At the Studio we speak to a lot of budding app builders. All of them are passionate and excited about their fantastic idea for a brand-new app. Occasionally, however, we find ourselves in the unfortunate position of having to gently inform them that their idea is not as original as they think. Or worse, that their app idea has in fact been implemented and on the market for a number of years.
This can be a heartbreaking moment, as the news tends to soak up all the entrepreneurial passion and excitement that previously did them so much credit. To help you avoid this moment of disappointment, we've put together this short step-by-step to help you find out if your app idea is really as unique as you thought.
Start with your user
A great place to start, then, is to ask as many people as possible how they solve this problem right now. If you ask broadly enough, you might discover that there's an app out there already. Target communities, both online and offline, where your potential users tend to hang out, then start asking questions. A good way to start is with "Does anybody else have difficulty with...". Whatever you discover, you're bound to learn a lot about your audience.
Of course, Google is going to be your next best port of call. You can use this is an opportunity to experiment with different keywords and find out what your future users are going to be searching for. Head over to keyword.io and type a few different combinations of keywords; it will fire back further suggestions about what people have been searching. Make a note of the first 20 or so of these and drop them into Google to see what comes up.
Roundup articles surrounding your niche are also a good place to learn about your competitors. Try Googling '[your niche] [app roundup/best apps/new apps/coolest apps] and spend some time reading through the articles. They're great for keeping up to date with the competition.
Check out Apptrace
This handy little tool can quickly retrieve information on all existing apps in your niche. However, unless you can keep your search terms fairly specific, you might have to spend quite a bit of time searching through the hundreds of apps it drags up to find one that matches your idea.
Search the App Store
Of course, you can't forget to take a peek in the app store itself. Again, you may have to trawl through quite a few apps that aren't relevant, but at least you'll know what's out there!
What to do if you find a match
If your idea has already been done, don't panic! You still have a chance at releasing a successful platform. Analyse your competition carefully and find out if they have any major flaws. You can also check the reviews to see if people are happy with the product. If you can find problems with your competition, there may be scope to create something better. You can also consider niching down on your target audience and creating an app that's more relevant to a specific sub-group.
That's the end of our quick guide. We hope that after your research you discover that your idea is the super unicorn you hoped it would be all along. Good luck!