6 Tips to Identify Your Main Competitors on the App Stores

Anne Jametby 
Former Product Manager

7 min read

At AppTweak, we emphasize the importance of continuously comparing your app with your competitors for ASO. However, identifying the right competitors for your app is not always an easy task. It is important to consider both direct competitors that have similar features, and indirect competitors that might steal some of your visibility on the store.

In this article, we will present 6 ways to find competitors using 6 different features of AppTweak.


Competitor suggestions powered by our semantic engine Atlas

Atlas helps you identify your nearest app neighbors on the app stores.Atlas helps you identify your nearest app neighbors on the app stores.

As the first ASO tool to create an App Store Semantic Engine – Atlas, AppTweak has an enhanced understanding of how the app stores group similar apps together, which keywords the app stores consider relevant to certain apps, etc. One way to identify competitors is to examine the apps that are closely linked to your app in terms of semantics on the app stores. These “nearest neighbors” can vary depending on the country and the language.

Expert Tip

Using AppTweak’s suggested competitors, you can easily see the nearest neighbors of your apps for any country and language.

Discover how Atlas help identifying your app’s nearest neighbors on the app stores

Look at the top apps in your category

To understand your competition, you should also look at the top apps in your category. Top charts are a great way to see which apps in your industry are successful and identify the best-in-class apps you might want to compare with.

Expert Tip

You can now select the top apps of your category as competitors of your app in a couple of seconds using AppTweak’s competitors selection tool.

Top apps in the Lifestyle category in the US App StoreTop apps in the Lifestyle category (free, grossing, & paid) in the US, App Store.

To select the right apps, you should look at apps that are in the same playing field as your app. Checking the description and screenshots of apps that are in the same industry as yours can help you refine your selection.

In addition, if you want to focus on apps that have a comparable performance as yours, you may filter your competitors’ pre-selection by removing the apps that don’t have the same range of downloads. For example, in the following graph, while selecting competitors for Calm in the US, you might want to remove Sleep Sounds HQ and Meditation Oasis App from your competitor list because of the huge variation in the download numbers between them.

Download estimates of Calm and its competitors in the US App StoreDownload estimates of Calm and its competitors in the US, App Store.

Compare different top charts across countries with AppTweak’s Top Charts feature

Find competitors through keyword searches

Sometimes, it might not be relevant to compare your app or game with the top players in your category. In this case, you can find more relevant competitors by analyzing which apps rank on your brand name or target keywords.

For example, if you have developed a farming game, find out which other apps rank on the keywords “farming game” or “raise animals.” These might be the real competitors you are up against.

You can make this research easier with AppTweak’s Live Search feature. Start with doing a live search on your brand name, keywords that describe your app’s core purpose, or terms that drive most of your downloads and see what other apps are ranking for. Among the results, try to understand why they are ranking there: Is the app content similar? Is it a game or an app? What is their app power? Does the app use the same keywords as your app in the title?

Live search for the keyword learn spanish in the US Google Play and App StoreLive search for the keyword “learn spanish” in the US (Google Play and App Store).

You might also find that some apps that have nothing to do with your app are actually making it harder for your app to rank on some keywords. That’s what we call indirect competitors.

Live search of the keyword cooking apps in the US Google Play
Live search of the keyword “cooking apps” in the US Google Play on November 10, 2022.

In the given example, we can see that very different types of apps are ranking for the keyword “cooking apps.” Even if restaurant simulation games are not direct competitors of Tasty (a recipe app), they should still be considered as competitors for keyword optimization.

Some app store categories are simply too broad, which makes it difficult to compare your app with other apps in the category. A typical example of that is the “Lifestyle” category on iOS, where you can find apps about astrology, religion, dating, wallpapers, and all kinds of interests. You can use featurings on the stores to identify smaller clusters of apps within a category.

To find competitors for your apps using Featured Apps, look at the groups or collections where your app was featured and then explore the other apps listed. As can be seen in the following example, featurings can cluster very specific app types.

Learn a Romance Language group appeared in the featured collection Try Something New in the US App Store“Learn a Romance Language” group appeared in the featured collection “Try Something New” in the US App Store on November 10, 2022.

Discover how to get your app featured on the App Store and Google Play

Research competitors through “Similar Apps”

Another way to find competitors using AppTweak is with our “Similar Apps” feature.

To do this, either look at the apps that are recommended in the “Similar Apps” or “You may also like” section of your product page/store listing. Or else, you can also look at the apps that point to your app through the Similar Apps section of their product page.

Apps suggested by Apple on Bumble’s product page in the US App Store Apps suggested by Apple on Bumble’s product page (Nov 10, 2022) in the US App Store.

As we see in the screenshots above, this section displays many competing apps that have similar features or that have the same target audience.

Apple Search Ads and Google app campaigns

With AppTweak’s Ad Intelligence, you’ll be able to identify the apps that are bidding on your brand or other keywords that are important to your app, even if you’re not doing any Search Ads or Google app campaigns.

In the Organic Keyword Protection table, you will find the list of keywords that drive the most organic downloads to your app. Here, you can find out which apps are running ads on these keywords. With the table, you can discover which apps are bidding on your brand name, a great way to discover competitor apps you might have overlooked before.

With Apple Search Ads, it is possible to bid on other brands (Google doesn’t place ads on brands). For Apple Search Ads, you can see which apps are attacking you on a particular keyword. While for Google app campaigns, the apps are placed by Google and apps can’t choose the keywords. This means that these apps might not be attacking you directly. Nonetheless, it can still be interesting to have a look at the apps to understand why Google placed that app on this keyword.

Apps bidding on the brand term yousician in the US App StoreAll the apps that are bidding on the brand term “yousician” in the US App Store on November 7–10, 2022.

Learn all about the new Apple Search Ad placements and their impact on ASO


TLDR

To conclude, there are many ways to find new competitors for your app. Try to go through each of these methods and pick one or two apps at each step:

  • Thanks to Atlas, you can examine the apps that are closely linked to your app (nearest neighbors) for any country and language.
  • Find out your competitors by looking at the top apps in your category.
  • Do keyword searches to see which apps rank on your brand name or target keyword.
  • Look at featured apps and games to know your competitors.
  • Find competing apps that have similar features or the same target audience.
  • Identify apps that are bidding on your brand or other keywords that are important to your app.

Keep in mind that it’s better to compare your app with 3 good competitors than 20 bad ones. Let us know how your competition analysis went!

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Anne Jamet
by , Former Product Manager
Anne is a former Product Manager at AppTweak. She worked daily to improve AppTweak’s user experience. She is passionate about contemporary dance and loves Belgian fries.