We have prepared this article together with Alexander Nikolaev – an experienced UA manager (mobile games, mobile e-commerce).
Congratulations! It looks like you are ready to launch a mobile app. The process can be challenging and stressful. To make everything a bit easier for you, we have come up with a step-by-step guide that will show you exactly how to launch a mobile app.
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There are three main steps that will lead you to the global launch of your app – technical integration, technical launch, and soft launch.
Technical integration is about integrating the app into your IT systems. This stage includes all the things that you need to check before the technical launch.
Choose the right SDK
SDK is a Software Development Kit. This set of tools, code samples, libraries, and relevant documentation will help you build your application. When choosing the right tool, there are a few things you should take into consideration – attribution methodology, platform pricing, integrations with self-attributing networks, and key metrics you want to measure.
SDKs are designed to be used for specific platforms (or programming languages). By the way, you can use these kits to enhance apps with more functionality (for example, include advertisements and push notifications).
The most popular sets of tools include Firebase SDK, Adjust, and Facebook SDK. The developers will also need these kits for monitoring and reporting. Collect performance data, review, and analyze the information to understand where your app can be improved and whether any performance issues need to be fixed.
Prepare & check the event transfer settings
An event is a type of action that a user conducts in the app. It can be a simple click, a comment, or a purchase. Every time an event takes place, the information about it is sent to the analytics platform. Find out what version of the app the user has, the number of days the app has been installed, and so on.
Some of the most well-known analytics services to help you with this task include Google Analytics (measure and optimize user acquisition and engagement; the platform features easy-to-use SDKs and reports designed for app developers), Flurry (a professional-grade mobile app analytics platform that’s completely free), and Mixpanel (easy visualization of user event data without the need for IT intervention).
Prepare the creatives
Usually, Alexander puts together several creatives with various mechanics. Remember to use the right formats (1:1, 1080 x 1080; 4:5. 1080 x 1350; 9:16, 1080 x 1920; 16:9 1920 x 1080) and that your videos shouldn’t be longer than 15 seconds.
No need to work on storytelling videos at this point. You may record your screen to show the main features of the application.
Tech launch is a ‘test’ launch of your application, when you start receiving and monitoring the primary traffic and get a chance to check the technical settings.
Focus on the English-speaking countries with a lower ad cost
The time has come to launch a mobile app for the first time. When you are choosing the settings of your campaign, focus on the Philippines and Brazil, for example, – the campaign would require a minimal budget as the ad cost in these countries is lower. The selection of metrics that you’ll get will be relevant for plenty of other locations.
To make things a bit easier, we will be sharing the settings for a Facebook ad campaign that Alexander chooses most of the time.
If you experience any problems after the launch of the campaign, check the attribution windows in all the systems (make sure that you are using one timezone).
Are your monetization tools working?
Check if the users can see your ad and if the client is receiving the events. Eliminate any bugs.
A soft launch is a preview release of your app to a limited audience (prior to our global launch). Here, we need to fully understand our monetization funnel – how much we will be able to make, what’s the LTV (Lifetime Value; how much the user is predicted to be worth to your app), ARPPU (Average Revenue Per Paying User; what the user generates during a specified time frame), CPM (Cost-Per-Mille; the cost of 1000 ad impressions), CTR (Click-Through Rate; the ratio of clicks to impressions on a mobile ad campaign), etc.
The soft launch also helps you optimize marketing spend and check once again if there are any bugs. During this stage, you should perform the following tests.
Test the creatives
Once you have reached at least 10.000 views, evaluate the install rate, CPPU, and CPA to find 2-3 creatives with the best rates. Usually, the optimal IPM (Installs Per Mille) is between 0.5% and 0.9%. If you are launching a game, then the IPM can be 0.25% – 1.5%.
IPM = installs*1000/number of impressions
You can have a few ad sets. However, every ad set should have only one creative asset.
Perform a retention test
You will be evaluating calendar retention to find out its rate and the possibilities for improvement. The budget will depend on the genre of your application and the monetization funnel.
Perform an ad monetization test
This is an expensive test that will show you which creative is the most effective one. Create a campaign with the convertible options. The creatives don’t have to be perfect but make sure they’re not affecting the install rate. Your page on the store has to look great at this point. Use asset customizations for placements and dynamic creative optimization – Facebook will optimize your creatives and deliver personalized variations for each person viewing the ad.
The budget for this test will depend on the number of events (you will end up with a minimum that you need to reach every week).
Before proceeding to your global launch, you have to ensure that your app doesn’t have any bugs. If there is a critical mistake, you would have to return to the tech launch stage.
All the parts of your campaign have to be working well.
For your convenience, we have come up with a global launch checklist.
- Make sure that your app can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play without a Wi-Fi connection
- Users from all countries have access to the application. You have localized your creation (English, Russian, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish)
- Test the marketing funnel (you have great creatives and a good-looking, converting page on the store)
- You have a satisfying growth point for payback (in terms of your business plan)
It might be a complicated and painstaking to launch a mobile app, but if you follow the step-by-step plan and adjust the settings along the way, you’ll end up with a great product that was worth the effort.
Be patient, be creative, and good luck 😉