Mobile App Market Research: What Developers Need to Know in 2022

mobile app market research


Developing successful mobile apps is both an art and a science, but part of the science is simply understanding where your app fits in the market. As it stands, publishers launch tens of thousands of new apps every month, but only 10% of them will retain enough users to grow and thrive. With mobile app market research, developers can better craft their products to meet user needs and engage the right consumers from Day One.

Identify audiences with mobile app market research

One of the most critical components of mobile app market research — let alone any business strategy — is understanding who your product is for. It doesn’t matter whether you’re creating a mobile game, a hotel booking app, or financial planning software; defining a core audience lets you know how to tailor your app to best meet their needs. These insights can also inform marketing strategies that make it easier to acquire more users over time.

Market research for apps often begins with trying to gain details about this audience. The information might come from third-party reports or first-party data and app activity. Whatever the circumstance, developers will need the following as a starting point:

  • Demographics: Personal details like age, race, gender, ethnicity, and marital status. This information is increasingly anonymized and aggregated to preserve user privacy.
  • Education and/or career: Is your ideal user a student, a graduate, or a working professional? The answer can shed light on everything from their lifestyle to immediate priorities.
  • Income and spending habits: A user with limited spending money might prefer ad-supported or free-to-use apps. On the other hand, high-income customers may be more willing to complete in-app purchases or subscribe to a premium membership.
  • In-app behaviors: How much time does your audience spend in-app? Do they prefer to watch videos, browse the internet, or play mobile games? These details can provide valuable insights into how users ultimately engage with your app.

Once you’ve gathered enough information — particularly from aggregated first-party sources — it’s useful to create personas that summarize your findings. A persona is a fictional profile of an ideal customer that can focus development by visualizing a human being using the app. Personas are especially helpful for teams that have more than one target audience and need to differentiate between them.

Analyze your competitors and their apps

Unless your app idea is incredibly innovative, you’re likely not the first developer to come up with something like it. There will almost always be competitors targeting the same market, some of whom have already established an audience. For these reasons, the next step of mobile app research is competitive analysis — understanding their strengths, weaknesses, business models, and other factors.

The goal of app design research is not to replicate a competitor’s technique. Instead, it is to seek out untapped opportunities in their strategy. Perhaps there’s an audience demographic the competitor overlooked, an app feature they haven’t pursued, or an oversight in their marketing strategy. Once you identify these gaps, it’s possible to address them in your app, potentially converting any users who prefer your experience.

On the other hand, if your app truly is the first of its kind, competitive research might tell you why. For example, have other developers pursued your unique idea only to make some mistake in their execution? Are there technical or regulatory considerations that prevented the concept from succeeding? If you know why competing developers faltered, you may be able to avoid their mistakes.

Conduct a SWOT analysis

Any team that wants to release a successful app needs to look at it honestly and critically throughout development. As you gather mobile app market research, one excellent technique is to conduct a SWOT analysis of the app. This term stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats” and helps segment what you’ve learned into actionable insights.

To conduct a SWOT analysis, create lists for each category and summarize how your app fares in each section. Once completed, the lists should offer a high-level overview of your app’s current state and where it could change moving forward.

  • Strengths: Focus on specific benefits that help your app stand out from the competition. Highlight any well-executed features, strategic advantages, effective monetization techniques, and other details.
  • Weaknesses: Next, look at areas where your app is lacking. Perhaps it is missing certain features or struggles to guide customers to a vital conversion event.
  • Opportunities: This section addresses areas where your app might grow. Consider any market gaps your app could fill with additional development. Look to upcoming events or planned updates for inspiration.
  • Threats: Finally, turn to issues that might undermine your app, such as increased competition, high churn rates, and other factors.

Reach out to your audience

The best way to gain market research on your audience is simply to ask them for details. Primary data from surveys and focus groups are valuable to developers because it’s often more specific than secondary reports and third-party studies. Once you’ve identified a target audience baseline, you can use digital marketing channels to offer a survey to users on similar apps.

One particularly successful technique is offering in-app rewards like virtual currency in exchange for answering app market research questions. Tapjoy’s MobileVoice®, for example, provides in-app surveys from researchers and advertisers within the Tapjoy Offerwall. After choosing any reward survey app questionnaire, consumers can answer market research questions for apps in exchange for virtual currency. This approach helps developers gain the market insights they need while rewarding participants for their time.

Market research is essential, but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. By keeping these techniques in mind and leveraging resources like MobileVoice®, it’s far easier for developers to gain new insights about their most valuable audiences. Get in touch to book a free consultation and find out more.

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