Incipia blog

3 Tips for a successful app launch

Gabe Kwakyi | September 9, 2016

Feature Image Credit: Pokemon Go Twitter Page

After months of hard work designing, developing and preparing your app for the masses the moment is nearly here. You're one final month from launching your app and the last mile of excellence is to get your product to market with as many downloads as possible. The question is:

How do I execute a perfect app launch?
Read on to learn about what activities and strategies you can put in place in order to help your app achieve its maximum chances of success.

Implement a plan for optimizing activation and retention

This is a must for ensuring that your app has the best chances of success as retention will reduce your marketing costs and is a major component of the app ranking algorithms. The first step is to gain visibility of what users are doing once they install your app. Firebase apps include analytics built in - otherwise you'll need to integrate a data analytics service, such as Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Amplitude or Keen.io.

Basic analytics involves tracking event data such as launches, session data and actions like registrations or clicking a specific button. More advanced analytics provides visibility into segmenting users by behavior or collecting customized data on users and user flows, like which types of actions or flows cause users to churn or conversely make a purchase. Utilize analytics data to do things like
  1. Resolve problematic UX areas in your app
  2. Identify important key actions to highlight
  3. Inform improvements in your onboarding flow (by the way: app onboarding is also a must for apps that are more than one or two screens)
Also consider other products that can help you make incremental improvements to your app's UI and UX, such as Apptimize (flagging features or A/B testing UI elements) and Appsee (watching users interacting with your app in real-time).

Check out this article for more ideas on how to retain users.

Capture early adopters and generate pre-launch buzz

These days "build it and they will come" product success stories are few and far between. The vast majority of entrepreneurs and founders need to put in the time and effort to grind their way to success, which begins at the concept stage and ramps up prior to the launch. The first 7 days of your app's launch are not only a testing time for its credibility and ability to flop or fly, but also are the only time when Apple artificially boosts your app's visibility, during which your marketing efforts will produce more fruit.

Put up a splash page to start gathering email addresses one month prior to launch and run an email drip campaign to build and keep excitement. Follow up with a "we're live, download our app" email to convert those potential users into actual users on launch day and continue providing email updates as your app evolves to encourage retention. Soon, apps will be able to leverage Apple's brand new "notify me" button for apps that have yet to launch.

Reach out to the press with a press kit explaining what is different about your app and invite reporters to your beta to let them try it for themselves. Invite beta testers from your and your teams' networks and encourage them to provide feedback and write reviews after your app is live. Reviews are not only a crucial factor for credibility and determining whether your app is "download-worthy," but also affect your keyword rankings.

Get on social media to start building your digital presence and acquisition funnel. Leverage your press kit to create content that educates people on why they should care about your app to acquire installs from people outside of the app store. Pick a manageable list of channels for your at-hand resources (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Youtube, Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest) and focus your efforts, committing to a regular post frequency and optimizing your content for keywords, timing, hashtags and topics. Start posting blog posts as well (we've seen some great success from an active blog firsthand), but remember that content marketing not only includes blog posts but also discussing your app in communities like Reddit, Medium and Quora.

In addition to making a beautifully designed, non-buggy app, boost your chances of being featured by:
  1. Ensuring your icon is appealing and your app listing is non-spammy, unique and informative
  2. Your app utilizes the latest Apple/Google functionality/design best practices
  3. You've secured the good graces of the press, per above
If you're planning on running significant external marketing efforts (especially paid ones) you'll want to integrate an attribution or MMP (mobile measurement partner) like Adjust or Appsflyer. These tools will automatically pull install data or provide a tracker link that enables you to attribute engagement and revenue back to each acquisition source for proper ROI calculations and decision making.

Plan for acquiring users on launch

In addition to the channels mentioned above in the buzz and early adopter section, here are some more ideas on how to get the word out after your app officially launches:
  • ASO - ensure that your app listing is optimized for CRO and SEO from day 1
    • Also, be familiar with the concepts of the organic multiplier and download velocity. In short, the organic multiplier (usually referred to in an advertising context) is the incremental downloads your app receives from each new download; download velocity refers to the higher impact on rank that a faster velocity of downloads produces (i.e. 1,000 downloads in one day will raise your rank more than 1,000 spread over 3 days). These effects occur because the App Store and Play Store ranking algorithms assume that apps which have higher downloads overall and moreover a faster velocity of downloads are more popular than others and thus rank them in higher spots with more visibility.
  • Influencer marketing - contact bloggers and people with large social followings to get your app in front of their user. While many influencer agreements are hand-sold, there are networks which facilitate this process
  • Advertising - while the most costly, one of the best ways to scale is to advertise on channels including Facebook, Twitter, Adwords, ads in apps, soon the App Store and even affiliates like Ibotta or Button
  • Referrals - your best marketing channel will be your users themselves. Figure out how to gameify your app or otherwise motivate users to become advocates and invite new users on your behalf

Check out this article for more details and a comparison of each marketing channel.

That's all for now folks! Be sure to bookmark our blog, sign up to our email newsletter for new post updates and reach out if you're interested in working with us.

Incipia is a mobile app development and marketing agency that builds and markets apps for companies, with a specialty in high-quality code architecture and keyword-based marketing optimizations. For blog/video or speaking requests, business or press inquiries please contact us or send an inquiry to hello@incipia.co.