With the soaring numbers of mobile apps available for download, user engagement has become a problem for everyone in the market. Localytics found an average app to lose 80% of users within the first 90 days. Each fifth customer will only open your app once and then abandon it. Faced by lots of choices, users are fast to drop anything they are not particularly excited about and try something new. So, the question is: how do you keep them excited? How do you ensure that your app is one of those that are not only downloaded but re-visited regularly? These five strategies can help your app achieve success.
A straightforward way to improve retention is to offer users an incentive for coming back. Such incentives can be provided in the form of in-app rewards, coupons, promotions or time-based discounts. If your app is intended for daily usages such as many sports and game apps, you can create a reward that increases on each consecutive day of check-ins. For example, by logging in on the first day the user gets 10 game coins, on the second day they get 20 coins and on the third day they get 50 coins. If any day is missed, they have to start all over. Such run-along rewards can span a period of 7 or 30 days. A longer span is not recommended as the users are likely to lose track. If people like your rewards, they will just start another 30-day race after them.
A more subtle technique is giving out rewards for completing specific actions and providing users with tools to monitor their progress and share with friends. An exercising app can invite the user to set their daily target for the numbers of steps walked and then show how well they have performed against their goal every day and how high they rank among other users. Many people are excited by competition and will be driven to beat their records and get to the top of their league. While doing that, they will keep using the app.
Example of gamification
81% of users deem it important that their questions are answered. However, you do not have to wait for them to reach out to your support team to ask any. Anticipating the questions they might have about the app is an effective way of engagement. Present the users with a feedback form asking for any issues or improvement suggestions. In-app interactivity can help you avoid negative reviews. Having an opportunity to report the problem directly to you without exiting the app, the users will be less likely to post those.
- Time convenience
People are more likely to respond favorably to any offers when contacted at the right time. Attach the timing of your promotions and notifications to the users’ time zones and log-in patterns. If a notification comes shortly before the time at which the user logged in before, they might well proceed to check the offer instantly.
Have you run your app on all of the most popular devices and it looked perfect on each? If the answer is ‘no’, you may be losing users to poor compatibility. Not many people will wait for a new app to load for more than a few seconds (37% of users will give you less than three seconds and other 31% will tolerate a waiting time of no more than six seconds, to be precise) or to recover after a crash. Work only with experienced mobile developers who have a proven track record in building high-quality products. Make sure that they adapt the app for multiple devices and operational platforms.
Some avoid building push notifications into their apps for fear these may be perceived as obtrusive, annoy users and damage the experience quality. If you share this belief, it is time to learn that push notifications can improve retention rates by up to 180%. The trick is to use the right pop-ups. A good notification is the one giving the user a compelling reason to re-visit your app, such as a promotion or a discount featured right now and for a limited time.
Apart from encouraging return intention, pop-ups have another important purpose – they remind the user that they have your app installed and that it can come in handy. Cleaning their smartphone memory next time, the user will more likely get rid of your silent rivals than you.
The five aforementioned strategies can deliver better results when employed altogether. Compatibility and time convenience will make the user comfortable with the app, and gamification and interactivity will provide reasons to stay tuned and come back. Notifications are needed for the user not to miss anything they will appreciate being part of. As a result of implementing these points, you can get much higher engagement rates than before.
Anna Clarke is the owner of online writing company 15 Writers. She is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in both freelancing and academic writing industries, specializing in Business, Economics, Finance, Marketing, and Management.