Companies started using benchmarking as a tool for market analysis in the second half of the 20th century. One of the first companies to apply this method in practice was Rank Xerox during the crisis in the late 1970s. Then the company lost a significant part of the market, giving way to Kodak, Canon, and others. To regain its former competitiveness, Rank Xerox compared its performance with competitors on the following items: production costs, the way copiers were assembled, customer satisfaction, and so on. This helped the company to optimize business processes, reduce distribution costs, and become a leader in its segment of the copier market.

Mobile app benchmarking is a set of techniques that allow you to study the experience of competitors and implement best practices in your app. As a rule, this tool is used to compare your app with the best apps on the market, that is, with benchmarks. 

Such an analysis allows app owners to make informed decisions when developing new features for the app. For example, they can determine who to look up to on the market and define the company’s targets and development model.

There are several types of benchmarking:

  • Comparative analysis. It includes the collection and comparison of quantitative data (Key Performance Indicators). Benchmarking is typically the first step that companies take to identify performance gaps.
  • Internal analysis. In this case, the indicators of different company products (apps) are compared.
  • External analysis. This type of benchmarking involves the comparison of the performance or practices of one app with other similar apps.

Mobile App Benchmarking Benefits 

If app developers managed to collect qualitative data for comparison, then benchmarking will have a number of following advantages:

  • Speed. Benchmarking allows you to quickly improve the quality of your app by analyzing the advantages of competitors.
  • Prevention. The analysis helps to prevent the occurrence of difficulties and loss of profit by studying someone else’s bad experience.
  • Application of best practices. This method allows the company to optimize its business by applying the competitors’ best solutions.
  • Availability. Benchmarking does not require much time and cost.

When done correctly, benchmarking can bring many benefits to an app. The criteria for successful benchmarking are a properly selected team, deep detailing of processes, management’s interest in the results, and integration of benchmarking results with strategic development plans. 

During the work, the benchmarking team has an opportunity to look at the app from the outside. This allows you to think outside of the box and find new ideas for improvement. Through the use of benchmarking, it is possible to avoid many mistakes as well as increase the profit in a relatively short time.

How to Benchmark Your App: 5 Stages 

App benchmarking consists of several stages:


Begin with searching the app stores for apps of the same genre. Having collected a comprehensive list, break down the apps into three categories: direct competitors, indirect competitors, and aspirational competitors. Such categorization will help you get more important.

Additionally, you can conduct the SWOT analysis during the planning stage. It allows you to identify your weak points early in app development and avoid failures. You can also uncover your greatest competitive advantage and better exploit external opportunities. Before you begin, you need to clearly define the goal of your SWOT analysis.

You also need to define your mobile target audiences. Don’t forget to consider the lifestyle, values, and noticeable behavioural patterns of your potential users. This also includes thorough research about your industry and the market. It is also necessary to follow trends and the evolution of technologies in the local and international markets.

Here is a checklist for the planning stage:

  • Who are your competitors?
  • How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
  • What is your unique selling proposition?
  • What trends and technologies can you incorporate?
  • What are potential difficulties?
  • What weaknesses of your competitors can you use to your advantage?
  • Are there opportunities to scale your idea?

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Setting the goals

Now you should define if the benchmarking will pertain to the entire app or a specific KPI. At this stage, think about your recent user acquisition campaigns, app updates, ad spending, and other activities. You can also create a timeline of events to which you can refer as you investigate the data. For example, if your app is a gaming app and the purpose of your benchmarking is to increase app engagement, you may compare the DAU indicators.

Collecting the information

At this stage, it is necessary to collect information about how business processes are carried out in the company, define the key indicators of the company, and gather similar information about competitors. 

There are two ways to collect data. 

The first is when companies voluntarily share the necessary information within the Benchmarking Code. This is a document developed by the American Center for Productivity and Quality. It is possible to adapt it depending on the needs of companies. In the process of joint benchmarking to collect information, use the following methods: 

  • visit (to the store or head office),
  • interview,
  • online polls. 

Not all leading companies provide data on their strategies. Then there is the second way of gathering information – research. There are many different analytic tools that make benchmarking possible. Keep track of competitor apps’ ads, keywords, rankings, traffic, and more. 

After studying social media, PR activities, participation in conferences, advertising, and collaboration with brands, you will be able to understand the competitor’s strategy. For example, if the company did not focus on social media for a long time, and then began to actively post to social media platforms, it means that their target audience is young adults. If the competitor has never participated in forums or conferences, but now promotes its product at various events, they are obviously increasing their expertise. The strategy of such an organization is to increase sales through reputation. 

Analysis of data

Having collected all of the necessary data, carry out the analysis. At this stage, it is important to remember that nothing is perfect. Therefore, be objective during this analysis. Make a report based on the data and include the following information: 

  • What experience of the competitor should you adopt? 
  • What mistakes and weaknesses of the competitor have you noticed? 
  • What indicators in your app are noticeably behind? 
  • What actions should you take?

Having planned a change, start implementing it. Track metrics to see how well your benchmarking went. 


It is important that you benchmark your mobile app regularly, at least once per quarter. This will allow you to check if your recent efforts have had any impact on the app’s performance. With each new benchmarking, make sure that you add more competitors – new apps that have entered the market since you had performed the latest analysis. 

Over to You

Benchmarking in general refers to comparing companies against competitors. Accordingly, mobile app benchmarking is the comparison of apps. It is quite a quick and cost-efficient way to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your app and fix all detected issues within a short time period.