App competition. How many times have you closely studied your competitors’ apps?

You may have put off this process because you thought it was too time-consuming or simply not worth the effort.  Well, in this post, we’ll show you why app competition research is an absolute must for the survival of your app.

we’ll also give you some tools and shortcuts that can make your job easier and make the task much less daunting. Most of these strategies are for both the App Store and the Play Store.

However, there are a couple that is store-specific.

The real power of app competition research is to give you an understanding of what your competitors are doing and how you can adapt to the challenges of the market.

Features Your Competitors Should Add (or get rid of)

It can be easy for app publishers to fall in love with certain features of their app. However, it may be prudent to look at what the users want and what potential features lead to most in-app events.

Market research can help you avoid blunders based on personal preference. t. You could do this by surveying your users, or you can look through user reviews of competitor apps.

MobileAction has an excellent Ratings and reviews tool that gives you access to all the comments and the ratings based on location as well as the timeframe for each app. . You can search for individual keywords if you can find the most popular keywords for low and high ratings respectively. 

For example, if you are looking for features of the app that people like, you could do a search for the keyword “like,” “best” or “love.”

When we search for “best” we can see people showing appreciation for the positive aspects of their life.t. However, people who appreciate the game may be less likely to go into detailed descriptions than people who had issues with it. Good reviews can still be an indication of what certain people appreciate about the app. Using the Calm app as an example we can look at the most mentioned keywords with five-star reviews. 

keyword reviews

When you open the Reviews and Ratings section you can click over to the most mentioned keywords tab. Here you can find all the most mentioned keywords and how often they are used as well as the average rating they are associated with. You can also sort it by what kind of rating you want to see specifically. 

calm love sleep keyword trends

The keywords “calm”, “love”, and “sleep” have the most occurrences within the five-star reviews. Therefore if we want to search for positive reviews we can change tabs to the review analysis and check what they are saying. This can give us some insight into what our users want to see from our app.

Therefore, you can also look for features that users don’t like in other apps and steer clear of them. When you are looking at reviews, try to find objective flaws with your app, or things that correspond with a large spike in bad reviews and a decrease in downloads. Not everyone will leave a comment so you don’t want to be changing your whole app due to the opinion of a vocal minority.

You can also check out our post on reviews here reviews of an app.

Bugs in your app or your app competition

Closely related to app features are bugs. You can search for keywords like “crash” or “bug” and see what people are having trouble with an app.

This is a good example of a long app review that we sampled from Pokémon Go. We can see that this review goes into a lot of detail and really explains the problem they are having.

review mining for words calm app bugs

Google Play Backlinks

As you probably know, backlinks are an important part of app rankings on the Play Store and on the web. So you need to have a plan to steadily build backlinks from highly related and reputable websites.


As you can see, a lot of their backlinks come from coupon sites. A little research can go a long way here.

All you need is one high-profile mention to get the ball rolling for your app.

Which SDKs are They Using?

This is a little more technical, but if you want to find out what kind of technology an app uses, you can use our SDK intelligence tool.


For less complex apps, this may be enough for you to understand their stack and possibly implement some of the same elements in your app. Here’s an example from the ESPN app.

Get Their Keywords

Now let’s get into the keyword ASO. Obviously, you should research all of your competitors’ apps and find out if there are any keywords that would be a good match for your app.

You are looking for keywords that have a high level of download intent, low competition, then high search volume…in that order. Then track those keywords and be sure to keep detailed notes on every keyword.

suggested keyowrds headspace app

If you want to save some time, we also provide an estimate of how much each keyword contributes to their overall organic downloads. Starting with these keywords will give you a head start and save you the headache of sifting through every single keyword.

tracked keyowrds

The SearchAds intelligence tool

You can also spy on your competitors’ Apple Search Ads keywords using this tool. Furthermore, you can strengthen your ASO strategy, by looking at all the keywords they are bidding on and tracking them for your organic growth. You can use Search Ads visibility scores to see which apps have the most successful Apple Search Ads campaign. This way you can discover the Top Advertisers in all storefronts. You can see who is running ads on that keyword to unveil any hidden competitors.

Downloads and Revenue

Another important metric to understand is approximately how many downloads an app is getting and how much it is making in revenue. Since that data is private, you cannot get exact numbers.

But estimates will get you pretty close. Once you know this information, it will help you understand how to set your goals.

download estimation calm app


Daily Active Users and Monthly Active Users is a key measurement of the overall health of an app. Many top game companies will use these metrics to determine if an app is worth keeping or not.

Again, this data is estimated. But if you think that a competitor is a market leader, but their numbers say otherwise, you have saved yourself time and energy, by not studying the wrong competitor.

app competition calm app daily active users

Audience Location

Localization can be a great way to increase the user base of your app, by several orders of magnitude. But where is the best place to start?

Well, that is going to depend on the type of app you have and where people are most likely to use your app. Your competitors can help you out in this department.

The most accurate way to figure out which countries have the most users is to look at the number of ratings of an app. In our Localization module, you can sort by the number of ratings and see exactly which countries have the most users.

If most of your competitors have a lot of users in certain countries, then those countries are usually the best place to start. These apps have already tested those markets for you.

All you have to do is follow their lead.

Of course, it isn’t a guarantee that these countries will work for you. But they narrow down the options considerably.

localization app competition

Paid Ads

MobileAction’s Ad analysis feature is a great way to see what your competitors are up to. Our ad library is full of all of the creatives from any app in either app store. You can search for the name of any of your competitors and see which ads they are running. You can also get metrics on these apps and where they are running these ads.

calm app home pate ad networks publisher count

The calm app, for example, is running ads on 8 ad networks. Their publisher count is 1946. Their ads are 31.3 percent images, 62.5 percent video, and so on. This can help you decide where you should be putting the emphasis on your own ads. 

app competition

We can see that the calm app has a total of 722 creatives, 157 of which are still running. We can also see where these creatives are being displayed as well as what percentage of their creatives are being shown in each country. This might help you decide where this type of app is successful. Alternatively, you may want to go after countries where your competitors have fewer creatives running to try to fill in a gap in the market in that area. Which strategy you choose should depend on further market research.

app competition calm app

Then you can consider the content of their individual ads and see what they contain. This can help you understand what potential users respond to in terms of creatives.

New Mentions

Finally, you need to stay on top of what your competition is doing.

There are two easy ways to do this.


MobileAction has custom alerts which you can use to basically get alerts about anything the competitors change. It saves a lot of time and you might be surprised and some of the things that Alerts digs up.

Conclusion on app competition

Use all of the strategies above to find out as much about your competitors as possible. You just might uncover some things that even the publisher of the app doesn’t know about. App competition research is an extremely important aspect of your overall app marketing strategy and should not be neglected.

Understanding what is working for other apps can give you potential strategies to implement. Knowing where other apps are weak can help you gain a competitive advantage. Sign up for a demo with MobileAction if you want to keep an eye on your competitors and improve your app’s marketing strategy.