The big day is here: Your mobile app has been fully developed. It’s been tested until it’s squeaky clean, gone through a beta and received user feedback. All that’s left for you to do is upload it to the App Store and hit publish —right?

Although the trickiest parts of the mobile app development life cycle are behind you, the final act of publishing isn’t as open-and-shut as you might first believe. If you’re totally new to launching a mobile app, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind before your app reaches the general public.

How to Navigate the App Stores

Just like you wouldn’t open a new restaurant without visiting the location first, you should familiarize yourself before launch with the marketplace for your new app: either the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store.

iOS App Store

Even if you’re an experienced iPhone user, you might not be familiar with the current incarnation of the iOS App Store, which Apple unveiled at its 2017 annual conference for the new iOS 11 operating system.

The new App Store has a navigation bar at the bottom containing five elements: Today, Games, Apps, Updates, and Search. These last two remained from the iOS 10 App Store, but the first three are new. In particular, the Today landing page features only one app and game of the day, in contrast to the iOS 10 App Store, where featured apps were chosen from a number of categories. What’s more, the Apps and Games pages have been redesigned to encourage users to browse featured apps in several subcategories. Finally, if you didn’t already know, Apple has launched (and continually improved) their Search Ads functionality for the App Store, which are essentially Pay-Per-Click ads inside the App Store that’ll help your app get discovered.

Google Play Store

Although Google frequently makes small changes to the Play Store’s layout and look, the basic functionality remains the same. Like iOS 11, the Google Play Store recently went through a major release: Play Store 8, which debuted in June of 2017.

The landing page for the Google Play Store displays a number of featured apps subdivided into categories such as New, Recommended, and Popular. You may also see other categories such as Apps to Try Now, which consists of apps that use the Android Instant App feature, allowing you to test an app without downloading it.

What Should You Know About Launching Your App?

iOS App Store

  • Since the iOS 11 App Store is only accessible to users who’ve updated their phone’s operating system, you may have to divide your attention between the iOS 11 and iOS 10 stores until more people have moved to iOS 11.
  • In order to publish on the iOS App Store, you’ll need to first complete some paperwork to register for an Apple Developer License, which has a $99 annual fee. You’ll also need an ID for your app, a certificate to let you distribute it on the App Store, and a “provisioning profile” that unites both of them.
  • Be sure to look at Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines and App Store Review Guidelines to check that your app is truly ready and appropriate for release on the App Store. If your app is rejected during the first review, it may take a number of days for it to be reevaluated and approved. If you are rejected, don’t give up! It happens to the best of us. You can always make the recommended fixes and resubmit.

Google Play Store

  • The Google Play Store includes not only Android apps but also other entertainment such as films, TV shows, music, and books.
  • Landing pages and search results only display an app’s title and icon, which means that both will have to be unique and well-chosen for your given audience.
  • In the event that your app’s beta stage is still ongoing, you can release it through the “Early Access” Google Play Store program to obtain valuable feedback.
  • You’ll have to name your Android Package Kit (APK) files carefully, as you can’t change them or reuse them later.
  • The store requires a high-resolution icon image and a 360-degree stereoscopic image if your app is Daydream-enabled.

Pro Tip: If the app publishing process sounds tedious, we can help. With Dropsource Premium Projects, you get access to our exclusive Publishing Services where we will take care of the iOS App Store and Google Play submission process for you!

How to Market Your App

With hundreds of apps being submitted to the iOS App Store every day, you’ll need to do everything you can to stand out from the crowd. Below are a few easy suggestions for how to proceed, with more on the way very soon.

  • Launching your app near the end of the week on Thursday or Friday is usually a good idea, as these are slower days for big app launches and give you an bigger opportunity to shine and get noticed. This also gives users more time to find it over the weekend and you more time to fix any launch-related issues before things pick up again next week on Monday.
  • Seeing which apps are currently featured, popular, or trending — especially those in your app’s projected subcategory — can be an invaluable source of information. What do their names and logos look like? How do they advertise themselves?
  • Keywords are also essential in order for users to find your app. In the iOS App Store, keywords can be 100 characters long and are separated by commas; plural keywords are unnecessary.

Regardless of your marketing strategy, you need hard data to know if you’re succeeding or failing after launch. There are a variety of free and paid mobile analytics solutions that collect metrics about how users interact with an app.

Final Thoughts

Although ending the long process of mobile app development and testing might seem like the finish line, your launch can be just as important in determining your app’s ultimate success or failure. Learning to navigate and work with the app store of your choice is crucial. Familiarize yourself with its features and quirks and learn the best strategies for getting attention well before you press the publish button.

Need more resources about how to have a successful mobile app launch? Here are some additional reading options for your list: