How to successfully launch your new app in the app stores
In our latest guest post, Elena Wibmer, App Marketing Expert at App Radar, explains the importance of getting it right when launching in the app stores - and what new apps can do to ensure they benefit from the best launch possible.
The mobile app ecosystem is more competitive than ever. If you’re launching an app you’re about to be one of the 100,000 new apps landing in Google Play Store monthly, and you’ll be among approximately 30,000 new app developers in the Apple App store. Needless to say, it isn’t always easy to be noticed amongst the noise.
So let’s dive into what you can do to increase your chances of having a great app launch.
Create an overall marketing strategy
Before we get into the specifics of app stores, it’s important to know that marketing within app stores is only the first step in securing your app’s first downloads. It’s crucial to focus on the bigger picture of building awareness around your app and brand. This means using other marketing channels including websites, social media profiles, press and influencer marketing in addition to the app store optimization (ASO). You’ll want to build a combined strategy to create hype.
It’s vital that as well as your marketing strategy, the app itself is based on in-depth market and competitor research. This is easily done - well in advance of launching your app - with ASO tools that provide data about app downloads and keyword rankings for relevant competitor apps.
Reverse engineering your competitors' strategies, as well as those of other successful apps, will also help you learn what is/isn’t working. You can gather information and insights into their most important features and USPs, winning screenshot layouts, the best CTA text for screenshots, the most important keywords and user feedback. Good research sets the basis for a good app store launch.
Choose your app store wisely
The most known app stores are Google Play Store (Android) and the Apple App Store (iOS) as they are the two largest distribution channels for mobile apps. Together, they list millions of apps that get global coverage from over 100 countries.
It’s best practice to launch in both stores, not only to ensure you have access to the largest number of potential users as possible, but to make sure you don’t lose out on the impact of social media and word of mouth. This is simply because people using a phone with a different operating system won’t be able to access it and subsequently talk about it.
Advantages of Google Play Store and Apple App Store
The Google Play Store has an easy approval process, compared to the Apple App Store. It takes a few hours to go live after submitting your app to Google, as long as you’ve completed the process according to their guidelines. In the App Store, however, 40% of apps are rejected during their first submission. Apple tests and analyzes for any bugs, broken links, false screenshots, repeated submission of similar apps, placeholder content, etc.
Therefore, Google Play is more suitable for testing things like creatives. It allows the app to be more easily localized as you can filter creatives that are effective for a certain region and those that are not. Currently, the App Store doesn’t have a testing feature, but Apple has announced that it will be added in 2021.
However, Apple users tend to spend more on apps than Android users do. This means the Apple App Store has a higher probability of providing you with better user monetization.
Prepare your app store listing
Once you’ve decided to publish your app, you need to make sure that it will also be found and downloaded in the app stores. As mentioned above, your marketing strategy needs to focus on creating overall brand awareness.
Having a great landing page inside the app stores is as important as all your marketing efforts will be in directing your potential users to it. The way you describe your app and the creatives you use are the key to converting all those store views to actual downloads.
Your store listing will also directly impact your ranking in app store searches. Using keywords that match with the search terms that your target audience is actually using will help you show up at the top of the search results. For a successful app store launch, you need to determine the relevant search terms for your app as early as possible. This should be based on keyword research, competitor analysis, and the terms that are most relevant to what your app actually offers.
For your creatives in the app store listing, here are some quick tips:
- Create app creatives that actually show the functionality of your app
- Consider the differences between the App Store and Google Play Store - like autoplay of video, the number of screenshots allowed and overall different user behavior patterns
- Demonstrate the key message in the first screenshot
- Localize your graphics
- Consider using app store videos that show a real user experience.
Test your app store launch
We highly recommend testing your app’s usability and app store presence before making it available for download. Testing significantly increases the likelihood of a successful app launch. There are two main ways to do this:
- Invite-only beta launch: You can offer an invite-only beta version of your app to a select group of users in order to gather early feedback and fix bugs before opening up for everybody. It’s also a great way to reward a group of early adopters by giving them exclusive access and can be used to gather early reviews and ratings.
- Soft launch: A soft launch means releasing your mobile app in selected countries. The goal is to get insights on your app metrics and to test your marketing strategies, functionality, and app store presence before releasing globally. Does your app show up for keywords you want it to? Do the creatives look as eye-catching as planned?
Choosing an ASO tool for your app store launch
Working with app store marketing tools is a critical part of preparing for your launch, helping you to do market research and to find and track your keywords. Without doing proper competitor and keyword research inside the app stores, you're guessing at what's effective and potentially missing out on opportunities for a better start.
If you're new to app store marketing or want to learn more about it, check out App Radar’s Academy, which covers everything from what is ASO to measuring app store ad campaigns.