Similar Apps – What Are They and Why is Everyone Talking About it?

Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about Similar Apps, but you might wonder: “What the hell are they?”. Let’s have a look at what they are, how they are selected and how they can help you boost visibility on Google Play Store. After reading this article, you’ll be an expert on the topic! 😉

An introduction to Similar Apps

Let’s begin with an introduction to the Similar Apps section and all its characteristics.

What are Similar Apps?

Similar Apps is a section that is only available on Google Play Store and shows “related” apps. When scrolling down on an app store listing, after the user reviews and the developer’s contact, you can find different categories of related apps. Among them, the following: “you might also like”, “recommended for you” and finally “Similar Apps” – this is where you can find them.

Even though that’s not always the case, the apps that are displayed in this section usually are apps belonging to the same category as the related app. There are so many apps on Google Play Store (3,089,485 according to our data) that we can wonder how an app or a game can get listed there in the Similar Apps section.

How can an app be listed in the Similar Apps section?

We are not 100% sure about what has an impact on apps being listed within Similar Apps, but here are some factors that we think do have an influence:

  • Downloads volume – Google Play, normally, lists apps with similar downloads range in the Similar Apps cards.
  • Natural language recognition: On-metadata optimization (Title, Description, Short description, keywords on user reviews…) – Google Play has to UNDERSTAND what your app / game is about (topic) in order to list it in the Similar Apps cards.
  • Ratings volume and average rating – More and better ratings = more visibility.
  • Image recognition: shapes, colors, and style of the icon + screenshots – Google Play has to understand what your app is about also taking into account the visual assets of your listing.

If you have a look at the apps listed in the Similar Apps section of an app, you will realize that the icons are often very similar, so you should strategically think about what your icon represents, if it illustrates well your app, if it is similar to your competitors’ ones…

Similar Apps Icons

  • App category – It’s not always the case, but choosing the right category is always good to rank in the Similar Apps.
  • Android vitals – It’s vital (xD) that your app is in good health in order to rank in that tab. We are not saying it ourselves, Google said it.

We believe that these factors are the ones that have the most influence in apps getting listed within Similar Apps.

Why is everyone talking about Similar Apps?

The answer is simple: appearing in the Similar Apps tab generate downloads. It is a way of getting downloads through browsing in the Google Play Store, other than from Top Charts and from Featured. We attended the ASO Conference Berlin 2019 and this was one of the main topics of the congress.

How can you know Similar Apps are generating downloads?

It appears in the Google Play Console (AKA developer console), in the User Acquisition reports. There you can see the number of visitors and of installers that you get from Explore / Browse, in which it is specified that Similar Apps are included. The thing is you can’t distinguish between organic Explore downloads coming from Top Charts or the ones coming from the Similar Apps.

Google Play User Acquisition Report - Explore

What about Referring Apps?

It’s important to differentiate Similar Apps from Referring Apps. Similar Apps are the ones that appear in the tab, easy, right? But what are Referring Apps? Let me explain: Similar Apps are the apps that appear as suggested in an app store listing. So far so good. Now, if you look at things from the other way around, Referring Apps are apps that feature an app in its own app store listing, in the Similar Apps section.

Check out this example to make it a bit clearer:

Similar Apps on the Google Play Store

Here in the red square of these screenshots you can see the Similar Apps of the game Empire & Puzzles: ROG Quest. Following what we’ve said before, we can say that Empire & Puzzles: RPG Quest is a referring app of all these apps.

TheTool Similar Apps features

At TheTool, we created some features for you to measure visibility through Similar Apps.

Explore Top SVRank

To do so, you can use our Explore Top SVRank (Similar Visibility Rank) tool which allows you to see the 250 apps & and games with more visibility in the Similar App Cards of Google Play Store for any given day and country. The higher SVRank, the more visibility an app gets in the Similar App Cards, so a higher SVRank means more Explore traffic & downloads:

Explore Top SVRank (Similar Apps)

Spy SVRank Evolution

You can also spy on the competition with our Spy SVRank Evolution feature. This feature allows you to view the evolution of the SVRank (Similar Visibility Rank) of any app or game in the Google Play Store in any given country and period. It also gives you the possibility to compare this data with 4 other apps.

Similar App Cards performance (Google Play)

In the chart above, you can see SVRank data mixed with Explore traffic / downloads (with our Google Play console integration). The higher SVRank, the more traffic + downloads coming from the Explore.

Spy Referring Apps + Similar Apps

Finally, you can also use our Spy Referring Apps and Spy Similar Apps features, which respectively enables you to view the apps that refer to your app in the Similar Apps Cards on the Google Play Store for any given day and country and to view the Top 5 Similar Apps that appeared in any app / game on the Google Play Store for any given day and country.

Our SVRank and data provides you with exclusive data that will allow you to fully optimize your ASO strategy. Apart from this, we are offering all our Similar Apps data via API to some selected customers.

To conclude

The Similar Apps section on Google Play Store is a traffic source that needs to be monitored. As you know, ASO is not only about Search, and apps are getting more and more visibility, traffic and downloads from Browsing, including the Similar Apps section. Thanks to TheTool’s features, you can track and supervise them, whether it is for your own app or for the competition. Discovering your Referring Apps enables you to track them, to study them and their keywords.

So, now that you know everything, are you ready to monitor Similar Apps like a pro? 😎

UPDATE: Due to Google Play changes, our Similar Apps features are not available.

Maud Panier
Maud Panier
Content & Social Media Manager at TheTool. I enjoy traveling, sports and I'm always willing to discover new things and face new challenges.

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