(Safely) launch mobile apps

Thomas Jaussoin
Sep 29, 2020 · 3 min read

If you want to combine your launch with a marketing event and a fine-tuned communication plan, this article is for you.

In the last 10 years at Lunabee Studio, we launched several mobile apps on the Stores, and this point is always discussed with our customers. I’ve tried to summarize here what we know and recommend.

It’s mostly focused on the very first launch of your app (meaning the v1.0). But some recommendations below also apply to a major update of your mobile apps.

A Mobile App is not a website

It’s obvious to say, but it means a lot.
While you can control a website end-to-end, and launch it exactly when you want, it’s not so easy with mobile apps for two main reasons:

#1: Apple and Google

First, to have your apps on the Stores, you need to have the review and validation from Apple and Google. This is the review process.
It can take from several hours to several days.

And for a first version of an app, it usually takes from 12 to 24 hours — again, be careful, it can take (a lot) more time depending on your app.

Moreover, with a first version, it’s possible you forgot one of the rules of the Stores guidelines (App Store Review Guidelines and the Developer Policy Center).
If this is the case, you get rejected, and you have to submit a new version.

#2: Stores’ cache

Once your app is ready to be published, it takes 2 to 4 hours to have it available for everybody on the Stores.

This is due to the fact that it takes time for the servers running the Stores (AppStore and Play Store) to get refreshed and up-to-date.

So even if your apps are ready to be released, don’t push the button during your press conference: do it 4 to 6 hours before if you want to make sure your app is ready!

And note that the “Search” on the App Store takes even more time: it takes approximately 2 days to have your App’s name and keywords searchable. So if you rely on the Search and your app’s name, take that into account!

Timed publishing

On the Stores, you have a convenient feature you can use to publish your app on D-day.

AppStore Connect

On the Play Store, it’s now called “Managed publishing” (under “Publishing overview” section).

And on the AppStore Connect, it’s in the “Version Release” section where you can define when you want to have it released.

Based on our experience, you can’t have a sharp launch at exactly 11AM (for the same “caching” reason — see above), but it works well for a launch on a given day.

Our recommendation

You have plenty of reasons (even beyond the app itself) that can negatively impact your marketing launch.

So what we recommend is to take some buffer while launching your mobile app: 48 hours before your D-day, you just release your apps on the Stores.
If you don’t share the link to your App, (almost) nobody will find it, so no impact on your marketing plan.

By doing that, first, you will be far more relaxed (and your developers too ✌🏻), and second, you can even publish a new version embedding bug fixes to have a perfect launch with a “version 1.0.1” on your D-day 😍.

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Lunabee Studio is a company creating premium mobile Apps in the Alps. We love mobile Apps, UX, iOS and Android. Follow us to keep up with our latest publications and news.

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