Why You Have to Read Your Competitors’ Reviews (and How to Do It Effectively)

Why You Have to Read Your Competitors’ Reviews (and How to Do It Effectively)

Growing your downloads requires improving your app. That's true regardless of how much you optimize, promote, or advertise it. Listening to user suggestions is a great way to find the next feature to work on and also ensure your app remains relevant and solves user needs. Best of all, user suggestions are free.

You're probably already reading your reviews and noting bugs and feature suggestions, but are you also doing the same for your competitors? In this guide, we'll go through why reading competitors' reviews is a great way to improve your app, show you how to track competitor reviews, and how to learn the most from them.

Why Monitor Competitors' Reviews?

If you're already learning from your reviews, you know how much feedback you can get from them and how useful they are to improving your app. By looking at competitors' reviews you're taking this notion to the next level.

This works so well because in most cases your competitors' users are pretty similar to your users, otherwise your apps wouldn't be competing. In its simplest form, learning from competitors' reviews will give you more feedback to learn from. But the less obvious advantage is that it'll also show you why they love the competitor's app.

Developers who analyze competitors' reviews can:

Prioritize build the features their prospective users want most and be more competitive.

Continue to evolve their app so existing users are constantly getting useful features and don't look for an alternative.

See what gives competitors their competitive edge, which isn't always what they highlight, and improve on them.

Identify the pain points competitors have and provide a better solution to them, to get those users to switch over.

Learning from competitors has lots of benefits and costs absolutely nothing. Win-win. Let's dive into how to do that.


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Tracking Competitors' Reviews

Start by adding the competitor to your account:

  1. Log into your account and navigate to Manage → Tracked Apps

  2. Click on "Add Competitors"

  3. Find the competitor and select it

    Tip: Wrap the name of the app in quotes to find it faster.

  4. Select more competitors by repeating step 3

  5. Click "Track apps" to add these apps to your account and start tracking their reviews

Learning from Competitors' Reviews

Now that you have your competitors tracked it's time to dive into their reviews, and here are all the things you should be looking for when analyzing competitors' reviews and how to find them faster:

Identify the Real Competitive Features

When we size up a competitor it's common to read their marketing materials and check out their screenshots to get a better idea of what their main features are. But the "real" competitive features aren't necessarily mentioned in marketing materials. Instead, what you should consider as competitive is what their users love.

Those features may not even be big or difficult to add, but they give users what they need, and that makes those users love the app. Those are the features you want to focus on.

Here's a good example of a competitive feature that isn't obvious:

Reading reviews for this particular competitor you can easily tell the UI is clean and simple and that's a selling point for a large number of users.

How to find reviews with competitive features:

Reviews that talk about existing features tend to come with a high star rating and use positive words. To find them set the star filter to 4 and 5 stars only and enter positive words into the search box, separated by or.

Here's a list you can copy and paste: great or love or like or awesome or amazing

Tip: As you read the reviews that match look for patterns. If you see a large number of reviews mentioning the UI add that to your search list to try to identify what about the UI is most loved.

Discover Their Pain Points

Apps can also do things users just hate. Whether it's unintuitive UX or a missing shortcut, knowing what users dislike about a competitor means that you can avoid doing that in your app and also create features that solve those pain points, preferably before the competition so you can win those users over.

Pain points come in a variety of ways, but this reviewer made it very obvious:

This is atypical but extremely useful. The pain points aren't high-level "this app is buggy" but rather specific. You can learn from every one of them.

How to find reviews with pain points:

Pain points are usually described with negative words but could be mixed in with other positive things so to find them we'll just use the search box and enter negative words separated by or.

Here's a list you can copy and paste: hate or terrible or dislike or bad or slow or load or missing

Find Nice-to-Have Features

Going beyond the extremes, nice to have features usually enhance existing features in ways that give users convenience. They could be specific to a user's workflow, or more general, but in most cases can make all the difference between a user jumping ship when they come across a new competitor and the user staying loyal and introducing the app to their friends.

Take these reviews for example:

Some users need very minor additions to be happier, others need larger additions. But both of those are already positive reviews.

How to find reviews with nice-to-have features:

Nice-to-have reviews are usually neutral or leaning positive, so set the stars filter to 3 and 4 stars. Then, search for words that are suggestive in nature.

Here's a list you can copy and paste: wish or add or recommend or suggest or feature or suggest or need

Evaluating Suggestions

As you analyze competitors' reviews, you'll likely find a variety of things you do to improve your app. But just because one or two reviews mention a feature doesn't necessarily mean it's important. Keep that in mind and as you go through reviews try to keep track of how often the feedback is repeated, then prioritize.

Let Everyone Know

After you've done your research and implemented new features make sure to let people know about them and convert all that hard work into downloads.

Read: 13 Free & Easy Ways to Promote Your App & Get More Downloads.

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