Understand the App market

When going through the idea process you are at the same time investigating your market. In most cases AppStore or Android market, fierceful arenas where apps really fight for its existance. So how do you survice?

Get to know your market, play around, see what’s in the top list and what’s popular. Look at the really successful apps, the design, the layout etc, why are they working? And do the same with the not so good ones. In order to understand the market, you have to study it. This seems rather obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many developers that don’t understand this concept. They don’t watch the market, follow the most successful apps, or try to figure out why those apps are successful.

My tips is that if you are not already..become an app addict. That means spending at least 2-4 weeks researching the market while downloading and playing with tons of apps. This training period is an investment in your expertise, which will become the lifeblood of your success. The more hours you rack up playing around and studying successful apps, the better you’ll be able to understand their common traits and what users desire. That’s combining business with pleasure.

Keeping pace with the market can be done in different ways. For AppStore the best way is to study Apple’s cheat sheet constantly. The App Store displays the top paid, top free, and top-grossing apps (the apps that make the most money, including free apps), almost in real-time. Apple provides the same lists in the individual app categories. These charts are golden because they tell us volumes about the market. The best part is this information is freely accessible to anyone, at any moment (unlike the market info for basically every other industry).

Review these charts frequently, and keep a notebook of potential trends you spot. Doing this repeatedly will educate you on successful app design, marketing, and various pricing models. The research you’re doing is simple, costs nothing, and it’s actually fun!

Here are some questions to ask while you’re researching successful apps in the market:

Why is this app successful?

What is its rank and has it been consistent?

Why do people want this app? (Look at the reviews.)

Has this app made the customer a raving fan?

Does this app provoke an impulse buy?

Does this app meet any of my needs?

Did I become a raving fan after trying it?

Will the customer use it again?

Also check how they are marketing to their customers? (Check out the screen shots, icon design, and descriptions.)

  1. What is the competitive advantage of this app?
  2. What does this app cost? Are there in-app purchases? Advertisements?

Most developers will build an app and expect tons of people to find and download it right away. That rarely happens. You have to figure out what people are interested in and the kinds of apps they’re downloading first, then you build your app based on that insight.

Once you’ve put in the necessary 2-4 weeks of research and feel you have a decent grasp on the market, it will be time to look back on the trends you discovered and explore some ideas for potential apps you can develop.


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