3 Metrics for Soft Launching Your New Mobile App

3 Metrics for Soft Launching Your New Mobile App

Posted on October 15, 2014 0 Comments

Soft launch image

Sssh! Soft launch in progress.

Building a high-quality app isn’t enough. A soft launch may help monetize your app and ensure its success by optimizing the user experience while measuring user retention and virality.

Having a great idea for a mobile app is only the first step toward your hopeful success story. The process by which you create that masterpiece involves a series of investments that include planning, development and testing. Before your app is ready for prime-time, consider the value in beginning with a soft launch.

A thoughtful soft launch provides you with the opportunity to deliver your finished app to a small test group or audience prior to the official release. It will take time and preparation, but the feedback you receive from a soft launch will offer significant opportunities to improve your app… before it’s too late.

1. Testing App Functionality

When you began your development project, you had a plan: create a highly functional mobile app that users would come to rely upon -- whether it is designed to aid productivity or offer entertainment. No matter how thoroughly you try to test your app, nothing beats real-life user experience.

You may be surprised by the bugs, glitches and missing functionality that will be identified with the organic user experience (UX) data collected during a soft launch.

2.  Measuring App Performance

Testing your app during development often means having control over the devices and environments being used. Getting your app out in the wild, even in a small way, will allow you to consider the following risk factors:

  • How quickly can your app be downloaded and installed? An app that installs slowly can reduce user confidence instantly.
  • How does your app perform on a tablet vs a smartphone? If you accommodate both platforms, be sure that increased screen resolutions and other hardware-related factors do not affect how your app performs.
  • How much storage space does your app require? When configured by your customer, how much space will they need to keep your app on their device? This is especially important for users with older devices that may have significantly less capacity.
  • How well does your app work without data connectivity? Most enterprise apps do not function well without strong data connectivity. What features on your app will users be able to access when they are not connected to a data network.

3. User Experience: From App Store to Installation and Beyond

How easily can your users find your app through store searches? Does the app description accurately communicate the purpose and functionality to those who downloaded and installed it? Was the user interface (UI) easy to learn and operate? All of these questions and more are best answered during a soft launch.

Even if you conducted usability testing of your app during an earlier stage of development, this process evaluates more than the app itself. Having accurate labels and meaningful workflow is wonderful, but if users aren't inclined to even download it in the first place, it doesn’t help you much.

The important thing is to listen to your soft launch users: look for the feedback that includes words like ‘except’ and ‘unless.’ You may be surprised by the assumptions users make.

Two considerations when reviewing your user experience data:

  • User Acquisition (UA). Be sure you are attracting the users you expected; your app should solve their business needs and keep them engaged long enough to boost productivity.
  • User Experience (UX). What functions are users embracing inside your app? Where are they being successful? Are there consistent sources of failure? How long are they spending with your app?

The answers to these and other important question can be discovered through your soft launch.


Whether you choose to engage a select group of early adopters or an entire business unit, the benefits of a soft launch are tangible: gain popularity, grow your reputation, generate enthusiasm, and demonstrate an investment in your project--not to mention the money saved by lessons learned sooner rather than later.

Making sense of the data you collect during a soft launch can be a challenge, but promises to give you valuable insight. Try to keep in mind that at this late stage, you are searching for quick wins: small changes that offer significant impact.

As you move forward with your next mobile app project, turn to our trusted advisors @UX_Progress as they offer expert advice on how to create simple, consistent and contemporary experiences for your users.

Michelle Tackabery

An experienced content and social media marketing professional, Michelle writes frequently about the practical applications of information technology.


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