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21 tips on how to stand out in a crowded app market

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How do you take your app from idea to launch – and succeed in a crowded market? You could improvise. Or you could learn from the experience of thousands of developers before you…

Isaac Newton famously said: “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

He was describing how he was only able to make his scientific breakthroughs thanks to the discoveries of those who came before him.

In the app world, we might substitute ‘giants’ for data analysis. If we are willing to put in the effort, we can scrutinise this data to understand more quickly what works and what doesn’t.

For any developer planning a new app launch, there really is no alternative to this research process. Why waste your time with guess work when you can learn from the experience of thousands of app developers?

Also, competition in the app space is fierce. The market is just too crowded to enter without proper planning. How crowded? Well, on average there are 16,000 new apps launched every month.

However, the question for many app developers is: where to start with all this data? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

The key, of course, is to break the process into smaller and more manageable chunks. A useful practice is to focus on the following four stages.

  1. Understand the Competitive Landscape

Before you embark on a new app project, you should identify the companies/products you are competing with. You can use intent-based keywords to find the products that are closest to your app’s core value proposition.

Your list of competitors can yield a wealth of invaluable information. You can look at the monthly downloads and active users achieved by these apps to understand the potential of your target market and set realistic expectations.

You can also study how your competitors position and promote their products. Look carefully at app titles, descriptions, updates, reviews, ratings, screen- shots, in-app purchase offers, as well as the languages in which the apps are available.

  1. Prepare for Your Launch

With the market opportunity mapped out, you can plan for launch. At this stage it is essential to understand the different requirements of the two app stores. For example, did you know your app name can only be 30 characters on iOS compared to 50 characters on Google Play?

It’s hard to overstate the importance of your app store listing. This is where  customers will get their first glimpse of your app – and where they will find it using the organic search tool. According to Apple, 65% of app downloads come through organic searches on the iOS App Store. App Store optimization (ASO) is an art, so it pays to take special care with it.

The key elements you need to review include: your app name, app subtitle (iOS), keyword field (iOS only), app description, app promotional text (iOS), app icon, screenshots, featured graphic, app promo video, in-app purchases (iOS), and Google tags (Google Play).

With your listings and ASO in place, you need to define clear targets. Will you be aiming for 50k downloads over the next 30 days? 1K reviews over the next 90 days? Look at your competitor data to see what’s realistic.

  1. Bolster Your App Launch with Marketing

Your app is live. But does anyone know it? When it comes to promotion, a good place to start is at home. If you are already established on the web, re-direct online visitors to your app. Leverage pop-up windows and/or introduce an evergreen download button on your mobile website.

And if you have other apps, use in-app prompts to alert users to your new release. Remember that your existing user base is your best asset

To find new users, consider influencer marketing on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and TikTok. Also, look at how your competitors deploy paid user acquisition campaigns to ensure you spend your money wisely.

  1. Monitor Your App’s Performance & Compare to Industry Benchmarks

Don’t neglect your post-launch strategy. Today’s app data tools give you the ability to monitor metrics on downloads, sessions, churn, rankings and more. Once your app has launched, it is vital to keep track of its performance every day – and to compare it with the KPIs you defined.

User feedback is also extremely important. It can help you figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your app, and then bake what you’ve learned into your product roadmap.

Often, the data generated by your app might be scattered across many tools, such as app developer platforms, ad networks and app mediation platforms. It’s a good idea to integrate these disparate sources into one dashboard.

The app space might be extraordinarily congested, but that’s no reason to give up and go home. Even in a crowded market, it is still possible to achieve millions of installs. After all, in 2020 alone nearly 2,000 apps across iOS and Google Play generated over 10 million downloads each.

The key is to make your app discoverable – and to keep iterating to generate more downloads and engagement after launch.

Challenges turn into opportunities

On mobile, competition keeps growing. Even in a crowded market, it is still possible to generate millions of downloads and grow market share.

Learning from past successful launches, incorporating the latest trends in consumer behavior and showcasing your unique value proposition will be the key to your success.

You need the right tools, knowledgeable partners and trusted best practices for a successful launch best-positioned for long-term growth.

To help less experienced developers, App Annie now boiled these insights into a series of  simple steps for launching an app: App Annie’s 21 Expert Tips to Launch an App in 2021.

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