How to Choose Competitors for Your ASO Strategy
App Store Optimization

How to Choose Competitors for Your ASO Strategy



Do you know how to choose competitors for your ASO strategy? Whether your answer is yes or no, you need to understand the importance of analyzing what your competition looks like to be successful in your app marketing.

In this post, you learn the essential steps to take and factors to consider when choosing competitors to analyze in formulating your ASO strategy.


What is ASO?

ASO stands for App Store Optimization. It’s a process of improving the visibility of your app in app stores such as Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. 

Optimizing your app store listing includes using the right keywords and creatives, such as app icons, screenshots, and app videos, writing compelling app descriptions, and getting positive reviews, just to name a few.

Why do you need to analyze your competitors for ASO?

In 2022, the App Store has 1.6 million apps while the Play Store has 3.5 million apps. All these apps compete with each other to get noticed, downloaded and used. Gone are the days when you simply have to upload your app in app stores and wait for users to download your app.

If you want to improve your chance of achieving app success, you need to know who your ASO competitors are. Here are some of the best benefits you will surely reap:

  • Know the strengths of your competitors. By knowing the best practices of your competitors, you can then incorporate that into your ASO strategies. For example, you can look into how your competitors use keywords, what app features they are providing, and which images or graphics they are targeting.
  • Know the weaknesses of your competitors. As they say, “You learn by your mistake.” However, you can also learn from the mistakes of others. That’s why if you know the shortcomings of your competitors, you can capitalize on them. For example, you can go through the app reviews. See what makes their users unhappy and you can then explore how you can do better with your app.
  • Know the target audience of your competitors. Analyzing your competitors should also include knowing who their audience is, how they are targeting them, and how effective they are in reaching out to them.

As you can see, understanding your competition can unlock great insights into how you can better improve your ASO campaign.

How can I identify my app’s main competitors in the app store?

There are different ways for you to know who your main competitors are. Here are some of them:

1. Know your app

Since you develop your app, you should know what your app is all about. Make a clear understanding of your app’s core features and what problems it solves or what benefits your users can get.

From there, you can have a better way of identifying which apps could potentially become your ASO competitors.

2. App store platforms

There are different app stores available today, which include the following:

  • Google Play Store
  • Apple App Store
  • Microsoft Store
  • Amazon App Store
  • Samsung Galaxy Store
  • Huawei AppGallery

Among these app store platforms, Play Store and App Store are the biggest and most people use them. The reason you need to know which app store platform you should target is that there are apps that are only available in certain app stores. Thus, you could have different competitors depending on which platform you choose.

3. Locality

Is your app available in a specific country only? If yes, then you should focus on apps that are available in that country. For example, your app is only available in China. So, you want to study other apps that are also available in China.

Of course, you could still study apps that are available in other countries as long as they are similar to yours. This would help you see what works best for them even if they have a different market.

4. Know your category

What is the category of your app? As someone who knows your app very well, you should know the answer to this. There are different categories that you should know. Categories can be one of the following:

  • Education
  • Productivity
  • Games
  • Entertainment
  • Business tools
  • Finance
  • Health and fitness
  • Social media
  • And others

You want to study a competitor who falls in the same app category. Thankfully, app stores have already systematically grouped apps together based on categories. So, this should make it easier for you.

5. Search for apps

The most effective way to find competitor apps is by simply doing a search on the app stores:


Use the key phrases that you would most likely use when searching for an app like yours. For example, if you have a photo editing app, then you can simply type in, “photo editing apps.”

You should then have a result just like this:

Search Results

Image source: Play Store

The search results give you an instant list of your competitors.

6. Browse the app store

App stores use an algorithm to help you find similar apps for a given search. Take a look at this example in the App Store:

Browse the app store

Image source: App Store

When you visit a particular app store listing, it will give you a list of apps that you might also like. This indicates which apps could potentially be your competitor.

Play Store also has this feature:

Play Store

Image source: Play Store

7. Know your target audience

What are your user demographics? Where are they located? What are their hobbies, job, and likes? Your app could be targeting a specific group of users. For example, you might have a social media app for religious leaders or a fitness app for women. All these could determine which competitors you want to analyze.

8. Check out the top charts

Go to your app’s category and check the top charts. You’ll find your biggest competitors in this list. 

Here’s how it looks in the App Store with top graphics & design apps:

top charts

Image source: App Store

Here’s how it looks at Play Store with top free social apps:

top free social apps

Image source: Play Store

9. Use ASO tools

The quickest and best way for you to get the right data is through the use of ASO tools. There are numerous ASO tools today that can instantly give you a list of competitors based on the type of your app. ASO tools like Mobile Action, App Annie and Sensor Tower give you data on how your competitors are ranking.

What factors should I consider when selecting competitors for my ASO strategy?

To make it easier for you to choose which competitors to analyze, you must consider the following factors:

  1. App functionality
  2. Target audience
  3. Target keywords
  4. App store platform
  5. Market

The more similar your app is to other apps based on the abovementioned factors, the more they will become your competitors. Thus, these are the apps that you should focus on.

How can I use competitor analysis to improve my ASO efforts?

Once you have already identified your competitors, it is time to analyze them. There are different areas that you should pay special attention to. These details would help you improve your ASO efforts.

1. Check their keywords

Use an ASO tool to see what keywords they are targeting. What’s so great about ASO tools is that you won’t only know which keywords they are using but also how they are ranking for those keywords.

Your aim here is to see which keywords your competitors aren’t ranking for yet, but still, the keywords have a high traffic volume. Once you have identified keywords that your competitors haven’t taken advantage of, then you can use that for your target keywords.

2. Analyze the creatives

Visit the app store page of your competitor. Look at their app icon, screenshots, and app preview. You can study how they present their visuals and take some inspiration on how you can improve yours.

3. Look at their text

Check out the app title, subtitle, and description of your competitors. Study them carefully and see how they are writing their texts. 

For example, look at their description. How did they write the introduction? Did they use a huge chunk of paragraphs? What are the features they highlight? Are there keywords they added to the description?

These questions could help you analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors’ text-based metadata.

4. Read reviews

App reviews can tell you a huge amount of information on how good or bad an app is. Read both the positive and negative reviews. Use the information you acquire to know what features you should add to or remove from your app and how you can better improve the overall user experience.

5. Study their business model

Take a look at how your competitors are earning from their apps. Do they use ads, paid subscriptions, or other methods? You can then ask, “Do they work?” 

Obviously, you want to know how you can best monetize your app, and by looking at the best practices of your competitors, you should be able to get a better idea of how you should plan your business model.

6. Examine their social media

As you already know, social media platforms play a huge part in getting more traffic to your app store page. You can look at the social media presence of your competitors and study how they convert people from social media platforms and lead them to the app store.

7. Study other marketing strategies

It is most likely that your competitors use other marketing strategies to maximize the full potential of their apps. Since the app stores are highly competitive, app marketers get more creative by using other marketing channels, which could include the following:

  • Email marketing
  • Website creation
  • Content marketing
  • Paid ads
  • Influencer marketing
  • Print ads
  • Video Marketing

All these could improve the visibility of your app, and your competitors know this. So, take a look at how they do these marketing strategies and see how you can incorporate them into your own marketing efforts.

Perform effective competitor analysis

Improving your ASO can be challenging, but if you know who your competitors are, you can have a higher chance of success. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone. You can get the expert help of ShyftUp to better improve your marketing strategy.

ShyftUp is one of the leading user acquisition agencies that have the right knowledge, experience, and tools to help you analyze your competitors. They can provide a comprehensive report to show you what opportunities you might be missing. Aside from that, they can help you grow your app by getting more and more users.

Give ShyftUp a try today!

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