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Thought Detox Launch: A Retrospective

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Thought Detox has now been available for sale on the App Store since February 15th, with pre-orders opening one week before that. I’m going to focus the discussion on the following timeframes:

Prior to that, I was sharing some of my work on the app via my personal Twitter account, and set up a beta-testing program via AppAirport. I didn’t get a whole lot of feedback from public beta testing, but it was useful to check that the app wasn’t crashing anywhere.

(I’ll write more about my beta-testing approach another day, and what I’ve learned from this launch.)

February 8-14: Pre-Order Week

First, the numbers: there were 31 pre-orders of the app at the pre-launch sale price of US$0.99 during the week. The vast majority of this came from the U.S. — 22 units, or nearly 71%.

Best I can tell, nearly all pre-orders came from this tweet:

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It was retweeted by some lovely people, with significantly larger audiences than I have. All in all, it had over 27K impressions, and 286 engagements on Twitter.

According to Twitter’s analytics for the @ThoughtDetoxApp account, 104 people clicked through to the App Store product page — I’m fairly certain most of those came through my retweet above.

On Wednesday, I sent a few emails to some press contacts I found. These included invites to test the beta, as well as promo codes to download the app to try it out for free. Best I can tell from the App Store data I get, two of those promo codes were claimed, but none joined the beta program. I got one reply, noting that the app would be included in Club MacStories’ weekly list of app debuts next week. That was cool!

February 15-21: Launch Week

Again, I’ll start with the numbers!

On Monday, all pre-orders converted to sales, so naturally that was the best day for sales. There’s always a spike on the day you launch an app, which then tapers off to some relatively-consistent daily average afterwards.

Daily units during the launch week, annotated with significant events.

Monday also saw the launch of the app’s official website, as well as the app’s launch on Product Hunt.

Through some weird bug, the app initially launched on Product Hunt on the 15th, but then the site decided to push that to the 16th and wouldn’t let me change it back. That’s okay, though, since it triggered a kind of secondary launch-day effect on the 16th.

On the 19th, the Club MacStories newsletter went out, and this saw the second largest day for sales.

What Went Well?

In a single week, Thought Detox has generated about three and a half times more revenue than my other apps, combined. That’s not a very fair comparison, as my other apps haven’t been updated in a while, and have been free for most of their availability on the App Store. But as far as launch weeks go, the comparison holds, and I think that’s largely due to one key difference: I actually did some marketing this time!

I’m also generally happier with the overall polish of the launch (except for a couple of things I’ll list below). Coordinating three Twitter accounts, two websites, the App Store, press emails, and the app itself wasn’t easy, but I think it came together pretty well, all told.

What Could Have Gone Better?

A few things:

What’s Next

I’m already working on the next release of Thought Detox, and beyond a bit of “bug fixes and performance improvements” work, two key things I’m tackling include getting it ready for localization (the app is only available in English right now), and adding something to better interact with beta testers. I’d like to involve them more in the product-management process, so prompting them to participate in surveys might get me a little more feedback.

One More Thing

A reminder that HoneyJar, my first iOS app, is being sunset at the end of February. It will still be available for download if you already purchased/downloaded the app, but it will no longer be available for new users.