What to do in the mobile app pre-release and post-release phases
In this article you’ll find some hints on what needs to be done in the pre-release phase of mobile apps. Even before creating your app, there are some steps you should take to determine if your product can be successful. You’ll also find information on key matters during the app development process and release, as well as on what to do after it’s launched.
Why should you care?
Releasing an app to the market after months of building it is a crucial moment. That's when you'll really find out if your app is right for the market. Let’s stop here. Do you really want to discover it after the release? Is it ok to know what mistakes have been made once the app is available to the public? Isn’t there anything to do to avoid issues? Of course there is. Actually, there are lots of things you can do to avoid the failure of your product.
“Fine, but if I decide to outsource then someone should do everything for me. That's what I'm paying for, after all.” That's almost fair, but... When you e.g. delegate the task of construction of your house to someone, it would be nice if you at least chose where the house is to stand, found a suitable architect, gave your requirements and approved the project, wouldn't it? It's also worth looking at the site occasionally to make sure everything is going according to your ideas.
Mobile app development done right
It is exactly the same with your product as with the house you want to build. The difference, however, is that the app enables you to make money – it's a part or the main activity of your business. So if you're not ready to commit to it, you're probably better off investing in another business idea.
This applies to the entire mobile app development process but today we are focusing primarily on the pre-release phase. So, yes, there is still a lot you can do at this stage to make the product you publish an immediate success!
Key matters during the pre-release phase
There are absolutely essential, important and less necessary things to do during the pre-release phase. Also, some of them you might decide to do yourself and with some you might need a hand, for example from the app development agency you choose.
Here you’ll find a few things worth your time – to do before the release.
Let’s first focus on some business matters you can take care of in the pre-release phase.
The most important thing in every mobile app development process is knowing your target audience – people supposed to be the users of your product. It is for them specifically that you are creating the app and it is to serve them. So you need to do the market research and find out exactly:
- Who do you want your app's users to be?
- Why should they use it?
- Where are they located?
- What are their interests, qualities, problems, everyday routine etc.?
Creating a user persona is a simple exercise to make the above-mentioned process easier. In fact, the best idea is to create a couple of user personas that represent different types of your target audience. They describe your ideal types of users that you can discover with deep market research. You can use the user persona template to fill in all the information conveniently.
There are two options: either the choice of technology and features will depend on the monetization model you choose, or the monetization model will depend on the features you choose and the technology solutions used to build your app. This is why this issue should be thought through before the release.
It also happens that the monetization strategy is only implemented after the product has been published, in order to test the market first. However, this will mean that you won’t earn money from your product for that time.
How would you like to make money on your mobile app?
There are lots of options. Among the most popular ones there are:
- In-app advertising – banner ads, video ads, interstitial ads etc.
- In-app purchases – offering users making purchases of digital or physical goods while using it
- Paid mobile apps – mobile apps that have a set price and can only be downloaded after making a payment
- Subscriptions – usually free apps with features available only after purchasing a subscription
- Freemium – similar to the subscription model but offering much more for free, so only some of the features are available after an in-app purchase
- Partnerships – based on collaboration and sponsorship with other apps, businesses, platforms etc.
- Affiliation and commissions – when revenue is generated when someone purchases another service or product through your app (in marketplaces) or a special referral link placed in your app.
Learn how much you can earn on in-app ads from this article.
You need to have an effective value proposition for your potential customers that will differentiate you from the competition. It’s called a Unique Value Proposition (UVP). Your target market needs a good reason to choose your app above the competing ones and you shouldn’t make them search for it. Simply provide one or more different value propositions that will make them convinced.
User acquisition and promotion strategy
User acquisition is the activity of acquiring new users for an app. It is usually about generating as many installations as possible, for example through advertising.
Acquiring first-time users can be difficult, so it can be useful to consider and prepare several promotion strategies and try out different mobile app marketing channels to find out which will be the right one for your target audience.
There are various metrics that will allow you to measure the success of your future app. It is a good idea to establish what metrics you will be measuring from the start of your product's life in the market.
Depending on the success metrics you decide to set, you will discover, for example, whether your product is fulfilling its role and app users are happy to use it and whether your promotion strategy is working and winning new users for you.
Before your mobile app launch there are also technical matters to think through. All to ensure the best possible performance, user experience and user interface for your product. The key ones are:
Testing the app and fixing bugs
First of all, no bugs are allowed. They make users feel discouraged from using mobile apps. They’re also a sign that the developers have not put in the effort to ensure the best possible performance.
That’s why testing shouldn't end with the release of a product. It’s important for the app developers to take the time to do this quite often, and to pay attention to whether users report problems with the app.
Setting up mobile analytics
Mobile app analytics is all about tracking what's going on in the app – where users click, how much time they spend in the app, where they downloaded the app from, how often they open it and at what time of day, etc. It's important to set this up before the release and collect data from the very beginning. It can be used as a basis for further development of the app, changes and redesigns.
After the release to app stores
Now let’s move to what’s worth doing after the app launch apart from publishing it to mobile app stores.
App Store Optimization
You should customize your app page in mobile app stores (Apple App Store for iOS apps and Google Play Store for Android apps) in accordance with the App Store Optimization (ASO) methods.
App Store Optimization (ASO) is a very important process for all app owners to improve the visibility of their apps in these stores. Another purpose of ASO is to increase conversion rate, click-through rate and the number of app downloads, so that users who notice the app in the app store actually decide to see the details and download it.
This process includes adding information to the product page such as its name, description, app screenshots, a video, keywords etc.
Mobile app marketing
Notify about the app launch in your app marketing channels. It's worth setting up social media profiles for each app, so this is certainly the place to finally let interested people know about the release of the app. Apart from that, it's good to show off your product wherever possible, including advertisements and push notifications.
Product Hunt is a US-based site for sharing and discovering new products. Consider posting your app also there to make it even more visible to the public. Publishing on any other ranking sites is also a good idea.
How to continuously improve mobile apps after release?
Let’s have a look at some ways to improve your mobile app once it’s published. These actions, apart from the above after app launch must-haves, will definitely help you make your app a real success and keep it in this state.
Monitor the feedback and reviews from early users
It is very important to hear the users of your mobile app. Early adopters might provide you with the most important remarks in their feedback, rates and reviews, e.g. in the app stores, but also on social media and in the app itself, if you allow them to do that.
They will tell you what they need in the app, what new features should appear, what are their pain points and what they like about the product. You can implement push notifications in the app asking them to write a review or submit a rate.
Analyze user acquisition channels for their effectiveness
Once you are able to monitor your user acquisition channels, do so on an ongoing basis to maintain a good level of metrics or improve it. This way, you can make these channels increasingly effective.
Here you’ll find top 17 mobile app metrics to track after the release of your mobile app.
Update your app and implement new functionalities
The published app is not the end of the work on it. It doesn't work like that. You listen to the users of the product and make analyses of the results in order to make the app better and more useful with the app updates. With new app versions, the features that most users are hoping for should appear. The next mobile app updates should also be promoted in user communication channels.
Consider introducing a referral program
It’s a good idea to implement a referral program that will make users willing to recommend the app in order to benefit from it. Whether it's extra points, free functionalities access or discount codes – any way is good to boost your marketing channels.
We often think that the launch of mobile apps happens when it is published in mobile stores. Technically, this is true. But if you want to get your first customers as soon as possible and increase the chances of your app's success, then you need to start this process much earlier.
Keeping our fingers crossed for the successful mobile app launch for your business!