It’s no secret that the app stores have become a very competitive environment. The days are long gone where you can simply create an app, get it uploaded and accepted in an app store and have 100’s to 1,000’s of downloads without doing any additional steps. These days you have to perform additional steps and research to identify how strong or weak your competition is and if it’s even worth putting the development time and money into an app. This research will only be as good as the tools you are using to rate the competing applications and the keywords they are using to try to target their key demographic. Without these tools you would only be guessing which is never a good thing especially when there will be allot of time and possibly money invested into what you are developing.
One of the best tools I have found to do accurate evaluations of competitors and which keywords you should use is SensorTower, http://sensortower.com. Here are a few ways I use this awesome tool to not only evaluate if I should build an app in a specific niche but also how to perform keyword research. With this tool I can actually know which keywords I possible can rank a new app for and which keywords to stay away from. Pretty powerful stuff!
Lets say for example I want to evaluate three different niches which I possible might want to write an app about. I purposely will not include the details of the functionality of these apps for this discussion because at this point they are all just ideas that I think may be a good niche to create an app around.
The three ideas are: guitar lessons, gardening, and yoga. I will use SensorTower to evaluate these three idea to see which one has the least competition and also has good traffic in the app stores. After I log in I will go to the Keyword Research section of the site. First let’s start off with guitar. If I search for the keyword guitar and click on the Research button, the site tells me there are 3,409 iPhone apps and 2,604 iPad apps. Next let’s try gardening. The tool shows me there are 577 iPhone Apps and only 437 iPad apps. Clearly much less competition then the guitar apps! Lastly, lets try yoga. The tools shows there are 4,196 iPhone apps and 3,029 iPad apps, yikes thats allot of competition! The clear winner is gardening.
This research only took a matter of a few minutes of time and quite possible saved me months of development time and money if I had gone into those other niches. I am actually quite surprised that there are so many competing yoga apps. Let’s dig a bit further into the gardening niche and see what else we can find out using the SensorTower tools.
If I click on the Keyword Spy column to the right of the app listing, I can see some pretty interesting information about the app in the app store (you can click on the screenshot images to see them in full screen mode). This Keyword Spy tool will show you the actual keywords that are being used for each of the apps. This is a great way to start to gather some good keywords that you can use for your new app in the same niche. What I like to do is copy each of the competitors keywords out of the Keyword Spy page and into a master spreadsheet. I will do the same for the other top apps that are in the same niche. Once I have these keywords, SensorTower has a Keyword Optimization tool which will allow you to evaluate each of these keywords and give you an accurate way of determining if you could also rank for the keyword.
For the gardening niche a few of the keywords that the number 1 app has are:
flowers,garden,organic,leaf ,eaves,gardening,vegetable,soil,herb. If I copy and paste this list into the Optimization tool it not only shows me the traffic score of each it will display the iPhone and iPad difficulty for ranking these keywords. Flowers rated a 6.1 difficulty for an iPhone where organic comes in at 1.8. Furthermore, herb ranks at 3.2, soil at 2.7, vegetable is 2.9, and gardening is at 2.8. The lower the difficulty score here the easier it is to rank a new app with that keyword. All of these keywords have a decent traffic number (between 4.2 – 6.1) so they all are good keywords that people are using to find apps in the app store. Clearly there are some really good keywords here which are golden nuggets of information to help you get more downloads for your new app.
You can also use the SensorTower to track your keywords over time so you can see how they are working for your app. This is also a valuable tool so you can make adjustments if you have poor performing keywords. Another cool options is to sync your app store account which will give you downloads & revenue data as well as app analytics metrics. There is an even a keyword translation tool which will allow you to input a keywords and it will instantly give you translations of 21 other languages. Wow, now that is an awesome feature if you plan on doing localizations for your app store listings.
If you are an app developer or are into marketing apps you should try SensorTower. You will love this site and, armed with the information and tools this site provides, you will be well ahead of your competition.
You can sign up for a free 14 day trial to the site by going to: http://sensortower.com.