You might consider user acquisition as the most integral part of mobile app success. But, how can your app thrive without users actively engaging with your app? High number of downloads is not a perfect measure of your app being all the rage in the market. User Engagement and retention are key drivers of a successful mobile app.
While app user engagement mainly reflects user interactions with a mobile app, app retention fairly means a number of customers who return to your app after abandonment.
Poor app engagement and user experience can lead to high user abandonment rate. Hence, you must increase engagement and retention to get more loyal users.
Here are the best practices for improving engagement for your app users:
1. User On-boarding Made Fast & Simple
User onboarding experience is perhaps the first conversation you will spark off with your app users. The main purpose of user onboarding is to get users to take a walk into your app and prepare them for more interesting elements within your app.
- Make on-boarding experience a tutorial or serious app education
- Make it look like an attempt to increase users’ familiarity with the app
- Bore users by introducing fancy screen shots of interface and features
- Overwhelm users with too many information fields
- Prolong their sign up steps
- Educate users about main app benefits
- Present them the unique value your app brings
- Minimize the number of steps for sign up process
- Eliminate confusing factors that result in app abandonment
- Offer flexible registration options
User on-boarding is all about making the first impression last. Seamless, intuitive on-boarding experience means letting your users settle in your app comfortably. Avoid as many troubles as you can for them especially when they sign up.
Let them learn more about your app features when they actually begin to explore more in detail. This will help reduce abandonment rate.
2. Push Notifications
Push notification is often seen as a fair practice for increasing user retention rate. Statistics confirm that users that choose to receive push notifications tend to engage with 88% higher than those who haven’t.
The concept of sending push notifications to users has evolved a lot. These messages are much more tailored, meaningful and quite customizable, and appear relevant.
Push notifications are crucial in fulfilling several purposes for your app. It acts as a reminder to users that they have downloaded and are using your app, which in turn helps beat the competition through psychological effect.
Push messaging, if done consciously and based on users’ preferences, can capture massive attention of the app audience. Such messages can convince users of reasons to continue to use app that has very specific functions.
This is the idea championed by Single Grain’s Guide to Mobile App Advertising that suggests how push messages can persuade users to run straight to your app for specific actions.
3. Personalization of App Interactions
Mobile personalization has a lot to do with improved user experience and user engagement. Mobile app users seek the kind of experience that incorporates their personal needs, likes and preferences.
This is why mobile app developers are compelled to build apps that use user’s data to display relevant, customized content in the app. Customized content means personalization of app interactions that delivers additional value to app users.
Localytics suggests that push messages that are tailored to user interests have a 54% conversion rate. However, send personalized messages carefully as any irrelevant messages may make users abandon your app.
Useful Tip: If you have known user behaviour, use it to segment your app audience. Divide users into multiple segments and align their preferences with customized user experience. Send each of them relevant messages through different channels of communication like social network, in-app messaging, push notifications and measure its effect.
4. Incentivized User Engagement
Everybody loves rewards and your mobile app users are no exception. Giving users certain incentives to encourage them to use your app can help drive user engagement and retention for your app.
Create special content that users would like to access. Or treat them with reward points, coupons, promotions, freebies or other thinkable gimmicks that will increase their interaction with your app.
Tip: While implementing incentives, try to make it look natural and interesting. In-app purchases with special discounts work well for some apps while others can opt for usage-based encouragement. Suitability of incentivized engagement ultimately depends on the nature of your app.
5. Speed Up Your App Performance
Now that our world is processing data at fastest speed to save time and efforts, people are growing more demanding than before. E-commerce retailers make the same-day delivery while international travels are booked in a matter of a few seconds.
Why not apps fulfil the same requirement? App users want to experience significant speed as they jump from one page to another or open a feature or app itself. App lovers want their app to run, load and process information in countable seconds. This is only possible if the back-end of the app is working efficiently.
If your app has core features that deliver fast performance, you are most likely to observe more users depending on and interacting with your app.
6. Mistake Correction & Feedback Management
It is quite understandable that your app might not come out perfect in the first shot. There will always be certain a scope for betterment and improvement, which is clear when you receive honest feedback from app users.
It is important to listen to what your customers are saying about all the wrongs with your app. However, most unhappy app users refuse to show their dissatisfaction and leave. Hence, it is important to pro-actively ask them about their experience and anticipate their exact needs.
You must learn, adapt and implement. Apple, for instance, is a proactive player known for making innovative products long before consumers voice their needs. You can also solicit feedback from your app users and incorporate their requirements in your next update.
You can integrate SaaS CRM in your customer relation management system to monitor individual customer choices and behavioural pattern. Now that such CRMs are evolved, even SMBs can afford using it.
7. Deep Linking works for app engagement
We already saw how precise, relevant and customized push messages can increase user engagement for any mobile app. Deep linking goes one step ahead and helps strengthen the power of push notifications or SMS.
Deep linking can be effectively implemented with the idea of inviting new users to your app. In mobile app terms, it is a URL for a mobile app that sends users directly to a specific page inside an app when opened for the first time.
Big names like Google and Apple are also the believers of deep linking power and encourage the adaptation of this practice for enhanced user engagement and retention.
The practice enhances user experience, saves time spent on navigation and engages users.
8. Update the Product to Attract and Retain Users
After a certain period of using the same app with old features and content, users tend to get slightly indifferent with your app and want to experience different material. This is why one needs to regularly update their apps and enter new exciting features and contents to keep surprising users.
Even if your app is quite polished, functional and trendier than competitors, you will have to realize the potential of delighting users with more personalized contents. This is also an effective way to capture users’ interest and retain them for longer period.
Take for example how Facebook reads their users’ taste and preferences and continues to introduce fascinating updates to their app to keep users delighted and stuck to their mobile app.
Core benefits of regular app iterations:
- Refined user experience and in-app journey
- Satisfied and excited customers
- Significant improvement in user engagement
- Better customer retention
- Increase in customer LTV (lifetime value)
- Minimal chance of app abandonment
Tip: Make use of app analytics to monitor users’ behaviour so that you can process the statistics to update their experience inside the app with valuable iterations.
These are just a few of greatly impactful user engagement and retention tactics you can consider for your app to gain loyal, delighted brand app users. However, there is no magic formula for making your app rise in the market. You may try adopting one or two of these methods at times along with the recommended tips to see how it works with your app. It will take some time before you find out which ones have better impact on your business. You can then optimize your strategy accordingly.