Every Monday, I write about something new you can try this week to drive more downloads for your mobile app and increase engagement with your existing app users, based on what has worked (and what hasn’t) for 23snaps.
This one isn’t strictly marketing but getting this wrong can seriously impair your user acquisition efforts. Regardless of whether you consider yourself in beta, midway through your product roadmap or done with the final version of your app, your app had better work as expected on any device for which it’s available.
Both in the early days when you’re first promoting your app, and later when you’re more established, the number one deterrent that will keep people from downloading is a ton of bad reviews. Reviews are the only things besides your app description and images at the point of download to help potential users make a decision. If your brand new app has a bunch of one or two star reviews, all of your promotion efforts will be completely undermined by what people see when they get to your page in the App Store or Play Store.
What I’ve noticed is that people very rarely leave one or two star reviews for not having a feature they want or how an app looks. Usually these types of comments will appear in three and four star reviews of people who are generally happy with the app and idea and want to see more added going forward. In most cases, one and two star reviews, the ones that keep other people from downloading come from performance issues. This can include crashing, broken screens or links, and features that don’t work.
There are three primary ways to ensure your app is Store-ready before you submit and promote.
First, you can test in-house or yourself. You shouldn’t simply be testing your app on a virtual environment – set up an account on TestFlight so you can install a test version of your app on multiple devices. When testing your app, you shouldn’t simply be looking at whether or not the app works as expected (although that is critical) – you should also be thinking about load times, how the app performs on 3G vs 4G vs Wifi, how the app performs on a slow network, or how it works on older devices like iPhone 3S. When testing for Android, there are literally thousands of devices that have almost as many variations. Does your app use the camera functionality? The Nexus 7 doesn’t have a back-facing camera – how does your app perform without one? Use video? The Samsung Galaxy records such high quality video by default that a 3 second video can be more than 10mb – how does that affect upload time and app performance? Every time we release a new version of the app, we test extensively in-house; easily spending a week or more in staff hours going through each screen and feature.
If you want to keep the process in-house but don’t currently have the expertise or time to test properly (here’s a tip – if you tried doing testing and quality assurance yourself and still got a bunch of bad reviews, this is you) then consider hiring a freelancer or a full time QA specialist. The benefit is that you have an expert who also gets the chance to know your app quite well, a major plus to make testing faster and more effective.
Finally, you can hire an agency which specialises in testing apps, of which there are many. This may be cost prohibitive for small startups or individual developers, but might be worth it particularly if you’re just starting to develop for Android, as an agency has the resources to test across dozens of the most popular devices.
My Monday Mobile Marketing Tip for this week: Test, test, test before you launch or update your app. Perfect your product with either in-house or agency support because there’s not a lot of point in doing tons of marketing to send someone to an App Store listing full of one star reviews.