Secrets Behind The Most Successful App Launches

19 Jun

Some people think that success comes from hard work. Others think it comes from luck. When it comes to creating a successful app that will drive good app revenue, you need something more than hard work and luck. You need an edge that makes your startup app stand out from all the other ones on the market.

The first thing you need to worry about is developing an application that has demand and can be useful to people. This is one of the main success factors the app needs to take off. You will know if you have accomplished this after you launch a beta version and allow people to test it out. Based on their feedback from using your app, you will know what works and what doesn’t.

But even that is not enough for your app to skyrocket most of the time. Read below about the most successful app launches to find out what helped the most popular mobile applications get to almost every smartphone on Earth.

Instagram: Invited Influencers

Kevin Systrom, who is the founder of Instagram, has one of the most successful app launches. He allowed the company’s Minimum Viable Product to be reviewed by technology influencers in the industry. One such influencer included Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey. As soon as Dorsey started using the app, he was already sending pictures to his followers on Twitter. It didn’t take long for the word-of-mouth to spread about the app. TechCrunch also featured two articles about the app, one prior to the app’s official launch date and another on the same day when the app was launched. Needless to say, his provided even more word-of-mouth traffic for the app.


Within 24 hours of the launch, there were 25,000 users on Instagram. By week 3, there were 300,000 Instagram users. This number just kept growing until there were tens of millions of users. Important move that made Instagram release one of the most successful app launches was doing it immediately after the iPhone 4 release date. Since the iPhone 4 featured an enhanced camera and screen, this became the perfect combination for to make Instagram a popular app.

Another thing that helped Instagram was how they made their app capable of sending pictures to popular social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. This meant the pictures weren’t locked into the app. The speed of the app is really important for app users. That’s why for the Instagram wanted to speed up uploading of the pictures. So they made the pictures start uploading immediately after they are taken. The size of the pictures was kept small too.

Snapchat: Created Excitement in Their Target Audience

Snapchat’s release definitely holds a place at “the most successful app launches” chart. The original founders of Snapchat first drew attention to their app at Stanford University. They told some of their college buddies there about the app, which got it some attention. However, it didn’t gain national popularity until high schoolers started discovering the app. Very fast this startup app became super popular messaging app amongst teenagers.

There was someone who attributed the steady growth of Snapchat to the group messaging feature that it has. Instead of just sending an individual message to someone, a user can send something called a “snap” to several people at once. It is basically like sending messages to a group of people at once. The only difference is that snaps create a personal feeling in the recipients, which you cannot achieve through regular mass messaging. This one is a big success factor app has.

Most Snapchat users feel comfortable sending snaps because as soon as the recipients open them, they will vanish within a few seconds. This means all their personal messages will not get saved to some histories log on the Internet.


Evernote: Attracted Attention from the Press

What makes the release of Evernote one of the most successful app launches? When Phil Libin was interviewed about the growth of Evernote, he credited the original press coverage of its closed beta app as the reason. Evernote went on to having millions of users within a couple of years. The closed beta was what ultimately led to this growth. After just a couple of days from its initial press coverage, thousands of people signed up for Evernote’s closed beta. Not only that, the first groups of users told their friends and family about it too. This gave the closed beta a lot of word-of-mouth traffic.

Evernote developed a marketing strategy during its first few years which involved having an app available for every platform and device on the market. In other words, if a new tablet or mobile phone came out, Evernote would have an app already available which was compatible with it right from the beginning. This made it easier for Evernote to dominate their competition and get their apps seen by virtually all mobile users.

Clear: Kept It Simple and Unique

The Clear app was designed very uniquely when it was first conceived. This “to-do list” app contains no buttons because it was designed to be simple to use. Compare this with other to-do-list apps which have lots of buttons and other complicated functions that are difficult to figure out. Since the Clear app was easy to figure out and use, people quickly began to love it. That way, people that want to make a simple to-do list on their mobile device can do so without the hassle.


The Clear app’s founders had a marketing strategy which involved getting coverage from technology blogs. They would release teaser videos and previews of their app prior to it being released. Then, after the app did launch, about 350,000 copies of it were sold in just 9 days. Certain members of the press were invited to try out the beta version of the app and then give their feedback on it.

Clear was first introduced in January of 2012 at the MacWorld event. The founders uploaded a video demo of the app onto Vimeo and it was viewed over 814,000 times. This helped create a lot of gossip and interest in the app prior to its February 2012 launch date.

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Camera+: Used Social Media Aggressively

The last app in our “the most successful app launches” list. The Camera+ app’s founders announced their release through popular social media platforms. These are social media platforms which are compatible with the app. For example, if a user took a picture with Camera+, they could email the picture or share it on Twitter, Flickr, or Facebook. At the time, no other app had a sharing feature like this one. On top of that, the founders promoted the launch by offering a contest which was giving away camera equipment valued at over $10,000. They were also able to spread the message about the launch on their mailing list which already had close to 70,000 subscribers on it.

Another strategy that the founders used was not focusing on domestic sales only. They understood that numerous other countries around the world did not have an app as good as theirs. So, they released it to international markets and got a fast response in the Apple Store. It even became the App of the Week in the Apple Store at one point.

One of the co-founders ran a blog and posted a video there which showed the newest update in version 1.2 of the app. This immediately created more enthusiasm for the app as users anxiously awaited the update, so they could have the newest feature.

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