ironSource blog

Optimize Your User Acquisition Strategy with a Soft Launch

This article originally appeared on App Annie. Tal Shoham is the VP of International Business Development at ironSource. 

It’s all too common for app publishers to simply launch their app and hope for the best. With over two million apps in both the Google Play and iOS app stores, you can’t afford to take any chances when the goal is to stand out from the crowd. In our experience at ironSource, a soft launch is absolutely critical to long-term success.

In a soft launch, you have the opportunity to release your app to a specific and restricted audience. This lets you test the waters, iron out any issues, and optimize your app for user experience and revenue generation before millions of users get their hands on it.

Here are three reasons why you should soft launch your app, plus our recommendations for a successful implementation. 

1. Test for your ideal user in other markets

Before opening up your app to the marketplace, consider who your ideal user is — where do they live? How much disposable income do they have? Are they male or female, young or old?  

Recommended Reading
How to Execute the Perfect Soft Launch for Your App
Google Early Access: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
8 Free App Discovery and App Marketing Tricks That Actually Work

Test the lifetime value (LTV) and acquisition costs of users across geographies and demographics that match your ideal user. App developers looking to build a user base in the United States, for example, typically do a soft launch in Ireland, the Netherlands and Canada. These users behave similarly to those in the US but are more affordably priced.

Or, if you’re strapped for cash, stick to Singapore and the Philippines. The people in these countries are well-versed in English but are cheaper to acquire. Bear in mind, however, that since they don’t have the purchasing power of US users, spending behavior might differ.

Your first test group can also help you evaluate ROI and the effectiveness of your acquisition channels. Do users from social and search ads generate the most revenue, or do you get better results with cross promotion? How much did they cost to acquire, and can you find alternate channels? Test your campaigns by incorporating various traffic sources into your UA strategy.

2. Add to your audience insights

You’ll be able to learn a lot about your audience during a soft launch. Pay attention to where users show the most — and least — engagement. Retention is the key metric here.

First, focus on your onboarding process to discover where users drop off. How long does it take before a player arrives at your main offering? How much explanation is needed for someone to start actively engaging with your app?

Then, begin testing other parts of the app flow. When do people begin running out of coins (if it’s a game)? What percentage of users complete the sign-up process? Which features aren’t they using?

This first test group will help expose technical bugs and design flaws, and also show you how well your ideal user might interact with your app.

3. Confirm monetization modeling

Critically, a soft launch can help you find the right balance between monetization and retention. Be sure to test everything regarding revenue, from the prices in your in-app economy to the ad units you display.

For example, it’s important to include more high-engagement ad units such as rewarded video into your advertising mix, and see how they stack up against banner ads. You can also test fill rates and eCPMs (effective cost per thousand impressions) across different networks to ensure the best possible revenue for your app. The most efficient way to do this would be to integrate an ad mediation solution, which will allow you to plug into and test multiple different ad networks with only one SDK integration.

In addition to optimizing your ad-based monetization strategy, it’s wise to test various in-app purchase price points, as well. This way, you can identify the sweet spot where users are comfortable spending regularly on in-app goods.

Final steps before a soft launch

Before launching, you’ll want to confirm which metrics and features you plan to monitor during your soft launch. To summarize, you’ll be able to gather invaluable feedback on:

– App performance (including potential bugs)
– New app features
– Overall media mix
– Advertising creative and brand messaging
– Budget expectations
– What users like — and don’t like

It’s important to go through every variable with a fine-toothed comb during a soft launch so there are no surprises when you release your app into the global arena.

As you narrow in on a version of your app ready for official release, you should see less and less variance in data. Once your data shows you’re ROI positive, the consistency should signal you’re ready for the real thing. Remember, even once your app goes live, you’ll always need to continue tweaking, adjusting and A/B testing.

ironSource Blog

The Source


3 Myths About Playable Ads

Daniel Herman is the product manager for playable ads at ironSource. This article originally appeared on PocketGamer.  While playable ads are the hottest ad unit out there, there are are still a few myths around the format which persist on both the app monetization and marketing sides. Below we go through some of those myths,..


ironSource Launches Active Protect Program to Minimize Mobile Ad Fraud

ironSource today announced the launch of the Active Protect program, a program for mobile advertisers which aims to prevent the most frequent types of fraud on non-SDK traffic - primarily attribution and device manipulation - by blocking fraudulent or manipulated traffic in real-time and automatically re-crediting advertisers for any spend on fraudulent traffic. Fighting mobile..


Should Non-Gaming Apps Use Playable Ads?

This article originally appeared on iMedia Connection.  Advertising technology is evolving, and as developers continue to become more creative with their ad formats, the industry is revealing there is much more to digital advertising in 2017 than simple banner or interstitial ads. The time is right for new, exciting ad formats. 91 percent of users..


The What, How, and Why of Playable Ads

Oren Cohen is the VP Media at ironSource. This article originally appeared on VentureBeat.  In 2013, the global ad blocking craze pushed the ad industry to rethink its strategies — users were fed up with intrusive, irrelevant, and boring ads. In response, we slowly saw mobile ads shift towards ad formats and creatives that both..


App Monetization and Marketing Tips: Q&A with Eric Seufert

It’s not uncommon for beginner app developers to wait until the end of the development process before considering their monetization and marketing strategies. It’s daunting and hard work to acquire new users and make money at the same time. But, as we’ll soon learn, it’s important to keep monetization and marketing in mind from the..


What The Hell Are Interactive Ads?

Interactive ads are digital ads designed for user interaction and they can be used on desktop, tablet and mobile. As smartphone capabilities have evolved, it’s become possible to support the richness of interactive ad experiences on mobile - and the format is fast-becoming the hottest ad unit out there. Types of interactive ads Interactive ads..


Fastest Growing Apps Reveals: April’s Gaming Winners

Tracking the fastest growing apps across different download ranges, ironSource’s Fastest Growing Apps platform is a great indicator for changes, trends or disruptions deeper down in the mobile ecosystem. Looking at the list of April’s Fastest Growing Apps, a few game sequels made it onto the list of Fastest Growing Apps, with lots of them..


Supercell Talks Unique Company Culture and Winning Game Design Strategies

Timur Haussila and Linda Astrom from Supercell came to ironSource HQ to speak about Supercell’s unique company culture, as well as share the game design and development strategies behind their hit mobile app Hay Day. You can watch a video of the talk at the bottom of this post, but if you don’t have time,..


Top 7 Apple WWDC 2017 Announcements for App Developers

Apple packed a slew of software and hardware announcements into a quick two hours at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on Monday. Before we get started, get in the mood with this video Apple showed to kick off the keynote. Then we’ll go through WWDC 2017’s top announcements for iOS developers. New and improved..

Interested in becoming an ironSource partner?

We’d love to hear from you.