As of May 2016, Google Play had 1.8 million mobile apps, Apple Store had 1.6 million, and Windows and Amazon app stores brought up the rear with about a million or so each. This is indicative of not only booming mobile app growth and variety, but also an insane amount of clutter.
1 in 4 apps are downloaded and never used again. The average user takes a reported 35 seconds to judge if they like an app or not.
While it is a brutally competitive market, there are plenty of strategies that you as a developer can do to ensure a successful launch. In the following article I’ll discuss some of the best kept secrets for successful app launch, some tips, some hacks and a lot of great ideas.
The first thing you need of course is a great idea and an attractive, well built app. But how you market and build hype can give your mobile app an additional sense of credibility and visibility in the growing marketplace.
Setting Goals and Success Metrics
Going into your launch have certain target goals and KPI’s that you want to track and achieve already in mind. Total download numbers and average star ratings are important for visibility in generating more future downloads, but also important is your active install rate – which is basically your app retention. You should be tracking your app churn for signs of product deficiency. One of those quick 30 second turnovers indicates some serious problem with the app itself.
Whatever business model you are employing (paid, freemium, etc.) you should be tracking revenue and setting launch and quarterly goals.
Having download and revenue goals for launch week and tracking your growth is the only way to know if your software updates and marketing strategies are working.
Know Your Launch Platform – Google Play? Apple? Both?
Truthfully this is a fundamentally obvious factor, but one that needs to be double checked nonetheless. Each store has its own rules and protocols that need to be conformed to. There are different usability and UX requirements. There are different payment models. Google Play for example will let you change your app from a paid model to a free app, but not vice versa.
The development of your app for a certain platform should have been based on user research to begin with, but it is important to double check that you are meeting standards. If you are planning to release an app for both platforms, it may be prudent to focus and fine tune one platform instead of juggling two or more. Unless your company has the resources and dedicated split teams to handle such a task.
Shoot a Demo Video
In addition to app screenshots, app marketplaces allow for short multimedia clips. Before you discount this idea as only applicable to larger companies with fully fledged production teams, know that you can create a demo video using a basic smartphone screen emulator with voiceover capabilities. Simfinger and iShowU are a couple good options though there are many more.
A good demo video will smoothly take a user through the interface and show workflow capabilities and features.
Additionally, creating longer more immersed product tutorials and walkthroughs for Youtube are another easy to create and link option.
Demo videos are just part of content creation. More in depth blog posts are also a big part of not only showing users how to use your product, but why they should. Be sure to highlight what makes your product special and different from competition. Having this content available is important for pre-launch buzz, but also to be there to support customers over the long term.
Press Reviews and Beta-Launch Sites
Content creation is not solely dependent on you and your home site. Getting your product out to a professional reviewer is an excellent way to generate more visibility. Reviewers already have trusted followers and their opinions are seen as more objective as well.
Do not limit yourself to large reviewers such as CNET, nowadays there are plenty of independent micro-bloggers and tech review sites that review all kinds of apps and technology. Find one relevant to your sphere.
Linked Social Media – Link it to the App Store!
Creating a social media presence gives you a place to showcase your demo videos, blogs, third party reviews etc. Aside from twitter and facebook, Instagram and Pinterest can be great sites to highlight your mobile app’s aesthetics due to the simplistic nature of the platforms.
Don’t forget to create a portal straight back to the landing site on the app store for your app. You want to give yourself as many opportunities as possible to drive downloads. All social media and blog content should lead directly back to the app.
It is important to post content regularly leading up to the launch, and then doubly so during launch week. Update multiple times a day letting your users know your product is finally out and ready for them to get their fingers on!
Creating additional visibility during launch week can give your launch numbers a boost. Setting up paid targeted ads on Facebook can lead users through your facebook portal straight to your app. You can additionally connect with related app developers and advertise through their apps or sites. Advertising with well established related apps gives your product a sense of legitimacy.
Linking up with other developers also does not have to cost you anything. You can offer to host related apps to advertise with you in exchange for advertising space on their app. If it is an app with a similarly sized user base this could be a mutually beneficial affair.
Encourage User Ratings and Reviews
You should be encouraging users to give ratings and reviews. Some developers provide incentives to do so, such as extra features being unlocked. The reason user ratings are so coveted is because star ratings, reviews, and download numbers are the first thing a new user pulling up your app will see, and this will drive their decision whether to download or not. This is especially true for users finding your app through an organic search (which of course your app should be optimized for).
Reviews not only drive your downloads but also give you insights into pressing problems that need to be addressed. Be sure to directly respond to users with complaints to let them know that you are working on the problem. Also be sure to thank users that give you glowing five star reviews.
That’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed the tips, and good luck with the launch!