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December 31st, 2020

What if my app idea already exists?

If you search within the app store and find that your app idea already exists (which is likely the case), this shouldn’t dissuade you from continuing. Given the sheer volume of apps out there (2.87 million apps in the Google Play Store, and 1.96 million apps in the Apple App Store) – it’s unsurprising that the vast majority of ideas or concepts already seem to exist in some form or another!

But your app can still succeed amongst the current implementations.

To maximize your probability of success, however, there are some lessons you can learn before getting started. I’ve concisely outlined some of the things to consider below.

Find weaknesses in the existing apps

The very first step would be to analyse the existing apps. You’ll want to grab the top 4 or 5 apps that are most similar to your idea, and then examine each of them in turn.

What works well in these apps? What doesn’t work well?

You can make your own judgement of each, of course, but it’s also vitally important to analyse the feedback provided by the users of each app, also. Both good and bad.

analyse competitor feedback
Despite a high overall rating, there are still some issues identified by users of this app from

If there’s a common theme or trend within the comments, then this gives you something to work on right away.

For example, if the existing apps are hard to navigate or unclear, if the designs are dated or bland, or if vital features are missing — you’ll know immediately where these apps are falling short, and you can avoid those same pitfalls from the outset.

You can essentially learn valuable lessons from the existing apps within your niche, allowing you to execute your app idea with this knowledge in mind. This is a big advantage.

Execution trumps ideas – focus on a higher quality app

This point speaks for itself, execution really does trump ideas. If your app idea already exists in some form or other, one way to get ahead would be to simply build a superior app. Ideas are great — but it’s how well they are executed in the long run that really matters.

That said, building a superior app is of course easier said than done, and there are many factors in what could constitute a “superior” app, but as a starting point, focus on:

  • A more streamlined user interface and user experience
  • A more distinctive design that feels aesthetically pleasing to navigate
  • Better branding that attracts users more easily (see below for more on this)

If your build is high quality and fit for purpose, you’ll eventually gather traction with positive reviews and feedback.

If your main competitors’ apps aren’t very modern or refined, building something that’s snappy and slick could be an obvious route in.

However, if the competitors’ apps are already smooth, professional and modern-looking, then you’ll need to work a little harder in this regard to set your app apart from the pack!

Establish a more effective brand

Branding is pivotal to the success of your app. Your idea may be fantastic, and it may be executed superbly – but you’ll need a strong brand to really help carry the app.

In essence, having an effective and distinctive brand will be pivotal in forming a memorable identity for your app. It’ll attract users, but it’ll also allow the users to remember and recognize the product.

an effective brand
An effective brand is essential to the success of your app

Some of the most important aspects in this regard are:

  • The name of your app
  • Your app logo
  • Your app icon
  • Your colour scheme & overall theme

Your branding should be consistent throughout the app and throughout any other associated components (ie. your app’s landing page, if you have one).

Given that your app idea already exists in the app store(s), you’ll need to create a more appealing package for your potential users. If you can brand your app more effectively than your competitors’, that’s a step in the right direction towards taking your chunk of the market. It’ll give your app an edge over the other apps; helping you to attract and retain more users — which will ultimately lead to a more successful app.

Ensure users can find your app

So you’ve got an app that works great and looks fantastic, but there are still some vitally important steps remaining. It’s likely that your competitors apps are highly visible within the given app store(s) already.

When you search for your target keywords — these apps will be amongst the first results displayed. They may have been established for a long time, gaining traction and downloads along the way. As a result, users are much more likely to install these apps before turning to apps further down the search results (where your new app will likely be).

You’ll want to observe the basic ASO (app store optimization) techniques to help pull in more downloads and move towards directly competing with the existing apps.

Remember, your app idea already exists in some form or other, so you’ll likely have to work harder to earn your place at the top of the search results! Assuming you are indeed targeting the same specific keywords as your competitors.

I’ve written an article specifically about this topic before. It’s slightly tailored towards the Google Play store — but the points contained within apply across the board.

Thanks for reading!

Have any questions? Ping me over at @justacodingblog
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