By Jacquie Pirnie - June 10, 2014
Tags: business apps, consumer apps, small business apps
So you’ve got it! An amazing app idea that involves flying birds that you need to get to the safety of some pipes. It’s an idea that will have people flocking to the app store to download your creation. You will be feted by the big boys, all interested in how you did it. But wait, there already IS a Flappy Bird app that was, until recently, wildly successful.
Now what? This wouldn’t have happened if you had just done some research. I know, I know, the word ”research” fills you with boredom and dread. However, without solid research performed, you may just end up with nothing but a lot of wasted time and possibly wasted money.
Let me help by showing you how to do a simple assessment of the marketplace for your app.
Broad vs. Micro Niche
First of all, who is the audience for your app? You need to clarify and target a certain group or “niche”. There are two ways you can target a market. You can go broad or micro. Remember, even if you are going after a broad market, you’re still targeting a certain niche, albeit a very wide niche (for example, men between the ages of 18 and 65 who like fishing).
Aspects of the Micro-Niche Market
With a micro-niche market, although small in potential size, the traffic you will get is highly targeted and can lead to a high conversion rate. Examples of these types of apps include those that cater to medical professionals, attorneys, fitness club owners, etc. By having a well-defined audience, you can actually pre-validate your idea very well.
Steps To Validate Your App Idea
Some ways you can go about validating your app idea is by speaking with business owners in your niche about their pain points. Ask them which of their problems they would be willing to pay to solve their issues. By doing this, you have already identified your customer, their need and can now tailor your idea to meet that need.
Another avenue to leverage in the pre-validation process is to reach out to bloggers and opinion leaders in your niche and ask them what they think about your app idea and if they would be willing to test it out when developed. By doing this, you will already have a direct marketing connection to your potential end users.
Aspects of the Broad Niche Market
When targeting a broader market, you will need to look at the overall app ecosystem. The first stop should be researching the Apple App Store and Google Play Store to find those segments that are popular and trending.
How to identify Trends in the App Store
First, head over to the App Charts section of the App Store. You can browse the charts on your device or in the iTunes program. It is important to remember that the App Store on your smartphone and in iTunes will show the App Store for your country (this is based on how you connected to the software). Each country’s App Store will show patterns specific to their region. You can change the country by going into the iTunes Store and scrolling down to the bottom right corner. There you can change the country by clicking on the flag of your choice.
Remember that the App Charts change often and some experts recommend monitoring this area often as you are researching your app idea.
A good place to look is the Top Grossing Charts section as you will clearly see what apps and genres are successful. It is important to note that leaders of this chart generate their revenue through in-app purchases.
Another area that shows you revenue-creating apps is the Top Paid Charts section. And don’t forget to check into the Top Free Charts area which will give you the list of the free apps getting the most downloads. Free apps usually get at least 10 times the downloads of paid apps.
How to Follow App Trends Outside of the App Store
With Google Trends, you can set different parameters to focus your efforts. It is important to set a time frame that is less than 12 months so you can be sure you are seeing the most relevant results. Also, select particular categories which will automatically generate the most popular search terms for your categories.
Google Trends usually only shows you the top 10 search results. If you want to see a much larger list, simply download the CSV file.
Another tool you must use is the Google Keyword Tool. By plugging in your search terms into this tool, you will be given the exact volume of searches per month along with a suggested list of related searches.
You can do a deep dive into your results by going to the “Advance Options and Filters” tab and set it to bring you the results that relate to :mobile devices with full internet browsers” and then set the match type to “exact match”. By doing this you will get very accurate results related to how people search on their smartphones.
I will be sharing more on this critical subject in my next post!