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Soft launch of a mobile app. Step by step.

Last time we talked about the various stages of a product, and we came to the conclusion that at different stages we need different creatives and thus different purchasing methods. Today we’re going to talk about the soft launch” - this is the first stage where marketing is fully integrated into the process.

People who are at the soft launch stage often come to our agency and ask if we can help them with marketing. Some of them only need to purchase traffic, others need to produce creatives, and still others need a full cycle.

It should be clarified here that agencies aren’t interested in purchasing in small volumes.
The monthly purchase volume at which it’s profitable for an agency to work with a client starts from 20-40 thousand dollars per month. With smaller volumes, an agency won’t be able to be cost-effective, since they’ve got a whole team working on the project, and good brains cost money.

However, when we talk about soft launches, most often such large purchase volumes are simply not needed. The volumes are smaller because the goal is not to make a profit right from the start, but to check the monetization of the product on organic and purchased traffic. We look at how users behave, test hypotheses within products, and so on.
We can say that the main goal is to study whether or not we have growth potential and then correct mistakes as needed. Therefore, large purchases volumes aren’t needed here.
As you can see, in this situation, most often it’s not very profitable for an agency to make a purchase. For our part, we usually simply provide information on how to correctly and efficiently make a test purchase. Of course, in order to scale that purchase, you’ll need to use almost all available channels, such as Facebook, TikTok, Google and other networks such as Unity and others. But you can still start with just one platform - for example, with Facebook.

That being said, even a test demands creatives, and we’re happy to help with this. Let's see how creatives at the soft launch stage differ from creatives at later stages.

Firstly, we definitely don’t need perfect quality. We need to get enough quality to just test some hypotheses - namely mechanics that usually catch peoples’ attention.

How can we understand what mechanics need to be checked?

Very simple - you can use various spy tools, study the work of competitors, and see what creative approaches they’re using. If you believe you don’t have any direct competitors, then you need to find the closest product and study its promotion mechanics. At the end of this step, we should get a more complete understanding of the current trends in the market.

Next, based on these trends, we need to get at least a dozen different variations that we can then implement in creatives.

Very often, ideas can be recreated via screencasts - this method is great for the initial stage. But at the same time, most likely we’ll still need motion design, albeit to a minimal extent. Thus, an approach involving screencasts and simple motion design will allow us to test a wide range of ideas for little cost. And at the same time, we won’t waste time on long production cycles.
For the "Mr Autofire" project, we used a combination of screencasts and motion design. As a result, we got spectacular, plot-driven videos. These allowed us to collect the necessary data and move on to the next stage of product promotion.

So, we found a dozen different approaches and made creatives based on them. What's next?

The next step is to buy traffic and see the numbers. Usually, 100 paying users are sufficient. This means that we need to buy several thousand users who will simply install the game and play. Here we will be able to see retention rates and paying cohorts, as well as look at user behavior in general.
First of all, you need to pay attention to whether traffic pays off at all. Then, you move on to a deeper analysis - we look at which countries show the best performance. We can focus on these countries further when scaling the project, or make a lookalike audience based on this data.
The main feature of purchases at this stage is small budgets. About 5 (maximum 10) thousand dollars will be enough to conduct a full-fledged test on Facebook.

The first stage of a test advertising campaign is a test of creatives. Most often, as part of comparing creatives with each other, we measure IPM. With this data, we compare the creatives with each other and choose the top performer, as well as creatives that are as close as possible to the top performer in terms of IPM. Usually we get 2-4 of these, and in fact, these are already ready to be launched for other types of optimization.

The ideal option for testing is ROAS optimization, but it will most likely be a simple optimization on in-app purchases.

When we collect a sufficient number of buyers, we’ll be able to see which creatives we have that are really “winners” in terms of performance – we’ll definitely need them in the future when we continue to buy traffic. We’ll also understand which geographies will convert better in this channel and in general how well the channel suits our product.

Let's summarize!

The goal of purchases at the soft launch stage is to achieve an ROAS close to one. That is, our task is to ensure that the traffic that we buy comes as close as possible to paying for itself. If this is the case, then we can move on to further stages, and at the same time we’ll already have a lot of important data. We’ll rely on this data throughout process of further procurement and when scaling the most successful campaigns. In the same way, it’s important that we understand which of the creatives that we received at the start were the most successful.

All this will form the basis for further progress, which we’ll talk about in the next entry.

Good luck!
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©2022, AdSide Media
©2022, AdSide Media