They say that the secret to good comedy is timing, and so is the launch of an app. We’re often asked by customers when is the best time to launch an app so here are our thoughts on the dos and don’ts of launch timing so that you can have the best possible app marketing strategy.
Thursday is good for iOS. Apple tell us that Thursday is a good day to launch. Likely that’s due to the fact that the App Store changes the editorial round every Thursday so people check for new changes. We also think that Thursday is good because if you send out a release then you will hopefully capture people as they tend to browse the store more over the weekend.
Watch out for public holidays. Lots of people get caught out by this. One trick that some of the big guys use to boost sales is to hold a price promotion around a big holiday in the USA. Black spots include Easter Weekend, Christmas and Thanksgiving. We tend to advise against launching in these periods as the charts become full of AAA games on sale and your app won’t get much of a look in or will need many more downloads to chart. Christmas is especially hard for most developers. You’re going to be faced with a mass of new titles launching a week or two before Christmas to capitalise on all the major gifting of phones and tablets that will undoubtedly happen, as well as the price drops between Christmas and New Year. Our opinion is that it’s best to steer clear of Christmas/holiday periods unless you have a heavy hitting AAA with a big budget behind it. If in doubt, check the US calendar before your launch to check there are no public holidays. If you are interested in the price fluctuations of any app, especially your competitors (unless they are free of course!) then take a look at the ever-excellent Appshopper.
Hardware updates. This pretty much applies just to Apple. Apple has largely settled into two main times of the year to update their hardware, April for the iPad and September/October for the iPhone and iPod. Launching at this time can be a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because Apple are looking for anything that will leverage and show off their new tech so they invariably pounce on apps that have anticipated hardware changes such as the retina display. Take a look at our Pocketgamer.biz blog for more about this. On the other hand, it can be a curse because your press release will simply get drowned out in the tsunami of news that invariably accompanies any kind of Apple hardware launch so we say steer clear of hardware launches unless you have Apple drooling over your latest innovation.
Once approved, don’t make your app live immediately – This is an extremely common mistake that a LOT of developers make,namely that your app is approved and you put it out as soon as that happens. Instead, we recommend to wait a week or two and use that period to generate hype with the media and offer out promo codes (which you will have been given when approved) for review. This way, if you secure some reviews before launch then you can put positive review scores at the top of your app description as well as try to coordinate your launch on a single day.
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