Soft launch: our tips to succeed this essential step in launching a mobile game (part 2)

Published on 29 March 2021 | Categorized in

In our first article we explained the importance of the soft launch for launching mobile games: identifying objectives and KPIs to track, determining a budget and time-line and, finally, developing ASO strategies to maximize conversion rates for your game.

This second article focuses on which countries to choose for your soft launch, depending on your objectives and the insight you want to obtain.

Avoid audience burnout

The choice of country for soft launching your app is crucial. In fact, we recommend that you avoid testing in the country in which you intend to officially market your game. This would be far from ideal. So you want to avoid launching the game in countries with the most qualified audiences.

If you attract a large number of qualified users to a game that they don’t like, which doesn’t motivate them or generate enough revenue, these players will be “unprofitable.” They simply won’t come back. Therefore, it’s best to delay releasing the game to this kind of audience until you have an advanced version.

This means avoiding the best geographical locations (= those generating the most revenue) which are best left untapped for the hard launch.  Furthermore, these locations, featuring diverse populations, generate a lot of revenue. We are thinking in particular of the US and, to a lesser extent, the UK, France and Germany.

Your objectives will determine the target countries for your soft launch

The choice of target country will depend on your objectives.

UX & resolution of bugs: countries with inexpensive users (low CPI).

Retention: countries exhibiting similar behaviour to your target audience. “Tier 1” countries.

Acquisition: opt for a country with a population that resembles your target audience to evaluate the CPI/ROAS. However, if the aim is to observe targeting and creatives etc., nearly all countries will exhibit similar behaviour (pay attention to the language, cf. explanation below).

Monetization: countries with a similar behaviour to target audience in terms of purchasing (IAP) and eCPM (IAA). Countries with highest ARPU, with small populations.

Another important point to consider: the language of the game. If the game is only available in one language – usually English – you will need to consider two separate strategies.

  • If the game has minimal text or is a simple gameplay: the language will have little effect and can be launched in almost any location.
  • Conversely, if the game includes text or is more complicated: the language will be very important. Which means you will need to choose a country with ties to English: either an anglophone country or somewhere with a large population of English speakers.

Finally, if you are contemplating soft-launching your game on just one operating system, remember that KPIs can differ slightly from one OS to another. The iOS penetration rate in certain locations is also limited.

What the big players do?

Addict Mobile has compiled a list of the most popular countries for soft-launching top, upcoming mobile games (as of 16 March 2021).

soft launch
Source dated 16/03/2021

Which countries should you prioritise for your soft launch?

Below, Addict Mobile, which has executed more than 25 soft launches in recent years, shares its tips on which country to use for your future soft launch.

Focus on UX & bugssoft launch

– Philippines: ideal for testing UX and bugs as the CPI rate is very low and the volume of users extremely high. This market should not be used for monetization or retention.

– Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia: same principle as for the Philippines but slightly more expensive so better to opt for the Philippines.

Focus on UA, retention and monetization

– Canada / Australia: traditionally, these are the top countries for soft launches, used to simulate the behaviour of American users because they are English-speaking with a higher ARPU (Average Revenue Per User).

Addict recommends avoiding these 2 countries as they are very competitive and, therefore, very expensive (since most players offer their games to these countries). Ideally, keep them for your hard launch. Opt for other countries instead.

– New Zealand: same principle as for Canada and Australia but more suitable. This is a smaller, less competitive country with a low overall impact on revenue.

– Sweden / Finland / Denmark (Nordic countries): same principle as for New Zealand. These countries have smaller populations but a lot of monetization potential. Addict favours New Zealand but Sweden is also a good alternative -unless the game features complicated text and is inappropriate for Nordic languages.

– The Netherlands: Addict Mobile strongly recommends this country. User behaviour in the Netherlands strongly resembles that of Tier 1″ countries with a CPI rate that is lower than that of Canada, Australia or New Zealand. English is spoken widely here so there’s limited risk. Belgium is also an excellent alternative with low CPI and attractive ARPU rates for games using simple English.

– UK: The UK, like the US, represents a key target market for mobile games, so should be avoided for soft launch testing, except in particular circumstances.

To conclude: before launching any campaign, it’s important to set out your intended strategy to minimize the risk of messing up the official launch.

Do you need help launching your game? Feel free to contact us for further help with your launch strategies. 

The 3rd part in this series will focus more specifically on the analysis of KPIs during the soft launch process and subsequent decisions. 


Article in relation

apple inc launch new software update ios 14 5 for their product

Understand the SKAdNetwork data to maintain the performance level of your UA campaigns

Since May 2021 (iOS 14.5), Apple has implemented the ATT, which limits the feedback of data for advertising campaigns. Apple’s aim is to promote the protection of user data. The problem for the mobile industry: acquisition campaign data is no longer fed back as minutely and no longer allows for the reading performances in the same way within tracking tools. As a reminder, if the user opts in on the consent pop-up, then we can recover the IDFA and use deterministic attribution as a basis. The SKAdNetwork is the allocation solution offered by Apple. It serves as a back-up when the data is not received in the event users don’t opt in. Up to 80% less IDFA on IOS According to Appsflyer, 40 to 50% of people give their consent via the pop-up. This does not mean that the IDFA is fed back, because the user must also have agreed on the distribution platforms (such as Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, etc.). In the end, we find ourselves with only 20 to 30% of the IDFA fed back, which is critical for the results to be read correctly. As the iOS paid campaign data is now limited, there is a real challenge, […]

Publié le 25 January 2023
  • Apple Search Ads
  • Acquisition

Our tips for reaching engaged users on TikTok

According to the State of Mobile report from App Annie, in 2022, TikTok was again confirmed one of biggest growing application in terms of user engagement. Here are our best practices for managing your campaigns on TikTok. Creative tips – Always give preference to content with an organic approach, in order to adapt to the young and engaged audience – Ad content is less polished than on other platforms > it is recommended that quotes from real people are highlighted, by picking up the platform’s codes, such as: filters, challenges, use of text, etc. – Renew your creatives on average every 7 days (depending on volume and allocated budget) in order to avoid these struggling and never relaunch an old creative in a group ad – Always add music suited to the ad and opt for short creatives (13-16 seconds) – Need inspiration for new creatives? Consult the TikTok Top ads section! This is a library referencing all the current top creatives on the platform, by country, by campaign objective and by vertical The platform – Manage features offered by the platform, such as the Automated Creative Optimization tool (which allows for automating ad optimization on the platform), city targeting or Spark […]

Publié le 14 September 2022
  • TikTok
  • Acquisition

Dating apps: What are the User Acquisition constraints?

Dating apps need acquisition to support their growth, revenue, and number of active users. Nevertheless, they are subject to constraints that are specific to this vertical. Choosing a strategy   Before launching your campaigns, you need to think about the overall strategy for your app and your objectives: – Gender distribution: Separate by gender and tailored content to make sure you can control the investment and, therefore, the recruitment needs for each gender. – Objectives by gender and, therefore, adapted tracking: Make sure that the tracking on your MMP has been correctly tagged so you can track your performance in the best possible way, even if the events being tracked are different. – Objectives by country: it is also important to analyze app awareness in each country and for each gender as this will particularly affect the types of campaigns launched and the distribution of investments. – Investments according to seasonality: Dating apps are particularly affected by seasonality (vacations, back to school, weekends, Valentine’s Day, etc.). You need to correctly analyze the top recruitment periods for the app to know how to distribute the annual budget and not lose pockets of profitability. Choosing distribution sources The inventory of acquisition sources […]

Publié le 7 September 2022
  • Facebook

Nos bureaux

addict mobile acquisition mobile nos bureaux paris fotolia 81153288 1 of7e11zthko8kvdd92eni0sat0sbjobvy2hku8787s 01

Paris / FRANCE

128 Quai de jemmapes
75010 Paris
acquisition mobile addict mobile nos bureaux madrid fotolia 146093924 of7e7i5ydni28k04lcri3w75j6zzcwxl5zmidkmziw 02

Madrid / SPAIN

Calle Juan Ignacio Luca de Tena 1,
Planta 3
28027 Madrid
acquisition mobile addict mobile nos bureaux adobestock 244098175 04

New York / USA

10 East 40TH St.,
Suite 3310 New York
NY 10016