How A Soft Launch Could Save The Day

May 18, 2016

The following is a short excerpt from our upcoming comprehensive guide to customer acquisition titled “User Acquisition Explained: A Cost-Effective Strategy for Finding the Audience Your App Deserves”.

More than 1,000 new apps are submitted to the marketplace every day. In such a competitive climate, user acquisition can no longer be treated as an assumed result. User acquisition has become an industry unto itself, with a subsequent rising cost per user.

However, a carefully considered strategy can send you a steady stream of active users without breaking the bank — and that’s exactly what we’re here to help you with.

Soft Launches Explained

In some ways, a soft launch is the app marketer’s equivalent to the app developer’s sprint. Each is executed within a brief, predetermined time period that’s set up to safely test ideas and quickly generate feedback that can inspire future improvements.

But while the app developer may navigate many sprints, the app marketer will only run a single soft launch. In order to gather valid feedback on app discovery and interaction trends, you’ll need to place your app in front of a significant number of real users. And you only get one chance to make a first impression.

Launching straight to your target audience, however, would leave you with little opportunity to change those initial impressions. Soft launching solves this issue by presenting your app to an analogous audience. If your primary target audience is in the United States, for example, your soft launch might quietly test your app in Canada, England, or Australia.

What A Soft Launch Can Say

These limited campaigns can reveal powerful insights on strategic elements both big and small.

At the more granular level, you’ll discover data-based answers to questions like:

  • What’s the most popular user acquisition channel?
  • Which advertising platform delivered the highest clickthrough rate?
  • Which advertising platform produced the lowest cost-per-install rate?
  • Which app screens attracted the most engagement?
  • How frequently did the average user return to your app?
  • What was the average revenue per user?

After a thoughtful analysis of these baseline metrics, you’ll be better positioned to answer big questions like:

  • Is there a clear audience who appreciates your app’s unique value proposition?
  • Which acquisition channels deliver the strongest return on investment?
  • How does the typical user navigate through your app?
  • Is your monetization model effectively capitalizing on user engagement?
  • When, where, and why does user engagement disappear?

You many not exit the soft launch holding all of these answers, but you’ll certainly know more than you did in the weeks leading up to the campaign.

Your soft launch could be a vital insurance policy against debuting an app that’s not yet ready for primetime, or it could give you even greater confidence that your idea is ready to transform the mass market. Either way, you’ll be glad you took the time.

This is just a taste of our upcoming user acquisition ebook for anyone diving into app development. Whether you’re with a cash-strapped startup or a well-funded venture exploring the most strategic investment choices for user acquisition, you will want to secure your free copy of User Acquisition Explained. Follow us on Twitter for more information.