How to Perform Competitive Analysis and Boost Installs For Your App

We'll be honest, ASO competitive analysis will take time and energy to perform correctly, but it's vital to the success of your app

Competitive ASO research is the act of monitoring a collection of apps that are either similar to yours or target similar keywords so that you can glean insights into their approach to marketing. Armed with this knowledge, you can make more informed decisions regarding the keywords, creative assets, and advertising channels you use to promote your app.

Once you learn to properly research your competitors. You’ll be able to stay at the forefront of your niche and direct your promotional efforts proactively.

Unfortunately, saying you’re going to research the competition and actually doing it effectively are two different things. Keep reading to learn the main benefits of competitor research, the four components of ASO competitive analysis, and what to do with this information once you have it.

Why Should You Monitor Your Competitors?

We’ll be honest, ASO competitive analysis will take time and energy to perform correctly, though there are tools to help you streamline the process. Is it really worth the effort? Absolutely! Here are two main benefits you’ll enjoy once you’ve thoroughly researched your competitors:

1. Highlight Your Competitive Edge

In all likelihood, your app competes with dozens of similar offerings in the Apple App and Google Play stores. Why should a user download your app instead of the competition’s? By answering that question, you’ll uncover your app’s competitive edge.

When you know who your main competitors are, you can craft marketing messages and choose app store creatives that highlight the things that make your solution unique.

2. Nail Your Search Marketing

Keyword research is another important aspect of competitor analysis. What terms are your competitors currently targeting and ranking for? You can quickly identify new keyword opportunities by analyzing the competition and “stealing” the valuable terms they’re using.

This strategy will allow you to nail your search marketing efforts quickly. It will also save you money because you’ll only test keywords that your competitors have already vetted and proven to be popular.

For sum, when you understand what sets your app apart from others in its category and which keywords are currently working best in your specific niche, you can craft a marketing strategy that reaches more potential users organically and convinces them to install your app more frequently.

Four Components of ASO Competitive Analysis

Now that we’ve covered what competitive ASO research is and why it’s beneficial to app developers, let’s talk about how to do it. There are four components to this process:

1. Identify Your Competitors

You can’t analyze the competition if you don’t know who they are. That’s why the first step in the ASO competitive analysis process is to identify your competitors. You should look for rival apps in each of the following three categories:

  • Direct Competitors: Your app’s direct competitors are the other apps in the Apple App and Google Play stores that fill a similar need to your app. For example, Uber and Lyft are direct competitors because both apps offer the same service to users. 
  • Indirect Competitors: An indirect competitor is an app that offers similar features to yours but doesn’t fall within the same category. For instance, Uber and Google Maps. Both will get users where they want to go but in completely different ways.
  • Keyword Competitors: Lastly, we have keyword competitors. These are apps that compete for the same keywords — even if their functionality and target user base are completely different. For example, Uber and DoorDash might both target the keyword “driver” but each performs a very different task.

Do your best to create a shortlist of actual competitors (direct, indirect, and keyword) to keep an eye on. The easiest way to do this is to use a tool like AppTweak, Appfigures, or Mobile Action. All three solutions have handy features that will allow you to scan for potential competitors and evaluate the keywords they’re currently ranking for.

Note: Thorough competitor research needs to be done for every GEO basis that you’re attempting to market your app in. Learn more about app localization here.

2. Creative Competitive Research

Now that you have a list of competitors, begin monitoring the creative assets they use. This includes app titles, icons, screenshots, videos, and descriptions.

Most app developers focus all of their competitor research efforts on keywords — if they analyze the competition at all. But keywords are only half of the equation. By evaluating the creative assets that your competition uses as well, you’ll set yourself up for success and make a high ranking in the app stores much more likely.

As noted earlier, this level of research needs to be performed in every location you’re marketing your app. The icons and screenshots that work in one country might not go over well in another. Similarly, the Apple App and Google Play stores need to be researched individually too.

If this seems like a lot of work, don’t worry. StoreMaven has an ASO Toolbox Chrome Extension available to help you analyze competing creative assets with ease.

Using this tool, you’ll be able to quickly see how your competitors market themselves in different countries and languages; view their videos, screenshots, and descriptions; and even save all of these creative assets to your computer for offline research.

3. Keyword Competitive Research

Next, you’ll want to analyze the keywords your competitors are ranking for. Keyword selection (and placement!) is very important as it has a direct impact on where your app will rank in both Apple App and Google Play store search results.

First, look to see if there are any keyword opportunities available to you. Is the competition targeting a specific term that you aren’t? If so, consider adopting it.

Second, compare your app’s ranking for high-value keywords to the competition. Are they outranking you? If the answer is “yes,” you need to develop a strategy to overtake them in search results. For more information on this, read our Keyword Optimization article.

Remember to be strategic when it comes to keyword usage. You may want to rank for a high-value keyword, but if your app is brand new and the competition for said keyword is fierce, you have a very small chance of ranking for the term.

Instead, we suggest targeting other keywords that will be easier to rank for, increasing downloads, and then trying for the high-value phrases once your app is established in the Apple App and Google Play stores.

4. Ad Intelligence

Finally, it’s important to monitor your competitor’s approach to paid user acquisition. In other words, what messaging do they use in their app advertisements? A tool like Mobile Action is perfect for this purpose.

Ad Intelligence by Mobile Action will give you the ability to discover your competition’s ads and their need-to-know metrics so that you can craft engaging advertisements for your target users. 

Want to know which videos and screenshots produce the best conversion rates? What about the ad copy that generates the most conversions? Maybe your app will benefit from knowing the volume of ads your competitors are running and in which networks. Ad Intelligence will give you these details.

By developing a solid competitor monitoring routine, you’ll never be caught off guard when they change their marketing strategies. You’ll also have insider knowledge about how to improve your own advertisements and increase conversions.

What to do With Your Competitive Research

You’ve compiled a huge database of competitor research… Now what? Now it’s time to use what you’ve learned to enhance the marketing strategy for your own app!

  • Creative Competitor Monitoring: Evaluate your competitor’s creative assets to find your app’s competitive advantage. How can you adjust your app’s title, icon, screenshots, etc. to better promote your app’s unique offerings?
  • Keyword Competitor Monitoring: If you’ve found a viable keyword opportunity (i.e. a relevant keyword that your competitors are using, but you’re not) adjust your app’s copy to include it. Test your new description against past versions to see which performs best.
  • Ad Intelligence: The insights you glean from Ad Intelligence will be invaluable for user acquisition purposes. Take what you learn and develop creative assets that highlight your app’s unique strengths and advantages.

It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: you need to test and evaluate every change you make to your app store page. Just because a specific screenshot or keyword worked for a competitor doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Fortunately, app page testing is easy with Storemaven. Tests can be run without harming real-world traffic, ensuring you get the insights you need without destroying your current revenue numbers. Find out more about our tool here.

Wrapping Up:

Competitor research is vital to the success of your app. While it takes time and effort, it will enable you to better pinpoint your app’s competitive advantage, discover new keyword opportunities, and improve your user acquisition efforts.

Just remember to analyze your competition’s creative assets and advertising strategy, not just the keywords. Doing so will give you the best chance to rank well in search results and increase conversion rates for your app. Good luck!

Jonathan Fishman
About Jonathan Fishman
Jonathan is Storemaven's Director of Marketing. Before joining Storemaven he spent ten years commanding tanks, working on Wall St., consulting high-growth companies, and exploring Black Rock City. In his spare time, he likes building things from wood, writing, and listening to Frank Zappa.