The 8 Things You Need to Do to Get Your App Ready for the iPhone 6 Launch

announcementApple’s September announcements always bring out the excitement (or the ire) of technology experts, enthusiasts, journalists and startups. We crunch the numbers, report the statistics, and make predictions on what these changes mean for the mobile industry.

But what can get lost in this is just as important: the users. To them, it’s just their new phone, set up with cool features and begging out for a host of great apps.After Apple’s 2012 iPhone 5 announcement, app downloads the following month soared, as users rushed to fill their new, app-less phones.

Fisku, in their App Store Competitive Index, saw app downloads soar to 5.40 million daily downloads in October 2012, a 33% increase from that September. According to their data, “organic searches soared during the month, as users eagerly explored the App Store, enthusiastically searching for new apps to download on their new iPhones.”

And it didn’t stop there. There were over 100 billion App Store downloads in 2013, and native apps now dominate mobile usage.

So, how do you make sure your app stands out in the crowd? And how do you ensure that your app is ready to meet new user expectations? It’s all about differentiating yourself from the other apps they could be exploring. Move beyond the download; make sure your app is engaging enough to hold user attention long-term.


#1. Perfect your ASO

When you’re developing and launching an app, it’s easy to overlook App Store optimization. While it may be a go-to marketing tactic, it takes an investment, and most developers skip it: don’t be one of them. Top lists, organic search and positive reviews all play a role in the app users’ discovery process, and in order to make your app apparent and convey the benefit of downloading it.

App Store optimization primarily involves incorporating the right keywords into your store listing so that it ranks higher in search results and is easily discovered. The higher the traffic to your listing, the more users you can convert. ASO also includes identifying the right category for your app, including relevant app screenshots in your listing, and garnering ratings and reviews, which help in the decision of whether or not to download.

Really, it’s just a chance for you to showcase the value, spectacular features and differentiators of your app, and it doesn’t take a marketing team to do that. You know your app through and through, so highlight the key benefits, round up the relevant collateral, and ask current users to rate your App Store listing.

Required reading: The Definitive Guide to App Store Optimization (ASO)


#2. Ensure top-notch performance

You’ve spent time, money and resources to develop the perfect app. But if the first thing a user sees upon app open is an error, all of your dedicated work can go unnoticed. Similarly, if your app takes too long to load, your user could abandon it before even viewing the home screen. As a developer, you know that this is a potential issue, but it goes beyond the mechanics and affects user loyalty. Ensuring that the app experience is error-free is crucial, and you don't want to lose a new user over a small issue. 

Monitoring app performance allows you to immediately address, prioritize and troubleshoot prominent app issues, ensuring that those crucial first few seconds upon app open go smoothly. We recommend using Crittercism to help maintain uptime, pinpoint errors and continue perfect performance. It also allows you to track app crashes, request volume, and network latency. The best part? You can catch issues before your users do, addressing the problems proactively instead of retroactively.

Required reading: Mobile Monitoring Metrics that Matter for Reliability


#3. Make new users feel welcome (and point them in the right direction)

When someone downloads a new app, they are most likely unaware of the best way to use that app, and can turn away from it before deeply interacting with any of the screens. In many cases, the app features you think are most valuable go undiscovered because new users spend little time initially exploring your app - if it’s not apparent up front, why go searching for it? While your app may be easy to navigate and self-explanatory to you, not all users will give it the time.

Try creating a series of screens or deploying an in-app message that identifies the key features and how to best use the app. That way, you introduce the user immediately to the best your app has to offer, negating useless browsing time and honing in on the answer to “Why should I use this app?”. A warm welcome can make the entire experience more enjoyable and less frustrating for the user.

Required reading:
Top 6 Help Design Patterns for iPhone Apps


#4. Create user segments

Preparing for new users isn’t just about optimizing your app functionality and employing marketing - it’s also about preparing your infrastructure. Analytics are the key to grasping what’s happening in your app, including what works (and what doesn’t), and how your users behave. Segments, in particular, are crucial to understanding app success. Segments are a group of users who have completed at least one event (action) in your app within a specific time period, but can include multiple events and even events not completed by users.

As you make preparations, create ahead of time important user segments that will dynamically populate as new users qualify. Why? Because then you’ll go directly from acquiring to analyzing without missing a beat, and by end of Day One, you’ll have concrete insights into how your new users are initially interacting with the app.

Required reading: App User Segmentation - 4 User Segment Examples


#5. Define key app events

Let’s go back to events, for a minute. When users open your app, they (hopefully) complete a series of actions, or “events,” in-app during their session. These events are representative of how your user interacts with the app, which screens they view, which features they encounter, and what they find most useful.

If I asked you now, would you know the most important events you want your app users to complete?

Events are self-defined, and exist entirely because you say they do. As you brace for new users, take a minute to improve your analytics by identifying and tagging the actions you think are key to signifying a successful app interaction. Do you want users to visit a particular screen, or add an item to their cart? Do you want them to complete a game level or unlock a badge? It’s up to you to define what a good app session looks like, and track that for better insights.

Required reading: How to Tag Mobile Apps with Events & Attributes


#6. Make sharing easy

Social sharing isn’t just for news and media apps. Whether it’s “liking” an app on Facebook or tweeting your tracked run time, sharing the going-ons of your app experience through social channels or email have become common place. Often, it is a normal extension of your app, and provides additional organic interaction possibilities.

By enabling cross-platform sharing, most notably the ability to share with friends various activities or content your user enjoys, your app becomes a more integral piece of their lives. When sharing is made easy, this value is conveyed sooner, improving engagement long-term and prompts immediate usage.

Essentially, when social promotion is available and easy to do, your app users can more readily share what’s important to them, engaging them with the app immediately and creating a more cohesive experience. They’re already expecting a certain level of social integration, so make sure to exceed their initial assumption.

Required reading: Keep it clean: App Store Policy Of Rejecting Apps With Rewarded Video, Social Sharing Gets Rolled Back…With A Few Caveats


#7. Allow users to opt-in to push messages (and make it compelling)

Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that all push notifications are bothersome, intrusive and pointless. App messaging has become an increasingly important tactic in engaging app users, to the point where 68% of people have enabled push notifications and 70% of consumers find all types of push notifications valuable. And while app users are ready and willing to engage with push messages, they want to do it on their terms. So, give them the option.

Presenting your users with the choice to opt-in to receiving notifications right away, and making it simple to change that within their settings over time, establishes an immediate sense of trust and verifies your app’s credibility, and let’s them know that there is more to come. Plus, it ensures that your users are receiving the messages that they want to receive. Your app users are not a giant homogenous group of people, and so not all push messages will be relevant to everybody. To boost opt-ins, be sure to outline what kind of content, offers and information they will receive as push notification users, and create a custom opt-in message that speaks to your app (instead of enabling the default).

Required reading: The 3 Pivotal “P’s” of Getting Your Users to Opt-In to Push Messages


#8. Send a special offer

Fifty percent of people say the #1 reason they download apps are to receive discounts and special offers. Why not give them what they’re looking for early on in the relationship? This can be done by creating a rewards-based program, or even implementing a one-time, mobile-only offer and promoting it with a well-timed in-app message. Unlock a premium subscription article for their first session, or send them a discount for their next check-in. No matter your app type, there is an opportunity to capitalize on exclusivity and provide a deal. This will help your app stand out, keep the user in-app longer on their first open, and create loyalty (or at least intrigue).

Required reading: The Anatomy of a Successful In-App Messaging Campaign


Don’t get left in the dust. As more and more smartphone adopters look to download the apps that suit their lifestyle, more and more apps are developed and launched each day. Secure your spot as one of the best, and turn your one-time app users into every day visitors!

 

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