Oak City Labs is thrilled to announce the launch of CurEat’s Android app to the Google Play store this month! CurEat, a restaurant discovery tool, is the vision of entrepreneur Steve Mangano. We are honored to have partnered with Mangano to also develop both the CurEat iOS app and cloud server, which launched earlier this year.

The CurEat team will celebrate the launch, along with the introduction of their new CurEat Experience Program, this Friday, September 1 from 6-9 pm in Raleigh at the offices of Google Fiber. The Oak City Labs team will be there and we hope you’ll join too! More information can be found here.

Want to know more about this project? Download the CurEat case study below and we’ll serve up all the details!

CurEat is available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store now!

Welcome back again to this series! Over the past two weeks, we’ve reviewed a checklist of necessary steps to take before launching your next iOS app. From your Product Page listing to marketing your app, if you’ve been following along, chances are, you’re off to a good start. Today, we’ll wrap up the series as we talk about what happens after that momentous launch into the App store!

Reviews and Analytics

Just as you would with a website, implementing, monitoring and learning from your iOS app’s reviews and analytics is a critical part of a successful app, both at launch and in the long term. Knowing how customers are using (and not using) your iOS app will provide valuable information and should influence decisions throughout the app’s lifecycle.

  • Define Success Metrics: Take time to think through what metrics would indicate to you that your app is a success. Is it a high number of downloads? A specific revenue amount? Engagement through daily active sessions? The answer will vary based on your business model. Once you have those success metrics defined, you’ll have a clear path for how to integrate, measure and review your analytics moving forward.
  • Integrate Analytics: Luckily there is a host of options available for integrating analytics into your app. While there are plenty of options to choose from, we always like to share the following with clients. Running the gamut from basic analytics available in iTunes Connect to heavy hitters like Mixpanel, the following services are a great starting point as you begin the selection process.
    • App Analytics from iTunes Connect: For basic info about your iOS app’s sales, usage, crashes and app store presence, definitely look into App Analytics from iTunes Connect. It’s free (yay!) and they are always adding new features, however, it’s important to note that most of the information is fairly basic and if you’re looking for an in-depth report, you’re going to want to explore one of the other services we discuss below.
    • Fabric Answers: A step up from iTunes Connect, Fabric Answers (via Crashlytics) is a great solution for those looking for more details. It’s also free and allows you to track common events such as sign-ups, logins, purchases and more, all in real time.
    • Mixpanel: If you’re ready to take your analytics game to the next level, consider Mixpanel. They have a free version, but you’ll most likely need to upgrade to the paid subscription as your app launches and grows. Mixpanel’s strengths lie in the details in that you can track where users are dropping off in your funnel, send push notifications to specific user groups (say users from Raleigh who haven’t visited your app for two weeks), powerful A/B Testing, in-app surveys and much more.
  • Reviews: We all know that once your app has launched, the story doesn’t end there. To have a sustainable app for the long haul, you have to constantly improve features behind the scenes. Be aware of what users are saying on social media and the ratings/reviews about your app. Their feedback will show you what features most resonate with users, as well as where your pain points lie. Don’t allow (sometimes) harsh criticism to fall on deaf ears. Consider what you can do to improve the feature: is it through a better workflow, different positioning, bug fixes?

After launching your app, set specific times to review your app analytics against the success metrics you established. Note where people are spending the most time, what trends you see in user flow through the app, how your daily active users and monthly active users stack up against your goals, etc. Taking time to review your analytics and customer feedback will show you how to plan for future releases.

We hope these past few weeks have been helpful as we’ve reviewed all the basics of preparing to launch your iOS app. If you’re in the process of creating your own app, we’d love to chat with you!

Welcome back to this series! Last week, we started walking through a checklist of necessary steps to take before launching your next iOS app and reviewed all the details about your Product Page listing. Today we’re discussing how to effectively market your iOS app.

Marketing Your App

Before you even launch your app and long after its first release, marketing should be a top priority. The more awareness you can bring to your idea, the more users you’ll see downloading your app. Consider the following as a part of your core marketing strategy.

  • Website: Your online presence can begin with a simple landing page. Start by claiming your app’s domain and setting up a basic website with a contact form, social media links and a short description. From there you can expand with more content as you have it. Use your website to collect leads from interested users that would make good beta testers or want to be notified when the app hits the market.
  • Social Media Channels: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn…the list goes on. Think through the social media channels your target audience are using regularly and start building a presence there. Before launching your app, use social media to share updates, behind the scenes details and sneak peeks, as well as solicit feedback and ideas on features. As you near your launch date, you should use social media to build hype and excitement for the big release. And once the app launches, remember to continue monitoring your social media to drive downloads and respond to customer feedback.
  • Press Kit: Depending on your marketing strategy, a press kit may or may not be a necessity. If you plan to pitch your app to get press coverage leading into your launch, a press kit is a must-have. Your press kit should be a one stop shop for bloggers and journalists who you want to cover your app. Make sure to include visual assets like your app’s logo and icon (in all sizes, resolutions and file formats), as well as screenshots and a demo video if you have one. Content such as your app’s description and basic business information (launch date, price, platform, etc.) is also essential to include. Remember your goal is to make easy for someone to want to cover your app.

Join us again next week as we close our series talking all about app analytics – a crucial step for long term success! Update: the series continues here.

As you are nearing the end of beta testing your iOS app and preparing for its submission to the App Store (and subsequent deployment out into the real world!), it’s easy to forget about a crucial part of your app’s success: the product page. Nothing has a greater impact on driving downloads and acquiring users than your App Store product page. Done correctly, your product page really can set your app up for success in the market. As you’re planning for the launch of your iOS app, make sure the following details are being thought through.

Your App Store Product Page Details

  • App Name: Your app’s name is pretty straightforward and by the time you are planning for its release, the name is likely already established. Besides your keywords, the name of your app has the single biggest impact on discoverability within the App Store. The name should be simple, easy to understand and descriptive of the service you are offering. Apple recommends name lengths should be limited to 23 characters or less (and caps them at 30 characters maximum).
  • App Icon: This is the first visual a user will see of your app in the store, as well as the long-term visual users will search for on their device to launch your app. The icon should be simple, focused and recognizable. More on Apple’s icon requirements.
  • Category: You can assign your app two categories in the App Store, a primary and secondary. Though most apps have an obvious primary category from the get-go, others have the potential to fall into a few different categories. Your primary category is what affects search rankings and discoverability, so choose wisely and think about where your targeted users are most likely to be exploring. More on Apple’s categories, including special cases.
  • Demo/Previews: A video demo or preview of your app’s core functionality is a great way to make a lasting impact on potential users and drive downloads. Videos should be short at 15 to 30 seconds in length and show your app in action. More on Apple’s Preview recommendations here and here.
  • Screenshots: You can (and should) add up to five screenshots of your app to your product page. The first two screenshots are shown automatically in search results if a demo is not present, so it’s important that they capture users’ attention and draw them into your product page for more information. More on Apple’s screenshot properties. First time creating screenshots? We’ve had a lot of success using Launch Kit.
  • Description: The first two to three lines of text are key real estate when describing your app’s functionality and features. Apple only displays this limited amount of text before appending a “more” link, which users are forced to click in order to reveal the entire text. When crafting your description text, bear that in mind and put your most compelling details first. As a whole, your messaging should provide an overview of your app’s functionality as well as a list of key features.
  • Keywords: Besides your app’s name, keywords play the most critical role in search result rankings. Apple limits your keywords to 100 characters total, including commas to separate words. It’s important to be strategic when choosing your keywords. Think through what search terms your target audience will be using when looking for an app like yours. Be specific and focused.
  • “What’s New” section: While not necessarily important for your launch, it’s worth noting that the “What’s New” section will be valuable real estate beginning with your first update. Here you should not only describe the changes, fixes and added features being released, but you should also use the space to strategically communicate with users.
  • Privacy Policy / Terms and Conditions: Apple, and the law, require your app to have a published Privacy Policy and/or Terms and Condition page if a user’s personal information is being “accessed, collected and transmitted” within and/or from your app. You must also gain a user’s permission before “accessing, collecting and transmitting” personal information. It is your responsibility to consult with legal representation to determine when a Privacy Policy is needed and what it should contain. More about Privacy Policies, including examples.

Come back next week as I continue this series on launching your iOS app with part two: Marketing Your App. We’ll be discussing creating a marketing website, social media, press kits and more! Update: the series continues here.