Your team has just finished work on an Android app. It’s as big as the world and twice as handsome. 99.9% of the bugs are fixed. All systems are live and ready for launch. What now?
You are obviously excited to introduce it to as many people as possible.
But there’s one more thing standing in your way. OK, it's 1,600,000 other things, but who’s counting? 1,600,000 of android apps are currently available in the Google Play Store. Bummer.
Just think about these raw stats: Google Play saw 100% more downloads than Apple's App Store over 2015.
It looks like there’s still a ton of work left after development’s done. Where can you begin?
Step 1 – Stand out and shine!
The initial optimization of your app for the App Store is the first challenge on the way to making it noticeable and appealing for potential customers.
You should have considered your Unique Selling Point back at the pre-launch stage. And you have done so, given you are a smart and savvy app owner. Now it’s time to answer the mother of all startup-related questions:
What makes your product stand out from dozens, if not hundreds, of competitors in its category?
Ensure people know why they should choose you over others. A bit of ASO should do the trick.
As the majority of installs are provided via search, your App’s name and description optimization affect the lion's share of your total downloads. That’s why Google Play suggests making the name unique and understandable. That’s why WE suggest you place your most relevant keywords into both the title and app’s description section.
It’s just like plain old SEO. Find words you want to rank for. Place them in the beginning of the app description. Enjoy your solution popping on top of relevant search results.
Yet, sadly, visibility is not all it takes. It doesn't guarantee the purchase! Even after you've managed to attract enough attention from potential users from search engine rankings.
Your users have to decide whether they like what they see. Visual representation is the deal-breaker from this point on. Poor icon design or non-informative screenshots are a major turn-off, even though the app itself is probably the best thing since sliced bread.
Step 2 – Aim for the stars!
What does it take for an app to hit the top 100 chart? Not much, just a set of fresh 5-star reviews and at least 4 stars in average rating. Additionally, 58% of users check reviews before making a decision of whether or not to download an app. That’s why user feedback is vital for your app’s rates.
Something as simple as lack of attention to something as common as user responses leads to a loss. You literally lose hundreds of potential customers, while oblivious to the scale of the problem.
If high rankings are your goal, then:
- Encourage users into a conversation;
- Ensure they provide positive reviews and recommendations;
- Respond to their issues or reported bugs;
- Provide timely updates.
Step 3 – Stand on solid ground!
Average cost per install for Android mobile app was $2.51 in February 2016. That’s massive. A 66% increase since 2015! And yet, your app has to reach a certain amount of downloads, depending on category, to get into the Top Charts.
You could probably use a hand here. Luckily, there are numerous app marketing platforms, promotion agencies and SEO services available which are happy to boost your “downloads” meter.
Such organizations provide social media coverage, cross-promoting within the developers' network, SEO/ASO optimization etc.
As an app owner, you are free to invest as much or as little in post-launch app promotion. Frankly, “How much is enough?” is a rhetorical question. At this point you have to analyze promotion costs/profits ratio. You must build the most effective marketing strategy, given the budget, expected profit, and your app niche.
For example, gaining users via incentivized networks is less expensive than mobile ads. But the average revenue per user is lower.
Paid promotion is inevitable in a highly competitive mobile app market. You’ll want to keep in mind that it can bring you only so far. For instance, it is frequently advised to invest in a burst ad campaign to engage rapid downloads.
It will bring you to the Top Charts. For a while.
The rest depends on your product's quality and the maintenance solely. Analytics tools (e.g. App Annie or MobileDevHQ) are your best friends from hereon in. They will monitor the effectiveness of your promotion strategy.
Step 4 – Win their hearts
Yes, both the number of downloads and the number of installs are important for forming your app rating. Still, they don't ensure that the same amount of people will be using your app in a year, a month, or even a week after installing it.
On average, 60% of all customers are expected to stop using a mobile app after a month, and only around 4% will continue to actively use it within a year.
More to that point - recent research of the global mobile app retention rate shows that 25% of apps are used only once.
User retention is determinative for evaluating the app's lifespan, and for building its long-lasting reputation. Maintaining user engagement and winning loyal customers through continuous development is a tough challenge.
That’s when all the sleepless hours of development, testing, and support actually kick in. They are what differentiates successful and up-to-date projects from long-forgotten clutter.
Which team are you on?