Once every few months, some fanbase or other gets a bad case of “the Australian envy” – that situation unique to mobile apps where Australians (and New Zealanders, often) get to experience a new application before the rest of the world.
The most famous examples of this are two of the most anticipated game launches in recent memory – Call of Duty Mobile and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Both games were available in Australia weeks before their worldwide launch, with Call of Duty launching in Canada as well.
These are all prime examples of a soft launch – a type of product launch where companies purposely make their wares available to a fraction of their potential audience. Some companies treat soft launches like beta tests, distributing incomplete products. Others wait until their product is complete, then soft launch for operational purposes.
But why Australia? Why New Zealand? Why Canada? Because of the United States and the UK. It’s all about finding countries which are similar to US/UK, but with a far smaller population. This makes it possible to test assumptions and mitigate risks before exposing the bulk of the user base to the product.
Australia has 25.5 million people, and New Zealand has 4.8. The population of Canada is 37.5 million. The US? Its population is nearly 330 million, and the United Kingdom has 66.5 million residents.
Often, it makes a lot of sense to test run a new app – its infrastructure, monetization, onboarding, and more – in a smaller market. But soft launches aren’t always a good idea: it’s all about what you measure, how you measure it, and what you do with this data.
Want to understand where to soft-launch your app? What data to collect and what you should ignore? All this and more is in our soft launch playbook.