Apple and Google want to get apps onto user’s devices faster. They allow developers to get their apps onto devices faster by releasing Pre-Order Apps (iOS) and letting users pre-register on Google Play. Pre-ordering apps seems beneficial to users, as it delivers what they want earlier. But how can it benefit developers? Are there any positives during the pre-launch phase? What does pre-ordering mean for their ASO strategy? Let’s go over why allowing apps to be pre-ordered/pre-registered would be beneficial to developers. What Does Pre-Ordering Apps Mean? Nearly everyone understands the logistics that go into pre-ordering an item when it’s first announced, so the concept is the same for pre-ordering apps. When an app is announced, developers can opt in to allow users to pre-order or pre-register (Google Play) to get the app the second that it’s live on the App Store or Google Play Store. There are some differences among each platform in how it works and how the apps are installed on the user’s device. iOS How it Works: On the App Store, developers will have to choose a release date that’s two to ninety days in the future. Install: Users that pre-order will receive an alert that the app is ready, and it will automatically be downloaded to their device within 24 hours. If it’s a paid app, the user won’t be charged until it’s installed. Also, if the price has changed (either increased or decreased), the user will be charged the lower price. Google Play How it Works: In addition to allowing users to pre-register on Android, developers can also release an early access version of their apps. This allows users to install the app before the full release, but they aren’t exactly beta versions (made for testing). Install: On Android, users are notified that the newly released app is available but will have to still go to the Google Play Store and download it. Users won’t be charged for paid apps until after they’ve installed it on their devices. While there are differences for how pre-orders work for iOS and Android, the benefits for developers are the same. Benefits of Allowing Pre-Orders The act of pre-ordering apps is exciting because it gives users something to look forward to and removes the trouble of having to check the app stores daily just to remember when it’s released. It also helps developers gauge their audience and to make sure that their app is completely ready before launch. Other benefits include:
- Allows developers optimal time to test their app and find any possible bugs to ensure that there are none (or minimal) at the time of release.
- Get a head-start on an ASO strategy to make sure that their app is already indexing for keywords and is visible the second it launches.
- Mobile games, for example, can generate buzz, get users excited and start gaining a fan base. Additionally, if the game was originally a PC or console games, it allows users to test it out on their mobile device to learn any new mechanics.
These are just some benefits, but the app developer for Anamorph, who spoke to Apptamin, realized the benefits of allowing pre-orders. They saw 650 pre-orders on the App Store, and roughly 80% conversion on those orders. The success of one app can definitely give others the courage to try pre-ordering, but it doesn’t mean that there are no negatives. Are There Any Negatives? Nothing is perfect on the first go, which is why allowing users to pre-order can also mean potential stress points for a pre-launch. There’s a possibility that:
- The first version is riddled with bugs, which creates a negative first impression for users, and damages the relationship with the audience.
- Developers most likely see a lower opening rate (aka “first open”), which means that they’ll have to devote even more time toward their marketing and ASO strategy to increase their userbase.
- Promises are made such as specific features being added, but as time progresses, those features may be removed due to performance issues. Unfortunately, removing well-liked features can cause massive backlash that potentially decreases retention and pushes the release date back.
It’s because of these negatives that pre-ordering isn’t for everyone. However, that doesn’t mean that developers should reject the idea and instead should weigh all the benefits and stress points. Regardless of whether they choose to opt in or out, they’ll still have to create an ASO strategy to ensure that their app is starting to index for keywords and is discoverable at launch. Pre-ordering is certainly worthwhile, but they’ll have to understand all positives and negatives before utilizing this feature.