Once you have determined whom you are going to target, it’s time to analyze your competition to identify what your product is up against in the app market. Statista records confirm that users currently can choose from close to 6 million apps between Google Play and the App Store. With so many options available, competitive analysis is an essential part of business strategy to stay ahead.
Successful mobile app development delivers a product that adds value to users and solves their pain points. However, your app ultimately won’t be successful if your competition has more to offer. Here are ten research techniques to help you establish a competitive edge.
1. Know Your Unique Value Proposition
Competitive research is about discovering your competition’s strengths and weaknesses. Building a product that offers the same features as the competition won’t help you win over many users. A unique value proposition (UVP) is the core of your competitive advantage and is arguably one of the most important conversion factors for your product. A UVP is the first step you need to consider to optimize user loyalty and overall business success.
Remember, a UVP is not a slogan, nor is it a positioning statement, rather, a UVP clearly explains how your product solves problems and benefits users. Also, your UVP needs to convince customers to choose your product over other available options. Your UVP should be the first thing customers see when they visit your website or social media pages. When you’re analyzing the competition, look for their UVP to understand the value they’re offering with their product.
Many companies fail to accurately assess their full competitive set. If you don’t understand what your app’s strengths and weaknesses are, you won’t be prepared to market your product successfully. You should be able to identify and communicate your unique value proposition to set your company and product aside from the rest of the market.
No matter how unique you think your product or service is, it’s likely to be very similar to a product or service that already exists. The important thing to remember is how your app will add value in a way that your competition does not. Your UVP will give you a competitive edge, surpassing your direct competition before even launching your app.
2. Who Are Your Competitors?
Once you have your UVP, you must assess who your current or potential competitors are. Make a list of five of your direct competitors to determine their strengths through a general search using keywords. If other companies use the same keywords as your own, you’ll most likely be competing for your users’ attention. A helpful tool we like to use is Owler, a competitive intelligence resource that gathers data about your competition including revenue, newsworthy events, company initiatives, and more.
When conducting a general search, look at your competitors’ target audience, revenue, product offerings and features, customer support, and marketing strategy. Researching your competition’s’ products is just as important as how they target, market, and interact with their users.
3. Examine Their Online Presence
Social media offers multiple opportunities for competitive research that go far beyond the number of followers they have. Follow your competitors’ social media accounts, and subscribe to their newsletters and blogs to learn how they brand themselves online. Also, take a look at who follows your competitors. How do they acquire their followers? You should also look into your competitions’ influencers, which will give you an idea of key industry leaders and spark ideas for engagement with these influencers.
4. Examine Their App Store Listings
How are your competitors performing on the App Store? First, you’ll want to look at your competitors’ average rating for the current version of their product, as well as every other version. This data will provide insight into their track record with their users.
User reviews are also excellent resources for competitor research. Often, users will use reviews to alert companies to bugs and usability issues, which will give you an idea of what performance factors are the most important to your prospective users. Users also use reviews to advocate for particular features they want to see in the next release of the app. By monitoring reviews, you can find out what features your users are looking for before your competition has implemented them.
You’ll also want to pay attention to how frequently your competitors update their product. Staying on top of their update cycle will allow you to plan your updates accordingly and strategically.
Another area of interest is your competition’s app store optimization strategy. Again, pay attention to keywords, branding visuals, and product description. Look for areas where you can enhance your own listing to set yourself apart.
5. Analyze Their Content Marketing Strategy
Analyzing your competition’s content marketing strategy holds significant value. Every marketing strategy will reveal insights into their targeted sets of users. Analyze their publication frequency, quality, relevance to their product or services, and how they are targeting their users with their content.
6. Ask Prospective Users
Now you need to start digging even deeper by directly asking prospective users what they think of any similar products on the market. Collecting user feedback is a simple yet accurate way to confirm your assumptions about direct competition to improve your product and marketing strategy.
7. Ask The Business Experts
Another beneficial technique when conducting competitive research is to talk with other business experts in the industry. Ask what has worked, what hasn’t, and any future trends that they foresee. At Clearbridge, we have in-house business analysts that will provide you with the information needed to help you make smart product decisions.
8. Keep an Eye on Indirect Competition
This technique may not seem significant, however, it will prove to be beneficial because indirect competition still poses a threat when it comes to targeting the same set of users. While they may not build mobile apps, they are still winning over your users somehow with another product or service. Don’t focus on the products or services they offer your users but instead analyze how they are targeting and retaining their users. What makes them successful in doing so? What areas do they need improvement? Where is there overlap with your company? Will they become a direct competitor in the future? Competitive research should go far beyond the product itself to examine their overall branding strategy and management. Both you and your competition are battling for the attention of your users, whether it’s a marketing strategy or the product itself.
9. Attend Industry Conferences
A great way to learn about who your competitors are and what they offer is by attending professional conferences and trade shows. Here, you’ll be able to see how your competition interacts with customers and how they attract customers.
10. Analyze Industry Reports
Many companies will release trend reports, specifically in the tech industry. Reading about what was popular in the last year may spark new product ideas for the year to come. The tech industry is continuously evolving, so it’s no surprise that companies need to stay ahead of the game to remain in the competitive market. Keeping up-to-date on the newest technologies will help you stay ahead and will reveal key information about competitors such as their latest products and features, which will either propel you in another direction or evoke new ideas for improvement. Leading tech companies can anticipate gaps, problems, and most importantly, competitive threats in the market.
It’s essential to avoid imitating your competition after conducting your research, but instead, you should be able to understand the attitudes and behaviors of how users are interacting with other brands, whether directly, or indirectly. A simple assessment of their online presence is often not enough, which is why these techniques will cover you on all bases so you can enter the app market with a thorough understanding of who you are up against.