieve low costs, access to resources, skill levels, and financial capabilities.
Step 5. Feature set & Product analysis
A feature set is a high-level description of the functionalities you want to include in an app. It is an amount of information that proves or suggests that certain features are necessary to solve the user’s problem.
To conduct a brief competitor apps’ product analysis regarding features, read their app descriptions and try the products yourself to see which common ones pop out. Analyze your competitors’ apps and list all the features they use. Compare the features of competitors. This very important stage helps you learn the main user needs and gives you a set of features you should implement.
You can read customer reviews in App Store or Google Play. Analyze the shortcomings of competitors’ applications based on reviews and common mistakes, and determine users’ needs and what they lack. Discover practices that work for competitors can be introduced into your workflow to increase your audience’s engagement level.
You can also rank reviews by important/unimportant categories. Compare reviews with update dates — have the app been improved? Note for yourself how your competitors respond to reviews.
Empathy is very important for a competitive analysis — you need to dive deeply into each mobile app. Read articles on relevant topics to understand the user’s pain points and put yourself in their shoes — how will they use the application? What is important to them?
How to analyze the feature set of a mobile application:
- Take a test device (clear the cache if the application was previously installed);
- Install a competitor’s application;
- Form a feature table.
For this, we start using the application. At the same time, we simulate different situations — sunny day, as well as alternative flows (when the user does not understand how to use the application).
Record the result in the feature table after testing each part of the functionality. At first, your feature table will be unstructured, but after analyzing 1-2 applications, you will form the desired structure. In the process of research, take screenshots and supplement your every step with them, make stickers and record insights. Depending on the type of application, each feature table will be different, but your feature table will definitely have the following positions:
- Startup functions that can include:
– Splash screen
– Dynamic onboarding (if available)
– without registration
– with registration/authorization
- Basic settings;
- The main functionality — the one that covers the main pain points of the user (it will differ depending on the type of application). Here you can move from general to partial;
- Additional functionality.
In the process of researching the features, we prioritize them. There are many prioritization models, all of them based on subjective evaluation. The Devlight team uses the Kano model. The Kano model is a coordinate system where the client’s needs are displayed on the horizontal axis, which can be divided into three points:
- Mandatory or basic features: the user won’t consider your product if you don’t have this feature;
- Performance features: the more you invest in their development, the higher the level of user satisfaction will be;
- Exciting features: the users do not expect them, but they excite them.
The idea behind Kano’s core model is that the more time, money, and effort you spend creating, implementing, and improving features from each category, the higher your user satisfaction will be.
On the horizontal axis, on the left there are needs that are not satisfied at all, and on the right are those that are completely satisfied.
The vertical axis reflects the level of user satisfaction. The functionality scale shows how well the feature is implemented, from “Absent” to “Perfectly implemented.”
How it looks assembled:
The Kano model is useful when you need to prioritize product features based on user-perceived value. Perception is the key word. If the user lives in the desert, they will not be inspired by the raincoat. You need to know your customer well if you want to use the Kano model.
In order to get information from customers about their needs, you need to create a Kano questionnaire that users will have to fill in answering how they feel about each feature. At first, you fill out the questionnaire yourself when you use the application, but later the formed hypotheses need to be validated with real users by conducting various surveys.
The questionnaire should include the following questions:
- If you had access to such a feature, how would you feel?
- If you didn’t have access to such a feature, how would you feel?
And the following answer options:
- I like it;
- I’m waiting for it;
- I do not care;
- I could put up with that;
- I do not like it.
Then we collect all the features (present or absent) into the evaluation table:
- Attractive — this feature is not expected, but customers like it;
- Mandatory — a must-have feature, customers are unhappy when it’s not there;
- Effective — users like the presence and do not like the absence of this function;
- Indifferent — customers are indifferent to this functionality or are ready to experience its absence/presence;
- Disputed — contradictory and conflicting feedback from customers;
- Disapproved — customers like the lack of functionality and dislike when it is present.
Advantages of prioritization according to the Kano model:
- it helps the team to stop overestimating exciting features and underestimating must-haves;
- it helps the team to make the best product decisions and build market forecasts according to audience expectations.
Disadvantages of prioritization according to the Kano model:
- fussing with the questionnaire can take a long time;
- customers may not fully understand the features you are asking them about.
After analysis, we can also correlate the number of features with the ranking. This perfectly shows that we don’t need all the features — it’s better to do less, but better.
After analyzing the features, we can make a high-level application structure.
Step 6. Conduct Target Audience ‘Need’ Analysis
Describing the target audience should be based on demographic, behavioral, and psychographic segmentation criteria. Check our Target Audience-related article to learn more about this step.
Step 7. Analyze Your Competitor’s Keywords Running Ads On
Using the tools we’ll cover later in the article, it’s easy to determine how many app store ads your competitors are showing and what keywords they’re targeting. After analyzing this information, you can easily create your advertising strategy.
Step 8. Build a Competitive Analysis Matrix for Your App
The matrix of competitors will help to highlight the market giants and determine the rules of the game in the industry. It can become an example of successful decisions and strategies you can easily build.
Draw a matrix using all the mobile app competitive analysis template data to visualize your conclusions. This matrix will serve as your beacon in the night of developing a competitive product.
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Mobile App Competitive Analysis Template
The template we offer is based on several competitive analysis strategies. You can use it as a base or moderate, depending on your niche or the number of competitors analyzed.
Mobile App Competitive Analysis Example
No one is isolated from the market, so in developing a new product, you have to consider competitors, their strengths, and their weaknesses. That is exactly what we were busy with at the stage of competitors’ research. Check out the mobile app competitive analysis example from the Devlight team!
Such an approach helps us form the right hypotheses later on and iterate changes based on detailed data throughout the whole development process.
Tools for Mobile App Competitor Analysis
The mobile app analytics software allows organizations to track session activity and user behavior. They are life savers when it comes to a modern mobile app competitor analysis based on large data corpora.
Data.ai is a service for analytics and getting reliable data to make important decisions at all stages of the mobile application business. You can use it to understand better competitors and market conditions and track app downloads, revenue, usage, engagement, and ads. Data.ai includes market analytics and multi-store app analytics and helps you create your own mobile app competitive analysis template. The service will also allow you to optimize products for app stores and increase the effectiveness of promotion methods, retention rate, and effectively support the target audience.
Mobile Action analyzes the selected category and selects keywords. Opposite each request, it indicates the frequency and percentage of downloads based on the search results. You can list keys and track your visibility in stores, intersections, and competitors’ positions.
The service collects data on the interaction of the audience with the application for the last 12 months. Tracking of the most popular words in reviews is available. Among the smart analytics tools is a rough estimate of the profitability of competing applications and keywords with the highest conversion. Based on each analysis, recommendations are formed regarding the semantic core, profitability, localization, and audience return rate. You can set up alerts in case of changes in statistics. All reports are downloaded as PDF files.
The platform is suitable for marketers, as it allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and further optimize promotion costs. You will be interested in the ability to check positions in store categories. The presence of a free plan makes the service affordable for startups.
The service tracks the number of downloads, breaking them into organic and paid, and evaluates the installations’ profitability. Sensitivity analysis allows you to monitor how different campaigns have affected ratings and feedback sentiment. There is a function of tracking conversion by traffic sources — for all countries and each separately. Email notifications and CSV uploads are available.
Apptopia is a service that collects and analyzes statistical data of mobile applications for iOS and Android. Working with the platform does not require the installation of codes, making it a great beginner tool often used for competitor app analysis. The metric is designed for marketers, as it gives an idea of the trends in the mobile application market.
AppTweak is a platform for ASO optimization with a tool for forming a semantic core in 16 languages. The service is suitable for analyzing programs on iOS and Android in 70 countries. To activate the 7-day trial period, the payment card information is required.
Appfigures is an analytics tool for mobile app stores that processes closed statistical data from more than 10 marketplaces. The system allows you to get detailed information about the volume of sales (total and by country), product rating by different ranking parameters, user reviews, and the number of updates.
You can track the positions of competitors, which are displayed in the TOPs and reviews of the service. The free trial version lets you get acquainted with the main functions and get statistics on 5 products. Full functionality is available with a paid subscription.
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Mobile App Competitor Analysis: Common Mistakes
Using well-conducted mobile app competitor analysis to plan a business strategy will help you demonstrate high results. However, for the most accurate analysis, you should avoid such errors:
- Mistake #1. Wrong goal set
The purpose of the analysis is to adjust the development strategy. To do this, you need to find mechanisms for solving your own business problems in the experience of competitors. Clearly define the purpose of your analysis and what result you want to get — then the whole process will smoothly lead you to a desired achievement.
- Mistake #2. Restricting the Number of Competitors Studied to One or A Few
Many companies consider only a few major competitors in their analysis. Medium-sized projects are often left out due to time shortages, lack of knowledge, or experience. As a result, the company makes an accurate, systematic market analysis considerably more difficult. Additionally, brands that only consider large companies cannot be prepared to confront niche companies.
- Mistake #3. Wrong Conclusions
Even with the right choice of tool you are not immune to mistakes. At the stage of drawing conclusions, it is necessary to understand the specifics of data collection and processing. Only a competitor owns the exact figures. No tool is able to produce error-free analysis. Therefore, the data it produces will only be approximate.
How Does Devlight Help You Perform a Competitor App Analysis
Do you plan to create a startup from scratch? We will help you solve this task at a minimal cost because we approach our work using the SMART method and offer reliable solutions. At Devlight, we understand that before proceeding to a competitor app analysis, it is necessary to carry out a number of preliminary works:
- First, clearly define your competitors.
- Second, define the objectives of the competitive analysis so that you do not analyze “extra” information that will not answer the necessary questions;
- Thirdly, conduct a survey of consumers in the market to form an understanding of what ideas the target audience has about your idea/product and competitors’ products and assess the level of knowledge and loyalty.
All of these precaution measures combined with our mobile app analysis methodology allow us to draw proven conclusions with tangible results. Devlight will not only accompany you at any stage of the route but offer visual metrics with clear explanations.
Mobile App Competitive Analysis: Brief Summary
Competitor app analysis is studying competitors to scale a business, eliminate performance gaps, and bring new products to market. Business explores direct, indirect, and non-obvious competitors through available channels: company websites, social networks, ratings, reviews, search results, and other ways.
The easiest mobile app competitive analysis template is a matrix of competitors with the main characteristics of their businesses: products offered, marketing practices used, features, and prices.
Constant analysis of competitors is an important step toward achieving your business goals. It will help you proceed or at least allow you to stay in your market position, ahead of competitors in development. We are sure that our well-designed mobile app competitive analysis template will help you with this.
How to Conduct Mobile App Competitor Analysis Before Development: FAQ
What Should a Mobile App Competitor Analysis Cover?
The main task of the mobile app competitor analysis is to obtain information about the advantages and disadvantages of competitors and their development strategies. Based on these data, develop a unique selling proposition and choose the right vector for business development.
What Is the Purpose of a Mobile App Competitor Analysis?
It is impossible to conduct business without understanding how things work in your market niche. Competitors are developing and improving their services, so you need to follow their trends and seek growth points for your project. The purpose of mobile app competitor analysis is to help you with this.
Is SWOT a Competitive Analysis?
SWOT is a methodology used as a part of competitive analysis. It can also be used to analyze the data gathered via different research and user surveys. However, the SWOT analysis for mobile app example is too simple of analysis to substitute the complexity of competitive market research.
What Are the Advantages of Conducting Competitor Research?
A competitive analysis allows you to identify the main competitors of your app, analyze their strengths and weaknesses, and position strategy. In other words, you learn about the positive characteristics of your competitors’ companies to use them in your practice and study their mistakes to avoid such pitfalls during your app development.
How to Collect Data for Competitive Analysis?
Use the services specializing in collective analysis. Not all information can be taken from open sources. Special software can crawl competitors’ apps and track the tendencies hidden from the human eye. What is more, you can use complex platforms for mobile app analytics and conduct surveys of the target audience of customers to gain the knowledge necessary for a mobile app competitor analysis.