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Otto von Bismarck once said that “only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”
He ended up building modern-day Germany and becoming its first chancellor, so you may take his advice for granted.
In the world of marketing for mobile apps, that entails doing a thorough app competitor analysis. Apart from learning from others’ mistakes, this also helps you identify opportunities that your direct competitors aren't taking advantage of.
And both those things will help position your brand better in app stores and beyond.
This article will take you through all the necessary, actionable steps of completing that competitor analysis. And we’ve compiled plenty of examples to help you understand better.
Keep reading below.
Competitor analysis in mobile apps is the process of gauging the performance of the apps developed by your direct and indirect competitors. Understanding their results and comparing them to yours allows you to:
So you’re not just trying to be better than your competition; you’re trying to satisfy your customers’ unique needs in a completely different way from your competitors.
As a result, you will improve your product strategy, SEO strategy and app performance to gain that competitive edge.
Who should make this competitor analysis?
Auditing your competitors should be a team effort across multiple departments. Your web development, creative, and marketing teams should all be involved. Alternatively, you can hire a third-party audit agency to conduct this research.
Now that you know the theory behind this competitive analysis, let’s see how you can implement it.
The first thing you must do is make a list of competitors using these variables:
Apps that you overlap with are most likely your competitors.
Here’s an example if you’re searching by “budget planner” on app stores. All the apps in this screenshot compete for this particular keyword:
Let’s analyze the keywords that the top two budgeting apps above are using in the “About this app section:”
Here’s the most interesting keyword that the second app is using: “save money.”
This defines a unique selling point and simultaneously a benefit for the audience.
Brand messages help you (among other things) to:
A mobile app competitor analysis may show that your competitor’s messages are:
Specific elements to analyze within the message include:
Some of these elements will help you grasp your potential competitors’ intentions. For example, an “apply here” CTA clearly shows the campaign aims to increase conversions. Similarly, some offers may indicate a customer retention campaign.
Let’s see how the Perfect Piano app communicates with its prospects right from the Google Play Store:
Real Piano: Electric Keyboard is one of Perfect Piano’s competitors. This app has:
Analyzing your competitors’ advertising channels shows you:
Let’s see Asana Rebel Fitness App’s Instagram page. They offer actionable advice, such as real Yoga poses people can try for specific purposes:
* Note the abundance of yoga-related hashtags, the branded “Asana” hashtags, and the very specific #fatburn, which defines a benefit their audience craves.
Other posts include challenges (again, watch the array of specific hashtags that help the post break through the noise):
And their ads are filled with user-generated content to assure prospects the app will work for them too:
Pro tip: You can use our free mockup ad generators to test different copy.
The performance data you should analyze includes specific metrics:
Analyzing your competitors’ ads and social media messages in terms of these variables requires specific competitor analysis tools. Doing it manually increases the chance of errors and takes hundreds of hours.
For example, the Asana Rebel ad we posted above had 19,000+ views in just an hour at the time of this writing.
The Yoga-Go app’s ad below has barely 63 likes in one day:
One explanation could be that the Yoga Go app is less popular, with just 1.2 million followers compared to Asana Rebel’s 2.3 million.
But still, that is a small number of views even in this competitive landscape.
Another reason could be that Asana Rebel’s ad:
So, because Asana Rebel’s ad brings more value to people, more Instagram users interact with it. As such, Instagram’s algorithm makes the ad more visible.
After understanding all these, you should have a reasonable idea of your competitors’ selling points. You should also understand your USP – aka the value offering you’re bringing to your target users.
Remember: Your USP doesn’t just relate to your product. Variables to look for include:
For example, Joggo App’s unique selling point is allowing people to calculate how much weight they can lose with this running app. For free.
Auditing your competitors’ app reviews allow you to understand how successful they are compared to you and where their business success stems from.
Use that info to improve your app’s existing features or develop new features to attract a new pool of customers.
For example, you may notice that your competitors reply with vague and generic comments instead of offering valuable help.
Here’s one good example from The Walking Dead Survivor Game:
Conduct a SWOT analysis based on what you learned for yourself and your competitors. The purpose is to understand the overall performance of your app and the apps you’re competing with.
Pro tip: Writing it down in a report helps you focus on the best solutions.
That means you will implement the right changes timely and in an appealing way for your audience.
Here’s another example from Joggo:
Joggo devised the new Heart Rate Zones feature for their Apple Watch users, and they’re announcing it on Instagram. That channel is a great choice considering the 79k followers they have.
Pro tip: Notice the comments.
People are commenting with other suggestions, such as Garmin and Samsung Health compatibility. Someone even suggests a free trial.
Joggo can decide to implement new features and services based on these comments to attract an even larger audience.
Now that you’re here, you know how to start conducting an app competitor analysis. However, you need the right tools to speed up the process and help you derive useful insights.
Free ad intelligence tools like Facebook Ads Library allow you to see any ad from your competitors, your budget, and their campaigns’ duration. Twitter allows you to do the same with its Transparency Center.
Ahrefs is another good tool that you can sample for free.
Alternatively, you can ask for the help of a mobile app agency. inBeat is happy to support you with a useful market analysis. We can even help you build a comprehensive campaign based on those results.
Read our case studies to find out how thorough competitor analysis helped us grasp unique opportunities for our clients, such as Unroll.me and Hopper.
Hint: You’ll also learn how we solved their problems seamlessly through unique UGC campaigns.
And if you want to discuss more about the steps we presented in this article and how we can assist you, book a free strategy call with us.