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I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you want my team to just do your marketing for you, click here.

The Minimum Standards For Evaluating App Marketing Services Agencies

Ok, I’ll be blunt about mobile app marketing services, and admit that what they say about the accompanying costs is partly true. That full-service mobile marketing companies ordinarily charge their clients tens of thousands of dollars for the app marketing solutions.

Table of Contents

  • Hiring A Mobile App Marketing Agency Vs. Doing It Yourself
    • #1. The Complex Process of Mobile App Development And Maintenance
    • #2. The Benefit Of Hiring A Mobile App Marketing Agency
  • When Should You Engage A Mobile App Marketing Agency?
    • #1. Pre-Launch App Marketing
    • #2. App User Acquisition Campaigns
    • #3. App User Retention Campaigns
  • The 5 Bare Minimum Mobile App Marketing Services That You Should Get From Your Marketing Agency
    • #1. Creation And Distribution Of App Press Releases
    • #2. App Review Submission
    • #3. App Demo Video Production
    • #4. App Store Optimization
    • #5. Viral App Marketing
  • Key Takeaways

Understandably, this fact alone continues to trigger a lot of controversy and debate, typically pitting mobile marketing companies against app owners and app publishers.

You build it, We share it with Millions - type 1 - orange

While the former blame it all on the technicalities that accompany app advertising, the latter group overwhelmingly insists that app user acquisition campaigns shouldn’t cost almost as much as mobile app development.

You see, according to recent industry reports, it turns out that while developing an advanced mobile app might cost you as much as $211,000, a simple app with basic user features requires as little as $24,830 – which is more or less within the fee range for premium mobile app marketing services.

Mobile App Development Costs by Regions
Mobile App Development Costs by Regions. Source. GoodFirms

Now, if you compare these figures, you might probably feel justified to ignore high-level mobile marketing companies – and, instead, choose to handle your app marketing campaigns in-house.

Besides, what’s so difficult about the app user acquisition campaigns? Why spend thousands of dollars on a premium mobile app marketing agency, yet there are many alternative options at a fraction of the cost?

Ok, fair enough. But then again…

Wouldn’t it be unwise to make such a high-stakes decision based on assumptions? I mean, instead of obsessing about the costs of the mobile app marketing services, shouldn’t you compare the campaign options based on their respective overall value and ROI?

Put simply, this is where you ought to ask yourself what you really stand to gain from the mobile app marketing agencies.

What types of mobile app marketing services should you expect to get, at the very least, from a full-service mobile marketing company? How will they impact the success and performance of your mobile app?

Well, it’s because of these concerns that I’ve decided to compile a guide that reveals the truth, and nothing but the truth, about what you truly stand to gain from your mobile app marketing agency. And while you follow along, please keep in mind that the mentioned mobile app marketing services happen to be the bare minimum that you should evaluate agencies on.

First things first, though. How does a mobile app marketing agency fit into the whole app development cycle? Why would you even consider hiring a marketing company, instead of handling everything in-house?

Hiring A Mobile App Marketing Agency Vs. Doing It Yourself\

Hiring A Mobile App Marketing Agency vs DIY
Hiring A Mobile App Marketing Agency vs DIY. Source: Pixabay

To understand the role of a mobile app marketing agency, allow me to take you back to where the journey actually begins.

You see, for most app owners who are just starting out, mobile app marketing is probably not even their biggest concern. They tend to be more focused on mobile app development – a trend that is completely understandable.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not saying that they disregard mobile app marketing.

On the contrary, app owners overwhelmingly appreciate the role of mobile app marketing. By the time they embark on their mobile app projects, they’re usually aware that even the best-developed mobile apps ultimately need effective marketing campaigns to overcome the increasingly stiff market competition.

However, one of the most popular beliefs at this point is that it’s possible to juggle between mobile app development and app advertising.

Some app owners imagine that app development is just a static one-time process that they can somehow get done and then embark on app install campaigns by the time the app is launched on the App Store or Google Play Store.

Well, that might sound like a sensible plan for some time – until it eventually becomes apparent that neither app development nor app marketing is as simple as it seems.

The Complex Process of Mobile App Development And Maintenance

The whole process of building a mobile app, for instance, requires more time and dedication than, say, making a car.

Yes, that’s right. Believe it or not – by the time your team manages to develop and publish a standard mobile app, a basic vehicle manufacturer would have produced about 168 units.

You see, on average, it takes about 10 weeks to build the back-end, while the corresponding front-end requires about 8 weeks of development. In the end, therefore, your mobile app development team would need a total of four and a half months.

Time Requires to Build An App
App Development Period. Source: LifeHacker
Total Hours Requires to Build An App
Mobile App Development Hours. Source: LifeHacker

Part of the reason why it takes so long is, mobile app development is an extensively dynamic multi-stage process. In addition to designing and building the back-end and front-end interfaces, you still have to come up with prototypes, distribute them to beta testers, and then review the subsequent user feedback.

Another important point to note here is that the mobile app development process doesn’t really end with an app launch. Rather, once you get published on the App Store or Google Play Store, app development immediately shifts to technical app support and maintenance.

Well, of course, you could choose to wear multiple hats by juggling between all that and managing your mobile app marketing strategy. But then again, let’s be honest about it – chances are, your entire schedule will be so stretched out thin that neither app maintenance nor app marketing will get the attention it deserves.

Now, that’s precisely where mobile app marketing agencies come in.

Discover Why Top Apps Choose PreApps - Type 2 - blue

The Benefit Of Hiring A Mobile App Marketing Agency

While you worry about reviewing all the possible app bugs and maybe aligning the features with each platform update, you need someone else to take charge of marketing

Well, that’s the basic principle behind hiring mobile app marketing companies. You essentially bring in the big guns to drive your app downloads with their specialized app marketing solutions and expertise – while you, on the other hand, get busy with business management, mobile app development, and technical maintenance.

But then again, make no mistake about the whole approach. Successful apps don’t really wait until app launch to engage a mobile app marketing agency.

When Should You Engage A Mobile App Marketing Agency?

As it turns out, the close relationship between mobile app marketing and mobile app development processes doesn’t begin after launching the app. Rather, they ought to run parallel to each other from the moment your app prototypes start taking shape.

In other words, I’m advising you to seriously consider engaging your mobile marketing agency early during the app development process. At least then you’ll be able to capitalize on the full-stack of mobile app marketing solutions, which comprises the following subsets of strategies:

  • Pre-Launch App Marketing
  • App User Acquisition Campaigns
  • App User Retention Campaigns

#1. Pre-Launch App Marketing

Just as the prefix suggests, pre-launch app marketing comes into play way before the app is even published on the App Store. This campaign fundamentally seeks to not only prepare the app for the market but also get the market warmed up for the app ahead of its launch.

Your marketing company will, for instance, start by conducting extensive market research to identify potential opportunities that the app could capitalize on for success. They’ll even leverage various App Store Optimization tools to generate intel that you could eventually use to outrank your competitors.

Another important step in pre-launch app marketing is beta testing. This is where an early version of your mobile app is distributed across prospective users – who then proceed to test it out, before eventually providing valuable feedback on possible bugs, app performance levels, etc.

When the app launch date finally approaches, your app marketing agency will further try generating buzz through popular media publications, app review platforms, and social media influencers.

#2. App User Acquisition Campaigns

While pre-launch app marketing is all about perfecting the product and generating early buzz, app user acquisition focuses on driving app downloads and installs. You can think of it as a post-launch campaign that gets your app discovered and downloaded by its target users.

Now, to achieve that, your mobile app marketing service should try to boost visibility across all the relevant app discovery channels. This is where App Store Optimization really comes in handy, as it significantly influences both organic and paid App Store search ranking.

Other than that, the marketing company might use SEO, web landing pages, social media app advertising, etc.

As for the subsequent user acquisition costs, these strategies have, so far, attained a global CPI (Cost Per Install) average of $1.75. Google Play Store apps are particularly lucky, as they average at about $1.22 per app install – while iOS apps, on the other hand, cost their marketers $3.6 per app install.

Average User Acquisition Costs Worldwide
Average User Acquisition Costs Worldwide. Source: Statista

#3. App User Retention Campaigns

Convincing prospects to download and install your app is only the first step in a typical mobile app life cycle. As such, you cannot really base the success of your mobile app based on just its download numbers. You should, instead, pay more attention to the actions that users take after app installation – such as registration, in-app purchase, service subscription, etc.

Now, to drive these actions, your mobile app marketing agency ought to engage what we call app user retention campaigns. While user acquisition strategies continue to bring in fresh installers, user retention campaigns establish connections with the app users and then get them to commit for the long haul.

PreApps, for example, has been taking advantage of push notifications to communicate with existing app users, in a bid to tactfully convince them to take action. Google UAC has also proven to be quite effective in retargeting app users with personalized campaign messages, which are usually spread out across Google’s digital ad channels.

Without such engagement strategies, you risk losing the bulk of your users just weeks after they’ve installed the app.

By day 30, for example, it turns out that mobile apps manage to retain only 2.3% to 13.4% of their initially acquired users. Each industry category has its unique average figure – with comics, shopping, news, and gaming apps emerging as the best performers, while apps for productivity plus food and drinks tend to lose the largest volume of app users.

Mobile App User Retention Rate Worldwide 2020 Across Categories
Mobile App User Retention Rate Worldwide 2020 Across Categories. Source: Statista

The 5 Bare Minimum Mobile App Marketing Services That You Should Get From Your Marketing Agency

Now that we’ve established why and when you should hire a mobile app marketing agency, here’s a breakdown of the types of marketing solutions that you ought to receive in return.

You can go ahead and refer to this list whenever you’re evaluating the standard of services across different marketing companies. It sums up the five app marketing solutions that you should prioritize if you intend to get real value for your money.

#1. Creation And Distribution Of App Press Releases

Mobile App Press Release
Mobile App Press Release. Source: Pixabay

Whichever category or industry you fit into, the outcome of your mobile app marketing campaigns substantially depends on your organic audience reach before and after launching the app.

While the App Store itself boasts over half a billion visitors every week, you can’t really count on it for your pre-launch app marketing.

And even if you published the app, your App Store Optimization tweaks wouldn’t quite help you out right away. You’d have to gradually build a rapport for months before working your way to challenging over 2.2 million other apps that preceded yours.

Social media and content marketing aren’t easy hacks either. They both require a lot of time and dedication to build a solid organic following.

In the meantime, however, one particularly clever alternative that your mobile app marketing agency ought to consider is capitalizing on already popular platforms.

Well, media publications are gold mines when it comes to that. And an app press release is the best way to start reaching out to their extensive readership bases.

The problem is, however, it would take ages to get noticed by a renowned editor or journalist in your space. Considering that over 15% of journalists receive 250 to 499 emails per day, it’s quite possible that you’re not the only applicant.

You can bet that there are hundreds of other determined business owners trying to reach out to the same target editors and media publications. If that’s the case, can you think of any specific reason that would convince the publications to pay special attention to an unknown mobile app?

Well, luckily for you, that shouldn’t be a problem if you choose to work with a well-established mobile app marketing agency. Chances are, they’ll have already built a strong network of connections with leading media platforms.

That alone makes it possible for even a little-known app to get featured on popular publications.

You might, in particular, want to maximize these press releases during prelaunch app marketing – as a means of establishing a solid reputation for your upcoming app. Then as a post-launch strategy, you’ll still be able to notify people about new developments like updates and app versions.

#2. App Review Submission

App Review Submission
App Review Submission. Source: Pixabay

As we’ve established, a well-composed app press release is capable of driving quite a lot of attention towards your application.

And that’s not all – the resultant fame might additionally get you a decent volume of app downloads during app launch.

But then get this – while hitting the ground running with many app downloads can be pretty exhilarating, your mobile marketing company ought to advise you that the app installs don’t really translate to success.

You see, on average, mobile apps tend to lose more than 80% of their initial users after installation. This occurs progressively over a number of days, although the bulk of the losses come within the first three days.

Average Mobile App Users Loss Rate for Android App
Average App Users Loss Rate for Android App. Source: Andrewchen

And why is that?

Well, the thing is, mobile app users tend to drop out because of two primary reasons – technical bugs, and poor user experience.

Admittedly, both might seem like issues that you can personally flag up during the app testing stage. A good mobile app marketing agency, however, will advise you not to rely entirely on your personal opinion.

Regardless of how good or obsessive you are as a mobile developer, it’s impossible to fully diagnose your app from just your point of view. I mean, there’s a reason why doctors don’t treat themselves in the first place.

Having your family and friends test out the mobile app is totally acceptable. But, keep in mind that they may not have the capacity to fully review it, or represent the opinions of the larger market.

As such, you ought to use your mobile app marketing company to reach out to as many prospects as possible. All it takes is for the marketing agency to identify the appropriate mobile app review platforms from its wide app distribution network, and then submit the app for user testing and reviews.

It doesn’t stop there, though. A good marketing agency can even get your app reviewed by celebrities, thanks to its strategic industry relationships and market positioning. Then to top it off, popular app review platforms will highlight your app’s best features in their review publications.

So, in the end, you can count on the mobile app reviews to generate not just valuable user feedback, but also market buzz. Just enough to attract the right attention ahead of the app launch.

#3. App Demo Video Production

If an image is worth a thousand words, imagine how effective a video would be in convincing your prospects to just get on with the app.

It’s no secret that our preferences on content have been gradually changing. Previously, text alone seemed good enough. Then as data speeds and gadget hardware improved, people began shifting to images and videos.

Ultimately, even Google and Apple took the cue and then introduced app demo videos on their platforms, as a way to give users a realistic feel of the mobile apps from the App Store pages.

This move alone has proved to be quite the turning point for published mobile apps. So impactful have the videos been, in fact, that they’ve even surpassed the accompanying text descriptions.

Yes, that’s right – app descriptions are no longer an important part of the App Store user experience.

While users now spend an average of just 7 seconds on the App Store pages,  at least 70% of them scroll straight down to the screenshots, 13% skip through the screenshots, and only 3% are patient and curious enough to actually enlarge the images. App demo videos, on the other hand, attract about 1% of the visitors.

Share of App Demo Video Viewers
The Share of App Demo Video Viewers. Source: ASOstack

Ok, I know that 1% might not seem like much, but try to imagine the sheer number of visitors that a well-ranking app receives in a day. You’d obviously need a bunch of next-level strategies to engage and convert all those prospects in just a few seconds they spend on the page.

Now, that’s where the mobile app demo videos come in. As it turns out, it’s far easier to engage and convince a prospect through a video than text or screenshots. That’s why your best shot at conversion is actually the 1% views that go-to mobile app videos.

Here’s the caveat, though. These conversions are only possible with an exemplary app demo video. So, you might want to work with a mobile marketing agency that knows just how to maintain a perfect balance between information and engagement.

Sounds simple for an app demo video, but quite the challenge when it comes to shooting one without breaching Apple’s strict guidelines – such as the 30 seconds limit on the video running time

Thankfully, this is where the finesse of mobile app marketing experts comes in handy. The mobile app marketing services they provide are meant to create an exemplary video that targets just the right audience with proven selling points.

Additionally, they should be willing to distribute your videos to third-party platforms as a means of expanding your audience reach.

#4. App Store Optimization

According to research conducted by Tune, App Store search is the single most popular method of discovering mobile apps. 47% of iPhone users in the U.S. claim to have discovered their newly installed apps after searching on the App Store.

Discovering New Apps
Discovering New Apps. Source: Tune – Mobiledevhq.com/resources/whitepaper_how_users_find_apps.pdf

That alone qualifies App Store Optimization as the mother of all app marketing strategies.

But, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you won’t need other mobile app marketing strategies. While an omnichannel app marketing campaign is the way to go, an app that has prioritized ASO over everything else has much greater chances of success than one that, say, chooses to rely on just social media marketing.

That said, App Store Optimization is all about aligning your app page elements with the App Store search algorithm, in a bid to improve your app’s ranking within the search results. So if done well by your mobile app marketing agency, you could outperform even well-established competitor apps.

On the flip side, however, it goes without saying that although App Store Optimization is pretty effective, it can also be quite complicated. You’ll notice, for instance, that both the iOS App Store and Google Play Store require you to tweak not only your keywords, but also the app screenshots, app title, and app demo videos.

Well, of course, you could use our free PreApps App Report tool to track, audit, and improve your App Store Optimization parameters. But, even then, you’ll still need to work closely with ASO experts.

At least they’ll have the right amount of finesse and experience to act on the analytics accordingly.

#5. Viral App Marketing

Viral App Marketing
Viral App Marketing. Source: Pixabay

Previously, the concept of “overnight success” was only used as a figurative idiom. Then came social media, and everything changed.

We’ve all seen individuals and products blowing up and making huge fortunes in a relatively short period of time – all thanks to the popularity that comes with going viral.

Viral mobile app marketing follows pretty much the same concept. This is where you hire a marketing company that knows just how to control digital trends using social media engineering. If done strategically, you could see the popularity of your app spreading like a wild bush fire.

That’s how Tinder, in fact, managed to rise to the top of the dating app scene in just a short period of time. It launched into a market that already had many dating platforms but then proceeded to grow from a $47 million per year company to one that now rakes in over 1.4 billion annually. All this mobile app growth was realized in just 5 years.

Now that sums up the best part about viral app marketing. The hardest task, however, is figuring out how to do it, and subsequently, finding just the right amount of traction to maintain accelerated growth over the long haul.

Paid inorganic marketing may give you some exposure all right, but it’s ineffective when it comes to the context of viral marketing.

You need a mobile app marketing company that will spark organic conversations around app-related topics, and then proceed to build on the subsequent engagement for increased app success.

100000 New App Downloads - type 3 - mobile

Key Takeaways

To sum it all up, here are the most notable points we’ve covered:

  • While developing an advanced mobile app might cost you as much as $211,000, a simple app with basic user features requires as little as $24,830 – which is more or less within the fee range for premium mobile app marketing services.
  • One of the most popular beliefs among app owners is that it’s possible to juggle between mobile app development and app advertising.
  • By the time your team manages to develop and publish a standard mobile app, a basic vehicle manufacturer would have produced about 168 units.
  • On average, it takes about 10 weeks to build the back-end, while the corresponding front-end requires about 8 weeks of development.
  • The mobile app development process doesn’t really end with an app launch. Rather, once you get published on the App Store or Google Play Store, app development immediately shifts to technical app support and maintenance.
  • Your Mobile app marketing company is meant to drive your app downloads with its specialized app marketing solutions and expertise – while you, on the other hand, get busy with business management, mobile app development, and technical maintenance.
  • The close relationship between mobile app marketing and mobile app development processes doesn’t begin after launching the app. Rather, they ought to run parallel to each other from the moment your app prototypes start taking shape.
  • The full-stack of mobile app marketing solutions comprises the following subsets of strategies: Pre-Launch App Marketing; App User Acquisition Campaigns; and App User Retention Campaigns.
  • Prelaunch app marketing fundamentally seeks to not only prepare the app for the market but also get the market warmed up for the app ahead of its launch.
  • While pre-launch app marketing is all about perfecting the product and generating early buzz, app user acquisition focuses on driving app downloads and installs.
  • The average user acquisition costs across the globe – in terms of CPI – are $1.75. Google Play Store apps average at about $1.22 per app install – while iOS apps, on the other hand, cost their marketers $3.6 per app install.
  • You cannot really base the success of your mobile app based on just its download numbers. You should, instead, pay more attention to the actions that users take after app installation.
  • While user acquisition strategies continue to bring in fresh installers, user retention campaigns establish connections with the app users and then get them to commit for the long haul.
  • By day 30,  it turns out that mobile apps manage to retain only 2.3% to 13.4% of their initially acquired users.
  • The App Store itself boasts over half a billion visitors every week.
  • It would take ages to get noticed by a renowned editor or journalist in your space, as over 15% of journalists receive 250 to 499 emails per day.
  • You might want to maximize app press releases during prelaunch app marketing – as a means of establishing a solid reputation for your upcoming app. Then as a post-launch strategy, you’ll be able to notify people about new developments like updates and app versions.
  • On average, mobile apps tend to lose more than 80% of their initial users after installation. This occurs progressively over a number of days, although the bulk of the losses come within the first three days.
  • Regardless of how good or obsessive you are like a mobile developer, it’s impossible to fully diagnose your app from just your point of view.
  • A good marketing agency can even get your app reviewed by celebrities, thanks to its strategic industry relationships and market positioning.
  • While users now spend an average of just 7 seconds on the App Store pages,  at least 70% of them scroll straight down to the screenshots, 13% skip through the screenshots, and only 3% are patient and curious enough to actually enlarge the images.
  • App demo videos attract about 1% of the visitors.
  • It’s far easier to engage and convince a prospect through a video than text or screenshots. That’s why your best shot at conversion is actually the 1% views that go-to mobile app videos.
  • App Store search is the single most popular method of discovering mobile apps. 47% of iPhone users in the U.S. claim to have discovered their newly installed apps after searching on the App Store.
  • Viral app marketing entails hiring a marketing company that knows just how to control digital trends using social media engineering

Over To You

Overall, these minimum standards prove that mobile app marketing goes much deeper than just running paid ads on social media, or maybe pasting keywords to your App Store page.

As such, it’s understandable why strategic Android and iOS apps are increasingly turning to specialized mobile app marketing companies. This move alone saves them a lot of trial and error, as all the dynamic omnichannel campaigns are left to the real experts.

PreApps itself has been in the business for over a decade now, within which our well-tailored app marketing campaigns have amassed over half a billion mobile app downloads. And while at it, we’ve, of course, used every opportunity to confirm the efficacy of various strategies against the ever-changing market dynamics.

So, you can rest assured that your mobile app marketing plan will be developed and rolled out with precision. More than 3,300 mobile applications have, in fact, been where you are today – before, ultimately, our agency expertise managed to convert every single one of them into a success story.

We can do the same for you. Just let us know you are precise, and our extensively experienced mobile app marketing team will proceed to make you the next success story.

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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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sean
I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you want my team to just do your marketing for you, click here.

The Mobile App Beta Testing Cheat Sheet For 2022

Featured Image: Mobile App Beta Testing. Source: Pixabay

Table of Contents

Whether you’re a mobile app developer or marketer, mobile app beta testing is one of those extremely critical steps that you cannot afford to leave out of your prelaunch app development cycle.

So exceedingly important has it become, in fact, that even the leading mobile app platforms have now developed dedicated tools for app beta testing.

App developers, for instance, get to use what is known as the TestFlight App to conduct user testing on the beta version of their iOS apps, while the Google Playstore offers a beta testing service that allows you to distribute unreleased Android apps to real users.

Make no mistake about it, though. A successful mobile app beta testing campaign is not a matter of simply publishing your beta app and then waiting for beta testers to try it out. Rather, there’s a specific formula that you ought to follow from the beginning to the end of the entire app beta testing process.

This Mobile App Beta Testing Cheat Sheet breaks it all down into ten basic steps. We invite you to follow along and discover:

  • What comes before mobile app beta testing.
  • How to adequately prep for mobile app beta testing.
  • How to manage app beta testing on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.
  • The best beta testing tools for Android apps and iOs apps.
  • The right app distribution platforms for connecting with external testers.
  • How to target the right beta users.
  • How to collect and generate insights from the resultant user feedback.
  • Where to publish your beta build.
  • The difference between mobile app beta testing and alpha testing.
  • How to engage beta testers during user testing.

Before we jump into all that, however, let’s start with the basics. What is mobile app beta testing all about? And why is it important to app developers, app marketers, and app users?

What Is Mobile App Beta Testing?

Mobile App Beta Testing. Source: Pixabay

In essence, mobile appbeta testingcomes after alpha testing.

This is the stage where you publish an early version of your mobile application on external app distribution platforms for the sake of user testing. Beta testers are supposed to try out the app on their mobile devices and then provide feedback on the app’s operability plus usability.

The keyword here is “external user testing” – that’s the one thing that discerns mobile app beta testing from alpha testing.

You see, while the former seeks to reach out to external testers through public app distribution platforms, the latter is conducted internally by testers who are part of your organization. Alpha testing typically comes first – as a means of identifying potential bugs – and then beta testing follows when the app is ready to be tried out by real users in a real environment.

That said, it’s worth noting that there are some dynamic user testing tools that are capable of facilitating both types of testing. Apple’s TestFlight app happens to be one of the most notable examples, as it can be set to perform internal testing and external testing. The choice is all yours.

And while you’re at it, you’ll notice that TestFlight additionally allows app developers to run alpha testing and beta testing on more than 100 mobile apps at once.

The Google app platform hasn’t been left behind either – on the Google Play Console, Android app developers get to access more or less the same testing functionalities as the TestFlight app. That means you’ll be able to switch from alpha testing to beta testing tools through your mobile app development process.

Types Of Mobile App Beta Testing

While there are many approaches to mobile app beta testing, they all fall into either of these two categories based on the user permissions applied:

  • Closed Beta Testing: Although it’s conducted externally, Closed Beta Testing restricts the number of testers who can participate. This is where you invite only a limited number of prospective users to download and try out your mobile app.
  • Open Beta Testing: Open Beta Testing is the direct opposite of Closed Beta Testing. The beta builds here are meant to be accessed by the general public, as there are no restrictions on the number of users who can participate.

Why Conduct Mobile App Beta Testing?

There are many reasons why you might want to perform mobile app beta testing.

Mobile app developers, for starters, use it to identify potential bugs, errors, and issues that they might have missed during development. By beta testing mobile apps, you’ll be giving your prospective app users the chance to not only review the functional and visual designs, but also provide critical user feedback that could be used to improve the overall user experience.

This is particularly important in today’s high churn rate environment. Both iOS and Android apps, as it turns out, continue to lose users at a much faster rate than they’re gaining them.

Their average three-month user retention rate stands at 29%, which translates to an app churn rate of 71% within 90 days. They lose 57% of their users within the first month of app installation, which then increases to 67% in the second month, followed by 71% by the end of the third month.

Average Mobile App User Retention and Churn Rates. Source: Statista

But what does this have to do with mobile app beta testing?

Well, it just so happens that the principal driver of churn in mobile apps is poor user experience.

A recent survey of over 2,000 mobile users in the US revealed that while 39.9% of uninstallations occur because the app is no longer in use, the rest are largely driven by usability issues.

For instance, 28% of mobile users uninstall apps because of too many notifications and ads, 20% proceed due to a storage overload, and 11% are triggered by technical issues or confusing app features. This includes issues such as app crashes, timeouts, slow load times, etc.

The role of mobile app beta testing is to flag up such usability problems before the launch date. Although alpha testing identifies some of the issues, it’s beta testing that provides real insights into what users actually feel about the app.

You can think of it as a means to sample views straight from the horse’s mouth. This user feedback ultimately goes a long way towards improving your mobile app’s features and its overall usability – for the sake of boosting the corresponding app retention numbers.

Another group of stakeholders that increasingly leverages mobile app beta testing is marketers. You see, mobile app marketers see the whole operation as means of reaching out to prospective users – and then getting them warmed up ahead of the actual app launch.

Instagram is one of the prime examples of mobile apps that successfully leveraged beta tests for prelaunch popularity. By distributing the app’s beta versions to testers and app reviewers, Instagram’s developers managed to get people talking before its launch date.

This buzz won Instagram more than 25,000 users on the first day it was published on the App Store, who then grew to 100,000 by the end of that week. The rest, as they say, is history.

Closer home, I’m not one to brag but I can tell you that PreApps too has achieved quite a number of app promotion successes through strategic mobile app beta testing.

This is one of the few mobile app marketing agencies that, over the years, have pieced together omnichannel prelaunch app marketing campaigns that strategically capitalize on beta testing, along with mobile app reviews, app press releases, influencer marketing, plus app promo videos.

And with that, let’s now look into the ultimate formula for mobile app beta testing…

10 Steps For Beta Testing Your Mobile App In 2022

#1. Define The Ideal Type of Beta Testers

Identify App Beta Testers. Source: Pixabay

You can’t distribute your mobile app’s beta version to just anyone – it has to be a specific group of external testers, whose profile depends on not only your principal objectives but also the testers’ background and experience.

In essence, there are two primary types of tester you could target in your mobile app beta testing:

  • Marketing beta testers
  • Technical beta testers.

The best marketing beta testers we’ve used in the past are social influencers with a huge following. They test out mobile apps before the App Store launch date, and then spread the news to their audiences in the form of app reviews.

If you’re building a gaming mobile app, for instance, you might want to work with gaming gurus across different platforms. You could have them try out your beta version, from which they would be able to identify the positive highlights for driving social media buzz.

Technical beta testers, on the other hand, would be the ideal option when you’re seeking solid user critiques of your app’s functionalities and design.

Some app distribution platforms even have dedicated testers who possess the technical skills for evaluating apps in detail. Their technical feedback is often handy in identifying potential weak points ahead of the app launch.

And with that said, keep in mind that you could settle for one of the types – or better yet, go for both.

#2. Develop A Target Persona For Your Mobile App Beta Testing

Target Beta Testing Persona. Source: Pixabay

Don’t limit yourself to the standard mobile user persona. Since your mobile app has a specific use case, you ought to dive deep into its technical objectives, and then use them to define the optimalbeta testerpersona.

Ask yourself:

  • What kind of mobile users do you hope to attract?
  • What problems does your mobile app seek to solve?
  • What app solutions is the user persona looking for to sort out their problems?
  • What type of user persona is likely to use your mobile app on a regular basis?
  • Which specific app features would the user persona consider to be most critical?

The answers essentially give you the gist of the type of target persona you should consider for your app beta testers. The information you come up with should be assessed – along with your app beta testing objectives to, ultimately, define the most suitable beta testing persona.

This helps to spell out the specific demographic of mobile app beta testers that you should focus on.

#3. Establish The Ideal Number Of Mobile App Beta Testers

Number of Mobile App Beta Testers. Source: Pixabay

Once you’ve identified the suitable group of mobile app beta testers and their corresponding persona, you need to determine the precise numbers that would fit your app beta testing process. This should be based on your needs, the capabilities of your beta testing tools, plus the budget for the whole exercise.

Now, it’s worth noting that not all your beta testers will eventually provide constructive app feedback. Although you’d hope to convince everyone to commit themselves fully, let’s face it – there’s always that fraction of app testers who won’t bother getting back to you. And even if they do, they’ll only leave very brief remarks that might not be helpful at all.

You could start off with a small crowd of, say, 30-60 mobile app beta testers. Then with time, you might want to extend your reach to collect more exhaustive user feedback. This is where you graduate to app distribution platforms that enjoy a bigger audience.

Don’t get me wrong, though. While a larger number is advisable, going overboard would only complicate things for you. Engaging thousands of beta testers and analyzing their feedback may turn out to be one heck of a difficult job.

Going by our past beta testing processes, I’d say a perfect balance would be anything between 100 and 300 testers. That’s a reasonable number of testers to engage actively and generate a considerable amount of valuable feedback, without eating into your app resources.

#4. Define Your Beta Testing Timeframe

Mobile App Beta Testing Timeframe. Source: Pixabay

While the mobile app beta testing process should be thorough enough to exhaustively generate insights, the whole exercise ought to be kept brief to minimize the number of resources consumed. What’s more, it should leave you with sufficient time to focus on the subsequent app development processes.

But, don’t make the all-too-common error of mistaking a short timeframe for a brief one. Although it might save you some time and money, running a very short mobile app beta testing process would force you to rush through all the important stuff.

You should, instead, set a timeframe that sufficiently caters for not only app distribution, but also the subsequent user testing process. Mobile app beta testers ought to be given the space and time to evaluate the features accordingly, after which you could proceed to collect and analyze the resultant feedback.

According to industry statistics, most mobile apps take between four and six months to build and launch – with about eight to sixteen weeks being taken up by alpha and beta testing.

Expect your beta testing to run for more or less the same amount of time – but keep in mind that the total timeframe is dependent on many factors, including your app’s complexity.

Average Mobile Mobile App Development Time. Source: AppInventiv

To establish the sweet spot for the testing timeframe, consider factors such as your app beta testing goals, your resources, the testers’ time variables, plus of course, the number of testing phases.

#5. Find Your Mobile App Beta Testers

Mobile app beta testers might seem like an exclusive group of people that take a lot of time and effort to find.

But, you know what? It just so happens that they are readily available on multiple app distribution platforms andapp reviewsites across the web.

Therefore, if you search through reputable app beta testing sites, you’re bound to find numerous options that fit your precise goals and target tester persona.

And while you’re at it, you might also want to scan through social media networks – particularly if you’re interested in finding marketing beta testers.

#6. Distribute The Mobile App To The Right Beta Testers

Distribution of Beta App. Source: Pixabay

Once you’ve identified the appropriate target mobile app testers and the right app testing tools, you need to find a way to get the beta version to the users for testing.

This is where, in other words, you start looking into app beta testing tools that support your app distribution and tracking plan.

Now, of course, this might sound challenging to the non-technically skilled app owners. But, thankfully, both Apple and Google provide very basic tools for managing the whole process on their platforms.

On the App Store, for example, iOS app developers use the TestFlight app to send out invitations to both internal and external testers. You could reach out via email, or maybe share the invitations as public links – the choice is all yours.

This is another area where PreApps truly shines in prelaunch mobile app marketing. The networks that we’ve built over the years give us the benefit of distributing mobile app beta versions to a wide audience. All we need from you is your mobile app goals, and we’ll handle the rest.

#7. Keep Your Mobile App Beta Testers Engaged

Engage Mobile App Beta Testers. Source: Pixabay

By the time you get to this stage, you’ll have already defined your target beta tester persona, discovered where they hang out, and then managed to distribute your app to the selected mobile app testers. So far, so good!

But, here’s the problem. It goes without saying that, initially, the beta testers won’t have the same enthusiasm about the exercise as you. Sure, your mobile app might be new and all – but the fact is, your target users have seen many before.

Consequently, they might not readily accept the invitations for beta testing. Even professional app reviewers might not be quick to respond – as they’re often swamped with multiple app test assignments at once.

And if you choose to be patient, you might have to wait forever – as most testers, even when they respond to invitations, are never in a rush to submit feedback.

So, to speed things up, I’d advise you have to take matters into your own hands and find ways of keeping your testers engaged. The goal is to motivate them just enough to test your mobile app thoroughly, and subsequently, provide relevant feedback.

Thankfully, there are a number of mobile app beta testing incentives you could capitalize on. If your competitors offer premium features at a price, for instance, you could simply provide the same functionalities for free.

#8. Collect And Analyze User Feedback

Mobile App Beta Testing User Feedback. Source: Pixabay

Collecting and analyzing user feedback can be challenging in its own way.

We all want a consistent flow of constructive feedback. However, valuable reviews can only come from people who’ve thoroughly tested your mobile app. This is something that requires a lot of commitment from the beginning to the end, which is very hard to come by.

That notwithstanding, there are several clever ways that you could use to encourage your beta testers to provide such valuable feedback.

You could, for instance, structure the whole system to query beta testers as soon as they’ve interacted with specific app functions. Then to accommodate those testers who might not be patient enough to detail everything, you could set some of the straightforward queries as close-ended.

#9. Choose The Most Valuable User Suggestions To Implement

Quality Over Quantity. Source: Pixabay

A successful mobile app beta testing process is bound to attract numerous improvement suggestions.

But, let’s be honest here – it’s impossible to implement every single proposal that comes your way. You have to assess everything accordingly, and then decide which comments are the most relevant.

To do that, collate all the user feedback you receive and then analyze it based on value plus sincerity.

In the end, you should only implement the suggestions that are bound to enhance your app’s overall value. And while you’re at it, you might want to prioritize the most recurring proposals.

#10. Cultivate Relationships

Of course, testers are exceptionally valuable to the mobile app beta testing process. But, let’s not forget that they also happen to be smartphone users who fit your specific target market demographic.

Therefore, it might be wise to cultivate relationships beyond the app testing process.

You could, for instance, request them to subscribe to your mailing list for future updates about the app. That would essentially give you a host of prospects that might excitedly download your mobile app as soon as it launches in the App Store.

Key Takeaways – Mobile App Beta Testing Tips

Now that we’ve explored a whole lot of issues about mobile app beta testing, here’s a summary of the most important pointers that you should keep in mind:

  • App developers get to the TestFlight App to conduct user testing on the beta version of their iOS apps, while the Google Playstore offers a beta testing service that allows you to distribute unreleased Android apps to real users.
  • Mobile app beta testing comes after alpha testing. Alpha testing typically comes first – as a means of identifying potential bugs – and then beta testing follows when the app is ready to be tried out by real users in a real environment.
  • Beta testing involves publishing an early version of your mobile application on external app distribution platforms for the sake of user testing. Beta testers are supposed to try out the app on their mobile devices and then provide feedback on the app’s operability plus usability.
  • While app beta testing seeks to reach out to external testers through public app distribution platforms, alpha testing is conducted internally by testers who are part of your organization.
  • TestFlight allows app developers to run alpha testing and beta testing on more than 100 mobile apps at once.
  • On the Google Play Console, Android app developers can freely switch from alpha testing to beta testing tools.
  • Although it’s conducted externally, Closed Beta Testing restricts the number of testers who can participate.
  • In Open Beta Testing, the beta builds here are meant to be accessed by the general public – as there are no restrictions on the number of users who can participate.
  • By beta testing mobile apps, you’ll be giving your prospective app users the chance to not only review the functional and visual designs, but also provide critical user feedback that could be used to improve the overall user experience.
  • The average three-month user retention rate for mobile apps worldwide stands at 29%, which translates to an app churn rate of 71% within 90 days.
  • On average, mobile apps lose 57% of their users within the first month of app installation, which then increases to 67% in the second month, followed by 71% by the end of the third month.
  • While 39.9% of uninstallations occur because the app is no longer in use, the rest are largely driven by usability issues.
  • 28% of mobile users uninstall apps because of too many notifications and ads, 20% proceed due to a storage overload, and 11% are triggered by technical issues or confusing app features.
  • Mobile app marketers see the whole beta testing operation as means of reaching out to prospective users – and then getting them warmed up ahead of the actual app launch.
  • Prelaunch app marketing campaigns should strategically capitalize on beta testing, along with mobile app reviews, app press releases, influencer marketing, plus app promo videos.
  • Marketing beta testers try out mobile apps before the App Store launch date, and then spread the news to their audiences in the form of app reviews.
  • Technical beta testers, on the other hand, would be the ideal option when you’re seeking solid user critiques of your app’s functionalities and design.
  • You could settle for either Marketing or Technical Beta Testers – or better yet, go for both.
  • Since your mobile app has a specific use case, you ought to dive deep into its technical objectives, and then use them to define the optimal beta tester persona.
  • A perfect balance would be anything between 100 and 300 testers offers a reasonable number of testers for active engagement and feedback tracking.
  • Most mobile apps take between four and six months to build and launch – with about eight to sixteen weeks being taken up by alpha and beta testing.
  • While the mobile app beta testing process should be thorough enough to exhaustively generate insights, the whole exercise ought to be kept brief to minimize the number of resources consumed.
  • Both Apple and Google provide very basic tools on their platforms for managing the whole process of distributing beta apps.
  • Offer feature incentives to keep your app testers engaged and motivate them just enough to test your mobile app thoroughly, and subsequently, provide relevant feedback.
  • Collate all the user feedback you receive and then analyze it based on value plus sincerity. In the end, you should only implement the suggestions that are bound to enhance your app’s overall value.
  • Since beta testers also happen to be smartphone users who fit your specific target market demographic, it might be wise to cultivate relationships beyond the app testing process.
  • While a solid app beta testing process manages to identify bugs and other issues that might have been missed by the development team, a strategic testing process – on the other hand – goes beyond that to promote the app extensively while generating reviews and feedback.

Over To You

A solid app beta testing process manages to identify bugs and other issues that might have been missed by the development team. But, a strategic testing process, on the other hand, goes beyond that to promote the app extensively while generating reviews and feedback.

As such, you should try and find a perfect balance of both.

Don’t rush things, though – and don’t drag them out either. Take the time to develop a dynamic beta testing plan, find yourself a broad mix of app testers, leverage robust user testing tools, but don’t extend your numbers to the point of getting overwhelmed by the resultant feedback.

That said, if we’re being honest, it’s not easy to make time for all these tasks. Mobile app beta testing is a very demanding process that requires weeks of hands-on planning and management.

What’s more, you’ll be forced to handle app distribution at the same time with user engagement, feedback analysis, and prelaunch app promotion – all of which could stretch you out to the point of making you lose sight of other important mobile app development goals.

You don’t need to be worrying about that at all. So, let us take care of mobile app beta testing for you, while you direct all your attention to app development and running the business.

You can count on our seasoned app marketers to tactfully execute your beta testing in such a way that it generates qualitative user feedback while, at the same time, drawing positive attention to your mobile app.

Let us know your mobile app growth goals, and we’ll get you started right away.

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