What is the value of soft launch for an application?

Do you know the situation when you developed an application that does a great job, has an attractive interface, and was advertised properly, but never turned a profit? We hope not. But such situations happen quite often. But they can be avoided thanks to a simple approach – soft launch – which allows you to minimize risks and bring your project as close as possible to success. 

What is Soft Launch in development?

What is Soft Launch in development?

Soft launch is an approach to launching applications, which provides for a thorough testing of the application itself and its advertising campaign literally in combat conditions, and not just at the level of a hypothesis. Translated from English, Soft Launch means soft launch. On the one hand, this is true, because you reduce costs and work out all the risks, on the other hand, this is a real test for your application, the result of which may not be the most pleasant. 

Soft launch provides for the actual launch of the application, but for a small part of your target audience. It is very important that this is exactly the target audience in order to obtain relevant data. At the same time, the number of users can be different – from a couple of hundred to several thousand, it all depends on the scale of the product and the needs of the test. 

What is it for and its use for the application

When an application is just created, there are always many risks at launch: how the application will be perceived by users, whether sufficient indicators will be gained for all metrics, whether the application will be monetized successfully, whether the channels for promoting and attracting users to the application are chosen correctly, and so on. Before you check all this and get real numbers, all your assumptions are only assumptions, and you should not rely on them. 

Soft launch helps to work out in detail all the risks that await your application after a direct launch. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of this approach. 

1. Troubleshooting 

First, of course, these are bugs that are easily exploited, and your users will definitely tell you about them. Do not take such feedback as criticism, on the contrary, it is a huge help from your audience, which should only become a point of growth and improvement. 

Secondly, any flaws in user scripts will also be found. The fact is that even design professionals cannot always predict all user paths one hundred percent. And during operation, you will immediately clearly see which scenarios are unclaimed, which are imperfect and require improvements, and which are not provided, although they are in demand. This way you will get even more ideas and useful hints to improve your application. 

2. Testing monetization 

When developing a plan and ways to monetize, we always rely on rather abstract data. This is not surprising, because the goal of developing any application is to create a unique product, which means that there is no specific data on user behavior for it yet. A soft launch helps you check how likely your audience is to make in-app purchases, whether ads interfere with them, and how effectively any other monetization methods you have chosen are working. At the same time, you have the opportunity to improve it along the way, receiving more and more new data. 

3. Checking advertising campaigns

Advertising campaigns for new applications are also based on hypotheses. Soft launch is, first of all, an indicator of how attractive the ad itself is, which sites and tools work best, where you should invest your budget and how much it costs to attract a user. At the same time, we recommend paying attention not only to the amount of traffic from a particular source, but also to its quality. After all, users who are not the target audience and will not meet your expectations can come from advertising. 

4. Clarification of the target audience

The fact is that the intended target audience also does not always turn out to be accurately and correctly defined. During a soft launch, it may turn out that your product is not at all interesting for the category of users you were counting on, but this does not mean that it is useless at all. Perhaps you just misidentified the audience. Try not to narrow the reach segment too much at the initial launch, then you can make sure which category of users is interested in your product, which one brings the most profit, and which one should be excluded from coverage in the future. So, it may turn out that your audience is much wider, and you could miss out on some of the profits due to not taking into account other segments. 

5. Budget savings 

Of course, all these variations of pre-testing and hypothesis testing can save you a lot of money. There have been numerous situations when the product was not successful, failed due to one function, or vice versa, was very popular, but turned out to be unprofitable due to improperly selected monetization. All of this can be avoided with a soft start. 

6. Ability to change the course of events

When you have realized your mistakes on a small part of your target audience, you still have every chance to correct them. So, we have already mentioned that the soft launch will help fix bugs, correct usage scenarios, improve monetization and improve the advertising campaign. But let’s look at things more globally: it is soft launch that determines whether your application will be successful or not. And it is at this stage that, based on all the metrics received, you can understand whether it is worth making the changes that turned out to be necessary, whether the project will pay off, or its completion is not worth the effort. Yes, be prepared for the fact that the soft launch will show that your application is a failure. Based on this risk, we recall that for a soft launch it is not at all necessary to develop the entire application, you just need to implement the basic, most important functions, which will give a basic understanding. And additional features can be added along the way. 

How to hold a soft launch?

How to hold a soft launch?

It doesn’t take much to conduct a soft launch: a basic product that you want to test, a small part of your target audience or as close as possible to it, a relatively small budget for an advertising campaign, as well as a team of specialists who are ready to collect all the analytics, draw conclusions and make decisions. . 

Stage 1. Stability testing

First of all, it is necessary that your application works stably, is ready to withstand the load and, in simple terms, does not slow down, otherwise this will significantly spoil the user experience and damage the purity of the experiment, distorting the data obtained. The software must be brought to the market only in a fully tested form, without critical and too noticeable errors and malfunctions. Despite the fact that the soft launch is a test launch, the further fate of your application depends on it, so you need to approach it with all responsibility. 

Stage 2: Retention testing

To confirm the success of your application, you need to have a sufficient user retention rate. So, it is recommended to immediately determine which level suits you as the minimum, and strive for maximum performance. Check where users spend the most time, which features are popular and which are causing problems. Working with user behavior will help identify your strengths and highlight weaknesses that still need to be worked on. 

Stage 3. Monetization testing

At what point are users ready to make in-app purchases? How much are they willing to spend? What percentage of users are willing to pay? Monetization is a whole series of questions, the answers to which are vital, because they determine whether your application will pay off, whether it will be profitable, and whether it is worth further work. We also recommend that you predefine satisfactory metrics to make it easier for you to evaluate the metrics that you will receive in the process. 

Key metrics for soft launch

Key metrics for soft launch

When soft launching applications, you should pay attention to everything, because you never know in advance where the key information is hidden for the further development of the project. Moreover, the primary indicators will depend on the main objectives of your review. For example, if you are confident in a product but doubt monetization, you will first of all pay attention to monetization metrics. If you are confident in monetization, but doubt the advertising campaign, you will pay attention to the metrics of user acquisition and retention, and so on. We cannot determine which indicators will be key for your project, but we can draw your attention to those indicators that are vital for any application: 

  • Retention – how much your application is able to retain users, what percentage is inclined to return to you again and again, and what percentage refuses the application in the very first days;
  • ARPU – the average income per application user will help determine how much your advertising campaign and investment in the application as a whole pays off;
  • Average Check – the average amount of one purchase in the application will show how much your paying users are willing to spend on your products, maybe you should apply discounts or lower prices to get even more profit;
  • Lifetime Value – the total income that the client bears for the entire time of using the application;
  • Virality – how likely your users are to recommend your application to others, whether they help distribute it, thereby saving your promotion budget, and at what stages they are ready to share your project with friends. 

If the answers to these questions do not suit you, think about it, maybe your application has already turned out to be an unprofitable investment and you should not invest more in it. 

To develop an application and conduct a successful launch, please contact us at Smart Fintech. To do this, just leave a request on the site or contact us in any other way convenient for you. We will advise you and answer all your questions. We look forward to helping your business reach the next level.


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