If you have developed an app intended for a limited audience, how you go about distributing your app requires a different strategy than if you were to distribute it to the general public. The reason is since the app is limited it will require some form of authentication to make sure that only a certain number of people are permitted access to it.
Therefore, while you might want to look into using a more traditional app distribution platform strategy to reach a much larger audience for your apps that you release to the general public, the following are 5 methods you might consider for distributing your app to a limited audience.
1 – The public app store – While submitting a paid app to the public app store will require a developer user license or distribution fee, this is a great way to promote your brand in a highly visible marketplace. Furthermore, app stores like Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, are understood by users. You can discourage causal installations of your app in these stores by requiring users to pay a small fee for it. However, the people who are authorized to use the application can use a gift code you send them.
Another option is to put it in the App Store for free and only tell your special audience about it. Tell them they have a limited time to obtain the app for free. While the general public would be able to view and install your app during this time, it won’t be easy for them to stumble upon it.
2 – TestFlight – this free over-the-air platform is utilized to distribute internal and beta iOS platforms to users. Using this platform, distribution and feedback comes at no cost with a free cloud based service. With this platform, as the developer, you can manage testing and receive feedback from users with the program’s dashboard.
3 – Ad Hoc Distribution – this is a testing program that lets you distribute apps to as many as 100 iOS devices for testing. The bonus of using this type of a program is that the App Store approval process is not necessary and the general public cannot view, buy or install the app, enabling you to stick to your limited audience. However, one of the downsides of using this type of service is that you are limited to 100 devices per year and they can only be replaced or removed once per yearly membership.
4 – HockeyApp – with this platform you can distribute beta versions of your app on Android, iOS, Windows, and MAC OS X. You can obtain feedback from users, collect live crash reports, recruit new testers, and more.
5 – Custom B2B Apps Program – Apple has programs for custom B2B apps and volume purchasing. These programs operate from the online Business Store. The benefit of using this program is that the general public cannot view, purchase or install your app. It is also convenient when you are making a large distribution. Each individual installation does not require a user to buy through the public app store. Instead, users are provided with a coupon that they can use to install the application.