As you may be aware, any app with a good ASO strategy always starts with a good benchmark, not only to get a general overview of the market but also to discover the growth potential and how to gain visibility on the various mobile app and games stores. And nothing beats a thorough examination of the competency to accomplish this.
To that end, we'll tell you everything you need to know in this post about making a relevant selection of competitors for your app. Here is what you need to research about them to determine whether they lead the way in terms of ASO or not.
What factors influence the selection of ASO competitors?
Before beginning the analysis, it is critical to consider some factors that will influence the competitors you select as your benchmark. This is an important step because if you don't think it through, the study won't be valuable, which isn't what you want, is it?
Before you launch and publish on the stores, you must define an ASO strategy to gain search and browse visibility, and studying the competition is essential. You may be wondering what factors you should consider when selecting your competitors.
1. Type of service or product
The first obvious criterion to consider is your main value proposition, and you must understand what you are offering the users. Before proceeding, make certain that you understand everything.
Assume you've created a language-learning app and plan to launch it in a few months. How many languages do you have available? Is it possible to make payments within the app? Is it a subscription service? The better your product definition, the easier it will be to identify your direct competitors.
2. App Store for iOS / Google Play Store
You should keep in mind that competitors may differ depending on where you decide to launch your app. An app may be available on Google Play, the App Store, or both at the same time, which is why you must know which stores your competitors are available in.
Your competition will also vary depending on which countries your app is available in. It makes little sense to select an app as a competitor if it is only available in the United States and yours is only available in Spain, as they do not compete for downloads.
This is not to say that you cannot use how your vertical works in other countries as a guide. It is always beneficial to understand what is being worked on in other markets to understand how they manage keywords, visual designs, and other ASO aspects.
4. Startups vs. large corporations
One of the most common mistakes in the competitor selection process is failing to consider the scope of your app in comparison to other apps in the same sector, especially for startups. For example, if you have just released a language learning app, the best thing to do is to focus on apps at the same level rather than choosing apps like Duolingo, which are much larger and will make measuring the impact of your ASO strategy difficult. Being optimistic is important, but so is being realistic.
It's different if your app was already published and you've gained visibility in your category. When you reach that point, you can choose another competitor with whom you want to compete while keeping your options in mind.
Let's get started now that you're ready to choose your competitors.
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Step-by-step instructions for selecting ASO competitors
Begin by selecting 5 to 10 main keywords that you believe define the business of your product. Take into account that app store users' search behavior differs from that of the web - keywords are typically shorter/mid-tail than long tail (for example, "sports bet" vs "top 10 sports bet apps").
Once you have them, search for them on Google Play, the App Store, or both (depending on the scope of your app) and identify the first competitors for each keyword you searched.
Another method is to identify potential competitors in the store category in which you want to rank. There are numerous options on the market for doing so, and if you don't have one in mind, you can always use Appranking
: create a free account and get insights in the Top Charts section by category and country.
Step 2: Analyze competitor ASO
If you made it this far, you must have some apps that could be interesting competitors. This is when you begin filtering.
Enter the complete list of competitors. What you need to consider now is whether the on-metadata textual fields, particularly the Title and Short Description, are keyword optimized (on Google Play, and the App Store the equivalents are the App Name and the Subtitle). Check to see if they use relevant keywords in these fields and if they are close to the maximum number of characters in each of them - if they aren't, they either didn't consider ASO or placed too much emphasis on the brand.
It's even better if you have access to the ASO tool
, which allows you to monitor the keywords in these fields and see their search traffic. It will not only confirm whether or not your competitors worked on their listing, but it will also assist you in identifying new keywords for which your app can rank. Two for one!
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Step 3: Ratings and downloads
Once you've determined which competitors work in your category and have good ASO optimization, the final (and most important) step is to examine their downloads and growth, average rating, accumulated rating volume, reviews (to see the strengths and weaknesses mentioned by users), app weight, and update frequency.
We previously stated that it was critical to consider your app's ability to compete with market leaders. This is where you can be certain, by looking at the total downloads and accumulated ratings of the potential competitors. The store listings on Google Play and the App Store include a rough estimate of these metrics, allowing you to determine which competitors are the best fit. However, using the Appranking Intelligence tool to monitor these KPIs is the best way to do so.
One difference between the stores' approximations is that Google Play provides a single listing for each app, sharing global accumulated downloads and rating data, whereas the App Store segments this data and shares it per country, with only ratings available. This data can give you an idea of the size and strength of your competitors.