5 THINGS YOU CAN LEARN FROM COMPETITOR ASO ANALYSIS

You’ve completed your ASO checklist, you saw steady improvements in your organic traffic, but now you’ve hit a plateau. What can you do next? Take a look at your competitors! App competition gets increasingly aggressive every day as hundreds of new app hit the stores, but there are lessons to be learned, if you know what you look for! In this post, you will find the top 5 things to look at while doing your analysis (a.k.a stalking), with some great examples of resources you can consult.

1) User Demographics

What?
User demographics are data related to age, gender, income and education level.

Why is this important?
Demographics have been known to most influence the design, features and app functionality.

What can my competition teach me?
Peanut butter and jelly (bare with me here): a sandwich that formed our childhood (and adult life). Producers or peanut butter would be interested in knowing the demographic stats for the jelly company. Complementary products can learn from each other as much as competing products. By understanding age groups of competitor or complementary products, you may think of altering your marketing strategy and even the product. In what regards to the app, publishers choose to change designs and user interface depending on age groups and gender – would you want to add some more pink in your app because the market is shifting to a pink-loving demographic?

How can you get this type of user demographic gold from competitors? App Annie is one tool that offers app store analytics and market intelligence on your competitors for FREE. However, if you unlock the pro account, you can access competitor app users’ demographics and cross app usage. The analysis involves gender, age, partnership opportunities and competitive threats with cross-app usage patterns.

apps-annie

Source: App Annie

2) App Intelligence

What?
App intelligence provides information about market shares and revenues earned.

Why is this important?
In theory, you are trying to get a piece of the pie from app stores. But do you know how big the pie is, or better still if there is a pie at all?

What can my competition teach me?
Using the food industry again as an example, how would McDonald’s find out if a market is suitable for them or not? They may monitor profits of a competitor, like Burger King, in the specific region to decide if they can be a direct competitor or not. Just the same, app intelligence is extremely useful for understanding the performance of direct competition in specific markets and stores.

With both stores giving you revenue estimate for your app, it is equally important to know if your competitor is making as much (or as little) profit as you are. Insight on competitors’ profits by store can help you adjust your mobile marketing strategy to target different stores. For example, if you find that there is no strong competition on Google Play, you may want to shift some more budget towards your Android app.

You can gain valuable insights into the marketing strategies used by the top publishers and developers around the world with many full service app analytic platforms, like Sensor Tower. Their section of app intelligence gives you access to essential data for your strategic decisions, such as App & Publisher download, revenue and investment  estimates.

sensor-tower

Source: Sensor Tower

3) Category Analysis

What?
App stores allow you to classify your app under their preset categories to join similar apps in the same pool.

Why is this important?
Other than overall ranking, stores rank apps under their relevant category. This means that you will be working on improving your rankings within the vertical category you are in.

What can my competition teach me?
Both Google Play and Apple store require you to select the category that best describe your app, and both have their own tricks for ASO. While Google Play offers you one choice between 28 categories, Apple Store offers you the chance to select two out of 25 options. This give you double the chance to be a leader in your vertical category.

What can you gain from looking at competitors? By monitoring which categories competing apps you can better position yourself in the category that users expect to find you! Take a sports shop, for example. As an mCommerce app, it can be categorized under Shopping. However, by monitoring competitors, the shop found out that their competitor is ranking higher due to people searching the Sports section to find mCommerce apps related to their favorite hobby.

Marketers can look at categories using a variety of tools, including app discovery platform XYO (pictured below) to gain insight on predetermined categories to compare their apps with competitors, and search for specific apps. The platform divides your search per operating system to get more detailed insights.

xyo-category-analysis-apps-builder

4) Keyword Analysis

What?
Keywords are found in the app description and are used to rank you app.

seson-tower-keyowrds

Source: SensorTower

Why is this important?
Keywords are one of the major store ranking factors and help determine search relevancy.

What can my competition teach me?
Where monitoring a competitors category can help you rank better within that specific group, keyword monitoring can help you track & optimize your ranking in specific search results. Much the same as SEO, understanding both the volume and hits for your app store keywords can help you optimize the words you choose (ie. by choosing synonyms).

You can also get a leg-up on your competition if you see that certain keywords are not being used in their app name, app pitch and full description. Including the relevant keyword in any of these three places can push you ahead of competitors who haven’t done their ASO homework.

Lastly, it’s important to monitor competitors to find out which keywords not found in your description are generating clicks for apps you compete with. With Sensor Tower, this insight is the KEI – how relevant your description is regarding the keyword.

Word(s) to the wise: keyword stuffing is not enough to pop on the top of the list. Be careful when updating the description of your app since Apple Store may take the whole two weeks to release your update. This may cause a big time disadvantage. Keep Monitoring! If you constantly monitor your own keywords, as well as competitors’, you will stay ahead of the time disadvantage.

5) Reviews and Ratings

What?
An app review is a comment a user who downloaded the app can leave on the store. It will be publicly shown regardless of the

Why is this important?
Reviews affect your rankings, help promote your app, inform you of bugs, collect suggestions and is another way to communicate with your users.

What can my competition teach me?
How can reading competitor review help you with your app, you ask? Reading user reviews of competitor apps can help you gain insight on what users want from the app, what they aren’t getting, and what type of language they are using (which can inform your keyword strategy). Once you know what users like or don’t from your competitor’s app, you know how to better position your own app to that target user. When it comes to features, if you have what your competition doesn’t, give users what they are looking for, and update your keywords accordingly!

Many ASO tools, like App Tweak let you browse reviews for free, while App Annie also lets you export competitors reviews (to excel) so you can dig deep and mine valuable keywords.

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