Soft Launching Your App: What it is and Why You Should do it

January 12th, 2019

Soft Launching Your App: What it is and Why You Should do it
David Bell

by David Bell

CEO at Gummicube, Inc.

When your app is ready, it may be tempting to launch it everywhere immediately. But discretion is often the wiser choice – a soft launch may be appropriate before your app goes live worldwide. With that in mind, here’s what you should know for your app’s soft launch and how it can help your App Store Optimization.

1. What is a Soft Launch?

A soft launch is a carefully controlled app release outside of its primary market. Releasing an app to a smaller region helps developers prepare the app for a wider release to a larger market, so they have begun launching their apps in locations with smaller markets before bringing them to the United States.

When preparing an app for a soft launch, it’s important to pick a location that aligns well with your intended full launch market. While every location has differences in what users are attracted to and the terms they search for (hence the necessity of localization), you’ll want to find a market that matches yours as closely as possible. You wouldn’t want to launch an app for an English-speaking audience in regions where few people speak the language, for instance.

2. Benefits to the App

Soft launching is a solid strategy for preparing an app for a wider release. Think of it as a limited test run to ensure everything works well before sending it to a wider audience while building your app’s relevance.

When launching an app, there’s always the chance of unexpected errors. There may be bugs that made it past beta tests, or your servers aren’t prepared for a large number of users logging on at once. With a soft launch, you can test the waters first and catch any unexpected pitfalls with a smaller audience, rather than have to deal with them on a larger scale.

Soft launching can also help gather user feedback early on. Any consumer concerns raised during the soft launch can be addressed before the wider release, while gathering positive reviews will still be beneficial as you can update based on what users respond well to.

3. Benefits to App Store Optimization

In addition to in-app performance, a soft launch can also help gauge conversion performance and build metadata relevance. You can learn what keywords are most relevant for your app during the soft launch, just as you would after a full release. Your app will begin to build relevance and start indexing for keywords during the soft launch, which will help the app stores recognize your app and you can use ASO software to identify what keywords are performing best. Those keywords can then be highlighted and targeted when the app is launched for larger markets.

Similarly, you can discover which creatives work best at converting users. Think of the soft launch as an additional form of testing before the app goes live in larger markets. You can even determine which features users are liking and using the most during the soft launch and incorporate that information into your marketing and creative sets.

4. To Summarize

A soft launch can be a great way to understand what works for your app early on, before your major launch. A good soft launch can determine strengths and flaws both in the app itself and its optimization.

With a soft launch, you can locate bugs early on and fix them before the app reaches a wider audience. You can gauge audience feedback and discover what users like about the app. The soft launch will even help determine what keywords and creatives work best for your app so you can improve its optimization in time for the larger release.

Overall, a soft launch helps ensure you’ll have your best foot forward when your app goes live in your intended market.

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