We at Syndicode deal with app development requests all the time. Building an app is a go-to idea for modern startups. No matter what the concept is, companies seem to believe that an app is the best execution. They are not wrong.
Up to 2023, the market is predicted to grow by 18%. And that’s considering that app development is already one of the most valuable industries.
There’s still much potential left in the industry. However, you are dealing with many competitors on the one hand, and with high user expectations, on the other. No matter how good your code is, without marketing research, the product will likely tank. Yeah, this is coming from software developers.
What is market research?
Market research is a set of activities that a team performs to find out more about the target audience and industries. It describes the market, target audience, and marketing activities used to succeed in the industry.
- Marketing research analyzes essential characteristics of the field: size, value, competition, possibilities;
- Marketing research analyzes target audience: who are the primary app users what are their demographic characteristics;
- Marketing research defines which needs are the most pressing on the market and examines editing solutions.
Market research can be done with publicly available research, such as online articles, reports, statistics, and social media. An offline approach is based on gathering focus groups and asking them about the needs and potential product’s scope.
Market research heavily relies on analyzing competitors’ advertising strategies and taking a look at their positioning and communication channels.
Why is market research for a mobile app so important?
To succeed, a mobile app has to offer a fresh concept, high-quality execution, address the right audience, and be based on a sustainable business model. If one of these factors fails, the chances of success also take a hit.
- Market research is the only objective way to evaluate your idea. All product owners have blind spots when it comes to their apps. Your concept isn’t nearly as disruptive as you’d think (like on this Reddit thread, a user asked for advice only to find out that many such products are up and running). It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but you’d be ultimately better off.
- Market research helps you define your idea. When you take a closer look at the market and audience, you might want to add or remove a part of the functionality. The same goes for interface, naming, branding, positioning.
- Market research saves money. When you know what niches should be avoided and understand users’ needs, you can start building a well-tailored project on your first interaction. Without marketing research, you’d find out these things eventually, but it would take several releases. That’s a lot of money.
- Market research gets your app out there. Promotion and communication should be informed. If you don’t know what competitive apps offer and how they branch out, you won’t be able to come up with an efficient positioning.
- Market research sets a foundation for risk evaluation. As you explore the market, you will see potential threats and negative patterns. You’ll notice that some locations and niches are on the decline, while others are going up. Knowing these trends will help define substantial risks before starting the development project.
Also, developing a mobile app, it’s crucial to choose the backend platform. Read our comprehensive guide on choosing the right backend for mobile app development.
Compared to expenses on other stages of app development, marketing research is one of the less expensive steps. Yet, it’s the most important one. If done wrong, there’s a risk of having to remake the entire product.
Learning market research from the best
With every project, our team repeatedly proved to ourselves and our clients that app development is only as successful as its marketing research is. It’s ingrained in the DNA of every successful startup – and mobile apps in particular. To prove our point, we took a look at how today’s leading startups and apps researched their product.
Zoom market research case
Zoom has been taking video conferencing industry by storm for several years. During the lockdown, the platform became basically a meme – so much it’s used in the quarantine for studying and work. How did Zoom manage to stand out from all existing video conferencing apps? Thanks to marketing research.
- The founder of Zoom, Eric Yuan, says that the product focus on users’ needs from the very first day. He already had experience working on Cisco’s video conferencing solution, WebEx, and ended up frustrated seeing the company’s lack of enthusiasm towards user-driven improvements.
- The team saw that the market is crowded, so they formulated the right goals. It wasn’t “to revolutionize the market” but rather “to build the best product.” The takeaway is to know the challenges of your industry and have the right objectives.
- Zoom started market research by collecting feedback. Zoom offers customers to contact a team via a video meeting, where users discuss possible changes.
- Zoom chose Net Promoter Score as its main market research metric. They regularly check how many users are ready to recommend their product to users, which gives them an additional competitive advantage.
The takeaway: start by exploring your competitors and understanding their faults. If you have the possibility of hiring someone who worked on the competing team and knows insider information, it will help your project even more. Strive to learn about the market and key players from within.
Uber market research case
Uber’s marketing research team managed to find a great mix of local and global strategies. The company is known for its selective approach to choosing locations for expansion. Uber does detailed research for every city they are planning to enter, gets to know the local transportation market, and main competitors.
- Location-based market research allows Uber to get to know their audience, their needs, and issues and incorporate them into a marketing strategy.
- This research is used to create local media coverage – social media, TV, press, and online outlets. PCC ads are also based on insights collected from this research.
- Interestingly, Uber didn’t limit its marketing research to taxi companies only. They understood early on the need to compete with every transportation method – be it a subway or client’s bike. The goal was not to become the best taxi company, but the best way of transportation.
Uber is an excellent example of a throughout research that helps set brand values straight. If Zoom focused first and foremost on product quality, Uber focused on infrastructure. The app’s functionality and interface were still necessary, but they were regarded as a means to a goal. Knowing project priorities early on allows for better cost allocation.
Tinder market research
Often, product owners worry about having an idea that’s not cutting -edge enough. They are continually looking for rare markets to explore, avoiding to deal with saturated industries. Tinder is an example of an app that managed to become cutting edge despite entering an overcrowded field.
- Before Tinder launched, American and worldwide dating market had enough leaders. Match, eHarmony, OkCupid, and others – these websites have been around a lot longer than Tinder.
- Standing out is difficult for dating apps because every service offers mainly the same idea – connecting people. Tinder did market research to find an underrepresented audience – younger daters and found functionality and interface that catered to their needs.
- You can play around with the form if you can’t come with a new core concept of the product. Tinder introduced gamification and focused on a fun interface. The idea of swiping was around before Tinder ever entered the market – but Tinder stood out with researched, fine-tuned execution.
If you are always looking for unique concepts and competition-free niches, you’ll be limiting your creativity. Many changes can be made in popular industries – you just need market research to uncover them.
When a brilliant concept and innovative technology meet each other, you get a viral sensation. This is what we’ve seen happening with TikTok. It seemed like an overnight success, but really, it was a result of thought-out market research.
- The application merged with Musically, an already popular app where users can lip-sync to popular songs. However, TikTok took the concept much further. Instead of letting people see others’ lip-sync, they increased the variety of ways in which users express themselves.
- TikTok untapped users’ fascination with short content types (stories, tweets), and brought the same concept to videos. By researching competitors and their content delivery strategy. TikTok combined all the trendiest elements – and now it’s outperforming Instagram.
- TikTok is an example that all audiences matter. Young users are often looked down upon – they are not making buying decisions, and legal issues are challenging to handle. However, TikTok is a clear example of how market research helps you detect the target audience that’s best for your business.
Tik Tok success is undoubtedly the result of careful competition monitoring. The company knew all too well what kind of market it’s entering. Obviously, the social media industry is crowded, but with the right product, these challenges are manageable.
A successful app starts with market research
Market research is an essential stage of app development. Explore the stages of the web app development described by Syndicode. It doesn’t take much to complete, but if done right, you are setting the foundation for years of success. On the contrary, a misstep here can run your project into the ground.
At Syndicode, we are happy to help with the market search for marketplaces, social networks, software-as-a-service, MVPs, and other apps. Our software development team will happily take a look at your project and connect you to professional business analysts.