Beta launch · IOS

When to launch to App Store with a private beta?

Nikolay Derkach

July 5th, 2014

We launched a private beta (about 20 users) of consumer-facing ios app.
The was no marketing done for the app, and we got about 400 subscribers on our landing page - mostly with being featured on major thematic websites and word of mouth in social media.
The app we developed is heavily community-based and is travel related.
The functional testing is over and we fixed most of the bugs and performance issues.

Unfortunately, we didn't get much traction during the private beta (are we expected to?). I've tried to collect some feedback and initiate conversations with them, but was unable to get any quality feedback. If I get any, it was something along the lines "I want an app which does everything for me: from travel planning to itinerary management, booking and in-destination suggestions".

Does it makes sense to launch to app store right now and focus my efforts on a different project, or shall I try to change the product and pivot within the private beta to get traction instead?

Carolyn Branco Head of Marketing at Snupps

July 5th, 2014

Congrats on getting the app done! RE your question - There are two schools of thought here. A) Launch quickly, “fail fast” and pivot based off consumer engagement. B) Continue to test in private, build a large private beta, and pivot based on consumer feedback. (Instagram did this one, quite well, their first concept was Burbn (http://mashable.com/2014/07/02/instagram-was-burbn-first/) was killed after 9 months in private beta, and they did a zoom in pivot to instagram). From what I can tell, the alternatives you’ve suggested are neither. 20 users is really not enough to pivot, esp for a consumer app. But I’m wondering whether you’ve gone through the steps to validated your problem, first, or you’ve just tried to validate your solution. Happy to discuss offline, but it sounds like you may need to step back and figure out if all your hypotheses are accurate, and go through the lean canvas/customer development process. Reach out if you have any Qs. -- Carolyn Branco uk.linkedin.com/in/carolynsimnett/

Sathya Atreyam

July 5th, 2014

I would suggest a few things as go to market: identify / Carve out a target audience -- use the feature sets and ask which specific age group can you target. Seek ways to get batches of 25-50 people who will really use your app -- reach out to these sets of 25-50 from different geographical areas in the country.

Sathya Atreyam

July 5th, 2014

Nikolay -- elaboration on my above comment: take a look at the below template: 
Step1: Fill in the blanks in the below template
Step 2: Take the Target customer and list various sub categories type of customers --e.g. based on age, geography, interest (business / personal), family or individual etc.
Step 3: see if you can reach out to a minimum 25-30 in EACH of subcategories
Step 4: Then use this above people to recommend to people whom they think have similar need. 

Template: 
For  ____________ (target customer)
who ____________  (statement of the need or opportunity)
our (product/service name) is  ____________  (product category)
that (statement of benefit) ____________ .

Sample(s)
For non-technical marketers
who struggle to find return on investment in social media
our product is a web-based analytics software 
that translates engagement metrics into actionable revenue metrics.

Near Privman Googler, Startup Advisor

July 6th, 2014

I would say you haven't yet done a beta, since you didn't get enough users to try out the app in order to say whether or not it is able to get traction. I would suggest spending a few hundred dollars on targeted marketing to see the response of a more statistically significant group. I'm assuming you have analytics in place to see what the users do inside the app, because installs won't tell you much about whether or not it's providing value to your users.

Carolyn Branco Head of Marketing at Snupps

July 6th, 2014

Really like this Sathya Highly recommend leanlaunchlab.com for keeping track of these hypotheses and testing them. -- Carolyn Head of Marketing Snupps.com (http://www.snupps.com)

Viktor Dmytrenko Digital Marketing Manager at Ubertesters

September 12th, 2016

Mainly, it has no sense when to launch. You need to collect the strong team of testers, testcases, and choose the right tool. Check out this material: http://blog.ubertesters.com/mobile-games-testing-secrets/

Hope it can help.