Launching a new mobile app is a thrilling endeavor that represents the culmination of creativity, innovation, and hard work. In many ways, it’s the modern-day version of cutting the big red ribbon for the grand opening of your new business. The anticipation has reached a fever pitch of making your platform available to a vast audience, providing new value, and potentially revolutionizing the way people live, work, or entertain themselves. What will users think? How many monthly active users (MAU) will participate? Does this little app have what it takes to go viral?

However, this crucial phase is also littered with challenges that demand careful navigation if your fledgling app is to survive.

Problem 1: Low App Visibility

App stores are flooded with millions of apps across various categories. As a result, even well-designed and innovative apps get buried under the sheer volume of competing offerings. Between limited marketing budgets and competing with established apps, new apps need to fight tooth and nail just to be noticed, let alone downloaded.

How to Improve App Visibility

At the heart of ASO (app store optimization) lies the art of keyword optimization. Keywords are the words and phrases users input when searching for apps. They’re the foundation of discovery for your target audience, so you must choose relevant and high-traffic keywords that encapsulate your app's core functionalities. Incorporating these keywords strategically within your app's title, subtitle, and description can significantly boost your app store rankings.

App Store Optimization Tips:

  • Your app name and title are the biggest ranking factors that algorithms use in placing your app in search results. In both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, you’re limited to 30 characters. Include your highest-priority keywords and brand name here.
  • Research keywords in your category and prioritize claiming those with high search volumes and low competition. These keywords should be used naturally throughout your app store listing. Don’t overstuff with keywords — keep your listing easy to read!
  • Apple App Store ranking is strongly influenced by keyword optimization, user engagement, and app quality. Google Play Store app ranking is more strongly influenced by user reviews, app ratings, and download numbers.
  • Your app icon should be easily recognizable on small screens, appear clearly on both light and dark backgrounds, and not replicate UI elements within the logo; it should represent your app's purpose, not its interface!

Don’t Forget!

Reviews and ratings play a crucial role in determining the visibility and success of a new mobile app on both app stores. Apps with higher ratings and more positive reviews are likely to appear higher in these lists, leading to increased visibility.

Leveraging in-app surveys to solicit user feedback is the most direct way to combat negative reviews, build social proof, and make your new app more visible in the process.

Problem 2: Lack of Initial User Base

Gaining traction with a new user base during a mobile app launch is an uphill battle marked by fierce competition, limited initial awareness, and the challenge of capturing users' attention in a crowded digital landscape. With countless apps already established, breaking through requires overcoming the inertia of user habits and convincing them of your app's unique value proposition.

How to Get Users for a New App

Early bird incentives can be a powerful strategy to drive new users and generate buzz for a new mobile app launch. By offering special rewards, benefits, or discounts to users who adopt the app early, you create a sense of urgency and motivation that encourages them to download and engage with your app. When users know they have a limited window to access special offers, they're more likely to take immediate action to benefit from the incentives. Make that FOMO work for you!

Early Bird Incentive Examples:

  • Fitness App - Personalized Workout Plans
    - Incentive: Offer early users a free one-month subscription to personalized workout plans tailored to their fitness goals.
    - Impact: This incentive appeals to fitness enthusiasts who are looking for effective workout routines. It encourages them to download the app, experience the value of personalized plans, and potentially convert to long-term subscribers.
  • Mobile Game App - Exclusive In-App Currency
    - Incentive: Provide early users with a substantial amount of exclusive in-game currency that can be used to unlock rare characters, power-ups, or items.
    - Impact: Gamers are enticed by the prospect of progressing faster and enhancing their gameplay experience. Offering a significant amount of in-game currency as an early bird incentive encourages users to download the game and start playing immediately to enjoy these benefits.

You'll also want to leverage social media to attract a larger user base leading up to a new app launch. Engaging with online communities and forums related to your app's domain can foster relationships and subtly introduce your app to the online world.

Social Media Reminders For New Mobile Apps:

  • Encourage user-generated content, hold contests, and implement hashtags to enhance your app's discoverability.
  • Promote early bird incentives through posts to create a sense of urgency.
  • Utilize video content to showcase app features and tutorials, capitalizing on higher engagement rates.
  • Collaborate with influencers within your app's niche to lend credibility and widen your reach.

The crux of a successful social media strategy lies in delivering value to your audience, nurturing engagement, and fostering genuine connections that drive users to your new app launch.

Don’t Forget!

For wider exposure, consider leveraging paid mobile user acquisition. This refers to the practice of acquiring new users for your mobile app through paid advertising and marketing efforts. This involves investing in various advertising channels such as social media ads, search engine marketing, display advertising, influencer collaborations, and more to promote your app and attract users. This strategic approach helps generate traction in a competitive app market if you’re able to keep your customer acquisition costs (CAC) under control.

Make sure you review how to calculate your customer acquisition costs and how to improve user lifetime value (LTV) to maximize profit.

Problem 3: Poor User Onboarding Experience

There’s nothing worse than botching a first impression, and the consequences are the same in the digital world. A confusing or inadequate app onboarding process can have disastrous effects on your app's initial user experience and overall success. It can lead to user frustration, a lack of engagement, and increased abandonment rates during those crucial early stages. Negative first impressions due to poor onboarding can lead to low user retention and negative reviews, hindering your app's ability to gain a strong foothold in a competitive market.

How to Create a Better Onboarding Experience

A smooth onboarding sets the tone for the entire user experience, making people feel welcome and confident in using the app from the start. A user-friendly onboarding experience minimizes confusion with the inclusion of a brief tutorial, allowing users to quickly grasp how to navigate and utilize the app.

Remember, an intuitive onboarding process leads to positive user experiences, increasing the chances of users leaving favorable reviews. Effective onboarding lays the foundation for continued user satisfaction, retention, and growth beyond the initial launch of your app.

New App Onboarding Tips:

  • Simplicity: Keep the onboarding process simple and easy to follow, focusing on the app's core features.
  • Minimal User Input: Minimize the amount of user input required during onboarding to expedite the process.
  • Personalization: Collect basic user preferences during onboarding to tailor the experience to individual needs.
  • Progress Indicators: Show users how far they are in the onboarding process to set expectations.
When you’re ready to fully tackle this process, we suggest you check out this helpful guide for how to build an effective mobile app onboarding process.

Problem 4: Technical Glitches and Bugs

For newly launched mobile apps, technical issues and bugs can be a major source of frustration for both users and developers. Bugs can disrupt the user experience, causing crashes, freezes, or unexpected behaviors. This disrupts users' interactions and hinders their ability to use your app effectively. Encountering technical issues immediately after downloading an app is a guaranteed way to cause new user churn, not to mention poor reviews and ratings.

How to Launch an App Bug-Free

Thorough testing and quality assurance are paramount before launching a new mobile app, as they lay the foundation for a smooth user experience. Identifying and addressing potential technical issues, glitches, and bugs pre-launch helps prevent user frustration, negative reviews, and loss of credibility.

Bug-Free Testing Must’s:

  • Utilize Beta Testing: Enlist a group of beta testers to provide real-world usage feedback and catch any hidden issues.
  • Compatibility Testing: Test the app on different devices, screen sizes, and operating system versions to ensure consistent performance.
  • Performance Testing: Evaluate the app's speed, responsiveness, and resource usage to identify any performance bottlenecks.
  • Error Handling and Recovery: Verify that the app handles errors gracefully and provides clear instructions for users to recover.

Don’t Forget!

In-app messaging serves as a vital communication channel to maintain strong user engagement and transparency during updates and bug resolutions for a newly launched app. As updates are rolled out, in-app messages proactively inform users about new features, improvements, or changes, ensuring they are well informed and prepared for the evolving app experience.

Moreover, in the event of bugs or issues, real-time in-app messaging allows you to address users directly, providing explanations, status updates, and estimated timelines for fixes. This transparent approach not only minimizes user frustration by keeping them informed but also showcases your dedication to delivering a seamless user experience.

Check out these six in-app messaging examples from successful apps to see for yourself!

Problem 5: Limited Features and Content

Users are more likely to abandon an app that missing features to captivate their interest or provide value. Without engaging activities or functionalities, users have little reason to spend time within your app. And that’s how all too many new apps get lost in new user churn.

How to Add Value to Your New App

By consistently introducing innovative functionalities, refining the user experience, and offering content that resonates with your target audience, your app can establish itself as an indispensable solution. Regular updates, driven by user insights and market trends, create a sense of anticipation and encourage app retention, fostering a positive cycle of growth and user satisfaction.

Easy Ways to Add Value for New Apps:

  • Gamification: Integrate game-like elements such as challenges, rewards, and leaderboards to boost engagement.
  • Push Notifications: Use targeted push notifications to inform users about new features, content, or updates.
  • In-App Events: Organize special events, challenges, or promotions to keep users engaged and excited.
  • Roadmap Planning: Develop a clear roadmap outlining when and how new features and content will be introduced, ensuring a well-paced rollout.
  • Educational Resources: Provide tutorials, tooltips, or guided tours to introduce new features and content to users.
  • Feedback Loop: Encourage people to provide user feedback on new features, and use this input to refine and improve them over time.

Problem 6: Monetization Struggles

On one hand, effective monetization strategies are essential for sustaining app growth and profitability. On the other hand, an overly aggressive approach can harm the user experience, leading to frustration, decreased engagement, and even user abandonment. Striking this balance requires careful consideration of user needs, preferences, and pain points.

How to Monetize Your New App

The singular best advice for monetizing a newly launched app is to prioritize user value and experience above all else. Focus on delivering a high-quality app that meets user needs and provides genuine value. When users find your app indispensable and enjoyable, they are more likely to engage with monetization features such as in-app purchases, subscriptions, or ads.

App Monetization Inspiration:

  • Diversify Monetization: Consider a mix of monetization methods that align with your app's nature and user base. This could include in-app purchases, subscriptions, ads, affiliate marketing, or selling digital goods.
  • Freemium Model: Offer a free version of the app with basic features and provide premium features through a paid subscription or one-time purchase. This allows users to experience the app before committing to payment.
  • Regular Updates: Continuously improve the app based on user feedback and industry trends. Regular updates can introduce new features and content that justify subscription costs or premium pricing.
  • Segmentation: Segment your user base to tailor monetization methods to different user groups. What works for one group might not work for another.
Read more about how app monetization works to explore monetization models in detail.

Problem 7: Retention and Engagement Problems

It’s easy to satisfy user expectations during the initial excitement of downloading a new app, but sustaining user app engagement requires ongoing effort. Without consistent updates, fresh content, and meaningful interactions, users will lose interest and abandon your app. The challenge lies in consistently delivering value, addressing evolving user needs, and creating a compelling reason for users to return on a regular basis.

How to Engage and Retain New Users

Mobile user segmentation is the name of the game. This begins by dividing your user base into segments, or targeted categories, based on behavior, preferences, and demographics. Segmented push notifications deliver tailored content to specific user groups, ensuring that users receive relevant updates, promotions, and incentives that resonate with their unique preferences. If you are going to interrupt your user’s day with an alert on their phone, it better be relevant and add value to their lifestyle. The more positive conditioning you inspire with personalized user interactions, the more sustained engagement you will see.

In-app messaging, on the other hand, assists users during onboarding, guides their interactions, and educates them about features. By providing timely tips, offering personalized recommendations, and celebrating their achievements, in-app messages create a sense of value and personal connection, both of which help reduce mobile app churn.

Use Cases for Retention-Driven Messaging:

  • Push: Recommend content or products based on users' past interactions and preferences.
  • Push: Alert users about limited-time promotions or discounts on items they've shown interest in.
  • Push: Remind users about abandoned carts and offer an incentive to complete their purchase.
  • Push: Provide location-specific notifications about nearby events, deals, or services.
  • In-App: Provide interactive tutorials that guide users through specific features they haven't used yet.
  • In-App: Display personalized progress trackers that showcase users' accomplishments or usage history.
  • In-App: Offer in-app rewards or bonuses for users who haven't engaged with the app recently.
  • In-App: Provide contextual messages based on the user's current location, time of day, or usage pattern.

Mobile Messaging That Engage From the Start

OneSignal was founded by app developers who were looking for a better way to reach their audience and nurture user relationships. Today, we offer industry-leading multi-channel messaging tools designed to delight mobile users with personalized content. Our platform is painless to set up, requires no development work, and allows you to get started for free.

Give OneSignal a Try