15 smart business hacks for a great mobile app / Part I – research

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It continues to surprise me to how many different business approaches every dev team has. It doesn’t matter if they have the same team size and stage, everyone is doing new apps and games in a different way. We at Flow are not 100% intuitive or 100% data driven and are somewhere in the middle which means we do lots of stuff by heart but still value the information, feedback and data.

Below are a few tips and tricks we use to evaluate our ideas before we fully jump into production. The first part is about the research and the second will be about gathering feedback to help you finetune the concept. I hope this will be as helpful for you as it was for me when I discovered these techniques.

1. Appannie for marketing potential

Usually your idea isn’t 100% revolutionary and unique. Search in Appannie or other business intelligence tools for related apps. Don‘t just watch how they’re presented but check the rankings over time to see if the app attracts an audience for a longer period of time. Higher rankings can show you the potential for your app in terms of visibility and gross rankings or how much you can possibly earn. 

2. Sensor Tower for user’s feedback

Very carefully read available reviews which will help you to understand what people love and hate about the app. Watch the frequency of reviews, how ratings changed with new versions and how it corellates with new features. What people appreciated in the update, what caused the bad ratings in the recent version…

3. Think Gaming for revenue estimates

Compare gross rankings from the previous step with Think Gaming top grossing charts to see the exact figures apps are earning per day. Few apps also have ARPU estimates with a detailed view, which is another very important piece of the puzzle for your business.

“Is your competitor struggling to raise the Series A funding? Maybe they have some troubles, discover why!”

4. Crunchbase for investment history and competition

Look at Crunchbase and focus on the investment history. If the company got investment from a well known funding source then it’s a clear signal of the future potential (or maybe just hype). If the investment was years ago it might be a signal that the company struggles to attract new funding. Also, look to see who are the founders, check them via LinkedIn to see their previous job history and try to understand how they got to the place where they are now as well as what are their strengths and weaknesses. Crunchbase also offers contextual links to similar companies which is great for discovering your possible competitiors.

5. Forbes, Techcrunch, Mashable for interviews

Now that you know your competitors and founders, it’s time to dig deeper. Read all the founder interviews available as they will reveal tons of interesting insights about their customers, technology, troubles and victories. Also, you’ll often get references as to their business partners as service providers or marketing partners who might be another source of information in the next step.

6. Industry related companies for insights

Once you’re in the business for longer period of time, you’ll have a network of partnerships. Now is the time to leverage some of your contacts. Approach your closest partners and ask them for their opinions, available data and recent studies on your topic. For example, you can get information where your competitors are targeting their user aquistion campaigns, at what costs, etc.

“Be a hustler, ask your competitors directly at Quora!”

7. Quora for clarification

Hey, why not ask your competitors directly? There’s Quora for that. First, search if your question wasn’t already answered before. If not, create a new one and send it directly to your competitor, his employees or industry experts. Be bold and reveal your identity or create a fake profile to be in stealth, it’s up to you. As my mother said, those who ask become smart.

Do you have any tricks which you’re using? Is your research process different and if so, how? Please share your thoughts with others by commenting below or use Twitter @Flow_Studio

The next week: Part II – feedback

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