How To Launch An App Successfully: The Complete Guide

Launching an app is by far one of the most exciting moments for app developers and app owners. The mobile app launch is like a long-awaited sigh of relief to culminate the commonly tedious mobile app development journey. If you manage to make it to that part, therefore, you’re one heck of an achiever. So congrats in advance!

But then again, you’ll have yourself a new set of problems. What lies beyond that point, sadly, will be substantially more challenging than app development, design, and testing combined.

The thing is, you’ll certainly need to attract app users on board. And that’s no mean feat, considering you’ll be competing against millions of other apps in the App Store.

As a matter of fact, it’s almost guaranteed that there will potentially be thousands of other mobile apps that will be launching on the same day as yours. On a good day, you could be hitting the store with about 1,500 other debutants. On a bad day, however, the number could rise to a whopping 4,000 or more.

In essence, the average number of apps published in the App Store on a daily basis typically ranges between 1,400 and 4,000.

Daily mobile app launch numbers
Daily mobile app launch numbers. Source: Statista

The numbers are even higher when you look at Android app releases on Google Play, where the average daily release is over 6,000.

Mobile app downloads per month
Mobile app downloads per month. Source: Statista

Now, if you thought it couldn’t get worse, then get this. The bulk of the smartphone users that you’ll be targeting probably have their hands full already. Fifty-one percent of the US-based market, for instance, usually goes for an entire month without downloading even a single mobile app. Then while 13% might get one app, only 5% download at least 8 apps.

smartphone users number of app downloads per month
The number of App Downloads Per Month by Smartphone Users. Source: Techcrunch

What does that mean – that there’s no market?

Well, on the contrary, the market is quite extensive. And so is your app’s potential. The principal problem is finding effective ways to sufficiently warm the prospects ahead of your mobile app launch.

Interestingly, if you ask mobile app developers, the biggest challenge they face isn’t development or design. Not at all. It’s mobile app marketing.

Now, as an expert marketer who has successfully promoted over 3,300 apps, I’ll let you in on a secret. Hacking the whole marketing thing before the D-day is possible. And it can be pretty straightforward if you follow tactics we’ve tested and proven repeatedly at PreApps.

A strategically comprehensive framework that combined prelaunch app marketing with the corresponding post-launch app promotion is primarily what catapulted Pokemon Go to the top in 2016.

At a time when the rate of daily app releases had peaked, Pokemon hit the ground running and even managed to break the App Store’s record figures for the number of first-week downloads. By the end of that week alone, it had generated $14 million in revenue – and the rest is history.

Surprised?

Well, here’s the complete guide to what it takes to achieve such success as soon as the app is launched.

1. Come Up With A Creative App Name

It all starts with the app name.

But what makes a good app name?

What you choose to title your app doesn’t only influence its overall attractiveness. It significantly determines how users discover it in the first place – since the App Store search algorithm prioritizes on the assimilated keywords.

So, put your investigative hat on and start some in-depth keyword research to find the most ideal ones to incorporate. About two or three solid ones should work, as opposed to spamming the title with all sorts of terms.

The best possible outcome is achieved by creatively combining the keywords to form a name that tells users what the app is all about, while at the same time, optimizing it accordingly for the search algorithm.

Come to think of it, that’s partly how we managed to push a social networking app to the top spot after its launch. By embedding the keywords “Social Group”, we named it “TagFi-Social Group”, and subsequently outranked the likes of Facebook.

2. Develop An Attractive App Icon

The title will only get your app discovered. After that comes another hard nut – creating a good first impression to pull in the prospects. Considering 50% of app installers make their judgments based on that alone, you cannot afford to compromise the app icon.

So what makes a good app icon?

A perfect one should be simple but unique and distinctively noticeable right off the bat. Take a look at Instagram’s icon, for instance. Its vibrant colors and well-designed outline pretty much make it stand out from the rest on the search result pages.

Instagram app icon
Instagram App Icon

To replicate that level of finesse, start by critically analyzing your competitors’ icons. The elements you choose for your icon design should be way more elegant and captivating.

However, ensure the final design doesn’t turn out to be a bit too overwhelming. Keep it simple and stylistic with a positive feel.

3. Create Compelling Screenshots

Now, let’s imagine that you’ve won a couple of hearts through your app’s icon. How will you compel them further?

Quite simply, capitalize on the one thing that takes up most of the preview page. And nothing comes even close to screenshots since they occupy about 65% of the display. In fact, most app store users don’t proceed past this point. In fact, only 13% of people bother to look past the first two screenshots and most people spend just seven seconds browsing an app’s description before deciding whether or not to download it.

This is why app screenshots are important.

This essentially leaves you with one principal option – telling it all with the screenshots. Each screenshot should simulate its own unique story in a persuasive, engaging, and compelling manner.

Put yourself in the shoes of your target user and think about their precise interests. What needs will they be seeking to fulfill with your app? Which features will they be primarily looking out for?

Use that info to pick out the most outstanding sides of your app that showcase the main functions and user flows. The consequent screenshots should comprehensively describe your app’s experience using enthralling graphics. And that typically requires numerous shots before you make up your mind.

Create App Screenshots
Create App Screenshots

When everything’s ready, enhance the final pieces accordingly, then arrange them systematically in a logical order. You can also complement them with relevant single line text descriptions that give users a general idea of what to expect.

4. Do Proper Keyword Research

All things considered, keyword research is the foundation of the entire App Store Optimization framework. What you select for your app, at the end of the day, determines its overall search result ranking. In other words, your keywords are capable of generating even thousands of potential downloads on a regular basis, or contrastingly, manage only 10 a day at best.

Unlike what most people assume, the selection process is not as simple as it sounds. It takes more than just guessing random terms that best describe your app.

The logical approach here is first understanding the natural search trends. Use analytical tools to find out exactly how users discover your competitors’ apps and their corresponding interests. By assessing the number of apps ranking on each popular search term, you’ll be able to identify various keyword opportunities you can maximize on.

And while you’re at it, don’t limit yourself to just one subcategory. It just so happens that the App Store can accommodate up to 100 keyword characters. Therefore, consider implementing a dynamic keyword structure that ranks your app favorably in multiple related search groups.

That said, remember to review your entire keyword setup from time to time. This helps you adjust them according to the progressive market changes.

5. Write A Compelling App Description

Although a small number of people will actually read your description, you still need to write some compelling copy. With the volume of App Store users reaching half a billion a week, even reaching 1 or 2% of users is still a considerably large crowd. You cannot afford to ignore it.

So, how do you rope them in with a compelling app description?

Well, in high-level app marketing, we have this special copywriting formula we’ve tested and proven. It’s called AIDA, and it involves four sequential approaches when it comes to drafting a convincing piece.

For starters, the app description should capture your readers’ Attention right from the beginning. Try to captivate them within the first 200 characters.

Then, keep them InterestedIn other words, describe the problem your app seeks to solve.

That should lay the groundwork for the third step, which entails making the reader’s Desire your app. Outline how they’ll benefit from the app without necessarily diving deep into features.

Finally, conclude the whole thing by encouraging readers to ActHit them with an impactful line like “Get this app now!” This alone is a powerful way to stop them in their tracks and directly push them to download the app.

6. Promote With Viral Videos

a) How Do I Make An App Go Viral?

Videos. That’s, by far, the most effective marketing channel when you want anything to go viral.

Videos are not only more likely to be shared on social media, but they also have double the engagement rates of images or text. Furthermore, 80% of viewers have downloaded an app after watching a branded video for it.

As you develop an app demo video for the App Store, consider creating additional, more interesting videos for promotion across social networks. If they’re extremely captivating, the potential reach is immense – even millions of viewers a week.

Now, this requires a special level of finesse; it’s not your regular video. You have to compose something that can generate shares from even the least active social media users, then subsequently, proceed to drive downloads as the viewership extends.

How do you achieve that?

In essence, you should prioritize three things. The videos should not only be exciting, but also educative and inspirational. They should combine different elements like background music, featured text, plus voiceovers to creatively engage viewers and inspire them to get the app immediately.

b) Make The App Famous With PR Campaign

The quickest way to stand out from the competition is to make your app a celebrity. And that can only come from a well-coordinated PR campaign.

You may have heard about Virgin’s interactive PR campaign that enabled Australian users to compete against each other to win $200K. The “Game of Phones” campaign combined gamification and real-life rewards. It encouraged people to use the app, mobile website, and physical stores to play the game – a strategy that paid off big time!

By the numbers, this PR campaign resulted in:

  • 40K active users
  • 14K+ users entering brick and mortar stores
  • 44% of users actively engaged with the game in Sidney

There are many ways different to promote an app with a PR campaign.

You could, for example, distribute a solid app press release to established media platforms that enjoy large audience bases. PreApps has used this strategy on several occasions to secure extensive media attention for a wide range of apps.

Consider Security Master, for instance. It increasingly gained fame after it was promoted and recognized on Entrepreneur, The Next Web, The Huffington Post, and so forth. It now boasts over half a billion downloads.

High-Level Press
High-Level Press

Partnering with an “influencer” is another way to generate lots of buzz about your app. For instance, the gaming app Best Fiends partnered with several Instagram influencer accounts to build awareness on social media.

Influencer Redrhinestone Shows The Mobile Game
Influencer Redrhinestone Shows The Mobile Game. Source: Instagram

But they didn’t stop there. They also asked gaming critics to review the app on their personal YouTube channels. They eventually generated so much buzz that big names like PewFiePie to mention the app on a video. That one video generated over 2.5 million views and 50,000 direct installs!

All in all, the best move here is running your campaign across numerous high-level media outlets at a go.

7. Localize/Make The App International

The good thing about the App Store’s global network is that it’s made up of many holistic territorial entities. Although it serves the world at large, it also happens to cater distinctively to more than 150 countries in 40 diverse languages.

Since each of the resultant App Store versions has its own unique vocabularies and searching trends, an app that’s performing well in one country could also be ranking poorly in another territory.

As a result, it’s prudent to localize your app store optimization for each target country.

8. Push For App Reviews

To help users discover the most efficient apps, Apple has incorporated app reviews into its App Store search algorithm. It assesses not only the number of reviews but also the corresponding ratings.

Therefore, you should consider enhancing your app store optimization further by increasingly rallying users to drop positive reviews. Well-timed push notifications are particularly handy when it comes to this.

Over time, you’ll notice that such app reviews are also great for convincing prospects, plus collecting genuine feedback about the app’s features.

9. Go Social

According to a survey from GoodFirms, the majority of people downloaded a new app because they heard about it through a friend or family member. However, nearly 42% were exposed to the app through an ad on social media and 34% saw it on a shared post on their feed.

How Do Users Get to Know About New Apps?
How Do Users Get to Know About New Apps? Source: GoodFirms

Now, the number of app downloads you can salvage from social media depends on your presence and posts. Maintaining active engagement with your target market would help you build a solid organic following before, during, and after the mobile app launch.

This requires you to optimize each post to ensure it goes live at the best possible time, with content that exceedingly stimulates shares.

App Secrets Book

Key Takeaways

  • The average number of apps published in the App Store on a daily basis typically ranges between 1,400 and 4,000. Google Play averages over 6,000 new apps a day.
  • The best possible app name is achieved by creatively combining the keywords to form a name that tells users what the app is all about, while at the same time, optimizing it accordingly for the search algorithm.
  • Over half of installers will decide to download your app based on the icon design alone. A perfect app icon should be simple but unique and distinctively noticeable right off the bat.
  • The majority of people will only look at the first two screenshots – only 13% will scroll to see more images.
  • Each screenshot should simulate its own unique story in a persuasive, engaging, and compelling manner.
  • By assessing the number of apps ranking on each popular search term, you’ll be able to identify various keyword opportunities you can maximize on.
  • AIDA involves four sequential approaches when it comes to drafting a convincing app description.
  • 80% of people who view a branded video will download the app.
  • Make the app famous by running your PR campaign across numerous high-level media outlets at a go.
  • 42% of consumers learn about new apps through social media ads – so be sure that you are running active accounts across multiple platforms.
  • It’s prudent to localize your app store optimization for each target country.
  • Consider enhancing your app store optimization further by increasingly rallying users to drop positive reviews.
  • Maintaining active engagement with your target market would help you build a solid organic following before, during, and after the mobile app launch.

Conclusion

Getting your new app off to a strong start can help to set it on an upward trajectory that will last far beyond your initial launch. But in order to generate buzz and get those initial downloads, your marketing campaign needs to be on point.

Launching an app is an exciting accomplishment – so don’t let your lack of marketing know-how stand in the way of your app’s success.

So, are you ready to take your mobile app to launch a notch or two higher?

Well, get in touch with us and we’ll tell you precisely how to launch an app successfully and how you can optimize all these tactics to the fullest.

Sean Casto
Posted By

Sean Casto

I am the founder and CEO of PreApps.com, the leading mobile marketing and discovery platform. I have been a guest speaker at industry conventions for Microsoft and Samsung and lectured at Universities such as Northeastern and Harvard. I have acquired a deep understanding of the struggles developers face and a passion to serve the growing mobile app community.

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