Boost User Retention & App Engagement: 8 Proven Strategies

13 Nov · 5 min read

Boost User Retention & App Engagement: 8 Proven Strategies

User engagement is the most important metric to determine the success of your mobile app. That is why you need to make your digital product as attractive as possible. How can you achieve this? Here are 8 proven strategies for success and higher retention rates and engagement.

1. Simplify the onboarding process

The first impression that your app has on a user is crucial. The integration process must be precise to make the app as easy and intuitive as possible. As Appsee points out, a new app only has 20 seconds to impress users - otherwise, they'll close it and never come back.

With a simple and intuitive onboarding experience, you can encourage users to explore your app while showing them its hidden features. A study by Localytics has shown that mobile apps can increase retention rates by over 50% with the right onboarding flow.

Follow these best practices for improving your onboarding process: 

  • Highlight key features of your application
  • Don't bombard users with irrelevant questions
  • Keep the registration process short and simple
  • Avoid the obvious

When users first use your app, make them think - "this is exactly what I need!".

2. Ensure good performance

If you are striving to increase user retention, good app performance is the primary thing to take care of. Today we live in a constant rush, which is not exactly conducive to patience. So be warned: if your mobile app is slow, or various errors keep popping up, it will definitely not have high engagement. People will just switch to a better product. After all, there's nothing more annoying than an app that just doesn't work the way it should.

If you want to ensure good performance of the application, you must first reduce any chance of crashes, make gesture recognition more precise and reduce loading times. This list of the most pressing technical problems is quite long. Start by monitoring the overall performance of the application, and if any errors or bugs are found, fix them immediately.

3. Provide a personalized user experience

It feels good to feel appreciated and well cared for. Not just when interacting with a mobile app, but in life in general. By personalizing your content, you can get much more returning users who will appreciate this effort in personalization. Surprisingly, many apps still fail to tailor content for their users and fail to deliver personalized experiences. This is where you can take over your competition.

But how do you get there? You already have the data. That is one of the most powerful assets you can have. Use it wisely to understand your users and find what they like and need.

You can use information about the user's location, age, gender, interests etc. to understand them better. You can even analyse their frequency of app use, conversion history, and more to personalize their experience on your app.

There are two species of personalization: 

  • Static personalization – components that remain constant, like the user’s name.
  • Dynamic personalization – components that change, like behaviour or usage frequency.

4. Collect user feedback

Do you want to keep your users interested and engaged longer? You must pay attention to what they are saying. You can do this by collecting useful user feedback. You can, for example, conduct surveys to your target audience to inquire about their personal experiences with your mobile app or whether they would recommend this digital product to a friend.

Checking app ratings and reviews on the app store is another great source of information. Users are ready to voice their thoughts or, at the very least, give star ratings. Before you decide to download an application, I'm sure you check them out as well. Use the reviews that consumers post on Google Play or the iOS App Store to your advantage.

5. Use in-app messaging

Unsure about in-app communications? Here's a friendly reminder! In-app messages are highly targeted notifications received by a user while interacting with a mobile or desktop application.

You can choose from a variety of in-app messages:

  • Chatbots: a personalised message that appears in a pop-up window, usually offering assistance.
  • Product tours: walk-throughs that take customers step-by-step through the most important features.
  • Mobile carousels: full-screen notifications that allow you to quickly onboard new users and inform them about the app's features or special offers.

Surprisingly, the majority of users want to interact with in-app communications. It's one of the most effective messaging channels, according to Airship, with an average engagement rate of 44 percent for high-performing applications and 26 percent for medium-performing apps.

You may send a direct message to the right person at the right moment via in-app communications, depending on their personal data and recent activity. This is one of the most effective engagement tactics available.

6. Use push notifications efficiently

Push notifications are one of the most effective ways to capture user attention and keep them returning to your app — but only if used correctly. Why am I emphasising this so much? Because overly intrusive notifications will not engage users. The result could be quite the opposite: irritated users who continue to receive meaningless messages will uninstall the application sooner rather than later.

So, how can push notifications achieve the desired results? Observe the following guidelines:

  • Customize the push notifications
  • Don't send too many notifications
  • Timing is everything
  • Include a call-to-action

7. Reward highly engaged users

People enjoy being rewarded. In fact, when selecting an online store, 69 percent of them look for reward programmes for loyal customers. Various rewards or discounts lead users to believe they have gotten a great deal and saved money on a product or service they would have purchased anyway. Furthermore, it's an excellent way to persuade users to choose you over your competitors.

Gabe Zichermann, a Canadian businessman, created a reward hierarchy based on their ability to engage users and increase retention rates. This hierarchy (easily remembered as the acronym SAPS, which stands for Status, Access, Power, and Stuff) demonstrates that providing free or discounted goods is relatively expensive and ineffective. Instead, choose low-cost but effective rewards, such as introducing indicators of high user status.

8. Build an intuitive user interface

Design impacts 94 percent of the factors that affect a user's first impressions. So the truth must be told: people will judge your mobile app based solely on its appearance.

That is why you must invest time and money in creating a visually appealing user interface. It can, in fact, attract, engage, and retain users for much longer periods of time. And isn't that what you're aiming for?

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