Welcome to part three of a case study that is focusing on my first failed Android and IOS app and the valuable lessons that were learned from that experience.
Part One discussed:
- App Ideas
- Initial Marketing Research
- App Billing Models
Part Two focused on the initial development of the app:
- Requirements & Functions List
- Building the App
- Graphics & UI
The main focus of this post is to outline how to launch an app and the different marketing perspectives to keep in mind. Like the other posts in this case study, this is a bird’s eye view of the overall process.
Project Burn Out
It’s inevitable that the longer a project drags on the more vulnerable you will be to project burn out. After four months of development I was finally finished with my score keeping app.
But, I was burned out.
I was running a marathon, within 50 feet of the finish line and completely ran out of gas. I was sick of this project and wanted to move on.
Working a day job and then doing this side project in all my off time took a toll on my overall motivation and creativity.
Burning out now was a huge problem, since the next phase was the most important of them all; marketing and promoting the app.
So I crossed my eyes, dug deep and pushed forward…
Marketing and ASO (App Store Optimization)
The first couple days of an app launch is the most import of its life cycle, you get only one chance to make a splash in the store fronts. You don’t want to mess this up. Take your time to properly pre-stage all your promotional and marketing materials. This includes (but is not limited to):
- App Press Releases
- Blog Mentions
- Promotional Videos
- Support & Funnel Websites
- Social Media Prep : Facebook, Twitter, Reddit…
- Having friends and family ready to give reviews
If your going to tackle most of the marketing of your app then you need to be proficient at content writing.
I will admit that I am not the best content writer or promoter. I minored in business when I went to college, I love the idea, but when it comes down to it, I’m not as good at it as I would like to be.
But that’s ok. You don’t have to know how to do every job within the realm of the business you’re in. You just need to know enough to be able to delegate it out and not have people BS you. Unfortunately I would have to do most of the marketing myself to save some $.
Optimizing The App Store Front For Organic Store Searches
ASO is the art of improving the visibility of your app within the app stores. Much like how SEO is used to attract people to your site organically through search engine traffic.
Android Play and iTunes App Stores ASO techniques are very different from each other. There are many online ASO tools to help with the process of figuring out the best app store optimization scheme between the different app stores. I have used SensorTower.com in the past to get a good idea of the keywords the competition are using to find an advantage with my apps.
iTunes Store ASO is not that difficult. It’s based off of the Title and Keywords of the app you’re pushing. In my experience, there is not a lot of guess work when it comes down to ASO for IOS apps. It’s very logical, methodical and practical.
Google Play Store’s ASO is a lot like the SEO you would do for a website. There are no fields for keywords. Your ASO is mainly dependent upon the description field. This leaves A LOT of guess work to get the app optimized for Google Play Store searches.
I did my research in both stores and optimized the best I could.
App Icon and Screen Shots
As mentioned in a previous post, the app icon I had for my score keeping app could have been much better. For some reason I had a really hard time getting the right icon for what the app was able to do. I cannot stress how important the app icon is. It is what people are going to first see when browsing through the store search results and bring them to your app store listing page.
While the app icon will lead people to your app’s store front, its the screen shots that will make the sale.
App screen shots give users a heads up on what to expect within the app. When doing these screen shots you’re supposed to provide shots of your app on multiple different devices. Both IOS and Android market places have similar expectation’s.
The score keeper IOS screenshots looked beautiful! When I built the IOS version I made sure I did it correctly to display perfectly on all devices.
Android screenshots looked like junk, to put it nicely. Not Good. The ugliness of the screen shots were due to the fact that I had to force the scorekeeper to stay in landscape mode since I did not have enough time to create all the different portrait size files for the crazy amount of Android sizes out there. This meant a lot of the content of the actual app was cut off within a scroll view.
30 Second App Preview Videos
I hired out to have someone create 30 second promo videos for the apps. These are invaluable for the store as it can help with conversions. I was also able to put these promotional videos on my “Get the App” page within the support website.
Along with the development of both IOS and Android apps, I was also creating a simple support/funnel site. The overall idea of this site was to help give authority toward the apps in the store fronts AND to generate a little organic traffic from a few SEO optimized articles on the site that would be funneled toward the apps.
I did not have time for a huge back linking campaign. Matter of fact, I did not have time for any kind of link back campaign. ><
Hmmm, That’s Interesting.
Her secret is to focus on “All in Title” keywords that have a small amount of search traffic per month and a very low all in title competition. The idea is that Google is starved for content when it comes to these “all in title” keyword phrases which means you have a very good chance of making page one in the SERPS. Even without a big PR or link backs. Makes sense and it works very well for her.
Oh Why Not.
So I wrote an article for the home page using the “all in title” keywords that had a decent amount of searches per month with low “all in title” keyword competition. Time will tell if this really works.
The App Launches
With all the promotional materials in place the apps were ready for launching. The support site was ready. ASO for both Google Play and iTunes Connect double checked. All I needed to do now was to flip the switches to make everything live.
My monetizing method at launch was the Pay to Use model, setting the price point at $1.
The first few days of any app is the most important of its life. The initial downloads, reviews and ratings will establish the momentum for ranking on the charts.
The week day of the launch is also important. The general census is that Wednesday is perfect day to launch an app. The idea is to gain momentum in the store fronts Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. This will hopefully get you placed on the trending charts through the weekend.
This was it. All the work, sleepless nights, lost weekends came down to this. All it would take now is a few clicks of a mouse to make everything go live.
So I flipped the switch. The IOS and Android apps along with the support site went live in a matter of minutes. Like a child on Christmas Eve waiting for the morning, I eagerly waited….
What happened? How did the score keeper apps do? The next post in this case study will cover the income reports as well as the app usage metrics. I was completely blown away by what happened next.
What do you think? Do you have any good product launch stories to share?