“On a snowy Paris evening in 2008, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp had trouble hailing a cab. So they came up with a simple idea—tap a button, get a ride.”
Hmm, sound like any mobile app you know?
Yes, that is the awesome story of how Uber was born.
One simple idea, combined with the passion to bring that idea to life, led to the birth of a mobile app so popular that it has become a household word (and even a verb).
The late, great comedian Robin Williams put it best when he said:
Uber aside, a quick search of the most popular apps in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store indeed shows the power of ideas to change the world.
So, what about your app ideas? Let loose and follow your dreams!
But first, you need to get grounded with a bit of initial research for your mobile app business.
Checking Popularity & Competition Of Your App Idea
If you’re still in the idea stage and wondering where to begin, the first step is to grab a notebook or computer and start putting your app idea in writing.
Getting the general ideas out of your head and putting them in written form may seem like a pointless task, but it’s actually the first crucial step to making an app.
Specifically, you should write down keywords and phrases that a future user might enter in Google search to find your future app.
Use keywords that describe the solution to a common problem your app may solve.
For example, if the idea of your app is to enable users to instantly locate an auto mechanic near them, you may write down keyword phrases such as:
- local mechanics
- find a mechanic
- mechanics near me
- auto repair shops
Next, you will check which of these keyword phrases may be popular, and whether or not similar apps already exist.
There are many tools to you can use, but SEMrush is one of my favorites.
After typing in your app idea keyword phrases on the site, you will instantly see a bunch of helpful data to begin your research.
Some of the information SEMrush shows you is not needed at this stage, but you mainly want to pay attention to the following columns:
- Trend – Shows the increasing or decreasing popularity of your app idea keywords over the past 12 months
- Phrase Match Keywords & Related Keywords – Shows the current search volume (higher is better) of similar keywords on Google, which may help to narrow down your app idea
- Organic Search Results – Shows the competitor links that appear on the first page of Google when searching for your keyword
Below is a screenshot from SEMrush in which I searched for “automotive apps” keyword and highlighted the key sections of the report:
On the screenshot above, under the “Phrase Match Keywords” section, notice that “automotive repair apps” is a popular search term, but “automotive code reader app” is much less popular.
This is what I mean by using this tool to help focus the idea for your app more specifically, based on Google keyword search popularity.
The idea is to fine tune your app idea to appeal the highest potential number of eyeballs that will be searching for your app in the future.
Next, you can start clicking on the links under “Organic Search Results” to see exactly what type and how much competition already exists.
Your ultimate goal in this phase is to find an app idea with high search volume (demand), steady or increasing popularity trend, and low amount of competition.
In addition to SEMrush, you may also want to check out a similar service named Keyword Tool, which has a more basic interface.
Both SEMrush and Keyword Tool offer their basic services for free, with additional usage limits and bells & whistles if you pay (“freemium” model).
Similar Apps On The Market Are Opportunities
If your idea is completely different than any existing apps found in your initial research, that’s fantastic!
But what if you discover that a similar app already exists in the app stores?
While it may initially seem disappointing, don’t worry because this is definitely not a bad thing.
In fact, quite the contrary!
For example, if you have an idea to make a social media app for sports fans, your app may have many of the same characteristics as Facebook.
However, you could distinguish your app by making it a sports “hub,” rather than a general social media site.
Your mobile app could be designed to enable nearby users who like to play the same sport to organize and participate in local sporting
Making your app with such a specialized focus would remove all the noise from a typical Facebook Events page and more easily connect sports fanatics for a great game.
Another excellent opportunity is finding is taking a broad idea of an existing mobile app and focusing on a more specific niche.
Let’s say you have an idea for a photo sharing app, and you are wondering how you would compete against Instagram.
The answer is to design your app for a specific target niche or group of people, such as an Instagram-type app for people working in events coordination.
You could even make your app idea more specific, such as a photo sharing app for wedding suppliers.
If your dream is to create the next monster app that becomes a household name like Uber, follow your vision and don’t let anything or anyone get in the way.
An amazing app idea and a talented development team to build and market your app are the most important things you will need.
However, it all starts with basic market research, and this article should point you in the right direction.
As with any business, making an app requires a significant investment in your time (especially at the start).
But the reward of fulfilling your dream by creating a popular app can pay huge dividends.
Find your inner genius and make it happen!
Deron | co-founder @ BrainyApps
PS – If you have any questions about this article or using SEMrush, just leave a comment below and we will help you out.