It is quite easy to get caught up in the momentum of a growing trend and not put a structured plan in place, and to not slow down and ask yourself
The need for businesses of all sizes to at least investigate the feasibility of launching their own mobile app is a good example of this, with many business owners not realizing that the work on the app continues even after you have launched it through the app stores.
In this article we will attempt to answer “what next?” by exploring some of the tasks that continue after launch.
Both Apple and Google have published comprehensive guidelines that cover all the requirements that must be met before an app is submitted to their respective app stores. It goes without saying that the app must be fully functional, and Shaun Quarton covers a few of the more common points to consider, but have you also looked at:
Is your app applicable to users worldwide, or only those in a certain country? Consider adding your app only to app stores relevant to your market.
Is any of your content suitable only for mature audiences? If so, make sure you apply the correct content rating.
Does your app meet all the legal requirements of the markets in which it is being made available? Apple is quite clear that it is the developer’s responsibility to ensure that no part of their app violates local laws.
Although these guidelines need to be followed throughout the development of your app, we have included it as a “What next?” point because it should be checked once again immediately prior to the launch of your app.
Umar Khan recently covered the essentials of an App Promotion Checklist, and we recommend you read the article if you haven’t already done so. Taking a deeper look at some of the points he raised, you should remember the following:
Your landing page can be published before your app even launches, but after it has launched it should be updated to reflect that the app is now available, and include the relevant app store badges with links to the app itself.
Associating your app with your identity is not limited only to online collateral. You can promote your app in almost any marketing material you put out, from traditional print advertisements, through to catalogues, brochures, and even your email signature.
While it is true that social media can result in great results, the amount of variables that influence this mean that not all businesses will see the same results. Remembering that the average half-life of a tweet is only 24 minutes (versus 90 minutes for a Facebook post), and that Facebook posts that aren’t boosted only reach between one and two percent of your audience, it is important not to rely exclusively on social media to boost visibility of your app.
Any marketing you employ in promoting your app should not be limited to immediately following the launch. Write about it periodically on your blog, ensure that the app store badges are prominently displayed on your website, and mention it every few weeks on your social media accounts.
Maintenance of your mobile app is influenced by several factors, including:
Software updates are easier to plan for since both Apple and Google are known to release one major update to their operating system each year, followed by several smaller updates that are mostly bug fixes. But these are not the only software updates you may need to be aware of; if your app includes any third-party integrations, or API calls, you will need to monitor these too for significant updates that may affect your app.
In addition to this you should expect, and plan for, feature requests from your users, and minor bugs that may have been missed during development. Since your audience will be using the app far more frequently that you, you should make it easy for them to alert you to any bugs they find, and to submit feature requests. This can be done by using services such as User Voice and Get Satisfaction on your website, and integrating Doorbell, Instabug or Apptentive into your app, without forgetting valuable feedback that can also be found in any reviews your app receives.
What is important with all of the above is that you don’t ignore the feedback, and you don’t take your time in correcting any issues. Having a maintenance plan or schedule in place will prevent you from neglecting your app due to time constraints.
App analytics are not vanity metrics: they are not there to only tell you how popular your app is. App analytics can also tell you a bit about your audience, while also guiding you in terms of making improvements to your mobile app.
App analytics solutions range from the fairly basic such as Google Analytics, to the more detailed solutions offered by App Annie, Flurry, Appsee, Countly and Localytics. Each of these offer a variety of insights into your app’s performance and user behaviour, allowing you to determine which features work, and which don’t. These insights can be used to help you optimize your app, and make it more appealing to your audience.
There is no denying that developing an app requires effort, but what comes next demands an almost equal amount of effort. Your app cannot succeed, nor benefit your business, if you do not promote it, maintain it, and analyze how it is being used. And none of these are once-off tasks; they continue in cycles for as long as your app is part of your business plan.
Neglect one of them and you may well end up having to start your mobile app strategy all over again. And asking, “what next?”.