This is in no way a definitive guide to 10,000 users. This post will detail exactly how I managed it, and hopefully you learn something new too.
On February 16th, 2019, I launched my new app MiniWiki, an app to let you browse Wikipedia™ on your Apple Watch.
Now let me be the first to say that Wikipedia on the Apple Watch seems like a silly idea, and I believed that prior to release too, but since then there’s been numerous occasions where it has come in handy.
Aside from that, MiniWiki was a challenge. I wanted to build a really nice iOS onboarding app. While it didn’t have to have any real functionality, I wanted it to be user-friendly and immediately inviting.
I’m really happy with the above design and how it all turned out.
Launching an iOS app is never easy, and it’s get a lot harder the more attention you pay to it. For some context, I live in Australia 🇦🇺 which means the majority of my potential market is asleep when I’m awake, and awake when I’m asleep. This certainly presents some unique challenges.
When launching an app it’s important to cater the launch to your target demographic.
For both of my other apps, the United States is by far the largest market with 75% of my downloads originating from the USA, followed by Canada and the United Kingdom each with 4% of downloads.
The above clearly shows that I need to cater to the USA when I launch my products.
Let’s go into detail on exactly how I did that…
Getting media coverage of your apps is essential in ensuring its success. In my own experience, I’ve found 9to5Mac to have the largest impact on downloads as well as being the most likely to cover my projects.
Two weeks prior to launching your app, message the journalist of your choice on Twitter or email them. I find messaging them on Twitter is more likely to get a response. Provide them with a couple of things:
- A TestFlight link for them to familiarise themselves with it prior to launch.
- Promo codes (or promise promo codes) if your app contains any in-app purchases. Always give media promo codes
- A short description of your app, KISS (Keep it simple stupid)
- Give them an angle, some kind of story to tell. Their job is to tell a story, and if you can give them the why or the what, you’ll make their job a lot easier. In the case of MiniWiki, the ‘why’ was the iOS challenge, and the what was the Apple Watch experience.
- Provide them a date you’d like the story to be posted, this should be on your launch day.
I’ve learnt some interesting things about launching on Reddit, and that’s that every subreddit is unique. r/AppleWatch responds best to pictures, with all image I’ve ever posted usually doing better than any text-post I could make.
Find a subreddit that fits your app, for me it was r/AppleWatch and /r/Apple, for you it could be anything. If there is no community that’s a perfect fit for you, you can always try r/iOSProgramming or something similar. Be sure to read the rules of every subreddit before posting.
MiniWiki was launched while I was asleep, it was posted on Reddit and Twitter while I was asleep, and 9to5Mac released their article on it while I was asleep.
I picked 06:30 PT (09:30 ET) time as I figured it was early enough in the morning (on a Saturday no less) that people would be on Twitter or Reddit, without being too late that they may be at work. It just so happened that in Adelaide, Australia, this was 12:00 AM.
To pick a time, picture your target demographic and imagine what their day looks like. Are they business men or women that don’t get home until late in the afternoon? Are they fitness freaks up at 4 AM? Once you figure this out you’ll be able to put yourself in their shoes and think to yourself “When would I go on Twitter/Reddit/ProductHunt/etc”.
To schedule Reddit posts I used RedditLater, which has some strict rate-limiting which I did run into. None of the other solutions I found (Delay for Reddit, Cronnit) work
ProductHunt was quite a weird one, I researched the optimal time to post on ProductHunt and scheduled my post for that exact time. However, shortly after launch I noticed by post was now re-scheduled, even though I didn’t do anything. Shortly after I got this message from Amrith at ProductHunt
Now I’ll admit, this is not typical
With MiniWiki at #1 and #2 on r/AppleWatch and r/Apple respectively,
The second day was almost no different, amassing a further 3,500 users
The third day saw the biggest drop since the launch two days prior, amassing ‘only’ 2,480 users.
The fourth day, however, was the big 10,000.
Without all of the above efforts (Twitter, Reddit, Journalists, ProductHunt), I don’t think MiniWiki would’ve seen nearly the same levels of success as it has.