The soft launch of a mobile app is all about collecting data. But what happens if you’re a CMO, mobile marketer or a product marketing manager at a mobile startup unfamiliar with the necessary tracking and technicalities of data collection?
Don’t worry. This practical guide describes in detail which product and marketing analytics you need to have in place before you acquire your first cohort of users.
App and game publishers should approach the soft launch process with an open mind, without personal bias and with a commitment to using the data alone to determine what is and isn’t working. It’s crucial to collect information that allows you to make effective and informed decisions further down the line.
Your soft launch plan should have three main focus areas:
1/ To validate the product-market fit and collect feedback from early adopters.
2/ To optimize the user flow, retention and balancing for better monetization.
3/ To gain data for more effective user acquisition which can be scaled up with your hard launch.
We’ve witnessed several examples where publishers have jumped into the soft launch process without having detailed app tracking and any mobile attribution in place (the latest article about the attribution is here: https://appagent.com/blog/2019/01/09/the-principles-of-mobile-ad-attribution-analytics-and-tracking/). This can result in any money invested into pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns effectively being wasted. Buying data only works if you can track, analyze and learn from what you’ve measured.
When to implement mobile analytics in the app development cycle
Once you’ve completed your MVP and the feature set is frozen, it’s the right time to introduce analytics. At this point, your product should have enough content or functionality for about 20 minutes of usage, which the average person can enjoy over a couple of days.
Only when your app is at this stage will you have enough substance to be able to measure how effective the initial engagement is, and to make a decision on whether there’s a clear product-market fit – or if the product needs further development or reworking.
Mobile marketing analytics and how to set it up
As Tomek Chudzinski from AppAnnie stated at 4C Conference in October 2018, the top 50 games in the world have a 40% share of total of paid downloads. My bet is that the figure is even higher for apps.
Be prepared that organic growth among your user base will be slow in the beginning. As it gains momentum, users will come to the app – but in an unpredictable and uncontrollable manner. In this situation, paid acquisition is a necessary – and in most cases essential – source of attracting new users.
Here’s an overview of analytics SDKs for Android and iOS, including information on the best attribution tools and optimal setup (the latest summary about the right tool for you is here: https://appagent.com/blog/2020/03/02/whats-the-best-mobile-attribution-partner-for-your-app/).
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Which app analytics integrate to collect all soft launch data
When you’re planning a soft launch you should be always thinking of two “tracks”, including both marketing/acquisition activities and product activities. This means, for example, having a plan of A/B experiments both on the marketing and product side. Always remember the rule of analytics that: to improve it you need to measure.
To measure the engagement of users with your app it’s essential to control the technical quality of the app via developer analytics, and product quality via app analytics.
Here are the things you need to measure.
I hope that the benefits of a soft launch are clearer now and that you understand a little more about the value of data.
To help you with your own soft launch, I’ve selected two articles from experts that you should read. One from Eric Seufert who presented a case study of Jelly Splash launch at GDC back in 2014, and the second from our friend Matej Lancaric who went into a great detail with his Ultimate Guide on Gamasutra earlier this year.
If you have a question or comment that you would like to share, or if you are seeking help with the soft launch of an app or game on the Google Play or App Store, then please contact me today (vit at appagent dot co).
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