The App Launch Checklist

Actionable insights on how to successfully launch and grow your app.

Launching an app is a work of art.


There are so many things to think about! When should you start working on your press kit? What is the best way to track your acquisition channels? How can you get featured on Product Hunt?

At Branch, our mission is to help with app discovery. This checklist tool draws from best practices we have seen work in the real world, supplemented with insights gathered from around the web.

Build a launch plan See the full list

Generate a customized launch plan to save and share with others, or see everything on one page.

Tech Prep

Make sure you've integrated these into your app

Use Source/Version Control for Your Code

If you aren’t already using source control for your app project, start as soon as possible. This will prove invaluable when you need to release a critical bug fix to v1.0 of your app, after you’ve already been working on v2.0 for a month.

More

Use the Latest iOS/Android Features

Apple and Google want to show off the latest features in iOS and Android, so incorporating these into your app will make sure you have the best chance of getting featured.

More More

Enable Deep Linking

Without deep linking, your app is an island cut off from the rest of the online ecosystem. In fact, some of the most powerful, user-friendly experiences you can build in your app rely on deep linking.

More

Customize Your Onboarding Flows for Different Users

A user that comes from a shared piece of content and opens your app for the first time should be taken to that content, while a user who discovers your app in the app store should get a different app experience. Use attribution and deep linking to create great experiences for each. Customized onboarding can increase your signup ratio up to 70%.

More

Set Up Push Notifications

Push notifications are simultaneously one of the most effective and most dangerous tools at your disposal. You definitely will want to use them for re-engagement, but make sure you have a strategy that won't annoy or alienate your users.

More

Implement a Robust In-App Analytics Plan

What metrics will you track, and how will you measure success? How will you attribute your acquisition channels, including incoming traffic and downloads?

More

Marketing Prep

If you build it, it doesn't mean they'll come. Especially if they can't find you.

Research and Test Competing Apps

Over 50,000 apps are released every month, and yours must somehow stand out in order to be successful. Are you really adding something unique? What have others done successfully that you can emulate? What mistakes have others made that you can avoid?

More

Implement Search Engine Optimization for Apps

Did you know 93% of online experiences still begin with a search engine? SEO is vital for even for mobile-first companies, and the rules of road are a bit different from traditional websites.

More

Create and Maintain Social Media Accounts for Your App (Facebook/Twitter)

You want establish a presence for your app on the major social networks ahead of time. Post some feature previews to build interest, and point users to your website landing page to join the waiting list.

More

Build a List of Influencers and Bloggers with Your Target Audience

Know who the important people in your app’s field are in advance, so that you can reach out with information about your app.

More

Assemble a Press Kit

Have your press kit ready to go in advance, so that you are able to send a copy immediately when needed.

More

Pre-Launch

Not really marketing, not really tech for your app, but you gotta do it

Start a Beta Program

Early beta users can make or break your app. Among other things, they provide crucial feedback, help you find bugs, and can become the early promoters of your app by giving you reviews on your first day. Where to find them? There are plenty of forums and websites where you can invite friends and family to be your first beta testers; find more in the link below. For those who are building on Android, you can find resources here.

More

Test Your User Flows and Prototypes with Potential Customers

Things that seem obvious to you may not be clear to anyone else. Build an interactive mockup and carefully watch new users as they navigate through it.

More

Create a Web Landing Page

Use a simple landing page to promote your app prior to launch, and capture potential users’ contact info in a waiting list for your launch announcement. Bonus points if you configure a Text-Me-The-App feature that you can easily switch on after the app is released.

More

Localize Your App

Anyone can see that a global market has more user and earning potential than a regional one;. Make sure your app is built to support going worldwide. Start early and you'll reap the benefits in revenue and users.

More

Read Through Official Submission Checklist Guides

Both Apple and Google provide checklist guides of housekeeping tasks related to launching apps. Spend time to review these.

More More

Build a Growth Engine with Viral Loops

Map out where you think most of your installs will come from. Do you have website visitors you can convert? Will a customized onboarding help? Can you incorporate methods for the app to promote itself, such as content sharing and referral programs?

More

Brownie Points

For that extra edge, or maybe you have some extra time (ha!) to hack around

Add an In-App Feedback Channel

Nothing kills growth like a low star rating on the App/Play Store, so don’t make reviews the first stop for user feedback or issues. Consider building an easily accessible, in-app feature for users to reach out to you.

More

Build a Sustainable Testing Strategy

Not every app will need to invest in a full-scale suite of automated regression tests. However, the surest route to a slew of 1-star reviews is to release an app that crashes. At minimum, make sure you are manually testing your major features on real devices prior to submission.

More

Build Flows to Collect User Data for Later Engagement

Around 25% of users only open an app once, and the 90 day retention rate can be as low as 14%. With numbers like these, re-engagement campaigns are crucial and you’ll need some way to contact your users if you want a shot at bringing them back.

More

Implement a Crash Reporting Tool

If your app crashes, you need to know about it and have some idea of what to do next.

More

Get the Right Measurement and Engagement Tools for Growth

There are literally hundreds of app-centric services in dozens of different categories. Some will be necessary for your app, and some won’t make sense to use (or will only be relevant later). Have an idea of which ones you will need and get them set up prior to launch.

More

Add Content Sharing

If your app has content, you probably want users to be able to share it with friends. This can drive viral growth, but you need to make sure your deep linking infrastructure is set up to support it on all platforms.

More

Launch Day

t minus 0

Follow Up with Public Relations (PR)

The press kit you prepared earlier? That list of bloggers and influencers you built? Hopefully you’ve reached out to them and set a few embargoes. Check in with them and remind them when you’re launching and when to announce!

More

Get At Least Five 5-Star Reviews as Quickly as Possible

A good average rating is one of the best ways to attract new downloads from users browsing around the store. Start with friends and family, beta users, or even strangers you meet at the local coffee shop or on campus.

More

Make Your First Users Feel Special

Doing things to make your users feel special will help bring them back. Think of the initial app experience as a first date — you need to make it personal, light, and interesting.

More

Use Paid Ads for a Boost

Paid acquisition will most likely be too expensive to use for ongoing growth. But limited paid campaigns during the first few days can be used to build visibility, which you can leverage into organic downloads.

More

Set Up Google Alerts for Your App's Name

You want to know when your app gets mentioned on any website!

More

Submit to Product Hunt

Product Hunt is one of the best ways to get an influx of new, tech-savvy users. But you only get one shot, and having a successful Product Hunt launch is an art of its own. Other sites to try include Beta List, Launching Next, and Appolocious.

More

Post Launch

Build off the momentum. Don't run out of steam!

Immediately Prepare an App Update

Counter-intuitive as it sounds, you should have an update ready to go almost right away after your launch. Users prefer recently-updated apps, so you don’t want your initial release to sit around getting stale while you prepare a new version.

More More

Monitor Your App Mentions and Reviews

When you get a poor review (it will eventually happen!), you can often reach out to the reviewer to help resolve any issues. This can be a great way to keep your average rating up.

More

Run Video Ads

Video is one of the most engaging formats available. Take advantage of this by creating video ads for your app

More

Add a Referral Program

User referrals can be a huge growth channel, if implemented correctly. Hiding an ‘Invite’ option deep in your app won’t work here — you need to design your referral program so it makes sense with your broader strategy.

More

Improve App Latency and Performance

Mobile users expect quick, responsive app experiences. Make sure you optimize your app to eliminate slowness — if you can’t deliver, users will find someone else who can.

More

Repeat

Unless you have a huge marketing budget, start out of the gate with a featured placement, or get a massive viral boost, prepare yourself for a slow start. Your first release isn’t the finish line — it’s the starting block.

Use Source/Version Control for Your Code

If you aren’t already using source control for your app project, start as soon as possible. This will prove invaluable when you need to release a critical bug fix to v1.0 of your app, after you’ve already been working on v2.0 for a month.

More

Use the Latest iOS/Android Features

Apple and Google want to show off the latest features in iOS and Android, so incorporating these into your app will make sure you have the best chance of getting featured.

More More

Enable Deep Linking

Without deep linking, your app is an island cut off from the rest of the online ecosystem. In fact, some of the most powerful, user-friendly experiences you can build in your app rely on deep linking.

More

Customize Your Onboarding Flows for Different Users

A user that comes from a shared piece of content and opens your app for the first time should be taken to that content, while a user who discovers your app in the app store should get a different app experience. Use attribution and deep linking to create great experiences for each. Customized onboarding can increase your signup ratio up to 70%.

More

Set Up Push Notifications

Push notifications are simultaneously one of the most effective and most dangerous tools at your disposal. You definitely will want to use them for re-engagement, but make sure you have a strategy that won't annoy or alienate your users.

More

Implement a Robust In-App Analytics Plan

What metrics will you track, and how will you measure success? How will you attribute your acquisition channels, including incoming traffic and downloads?

More

Research and Test Competing Apps

Over 50,000 apps are released every month, and yours must somehow stand out in order to be successful. Are you really adding something unique? What have others done successfully that you can emulate? What mistakes have others made that you can avoid?

More

Implement Search Engine Optimization for Apps

Did you know 93% of online experiences still begin with a search engine? SEO is vital for even for mobile-first companies, and the rules of road are a bit different from traditional websites.

More

Create and Maintain Social Media Accounts for Your App (Facebook/Twitter)

You want establish a presence for your app on the major social networks ahead of time. Post some feature previews to build interest, and point users to your website landing page to join the waiting list.

More

Build a List of Influencers and Bloggers with Your Target Audience

Know who the important people in your app’s field are in advance, so that you can reach out with information about your app.

More

Assemble a Press Kit

Have your press kit ready to go in advance, so that you are able to send a copy immediately when needed.

More

Start a Beta Program

Early beta users can make or break your app. Among other things, they provide crucial feedback, help you find bugs, and can become the early promoters of your app by giving you reviews on your first day. Where to find them? There are plenty of forums and websites where you can invite friends and family to be your first beta testers; find more in the link below. For those who are building on Android, you can find resources here.

More

Test Your User Flows and Prototypes with Potential Customers

Things that seem obvious to you may not be clear to anyone else. Build an interactive mockup and carefully watch new users as they navigate through it.

More

Create a Web Landing Page

Use a simple landing page to promote your app prior to launch, and capture potential users’ contact info in a waiting list for your launch announcement. Bonus points if you configure a Text-Me-The-App feature that you can easily switch on after the app is released.

More

Localize Your App

Anyone can see that a global market has more user and earning potential than a regional one;. Make sure your app is built to support going worldwide. Start early and you'll reap the benefits in revenue and users.

More

Read Through Official Submission Checklist Guides

Both Apple and Google provide checklist guides of housekeeping tasks related to launching apps. Spend time to review these.

More More

Build a Growth Engine with Viral Loops

Map out where you think most of your installs will come from. Do you have website visitors you can convert? Will a customized onboarding help? Can you incorporate methods for the app to promote itself, such as content sharing and referral programs?

More

Add an In-App Feedback Channel

Nothing kills growth like a low star rating on the App/Play Store, so don’t make reviews the first stop for user feedback or issues. Consider building an easily accessible, in-app feature for users to reach out to you.

More

Build a Sustainable Testing Strategy

Not every app will need to invest in a full-scale suite of automated regression tests. However, the surest route to a slew of 1-star reviews is to release an app that crashes. At minimum, make sure you are manually testing your major features on real devices prior to submission.

More

Build Flows to Collect User Data for Later Engagement

Around 25% of users only open an app once, and the 90 day retention rate can be as low as 14%. With numbers like these, re-engagement campaigns are crucial and you’ll need some way to contact your users if you want a shot at bringing them back.

More

Implement a Crash Reporting Tool

If your app crashes, you need to know about it and have some idea of what to do next.

More

Get the Right Measurement and Engagement Tools for Growth

There are literally hundreds of app-centric services in dozens of different categories. Some will be necessary for your app, and some won’t make sense to use (or will only be relevant later). Have an idea of which ones you will need and get them set up prior to launch.

More

Add Content Sharing

If your app has content, you probably want users to be able to share it with friends. This can drive viral growth, but you need to make sure your deep linking infrastructure is set up to support it on all platforms.

More

Follow Up with Public Relations (PR)

The press kit you prepared earlier? That list of bloggers and influencers you built? Hopefully you’ve reached out to them and set a few embargoes. Check in with them and remind them when you’re launching and when to announce!

More

Get At Least Five 5-Star Reviews as Quickly as Possible

A good average rating is one of the best ways to attract new downloads from users browsing around the store. Start with friends and family, beta users, or even strangers you meet at the local coffee shop or on campus.

More

Make Your First Users Feel Special

Doing things to make your users feel special will help bring them back. Think of the initial app experience as a first date — you need to make it personal, light, and interesting.

More

Use Paid Ads for a Boost

Paid acquisition will most likely be too expensive to use for ongoing growth. But limited paid campaigns during the first few days can be used to build visibility, which you can leverage into organic downloads.

More

Set Up Google Alerts for Your App's Name

You want to know when your app gets mentioned on any website!

More

Submit to Product Hunt

Product Hunt is one of the best ways to get an influx of new, tech-savvy users. But you only get one shot, and having a successful Product Hunt launch is an art of its own. Other sites to try include Beta List, Launching Next, and Appolocious.

More

Immediately Prepare an App Update

Counter-intuitive as it sounds, you should have an update ready to go almost right away after your launch. Users prefer recently-updated apps, so you don’t want your initial release to sit around getting stale while you prepare a new version.

More More

Monitor Your App Mentions and Reviews

When you get a poor review (it will eventually happen!), you can often reach out to the reviewer to help resolve any issues. This can be a great way to keep your average rating up.

More

Run Video Ads

Video is one of the most engaging formats available. Take advantage of this by creating video ads for your app

More

Add a Referral Program

User referrals can be a huge growth channel, if implemented correctly. Hiding an ‘Invite’ option deep in your app won’t work here — you need to design your referral program so it makes sense with your broader strategy.

More

Improve App Latency and Performance

Mobile users expect quick, responsive app experiences. Make sure you optimize your app to eliminate slowness — if you can’t deliver, users will find someone else who can.

More

Repeat

Unless you have a huge marketing budget, start out of the gate with a featured placement, or get a massive viral boost, prepare yourself for a slow start. Your first release isn’t the finish line — it’s the starting block.

Your Launch Plan

Here is your list of things to try when planning your app release!

Tech Prep

Marketing Prep

Pre-Launch

Brownie Points

Launch Day

Post Launch

The Full List

Tech Prep

Marketing Prep

Pre-Launch

Brownie Points

Launch Day

Post Launch