Lesson 5

Defining Your Market

As with any business, an in-depth understanding of the app space you’re moving into is crucial to positioning, strategy and planning. Since you already spent time researching the app market at large, it’s time to drill down into specifics that will help you develop your own app.

Assess the Competition: Who Are You Up Against?

If you’re entering the crowded world of, let’s say, dating apps, you’ll be fighting for the same users many other apps already claim. But even if you’re in a much more niche space, it’s still important to research the market.

Opportunities lie in any unexplored corner of the app marketplace, and you need to know exactly what is — and isn’t — already out there. Do users complain about certain features or ask for others? Keep an eye out for those kinds of clues in your competitive investigation.

You’ll also be able to learn from the work that’s already being done by your competitors. The question becomes: What can you do faster/cheaper/better than the rest?

As a basis for your research, ask yourself these questions about the apps in your category:

  • Challengers: What are the other major apps in your category? Are there any rising stars? Stunning failures? What are the factors behind both?
  • Features: What features do they have in common (and that you’ll need to match)? Are there features that you could iterate on to differentiate your offering?
  • User acquisition: What are these apps doing to attract users? Are there common design elements, keywords and messages used in advertising in the category?
  • Location: What country(ies) is your competition in, what markets could you move into first? This can provide a roadmap for your own expansion.
  • Ratings and reviews: What do people love about these apps? Not love? What tops their wish list, and could you provide what users are seeking?
  • Demographics: What do users look like in your space? You’ll use this info when developing a profile for your target audience.
  • Downloads and revenue: What are realistic expectations to set for your app?

Your competitive research can also turn up partnerships that can benefit user acquisition efforts.

Research Potential Partnerships

Another benefit of mining the marketplace you’re about to enter is sourcing partnerships. You’ll want to identify potential partnerships that will bring new users to your app.

Finding out what apps your target audience is likely to use (or is already using) will give you a list of partners to approach for promotion or as a place to run advertisements.

At launch, Niantic’s popular augmented-reality game Pokémon GO teamed up with McDonald’s to turn select store locations into PokéStops. This increased foot traffic into the fast-food chain and advanced Niantic’s already successful public relations coup. A partnership like this is proof that you shouldn’t hold back from thinking of partners to approach for mutual promotional gains.



Keep Learning

In Lesson 6, we'll talk about how to build the team — and set aside the budget — that you’ll need to bring your app to life.

Next LessonPrevious Lesson