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5 Ways to Combat Competition in The Mobile App Industry
Date: 3/8/2019

This is the age of smartphones. One of the key drivers of smartphone proliferation is mobile apps.

Millions of users across the globe use mobile apps to aid in a variety of tasks which include consuming all kinds of content.

Here's an interesting stat on the status of mobile app downloads – 178 billion apps were downloaded in 2017. By 2022, the figure is expected to jump to 2,058 billion.

Although tech giants such as Google and Apple receive a horde of mobile apps on a daily basis, the fact is that very few apps actually get featured and eventually get recognized by users.

And while there is no dearth of app developers who have fantastic ideas for mobile apps, for a mobile app to go immediately viral and start generating millions in downloads and revenues, it requires a lot more than just a good idea.

Given these facts, the challenge in front of app developers is this – how to successfully combat competition in the mobile app industry?

Here are five top strategies that can help app developers win in today's hyper-competitive app market space.

How Effective is your Mobile App at Solving a Problem and is it Intuitive?

Every developer dreams of creating a viral app with millions of downloads. But as mentioned above, very few apps actually get to that stage.

The main reason why some apps become viral is because they focus on solving an acute pain-point or immediate need of users in a way that no other app does. It is about solving a problem to a point where users feel they absolutely need your app.

But don’t just stop with how effective your app is at solving a problem. Considering that users spend 80% of their mobile time on apps, you need to factor in not only how intuitive your app is, but also how it enhances user experience (UX).

Is your app easy to download? Can users quickly (in seconds) figure out how to use your app or does it take longer? These are important UX considerations you cannot ignore.

In addition, you need to ensure your app has the necessary analytics to capture critical user activity and the ability to scale up to address higher activity requests in the future.

Optimize for Greater Discoverability

Just like SEO optimizes for search engines, to ensure your app enjoys mass appeal, you need to optimize for improved discoverability in an app store.

The way to do this is App Store Optimization (ASO) – it can help drive traffic to your app’s page either on Google Play or App Store making it easier for users to discover and download your mobile app.

Using ASO strategies you can optimize your app (name, description, keywords, icon etc.) for the app store search algorithms thereby boosting visibility for your app.

Promote your App before it Hits the App Store

A big mistake that most app developers make is that they wait until after their app has hit the app store to start promoting. You need to push promotions in advance – use teaser videos or previews to generate a buzz around your product.

A major portion of your pre-launch campaigning actually revolves around ASO – you need to get your app description right with the perfect set of trending keywords, and get your visual assets in place before you go ahead with the launch.

Strategize your App Distribution for Target Audiences

There are a number of distribution channels available today for mobile apps. The key is to pick the ones that are best suited for your target audience such as running contests and opting for the right PR tools.

A popular option is app giveaways – a number of developers offer free downloads for a short period to hook their customers and build traction. Or you might want to focus on using press coverage, especially if you want to target select users – incidentally, positive press and media coverage is something that Apple really favors.

Pricing of your app is a critical aspect of distribution - you could consider providing a free basic or demo app version first to attract the attention of the user and then sell the premium version to drive up your conversion rates even in the age of lower taxes.

Competition is not a Bad Thing

Independent app developers cannot compete against a cash-flush app like Candy Crush Saga. However, stiff competition does not always have to be a bad thing – if anything, you get more opportunities to see how others apps are failing or falling short on user expectations and learn from them.

In the same way, study how and why popular and viral apps are performing well and emulate the positives.