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Kickstart your mobile app marketing strategy with competitive analysis

Picture this: A chessboard where your app's success hinges on tactical plays. In the grand game of mobile app development, the early moves often determine the outcome of the match. We're here to guide you through the crucial early stages, all centered around the powerful foundation of competitor research.

While it's often easiest and most effective to kick off this process before you've even begun developing your app in order to create a durable mobile app business plan, fear not if your app has already taken its digital form. Competitive research is a knight in shining armor in the early stages of crafting a winning app marketing strategy. Whether your app is a mere concept or a fully developed masterpiece, we’ll show you how to wield the power of competitive analysis to strategize, adapt, and secure victory on the digital marketing gameboard.

What is a competitive analysis?

Think of it as the opening move in a chess game. A competitive analysis is a strategic examination of your competitors–their strengths and weaknesses, their marketing tactics, and their position in the market. It's about understanding the landscape you're entering, much like sizing up your chess opponent.

Why is it important for marketers to research the competition?

First and foremost, competitive research provides critical insights into the industry landscape, shedding light on mobile app marketing trends, emerging consumer preferences, and evolving market dynamics. By studying competitors, marketers can identify gaps and opportunities, allowing them to tailor their strategies to better meet the needs and expectations of their mobile app target audience.

Furthermore, competitor research helps in benchmarking, enabling realistic performance goals for tracking progress. It empowers app developers and marketers to make informed decisions, refine their value propositions, and stand out in a crowded marketplace. Ultimately, understanding the competition is a strategic imperative in achieving long-term success and maintaining a competitive edge in the ever-evolving world of app marketing.

What are the benefits of competitor analysis?

Knowledge is power, making competitor analysis your competitive advantage by providing:

  1. Fact-driven strategy development: Just like in chess, understanding your opponent's actions can help you develop a strategy with concrete insights and strategic moves. Where they appear to be falling short, you can fill in the gaps. Where they excel, you can learn from their wins and find a way to apply these techniques to your own unique offering.
  2. Deep understanding of user preferences: Analyzing how your users are interacting with competitors in the context of current market trends helps identify the key aspects of a competitive user experience.
  3. Time and money savings:  With a robust analysis of the competition comes less upfront testing and learning. While trial and error will always be a core component to any marketing strategy, a strong foundation built from research and planning will drastically reduce your margin of error.

How to conduct a competitive analysis for digital marketing

Now, let's proceed with the strategic moves for conducting a mobile app market analysis. You can follow along using this simple competitive analysis template.

1. Identify competitors

You’ll begin your competitor research by identifying the pieces on the chessboard. Who are the players in your app’s vertical? These opponents fall into three categories.

Leaders: Kings on the chessboard. Leading competitors hold a dominant position and are the primary focus of everyone's attention. They set the standards and directions in the industry, are well-established, and often have a large user base, making them the central pieces around which the game revolves.

Identify these players easily with app store market research. Find your app’s category on the relevant app store(s) and make note of the top 10 free apps as well as the top 10 paid apps in that category.

Niche players: Akin to knights and bishops on the chessboard, niche players occupy unique positions. These apps have specialized offerings that cater to specific, often underserved, segments of the market. Their influence may not be as widespread as the leaders, but they play an important role by serving specific user needs.

Also recognizable with app store market research, you can dig deeper into sub-categories and search for keywords related to a particular niche to identify these competitors.

Example of competitor identification

Disruptors: Disruptors can be compared to rooks–powerful pieces that move in straight lines, clearing the path ahead. Trailblazing, disruptive competitors are innovative and bold, making significant moves that can change the landscape of the industry. They may not have the same level of recognition as the leaders, but their strategic and forward-moving approach sets them apart.

It takes a bit more time and effort to identify disruptors, but it can be done with search engine research into recent and current mobile app marketing trends. Who led those movements, and what role did they play?

2. Determine strengths, weaknesses, and strategies

Next, dive into your competitors' app listings, websites, and the apps themselves. For each competitor you have named in the step above, create a list of the app’s:

  • Features and functionalities
  • Pricing
  • Other monetization method(s)
  • Onboarding journey
  • User experience (UX) and design

Analyze these points, noting where their strengths and weaknesses lie. Then, assess which strategies they employ in their marketing efforts. Start by visiting the Google Ad Transparency Center and selecting your region of interest. Search each competitor’s name to see what Google Ads they have run to their respective websites.

Mobile app competitor analysis with Google Ads Transparency Center

The same can be done for Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger using Meta’s Ad Library, and on TikTok by searching with TikTok’s Top Ads tool.

Mobile app competitor analysis with Meta Ad Library

Once again, make note of these ads’ strengths and weaknesses, and use the analytics available in TikTok Creative Center to help establish benchmarks and note ideas for advertising keywords.

Mobile app competitor analysis with TikTok Top Ads

3. Browse user feedback and reviews

User feedback and reviews offer a unique window into the minds of your competitors' customers, where their praises and grievances are laid bare. By carefully analyzing app store reviews, forums, and social media posts, mobile app marketers can unearth essential data on what works and what doesn't in the market.

4. Build a report and share your findings

Summarizing and reporting your meticulous research is the last step in any marketing research project. This is the point in your competitive analysis where you build a structured compilation of valuable insights, distilled into a clear picture of who your competitors are, what they're doing right, and where they may be falling short.The report will serve as a roadmap, charting a course of action based on a comprehensive understanding of the competitive landscape.

Differentiation and strategy formulation

Now that you've collected your findings, it's time to draft your own approach. Craft a unique value proposition for your app that aligns with the gaps you've uncovered in the market. Your pricing, positioning, and mobile app marketing strategy should reflect this distinct journey. Remember, it's not about replicating what your competitors are doing, but learning from them. Utilize the knowledge you have gained to create a path that's uniquely yours.

In a realm where innovation is the key to success, competitor research becomes your strategic game plan. Armed with insights, you can forge ahead, taking calculated steps in the early stages of app development and marketing strategy formation. To learn how to measure the success of your strategy, check out Adjust’s Mobile Attribution solution, learn about next-gen measurement, or request a demo.

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