You’ve strategized, developed, designed, iterated, tested and now it’s finally time to launch your shiny new app. But, as anyone who’s ever promoted an app can attest, it can be incredibly exciting, and also incredibly scary. After all your hard work, the last thing you want to do is blow your big launch.A successful app launch is one that translates buzz into real results, like installs and increased store ranking. However, failing to achieve critical mass quickly during a launch can be extremely detrimental to a new venture expecting returns on their investments.Luckily, app publishers have launched millions of apps and we can learn from their mistakes so you don’t have to repeat them! Make sure your app launch doesn’t fail by avoiding these 10 most common mistakes made by new app publishers:
1. Not Capitalizing on Pre-Launch Opportunities
App promotion starts when your app is live on the store, right? Wrong. This common misconception leads many app publishers to miss out on the opportunities available to them. Promoting your app before it’s available via a website or landing page can help you build a mailing list and generate buzz via social sharing. And while you’re at it, why not put out updates or teasers on your blog, social media or via email to engage your community and make them even more eager to download the app!
Generate buzz and collect names with an app landing page!Depending on your app, this may also be a good time to start reaching out to journalists, bloggers or social media influencers who can mention or review your app, helping you generate positive buzz and demand for your app before it launches.
2. Not Putting (Enough) Time or Money into App Store Optimization (ASO)
Another big misconception is that ASO is “set it and forget it” and doesn’t require a budget. However, continually optimizing keywords and using competitive insights to benchmark your results not only helps you calibrate your expectations but can also help you respond to changes in ranking in a timely, proactive manner. With organic traffic making up as much as half of your app store traffic why would you want to jeopardize not optimizing this channel?
3. Disregarding Your App Store Creative
Your app icon may give users a first impression of your app, but it’s your screenshots and preview video that will do the majority of the “selling” once a user taps through to your app page. These elements compel people to try your app and improve your store conversion rates, so take some extra time to A/B test them (now available on Google Play) or run them past a test group. Screenshots can set you apart from your competitors in search resultsAnd remember, your first two screenshots (or video and first screenshot, as above) show up in search results and play a major role in converting visitors, so make sure they are visually appealing!
4. Underestimating the Power of Reviews & Ratings
A common belief is that reviews and ratings will appear organically. As more people use your app, you’re bound to start getting reviewed. While you can sit and wait for reviews and ratings to roll in (and pray that they are all positive), the reality is that they’re both an important part in app store ranking algorithms and they give users social proof. Plus, on the App Store, you need to reach five user reviews before your average star rating will even be visible. So why leave getting reviews up to fate?
Poor ratings and reviews is no way to launch your new app!Get those all important first reviews by reaching out to your beta testers, advocates and customers via email. Later, implement a strategy to continue generating positive reviews by asking active app users to review your app (via push, in-app messaging or email) once they’re completed an important in-app action, like making a purchase or completing a level. You can even offer an incentive (discounts, credits, unlocked app features, etc.) to encourage these users to rate your app.
5. Not Budgeting for Paid Acquisition
You’ve just spent your budget on developing this app, so advertising will have to wait until you start to see some returns. Sound familiar? While organic traffic does account for a large chunk of traffic, paid acquisition can help you scale your acquisition efforts and help you reach your ROI goals quicker. Setting aside an advertising budget can get your app in front of a targeted audience and give you bursts of increased traffic (and downloads) that translate into better rankings.
Facebook app install ads are one way to reach an engaged mobile audience on any budget.To ensure you get the most out of your paid campaigns, choose a channel that will reach your target mobile audience, whether it’s via search, social or in-app. Then, once you have multiple campaigns set up, segment, A/B test and optimize for lifetime value (LTV) to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
6. Ignoring Your Web Presence
You’re focused on driving traffic and optimizing your app store page, so why do you possibly need to dedicate attention to your web presence too? While we’ve already mentioned the importance of a microsite or landing page before your launch, once your app is live you’ll want to include a CTA or smart redirect banner to move visitors to the app store. But don’t stop there - your app promotion strategy should also include other forms of content marketing.Increase your discoverability by blogging on your own site or contributing a guest post to a relevant blog, be active on forums (Quora, Product Hunt, etc) and share stories about your app to social media. Publishing and sharing content not only boosts your SEO, but these sources will continue to send engaged (qualified!) traffic to the app store over time.
7. Not bridging your offline marketing activities
Potential mobile users are everywhere - including offline. Integrating your traditional campaigns with mobile call to actions can make the transition to mobile easy for new users. Get more mobile conversions from your instore marketing, TV & radio spots, events, publicity stunts or billboard advertising, with a short URL or a QR code that points to your (mobile optimized!) landing page or directly to the app stores.
8. Thinking that PR is a Destination Instead of a Journey
So you want your app to be profiled by TechCrunch or VentureBeat? While it’s great to have goals, getting covered by a big media outlet is incredibly hard and, truth is, journalists aren’t interested in promoting your app just because it’s new. So how do you get their attention? Build a publicity campaign that creates momentum and will be hard to ignore.Start off with pitching to local news, niche publications or bloggers in your vertical. Also reach out to social media influencers (YouTube & Instagram), seek out speaking opportunities at industry events or submit your app for a local business award. Once you’ve gotten some favourable coverage, update your website and press kit, and send it out to the top publishers on your wish list when you have an interesting angle to pitch - like a celebrity spotted using your app or when your app is benefiting users during a national event, like the SuperBowl or Black Friday.
9. Not Taking Advantage of Discovery Platforms
Discovery platforms like PreApps, AppGratis and AppPicker can get your app in front of an engaged, targeted audience, at little to no cost. While these sites will feature, review and share your app to their users, competition can be just as intense so it’s equally important to get your app up on niche or specialized app discovery sites (like The iPhone Mom for kids’ iOS apps) to tap into specific target markets.
10. Building Virality as an After-Thought
Last but not least, virality is the secret sauce to growth hacking that many app publishers overlook until their app is already live. So what does it mean to build virality into your app? Simply put, it means including in-app strategies like referral campaigns, social sharing or user-generated content campaigns to get app users to spread the word about your app, resulting in FREE referral traffic back to your app store!
Plus, once you’re able to profile the type of user that will generate viral traffic for you, you can optimize your paid campaigns for maximum return!In conclusion, avoiding these common mistakes can make all the difference in your app launch, allowing you to focus on optimising your user acquisition efforts. If you want to learn more about creating a launch that brings ASO, paid and viral together to get you more downloads, grab our ebook on App Promotion!