Moving from Launch to Success for Mobile App Developers

For mobile app developers, launching a new app marks a major achievement worthy of celebration. Months or even years of visioning, planning, programming, and testing culminated in finally introducing your baby to a target market that you hope will clammer to be among the first to use it. A polished launch is commendable, but maintaining that momentum post-release is the real challenge. No matter how well it went, your job isn’t done with a successful launch. Moving from launch to success takes a different kind of effort that’s no less rigorous and sustained than the one you employed before launch.

from launch to successReleasing the app publicly is just the first step in a journey to build engagement, gather feedback, optimize the user experience, and ultimately achieve product-market fit and sustainability. The work, in many ways, accelerates after launch. Developers must stay focused and proactive in this post-launch period to address inevitable issues. At the same time, someone needs to develop and implement an efficient app marketing strategy.

From launch to success

I remember how excited I was when we launched our mobile app. After more than a year of visioning, building a clickable prototype, testing it with our target marketing, reimagining the functionality and user interface, and rebuilding the prototype, we were finally at the point where we could unveil our MVP (minimum viable product) to our launch party. We were so excited to demonstrate the advanced capability provided by our mobile app and let folks play with it. At the end of the party, we had a large percentage of those attending who downloaded the app. I was ecstatic that all our hard work was paying off. Over the next few days, that feeling turned to dismay and confusion as data showed almost none of the downloads were being used, and many had been uninstalled.

This was unexpected, although we were realistic enough to know that jumping from launch to success wasn’t a straight line. We’d planned for subsequent marketing activities and we were already busy building the next version of the mobile app based on feedback and our own impressions as we used the app.

Marketing to success

The best way to make a marketing campaign successful is to seek help from specialized companies. For instance, RadASO offers top-notch app store optimization services to everyone who wants to increase their new app’s visibility, boost downloads, and improve conversion rate.

Even free apps face an uphill battle when it comes to marketing their app. Even once your app achieves downloads, you need to encourage mobile users to actually use the features built into the app. To give you some idea of what you’re up against as you try moving from launch to success with your mobile app:

    • The Apple app store contains 1.81 million apps as of Jan. 2024 (95% are free). Even making your app discoverable against such competition is challenging.
    • Google Play hosted an even larger number of apps, with 2.87 million available.
    • As you can see below, there’s big competition to be among the few apps users are willing to download onto their devices
    • Your task isn’t done once you get a user to download your app. As the graphic shows, users only access a few mobile apps from among the large number available on their device
usage of mobile apps
Image courtesy of Buildfire

Strategies for success

Closely monitor performance and feedback

Once the app hits the stores, ongoing monitoring becomes critical. Someone (ideally – a team of experienced marketing specialists) needs to actively track and analyze key performance indicators, including:

  • Download volumes and install rates
  • User retention metrics like daily/monthly active users and bounce rate
  • In-app behavior like feature usage, conversions, and drop-off points
  • Ratings and reviews on the app’s store page

These data can provide vital insight into user’s behavior and help in building a full picture of people’s responses to the app post-launch. Developers can quickly catch and react to all the major technical problems or areas of user confusion. Recent changes to Google Analytics in GA4 make this monitoring much easier as downloads from the Google Play Store integrate with other internet data, like that from your website.

Monitoring reviews and feedback instantly indicates many specific pain points and bugs real users are experiencing.

The marketing team should also directly engage initial users by:

  • Conducting in-app surveys to gather ratings and feedback.
  • Sending email surveys asking for feedback and improvement ideas.
  • Monitoring apps and the company’s social media for comments.
  • Analyzing support tickets and user interaction with helpdesk reps.

The best practice is to proactively gather quantitative data through analytics and feedback from real users. Detecting issues in the critical post-release window allows addressing them quickly by issuing patches and updates.

Refine onboarding and early user experience

mobile advertising trends
Image courtesy of Cellular News

The initial user onboarding flow and early in-app experience greatly impact the overall retention rate. The app marketing team must study analytics on bounce rates and use feedback. That info can be used for polishing introductory tutorials. Sometimes, the solution can be as simple as adding some guidance prompts or highlighting key features.

Creating a smooth, intuitive entry point is crucial to user satisfaction and ongoing engagement.

Implement an optimization roadmap

Launching an MVP is often a smart strategy that allows the release of an app with just the core features and distinguishes must-haves from nice-to-haves before investing in unnecessary extras. However, the team must have a post-release roadmap to build upon the MVP foundation.

This roadmap entails:

  • Refining the long-term product vision and key features list based on initial user feedback.
  • Prioritizing upcoming new capabilities and enhancements that offer the most value to users or solve major pain points.
  • Mapping out a development timeline for rolling out these improvements incrementally over time.
  • Planning major releases with multiple new features bundled together vs. pushing individual updates.
  • Coordinating marketing plans around highlighting new features.
  • Budgeting for ongoing development and maintenance costs.

Having a living, flexible roadmap focused on adding user value is key to steadily evolving an MVP into a robust app. It turns the launch into just the first step of an ongoing enhancement journey, fueling retention and growth.

Adjust marketing strategies

Marketing cannot remain static after launch. The team must monitor campaign performance and continuously optimize.

A good idea is to double down on high ROI channels while cutting off ineffective tactics. Releasing targeted content and new partnerships can also help to reignite momentum.

Leverage app store optimization

ASO makes the app visible and discoverable in app stores. Optimizing your app store listing is crucial for driving organic downloads. Here are the key elements of an effective ASO strategy:

  • Keyword research – Identifying relevant keywords that users search for when browsing the app store and integrating those keywords strategically into the app’s title, description and even name. This boosts visibility when users search those terms.
  • Compelling app title – Crafting an appealing, keyword-rich title that establishes the app’s value proposition and grabs attention.
  • Detailed description – Using the description to explain the app’s purpose, key features, target users, and benefits.
  • Engaging visuals – High-quality screenshots and videos highlight the app’s best elements. An appealing icon also attracts clicks.
  • Ratings and reviews – Gathering positive feedback and ratings from users. This drives credibility. Responding publicly to reviews is also a good practice.
  • Search ads – App Store search ads target keywords, increasing discoverability. They need to be optimized based on the cost-per-install metric.
  • External promotion – Driving traffic to the app’s listing from the corporate website, social media, influencers, and ads.

ASO is an ongoing process as app stores evolve. Continually optimize your page for maximum visibility and conversion.
design an effective mobile ad

Build a community

Creating an online community forum or user group helps sustain engagement. Users can interact, share tips, and give feedback.

Developers gain invaluable insights while users feel invested in the app’s future. Consider hosting virtual and in-person live events to bring the community together.

Conclusion

The post-launch period sets the trajectory for an app’s survival and prosperity. By taking the right steps, mobile app promotion teams like RadASO can boost the app’s visibility, identify issues, and lay the groundwork for growth.

An app’s true potential can be fulfilled only with attentive refinement and care.

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