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How App Engagement & User Retention Boost the Success of an App?

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Jun
20
2018

User acquisition has always been a key metric in the success of every mobile app, but with no active users, high download rates mean nothing. Brands are heaving investing both in terms of money and time to acquire users; in any case, it just starts here. After acquiring the users, then comes the importance of engaging with and retaining them. 

Mobile app engagement and retention are two important metrics that give bona fide knowledge into the success of a mobile app. Low application engagement and retention are a formula for failure, whereas high engagement and retention equal the opposite.

Engagement– describes how a normal user spends their time on your application. While this is a subjective metric, App marketing and analytics describes highly engaged users as those that have 10+ sessions every month. 

Retention– this is again somewhat a subjective term, the industry benchmark is the percentage of an application's users who come back to the application within three months of their first session. The app marketing and analytics even characterizes mobile application user retention as a user that returns to the app no less than 1x in 30 days. It's imperative to take note that each brand will have an individual meaning of engagement as retention, depending upon the nature of the application.

The average of both these determines an app’s stickiness- how engaged and loyal the users are for a particular app. For those who are concerned primarily with user conversions or monetization, the most important objective is to keep the users engaged with interactive content and ensure repeated usage. Surveys show that in the last year the average mobile app retention was 20% after 3 months from installation across various industries. This means that 71% of all app users churn within 90 days.

The Engagement and User Retention Problem  

Achieving sufficient mobile app engagement and user retention rate is quite a challenging task. Facts show that the user abandonment accounts for 23% of users. There has been a slight improvement in the user abandonment rates in the recent years but still, a significant number of users desert the app almost immediately. Moreover, if an app is opened only once a week the chances that it will never be needed again are more than 50%. All this happens due to the reality that mobile app developers are up against a competitive market in which the users have a lot of choices.

Increased engagement and retentions result in getting more loyal and active app users. The following methods will help you produce better results, which many brands have still failed to achieve.

How to setup your app?

There are few critical steps to help you establish your app for higher retention and engagement rates before you even launch your apps.

Ensure a high-quality app with proper functionality

Arguably, the most imperative step in improving your engagement and retention rates is to build a quality app. No app can completely be bug-free upon launch. It should be thoroughly tested before shipping and ensure there are no major issues. A diligent QA process will help the team to deliver a better product to the market. But if the app lacks the proper functionality the users will abandon the app without any hesitation.

Every time your app crashes, slow load, or lags all your other mobile app metrics will be affected as a result. Therefore it's important to check both the back end and front end functionalities to understand how well your app is performing. Therefore, ensure that you are partnering with experienced mobile app developers that have expertise in building high-quality products.

Demonstrate the benefits in your app store

The app store listing is used as a platform for app downloads; however, it can play an important role in interacting with your users before they download. 

The more successful you are at selling your app to the users in the app store, the more likely they are to remain engaged and return to use your app frequently. For this simply showcasing the app features won’t be enough instead demonstrate how your app is addressing the pain points of the users. Users always look for benefits they gain using the app. Users decide whether to use or is the app worth downloading at this stage. Therefore, you need to have persuasive messaging to demonstrate the long-term value of your app. If you can do this effectively, and follow up by delivering value, your users will be a lot more likely to remain engaged over time.

The Google Play store and App store algorithms take into account engagement, not just app downloads. It’s important now more than ever to amplify your engagement efforts and the app stores are now seeing the overall picture, not just the install numbers. While this means better quality apps in the respective stores, it also means you need to put a lot more work into in-app user behaviors.

After you ‘ve built a quality app and mastered the app store listing there are a number of tricks you can use to boost in-app engagement that will lead to higher retention rates starting with the simple yet informative user on boarding.

5 Different methods for increasing App Engagement & User retention

1. Easy onboarding

By offering a simple onboarding experience, you can significantly reduce the bounce rates. The more difficult it is to use the app, which includes too many steps to sign up, too many fields to be filled, complex functions etc., the more chances are there for users to abandon it. 

First impressions are always important but the user experience is no exception. Apart from making sure that users do not abandon the app, effective on boarding has helped in increasing the user lifetime value. The following steps can help you to create an intuitive frictionless app onboarding process.

  • Make login and account creation easy.
  • Don’t get the users confused with information from the get-go. Instead, offer functionality education as the user gets to those features. 

2. Use push notification

Push notification has helped to increase the user retention with stats showing anywhere from 56% to 180% improvement.  Users who have chosen to receive push notification exhibit 88% higher app engagement than those who have not.

Push messages serve the essential functions. While implemented effectively, it can also help encourage usage through targeting messages based on behavioral data and preferences. For apps that serve specific functions and do not drive daily usage, can help engage users by providing them a compelling reason to return.

3. Include elements of mobile personalization

It is one of the most important for a compelling application. Customization helps in providing a unique, relevant experience to the user. The more aligned the experience is with the user’s needs; the more likely they are to continue to use the app.

Applications no longer deliver uniform experiences. Whenever possible, customize the user experience by utilizing known information to display relevant content and material in the application. Customized content and custom fitted bits of knowledge deliver real value to the users. 

Including the user’s name on screens and in messaging is a simple method to customize; however jumping further to guarantee push notifications highly applicable to the particular user is where personalization really flourishes. Users are requesting greater personalization, so it's vital that you meet their requests by tailoring their interaction to their preferences, area, and individual practices. 

4. Offer and Incentivization Program 

To drive interaction and retention you have to give users incentive to utilize your application. Mobile-specific rewards, specific content access, coupons, special promotions, and various other offers will help drive conversions and encourage engagement. Clearly, the ways you can boost users will rely upon the nature of the application. For instance, applications that utilization in-application purchasing as a monetization model will profit by time-sensitive discounts, while freemium applications can incentivize users by giving use based rewards. 

5. Empower Two-Way Communication 

By asking your customers, for feedback will make them believe that their feedbacks are considered and rectified accordingly. The additional advantage of opening these lines of communication with your users is that they won't be as likely to post a negative review on the application stores if they can tell you first. Showing responsiveness and addressing any inquiries or concerns will help your engagement and retention rates, encourage positive reviews, and build long-term brand loyalty. 

Closing Thoughts:

Today, the objective isn't just an application download, however holding users to build brand loyalty. App engagement and user retention are similarly, if not more essential than user acquisition. Converting users to loyal, long-term customers will help increment average lifetime value (LTV) and produce more income for your application. The above techniques can essentially enhance user engagement and retention to guarantee that your application has an effect in the highly competitive app landscape.

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