From the Marketing perspective, engagement is the second stage of the application lifecycle. The engagement phase happens right after the attraction and conversion stages and it’s considered the most important phase because if your application does not involve users, they are unlikely to use it again. An effective engagement plan helps you to succeed in the subsequent stages that are monetization and retention. Give the user reasons to keep coming back and use the app with these tips:
Building the app
When planning and creating the app, everything must be built with the engagement stage in mind. App design goes through many stages, from conception to mockups to finalized UI, but it all begins with wireframes. User engagement should be a priority starting from the moment wireframes are created because that’s when the user journey is defined, so it is also about how painless and easy will be to the user to get what he/she needs. When designing mobile app wireframes and mock-ups, it is important not only to get a sense of which features will be included and layout placement but also how they interact with one another. Once your app is developed, get focus groups to interact with it and make sure everything is working properly. No bugs allowed!
Planning the launch
Why someone would download your app? Who are you targeting? Get your app tested and allocate resources to understand how the users are interacting with your app. To make sure there are no bugs and to optimize the experience as much as you can get the help of a focus group. Most of the time, you have one chance to catch their attention and show them your app can really solve their problems and/or add some value to them. Across all industries, 71% of all app users churn within 90 days, this sad statistics is true for most mobile apps. That’s why it’s so important to have a decent mobile app engagement strategy in place even before you start planning the launch of your app.
Craft an outstanding app store listing & onboarding experience
From the users’ perspective, that’s when they learn your app exists and, like in any relationship, they decide if they should spend their valuable time to get to know you. How interesting is your app? Why people will want to even give your app a chance? The answer to those questions should be on your app listing. Visual screenshots, a nice summary explaining your system, and transparency when they opt to install it are key factors to get them to move towards the next steps. Once your app is launched, to maintain a high ranking score within the app stores and keep the downloads happening, you need to put in some continuous effort to keep the momentum going. Moreover, during the first app open, share how the app is solving a certain problem instead of talking about app features.
Make it easy for the user
Apps that require some sort of login or authentication, should never require that to be used upfront because it can feel invasive (like it would be if you requested this info when talking to someone for the first time, right?). Give the users the chance to explore your app as much as possible and only require signing up or authenticating when necessary. As soon as the user wants to perform an action, they’ll get prompted to create an account. Moreover, if your app is paid, let them use some features for free or give free access to all features for a limited time. This approach continues to build off the idea of showing the value of your app before a user really has to commit to it.
Offer a generous free tasting
If downloading your app is the first handshake, this is when you have the first conversation with the user. You want them to keep talking to you, so reward them with a free taste of what you can offer to them through the app. Let the user experience the app features first hand to increase the chance they will stay over a period of time and that they see value in your app. Consequently, they will be converted into paying customers. To build a strategy to make users feel rewarded when engaging with your app, answer to all the questions that the Hook Canvas model presents:
The Hook Model by Nir Eyal outlines the sequence of the steps necessary for sticking to any product.
Follow best practices
Find out how you can get your app to comply with best practices and use it as a guideline. Start by doing permission requests the right way, otherwise, you may once again scare users into immediately deleting your app. Also, optimize mobile page speed, rethink the way your app is built if it is causing more battery consumption, and test, test, and test again. It’s definitely helpful if you have some guidelines as a reference to meet app quality standards. App quality directly influences the long-term success of your app in terms of installs, user rating and reviews, engagement, and user retention.
Create and promote unique and insightful content
When promoting your app, track and measure what are the most accessed creations you have published and shared not only on your website but also on your social media channels. Hence, you will know what are the topics that are getting the best engagement and use this data as a guide to plan your next creations. That’s how you retain your users, by giving them more of what they were looking for. Tip: There is a wide variety of content formats other than text. Visuals and dynamic content immediately grab our attention and deliver key information so don’t forget to also allocate resources to create it. A recent MIT study about Visual Word Recognition shows that it takes our brain only 13 milliseconds to process an image, as opposed to processing text, which can take twice as much time. The fast-growing user bases of photo-centric sites (like Instagram and Pinterest) and video consumption (like Youtube and Vimeo) are indicators that users are moving toward visual content that attracts and retains their attention.
Use push notifications properly
Create a strategy for notifications that meet the purpose of your program. Here are 5 benefits of using push notifications. When used properly, push notifications are a very effective way to bring your customers back to the application. Start by getting permission priming right as it can have an enormous impact on your retention rates, then, use push notifications to send personalized messages according to user behaviour. According to Localytics, 46% of users will actually use an app 11 or more times if they’ve opted into push notifications. For this reason, try to always test what is the best period of the day and the hour to send push notifications according to your target audience to increase the chances they will opt-in and give benefits to users with mobile push notifications. If you want to go even further, reward the users who opted in the push notifications through a referral program.
Build a referral program
According to Nielsen, people are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. To increase awareness of your program, reward who is spreading the word about our app. A referral program can give you measurable results and a chance at virality without the heavy marketing price tag. Offer something that is logical, on-brand and integral to your company. Once the reward program is active, create a referral tab or menu item in your app so that it is obvious to users.
Use data as a guide for the next app lifecycle stage
Having the right data insights will allow you to strengthen your interactions with users, ultimately resulting in a positive uptick in retention.
After reading this post, I am sure you will be able to find ways to keep users interested in your app and motivate them to move forward to the monetization stage. At Vog, we work with you from development to execution. Contact us here to learn more about how we can help you.