The 5 Important Things to remember when preparing for app launch
You've probably already read about all the things that you should do when you are preparing to launch your app or game on the market. Sometimes, however, in the midst of everything, it's easy to ignore some of the things that may prove to be really important for a successful launch.
We work with application developers most often right when they are about to release a new app or game. Preparing well for the launch and making the right decisions before it are the most crucial steps. It is often the case that at this stage the focus is still on the design and technology side, and only when it is too late, the team notices that the basics of marketing have not been done right.
We want to make sure that you do not end up in a situation like that, so here is a list of five important things you can not ignore if you really want your app to fly.
1. A/B TESTING OF THE APP STORE PAGE
Before launching the final version of the app, you need to make sure that your sales and marketing funnel is working as efficiently as possible. This means testing how well your key marketing interfaces – such as the app store page – are performing to convert viewers to installers of the app, and ensuring that you are getting these users at the lowest Cost Per Install (CPI).
It is very important that this analysis is based on thorough A/B testing, which should measure how many App Store page visitors will eventually install your app. The A/B test on the App Store page should first test different artworks for icons and screenshots, and compare different versions to focus on using the most effective images. Other elements that you should test are the application name and description text, but the visual elements come first because they are the most recognizable elements in the brand.
There are some very good tools for A/B testing. If you have an Android app or game, we recommend using a tool that is found on the Google Developer Dashboard and is called Experiments. If you only publish to iOS, you have some good third-party services to run similar tests. These include: Splitmetrics, Test Nest and Store Maven, just to name a few.
If you do not test your app store page and the image elements in it, you might just waste your time and money by directing people to a page that does not attract them to install the application.
2. LOCALIZATION FOR THE KEY COUNTRIES
Someone has probably already told you that localization is useless, as in most countries people understand English so well. As with A/B testing, failure to localize before launching to major countries can prevent you from growing fast enough.
Localization is useful for at least three reasons:
1. It gives you a bigger chance to emerge in the application store. Both Apple and Google stores have more than 150 countries and platforms support more than 40+ languages, so the app or game will have better chances of getting a global feature if it is localized to as many languages as possible. It is therefore highly recommended that you localize your game in multiple languages.
2. When making marketing campaigns (that means paid UA) for your app or game, one of the most important tracking metrics is a user acquisition cost (UAC). If your app or game store page is not localized, UAC is likely to be much higher than for a game whose app store page is made in the native language of the visitor.
3. Improved retention: From experience we know that if users can use your app/game in their native language, they will probably be more committed to it and use it for longer.
For example, Applingua and other similar services specialize in translating apps and games into different languages. Using an expert will help you get good localization. Don't be tempted to use the Google Translator, it is not the best tool for this purpose.
3. GETTING COVERAGE IN PRESS
We all know it. Media visibility is hard to get! But if you can get some app / game / tech journalists to write something about your app or game, it can generate a huge amount of downloads that you would otherwise need a fairly large marketing budget for.
The first challenge is to get reporters to notice your app or game, as hundreds of developers contact them daily. So how do you get them to see you?
First of all, you should think and write the story of the game. For journalists, a new game is a bit like a 'snack', quickly consumed and new one are coming all the time. And who would be interested in hearing about more ‘snacks’? So often the best way to maximize the impact of a visibility is to talk to someone who can build a bigger story from you via an interview.
If you want to get media coverage for launch, it may be very useful to use a PR agency that also includes all the relevant contacts and which can guide you through the "story building". The cost of this is not as big as you would think. Contact us for further information.
Media coverage and positive reviews are tickets to credibility, since many users will base their decision on recommendations from a third party. And without them, your application may be ignored. App Store user reviews also affect users' decision to install. And, of course, the only good way to get good reviews is to make a great game and give good customer service.
For example, Applingua and other similar services specialize in translating applications and games into different languages. Using an expert will help you get good localization. However, do not abandon the Google Translator, it is not the best tool for this purpose.
4. LTV, UAC AND VIRALITY - COLLECTING AND UNDERSTANDING DATA
You will want to collect enough data during the Soft Launch before you plan to publish globally. Only when your app or game is as near-perfect as possible, you are ready for a world conquest. If you do not have enough data, it will be difficult to understand what things work and what needs to be improved, and at what stage users are going to spend money, when and why they leave.
The most important information you should follow is Customer Life Time Value (LTV), UAC (User Acquisition Cost) and Organic Growth, but these three important metrics are often ignored or not fully understood.
For calculating LTV, tools are available for example on our partner Pollen VC's website. With these tools, you can use a few key KPIs to calculate the average user LTV for your app or game. We will tell you more about LTV later on our blog later, so stay tuned!
User Acquisition Cost (UAC) or Cost per Install CPI is a metric you usually get directly from the promotion channel if you have an SDK integrated with your app. If you promote your app through the most common channels (Facebook, Adwords, Chartboost, etc.), you can track your channel's performance from impressions to clicks and installs, and tell how much you pay for each user. Keep in mind that optimizing your ad campaigns and app store page can greatly reduce your cost!
Organic growth, meaning how many users find your app through recommendations, social media, press, email, or app store search, is an important indicator for paid user purchases. If every new user brings two new users organically, then the organic growth is 67%, which will lead directly to cheaper user acquisition costs. Given that advertising is always more expensive, it is critical to the success of the application that it can also efficiently get new users organically. It is also important to keep track of where organic traffic originates to optimize that source.
5. RESERVE ENOUGH MARKET BUDGET This is still one of the biggest stumbling blocks for developers. Usually, most of them can afford less than $ 5,000 for the entire marketing budget - and then you quickly realize that it does not go very far. We would recommend that developers allocate EUR 20-30k to the soft launch if they really want to join the competition. It has been calculated that the average purchase price of a loyal user that opens the application at least three times, is approximately $ 2.50. This is the so-called CPLU (cost per loyal user) index. Using CPLU index and the recommended marketing budget would mean that (in theory) you would be able to acquire a total of 8000 to 12 000 users. But because the user churn, you can actually keep only one part of them. We recommend that you try to get about 1 000-2 000 active users stay on your application for a sufficient time (at least 1-2 months) to get reliable data on user behavior and monetization. Of course, the acquisition of paid users is not the only factor when you seek success from app stores, which is why it’s important to not overlook the other elements outlined in this post. No one is an expert in all these areas, but do not forget that you can always ask for help from your peers, service providers (such as AppSampo), or from experts in various fora (eg Gaming Insiders).