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S3. How To: Retain and Engage Your Mobile App Users

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Emily Lyhne-Gold
ByPor Emily Lyhne-Gold

Emily is a content specialist and social media manager at WebCreek. With experience in branding, copywriting and journalism, she's particularly keen on subjects like AI, design, and marketing techniques.

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At WebCreek, we understand that having mobile app isn’t enough: it must fit and complement a company’s overall goals. It’s one thing to create a marketing strategy to attract users, but the other is to keep your users engaged once they’ve downloaded it. One part of that is getting the right application development. The other part is continuing to optimize your content and branding by listening to your users. The more you can get to know your audience and the better your overall user experience, the easier it will be for you to monetize and see high value from your mobile app.

When considering how to retain and engage your users, it’s important to remember they have different functions.

1. Engagement refers to how active users behave on an application. Engaged users will have 10 or more sessions per month.

2. Retention refers to the percentage of an app’s users who return within 3 months of their first session.

Combining these two effectively will determine first their interest, and then their loyalty.

Our Marketing Specialist, Allan Seeman, says: “It is just like any conversation. Within 4 seconds of talking with someone, you already know if you are interested in continuing the conversation or if you would rather be doing something else. Your mobile app has a very short time to convey that it is interesting enough to continue using, and that it can be trusted to provide the information they need. Once an app is found to be interesting, and then trusted, it can start to develop a loyal relationship.”

1. Make Onboarding Easy

The first few moments of opening a new mobile app fundamentally establishes the relationship between user and business. If your app doesn’t convey some kind of use, they’ll be quick to delete and move on. In fact, 71% of the average mobile app users drop off after just 1 day. Part of the reason for this is complicated or inefficient onboarding. Logins are tricky, but they’re usually essential, and it must be well-defined during the application development process. The objective is to collect user data as quickly and efficiently as possible, moving them onto your app’s content before they become distracted or disinterested.

2. Let Your Customers be in Control

Deliver your brand’s voice to individual users in a targeted and meaningful way. Push notifications are great at reminding your users of your app’s usefulness, but wrong or immaterial messages can put off users. They also want to be able to trust brands that let you opt-in and -out any time they want. The only way you can get them to engage with notifications and stay opted-in is with great personalized, branded content. Make sure you’re using data analytics to understand your users’ behavior and optimize push notifications to get the most out of your business app.

2. Offer Brand Loyalty Rewards

Users relish in first-time app rewards, helping to boost brand loyalty and encourage app recommendations. Users who haven’t come back in a while should be enticed with that personalized push message we spoke about, and then an appropriate incentive or reward loyalty program offer. Starbucks has been a sterling example of this: their loyalty program awards ‘stars’ for in-app points. Earn enough stars, get a free drink! This has worked extremely well for their users who can build up their own perks.

Mobile App Retention: The Final Word

We’ve developed apps for both our clients and ourselves for a while now, and find it’s always best to anticipate its value and usefulness long before design or development starts. This way, you can start to understand what your user needs with great functionalities like push notifications and rewards. In doing so, you realize that engagement and retention are actually more important than acquisition. You need to be thinking about how you can convert users into loyal customers with these kinds of methods in order to keep your users committed to the app you’ve put so much work into.

Ready to start brainstorming your mobile app and achieve high engagement and retention rates? Feel free to sign up for a consultation here.