Posted by Krista McLandress | 1 comment

10 mistakes that will blow your app launch (and how to avoid them!)

app launch mistakes

Launching a new mobile app is exciting – you want to share it with the world and see it succeed. But, marketing your new app can also be stressful – the last thing you want to do is blow your big launch.

A well planned launch campaign has major potential to build awareness, drive downloads and push your app up the app store rankings.  However, even with the best intentions, missteps can happen and before you know it critical app promotion mistakes could negatively effect your app launch.

Luckily, making sure your launch doesn’t fail can be as easy as avoiding the most common mistakes made by new app publishers. To help you create the most successful launch strategy, here is a list of the top 10 points you’ll want to avoid when checking off your app marketing checklist:

1. Missing out on opportunities pre-launch

It’s a common misconception that your launch campaign starts when your app is live on the stores. Truth is,  promoting your app before it’s available can help you build a ton of momentum. Utilize the time you’re building your app to put out teasers on social media or email, and build a mailing list of people who want to know when you’re app goes live.

Start generating buzz and taking names before you launch!

Start generating buzz and taking names before you launch!

You can also use this time to reach out to journalists, bloggers or social media influencers who can mention or review your app, helping your generate buzz before it’s out (more on PR later!)


2. Not investing time (or money) on App Store Optimization (ASO)

It’s easy to think that ASO is just about tweaking, but the reality is that the most successful apps have keyword optimization down to a science and are allocating budget to get valuable competitive insights. Organic traffic can make up as much as half of your app store traffic and keyword optimization is your ticket to showing up in results. Spending time on keyword research, writing optimized descriptions and benchmarking your competitors can help you calibrate your expectations when you launch your app.


3. Neglecting the power of your app store creative

Your app icon says a lot about your app. In fact, you’ve probably dedicated time testing out different concepts, color combinations and design treatments to find the icon that best represents your app. But have you spent the same amount of attention on your app store creative?Compelling screenshots and video previews help you “sell” your app and improve your store conversion rates. And remember, app screenshots hold a lot of power since they are previewed in search results. Simply put, if your first screenshot isn’t visually appealing, a user will likely scroll to the next search result to find something better.

Related blog post: How to Create App Screenshots That Can’t be Ignored!


4. Underestimating the value of reviews & ratings

There’s no sense gathering reviews and ratings until you have a lot of people using your app, right? Wrong. Both reviews and ratings are an important part of your ranking algorithm, plus they give users social proof  (i.e. confirmation about the benefits of downloading your app).

On Apple’s App Store, your average rating will only kick in once you’ve received five ratings, so getting a jump start on reviews is important. Asking app users to review your app with push or  in-app messaging is one strategy, but it will take some time to build up an active user base, and you need reviews now. So what can you do?

Poor app ratings reviews

Having poor or too few ratings and reviews is no way to launch your new app!

To get those all important first reviews, reach out to your beta testers, friends and customers via email. You can even offer an incentive (discounts, credits, extended trials, etc) to encourage users to rate your app. Also, respond to negative reviews immediately (on Google PLay) as it shows you’re active in optimizing the app experience, which will help you gain more users in the long run.


5. Not budgeting for paid acquisition

Not interested in spending money to get downloads? You may want to rethink that. While organic traffic might make up the majority of your traffic, it’s paid acquisition that can fuel quicker growth. Even a small budget can help get your app in front a large number of people, helping you acquire quality users in short sprints (vs. sustainable “marathon” campaigns) and as a consequence boost your ranking.

Targeting app install ads can give your short sprints or sustainable marathons of quality traffic

Targeted app install ads can give you quality traffic, either in short sprints or sustainable marathons

That said, paying for app installs can get expensive if you’re not on top of managing your campaigns. With Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google and others all offering app ad products to target mobile users, choosing the right channel starts with 1) understanding where your audience is and 2) deciding how much you’re willing to spend on cost per installs (CPI). Then, set up multiple campaigns, segments, A/B tests, and optimize for lifetime value (LTV) not just click through rates (CTR) to ensure you’re getting the best ROI bang for your buck.

Related blog post: How Much Should You Pay for Mobile User Acquisition?


6. Forgetting to curate your web presence

With so much focus on optimizing the app store and setting up advertising campaigns with third parties, it can be easy to forget about leveraging our own web presence to drive downloads. While it’s common practice to set up a microsite or landing page to promote your app, your app promotion strategy should also include other forms of content marketing. Blogging on your own site or contributing a guest post to a relevant blog can increase your visibility with your target market, while being active on forums (Quora, Product Hunt, etc) and social media can help draw a stead flow of engaged traffic. Also, don’t forget to set up a mobile redirect on your website so that visitors on smartphones can easily access your app!


7. Failing to integrate your offline marketing activities

Real world marketing isn’t dead, even with all the attention on digital. But the trick is to integrate your offline campaigns in such a way that it makes the transition to mobile easy. Guerrilla or viral marketing campaigns that use tactics like events, publicity stunts or billboard advertising, can increase word of mouth for your app in local markets, but even the best campaigns can fail if the call to action isn’t clear. Mention where your app can be downloaded and include a memorable, short URL or a QR code on your printed marketing materials to bridge the offline and online worlds.


8. Being unrealistic about outreach and PR

While every “how-to promote your app” checklist will include the tip to write a press release, a common error app publishers make is thinking that sending it to the media is enough.  Lofty expectations to land on the front page of international media aside, journalists aren’t interested in promoting your app just because you think it’s great – you’ll need to prove it can add value to their audience.

When it comes to PR for business apps, starting small is often the best great strategy. Start off by pitching to local news, niche publications, bloggers in your vertical, social media influencers on YouTube, Instagram, seek out speaking opportunities or submit your app for a local business award. Once you get the ball rolling, it can be easier to get the attention of bigger media outlet (if that’s your ultimate goal).


9. Overlooking discovery platforms

Discovery platforms are gaining in popularity because they can help get your app in front of an engaged, targeted audience, at little to no cost. Sites like PreApps, AppGratis and AppPicker can help you get a jump start on app promotion by featuring, reviewing and sharing your app to their users. While competition to stand out can be just as intense as the app stores, niche or specialized app discovery sites (like The iPhone Mom for kids’ iOS apps) can be a great channel for acquiring users from a specific target market.


10. Not building virality into your app experience

Generating and converting quality traffic to the app store is the goal of your app promotion strategy, but the secret sauce to growth hacking lays in building virality into your app. What does this mean? Simply put, by including strategies like referral campaigns, social sharing or user-generated content campaigns, you can encourage new users to spread the word about your app, and get more traffic for free! Viral traffic not only closes your app promotion loop by feeding new visitors to the stores but when you know what type of user will assist you with viral growth, you can optimize your paid campaigns for maximum return.


In conclusion, avoiding these common mistakes can help you be more prepared for when it’s time to get your brand out there, build awareness and leverage that momentum to drive downloads. Need more help creating a launch campaign that will help you rise through the ranks of the app stores? Download our latest ebook on App Promotion & User Acquisition.

App Promotion & User Aquisition Ebook


One thought on “10 mistakes that will blow your app launch (and how to avoid them!)

  1. Great tips! My social circle consists of high school friends turned indie app devs, and one of the most common things they overlook is the marketing part. Not every app can be Flappy Bird–you really, really have to work your muscles into marketing the product you’ve poured your time and heart into, lest it will all go down into drain. Not a lot of apps get a second chance-launch, so checklists like this make it easier for folks to do it right the first time.

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