Life After Launch: Post-launch Activities to Ensure App Success

You have developed the initial version of your mobile or web app, and your product has been successfully launched onto the market. What is next?
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App development can be compared to the launch of a new model of car: you first develop a concept car, which is then presented to the public and taken through several improvement stages before the release of a car with a basic set of functions; these are then added to and redesigned throughout the entire lifecycle of the model.

The process is no different for software development: after the launch of the initial version of the app, you have to be ready for continuous optimisation and improvement. (If you are interested in the initial app development process - read about it here).

01.Real visitors feedback

Collect user feedback, analyse the wishes of the owners, and improve the user interface to eliminate any glitches and bugs, as well as introducing hints and tooltips to make interaction with the app easier. If the app has been developed for one of the leading platforms, for example IOS, we would usually create a similar version
for Android and vice versa.

02.New features

Introduce additional features and improvements that are listed as secondary priorities on the backlog of the initial version of the app. Make a new chart of features and improvements, based on the preferences of the different user segments.

03.User tests

Run a market test with real users before enhancing the app’s functionality for different user categories, in accordance with the pricing strategy and user’s behaviour.

04.Market reviews

Conduct surveys and introduce new functions that are relevant to the target audience in view of the results of the surveys and user feedback. The more feedback you receive on the initial version of the app, the more effectively you will be able to improve the app’s functionality for the launch of the second version.

05.Search Engine Optimization

Optimise the application description with relevant keywords, promote your brand name in app stores. Provide a QR link to download the app from your website. Do cross promo of your app and site on the mobile and desktop devices.

06.Test Promo Campaign
Develop and launch a promotional campaign to reach out to new customers, in order to test and select the best channels for customer acquisition.
07.Launch new app versions

Keep your app up-to-date: continuously gather feedback from new users, analyse any new offerings that have appeared on the market, and design new features to be implemented, in order to expand the audience and increase profit.

Frequently asked questions
Why are there bugs appearing in the application? Does it mean that the developers did their job poorly?

The truth is that most minor bugs (small issues in the software) appear because the actions of real users do not 100% comply with the pre-developed user scenarios; when a user clicks in the wrong place or makes an unexpected action the app might not be able to provide for a simple and clear solution. To eliminate any problems that users may face, we make further improvements to the app’s interface and functionality. In some cases, you can simply supply the user with an extra tip, while in others you need to redesign the interface to make it more intuitive.

Why is feedback so important? Is it not possible to make everything work well and look good from the beginning?

It is; there are as many opinions as there are tastes. At this stage of the development, we focus on a certain target audience defined by the app’s initial business model. However, in addition to the potential changing tastes of existing users, entirely new users may become interested in the product. By improving usability, optimising the design and expanding the app’s functionality, we manage the needs of as wide a target audience as possible.

Moreover, the release of the new version of the app provides a great opportunity to remind existing users about your application while introducing it to new ones.

Can I develop an app and leave it as it is, without introducing any changes?

No problem. There are specific business cases when a company requires a particular solution; for instance, an automated report system. The reports have to be generated on the basis of a predefined algorithm that does not change for years: there are no additional categories introduced to the system, no changes to the corporate structure or any other global changes. For example, no new affiliate enterprises. Such a solution does not require any optimisation.

However, if your business requires continuous modernisation to stand out from a huge amount of competition in the ever-changing market environment, functional improvements and the introduction of new features expected by the users are a must for the project’s success.

Can you recommend an efficient method to prepare for a large-scale promotional campaign that will make the app popular worldwide?

We recommend the following strategy for launching a new app: Soft Launch (a preview release of a product or service to a limited audience prior to release to the general public).

Why Do You Need a Soft Launch?

Even the masters of their craft make mistakes and sometimes cannot properly adjust the mechanics of the app and its monetisation model without seeing it in action. That is why any mistakes made at the initial stage of an early launch may cost you dear, or even lead to complete failure of the product. On the other hand, a soft launch allows you to test your application with a small but real audience: tests conducted in laboratory-like environments that involve a specifically selected group of people, often friends or relatives, cannot guarantee you that all errors and flaws will be detected.

A soft launch helps you to:

  • detect and fix bugs;
  • refine the app’s mechanics;
  • fine-tune the monetisation model;
  • improve the interface and usability;
  • receive feedback from actual users;
  • collect necessary analytical data.
Time for the Test Drive

The soft launch approach does not require you to go all out on promotion after the app has been published in the app stores. Quite the opposite, you will need to buy only a small amount of ad space; it will require a fixed sum of money that is enough to attract a sufficient number of users and ensure the relevancy of the sample. The average cost for an app targeted at a wide range of users amounts to 3000-5000 GBP.

The sample must ensure reliable data that will enable you to forecast the results of a fully-fledged launch. After the soft launch you need to calculate the loan-to-value ratio (LTV helps you estimate how much you spent on app development compared to your app’s current market value), the average revenue per user (ARPU is a measure of the revenue generated by one customer device per a unit of time, typically per year or month), an average purchase size and the retention rates (the ratio of the number of retained customers to the number at risk). Moreover, in certain circumstances, it is possible to calculate the virial coefficient.

The next thing you should do is analyse user behaviour. You should pay close attention to the features that make the users spend more time in the app, pose difficulties and engage with users the most. For instance, it might turn out that you need an instructional level within a game, or a more clearly organised catalogue of goods within an e-commerce app. Make sure that you check the monetisation mechanics, as you might require some changes; for example, in games it is often hard to find the right moment to offer an in-app-purchase (IAP: a way of purchasing virtual goods in mobile applications).

A soft launch gives you the best opportunity to improve your app’s interface and design; user behaviour will tell you which buttons need to be enlarged or re-coloured. If you want to conduct an A/B testing (an A/B split test is an easy, cost effective and successful technique to improve your application, which you can run using Google Analytics), this is the perfect time to run it.

Bugs are another issue that require attention; the bugs that were not detected during the pre-launch testing must be found and fixed during the soft launch. This is particularly significant for Android, as the range of Android devices that can run the app is much wider.

Promotional Campaign Test
A soft launch is extremely useful, not only for the trial of the app itself, but also for testing its marketing campaign
Choosing Your Testing Ground

There are two ways to make a soft launch: through a soft marketing campaign or a local launch. In the first option you need to buy ad space on a small budget, which we have already mentioned; this will generate enough traffic to try the app out. The second approach is preferable for those who plan to launch the app in a number of countries worldwide.

According to this method, you first launch the app in one country before going ahead with a worldwide release. For example, Supercell (a Finnish mobile game development company), one of the biggest players on the market, launched their new projects in Canada prior to releasing them to a worldwide audience.

However, a local soft launch can cause a few problems due to the distinctive features of a particular country: audiences from different regions may have different tastes and preferences, so there is a risk that the soft launch might lose its point.

So how do you choose the right testing ground before the full-fledged launch?

Before releasing the app countrywide, you can present it to a big city, like Manchester. If you are aiming at an international release, then you should base your choice on the market that is the most important for your project. The British audience is much like the American, which is the biggest market in the world; thereby, a successful launch in these two countries, supplemented by a launch in one of the Asian countries, is an excellent warm-up before the global launch.

Summary

Careful and purposeful first steps will lead you in the right direction. New features and functionality, the expectation and anticipation of users, and the implementation of your app monetisation strategy will help progress your application development. So, launching your app onto the market is just the first step on the long road to growth and prosperity.

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