Since Lithios’ founding in 2014, we have collaborated on, redesigned, and built from scratch dozens of apps. We rely upon a tried and tested process to help ensure our clients’ launch goes off without a hitch. Over the years we’ve heard about and seen other businesses struggling to successfully launch their products. Skipping a step or two in the process of preparing your software for launch will almost certainly lead to headaches further down the road.
Frequent issues stemming from a premature launch include notably lower download and retention rates, large spikes in negative reviews due to poor performance or bugs, and users immediately forming a negative opinion about your product and not returning. Mobile apps can only launch once, and missing out on the hype of a successful launch is a tragic waste. So we’ve put together a simple, bare-bones plan to help you gauge whether your app is ready for launch and how to leverage the most out of it.
The late business and management legend Peter Drucker is quoted as saying “What’s measured improves.” This could not be more true when it comes to launching your software application. One of the most important steps you can take to ensure a successful launch is the leveraging of analytical tools which indicate whether things are heading in a positive direction or not. Analytics provide insight into key metrics like churn, engagement, downloads, and revenue. Together, these metrics can be used to paint a larger picture indicating whether your product is a success or not. Google Analytics and Mixpanel are two great examples of analytic platforms that track all the most important metrics.
A particularly hot-button issue in the world of software development is that of App Store Optimization (ASO). Much like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), ASO is grounded in a number of variables and keywords that determine how high (or low) an app is listed when searched for within the app store. It seems that both Apple and Google use very similar formulas to determine the rankings within their app stores. There are a few elements that appear to weigh more heavily in these algorithms, including: proper keyword usage throughout the name and description, visuals and branding, number of downloads, and the number and ratio of positive reviews.
According to a study by Tune, apps with optimal keyword usage ranked an average of 10.3% higher than apps with poor keyword usage. With a commitment to a solid keyword strategy, your app can stand out amongst your countless competitors in the App or Play stores where your reach becomes virtually limitless.
A critical mistake made by some developers is the lack of a post-launch strategy to support and build upon their product. It is a surprisingly common belief that merely publishing an app on the store will generate sufficient traction. Unfortunately, simply publishing your software to the app store isn’t enough when it comes to generating revenue and downloads. In reality, developers need to create a launch strategy to generate awareness and sustain hype for many months to come.
This strategy should be planned out well before launch and should include all the necessary steps for both pre and post-launch updates. Things like creating branded graphics, writing blog posts to build hype, and reaching out to relevant media outlets are just a few aspects of a successful launch strategy.
Performing adequate quality control is probably the single most difficult (yet important) step when it comes to preparing your product for launch. It’s difficult, time consuming, expensive, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Many app development studios have dedicated quality control experts whose sole responsibility is to test mobile apps across multiple platforms and devices in order to weed out as many bugs and issues as possible. Typically, this involves a mixture of both manual and automated testing. While it is essential to eliminate every bug they come across, it is important to recognize that a bug or two will inevitably slip through the cracks. It happens to the best of us, even major multi-billion dollar companies struggle to successfully eliminate every bug going into launch.
It is extremely important to leverage tools and services to monitor, catch, and fix bugs as you gear up for launch. Platforms like Crashlytics and Apteligent are valuable resources for tracking issues both before and after a successful launch. Additionally, services like Runscope are great if your app utilizes third-party APIs to run optimally. Even with numerous tools and services at your disposal for quality control, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of letting your whole team (and possibly even some users) give the app a test run and putting it through its paces pre-launch. Not only can this lead to the discovery of previously unknown bugs, but it may also reveal some user experience issues that were previously overlooked.
Following these steps may sound like a lot of work, and in reality it is a lot of work. But in the end, this is what it takes to ensure your app has as smooth a launch as possible. Putting in the work before releasing your product will go a long way towards generating traction and engaging users well beyond launch day.
January 20, 2023
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