Having a great app idea and executing it well is important, but having a good, solid strategy for launching your app is even more important, which is why it’s smart to take the time to understand the different options available to launch an app.
The straightforward method for launching a new app is hard launch. A hard launch is when you make a big fanfare about your app. In contrast, A soft launch is a quiet release of a new app to a limited audience, It has been becoming popular and for very good reasons.
In this article, we will touch on the good and the not so good of soft launch to help you make an educated decision when it comes time to launch your app.
What is Soft Launch :
Many app marketers view app launch as an event not as a process. A launch event that creates a buzz is known as a Hard / Full Launch
In an ideal world, It’s enough to just submit your brilliant app to the app store, fully launch it, and reap the rewards
But our world is not ideal, the first version of any app rarely succeeds. In fact, There are many apps, which miserably fail, once launched, due to unforeseen issues arise during post launch when users start arriving en masse. There’s always something that won’t go as planned.
In this case, it makes sense to avoid running a buzz campaign and to go for a soft launch. Soft launch is the practice of quietly launching your app to a limited audience before making it available to the general public or launching it in other markets with similar demographics to the main target market. For example, if you plan to launch the app in Saudi Arabia, you can Launch it secretly in Kuwait instead.
The point of releasing a new app to a restricted audience market is so you can evaluate how viable your app and if it has a hit potential or fine tune it before implementing a fully fledged launch. In other words, maximizing your app’s potential while mitigating risk.
Soft Launch Pros:
- Performance monitoring:
Unfortunately, it is very common to encounter unexpected issues when testing apps in real world environment that are not usually found in lab testing.
However, you can detect as many of these issues as possible by monitoring app performance during soft launch to ensure that the app is functioning perfectly. The earlier issues are identified and fixed, the less expensive the fixes will be.
The goal of performance monitoring is to detect excess resource utilization problems that can cause usability issues. This is especially useful for users with older devices that may have limited resources or own different brands.
Additionally, you can test your server infrastructure to ensure that it can handle the global launch load when a large number of users login at the same time.
- Marketing Spend Optimization:
One of the best benefits of soft launch is that it helps you analyze app’s acquisition and profitability metrics. Armed with these metrics, you can test different user acquisition strategies and marketing channels in order to identify the best converting strategy and the best marketing channel that bring in the highest ROI.
- Usability Testing:
A major benefit of a soft launch is the ability to measure how usable your app is and how easy it is for users to reach their goals. Apps should be easy to navigate, effortlessly functional and intuitive to use, otherwise people will leave and go to a competitor’s app.
The goal of usability testing is to understand how real users interact with your app. The feedback gathered from your users during your soft launch, whether it’s positive or negative, is extremely valuable in order to reveal areas of confusion and uncover opportunities to improve the user experience.
- Fix Bugs:
Soft launch is a great time to hone your core product to achieve overall user satisfaction. Testing your app on a limited segment of users helps you to catch bugs earlier and faster. Even if some things get out of hand, risks will be limited and managed which is priceless.
Searching app stores is the most popular method to discover apps. so it becomes more important to optimize apps to rank higher in an app store’s search results. The higher your app ranks in an app store’s search results, otherwise, your app is buried under the vast competition.
Keywords are a key factor for good rankings at App Store. It is important to choose keywords carefully and thoughtfully. The keywords selected should be precise and attractive to ensure the best ranking rate on the search results page
The good thing here is that a soft launch gives you time to test several relevant keywords and measure performance to find out which keywords are performing best. Then you can highlight and target those keywords during a full launch. Similarly, you can discover which creatives work best in converting users.
Soft Launch Cons:
- Time Consuming:
In order to effectively implement a soft launch strategy, you need to develop a solid plan, execute it well and then analyze the collected data to take appropriate actions. This cycle may be repeated several times before reaching a satisfactory result, which takes quite a while.
- Risk of losing competitive advantage:
A soft launch exposes your app to the world which may end up in the hands of a competitor. Delay your full launch too long, and they may have a chance to copycat your app before your full launch.
Hard launch and soft launch are two approaches for launching an app. They both have their perks and downsides. A soft launch may feel like an additional step delaying you from launching your app, but it can be highly valuable to your app’s success. On the other hand, a hard launch is more expensive and generally used when you have a new groundbreaking app that you want to get it to market quickly to maintain a competitive advantage and see immediate results.