How Do I Increase Engagement on Mobile App

Michaela Markley Picture

by Michaela Markley | Last Updated: Jul 15, 2020

Maybe you popped into this blog to learn how to cheat the system and the algorithm to get your app noticed quicker. Sorry to tell you, but there is no secret sauce. There are a handful of proven strategies you can use to make your app more user friendly and attractive to use but it’s going to take time and effort. These will work though if you give it time. With the knowledge that one in five users are abandoning your app after their first use, your team needs to make your app stand out and meet your customer’s needs to decrease that statistic! We’ll discuss a few key tactics to improve app engagement numbers and hopefully make your users long-term users. The most important thing when starting your app journey though is realizing that app downloads and user acquisition do not drive business value if your users aren’t active on your app.  Attractive App Store Listing We know this may sound silly - starting with an element that isn’t even part of the app itself but let’s take a closer look. You want to attract users who will gain value from your app. When creating a listing in the app store it's the first impression your users will have of your app, so you need to make sure it is impactful. Being able to have successful engagement metrics means your audience knows how your app is going to provide them value prior to downloading it! You don’t want your description to be misleading thus causing high abandonment rates. Take time to create a listing that is all about the user and not about you or your brand. (You might be thinking what?! How can my listing not be about my brand?!) You can go on and on and on about how amazing your app and brand are but if the user cannot figure out the benefit your app will bring to their life then they probably aren’t going to download it. What problem does your app solve? How will your users use the app? Make sure to speak about the benefits the app will provide and not about all the fancy features. (That can be part of onboarding!) Simple and Informative Onboarding Process Are you using a simplified onboarding process to help your users understand the benefits your app has to offer them? Too often apps have an onboarding process that isn’t straightforward and takes their users through loops and turns that aren’t needed. There are a few key ways to make sure your onboarding process meets the needs of the user without going too far down a rabbit hole. First, make sure it only takes a few steps to sign-up and register for your app. Many apps are using the ability to login in through Facebook, Google, or other places as a quicker way to log on. Second, you’ll want to educate your users during the onboarding experience on how to use the app and the continued benefits of this app. But make sure they have the ability to exit out of the instructions if they don’t want to follow along. Your goal is to give them minimal instructions for them to begin their journey but don’t overwhelm them. You can have micro-moments throughout their app usage to learn about additional or new features. Lastly, make sure the onboarding experience is experiential. Don’t just make it link to a blog post to follow or have numbered instructions. Show them through GIFs or short videos on how the app will work. You can even incorporate an interactive tutorial in your app to help better understand where everything is. Make sure as you create your onboarding experience you are meeting the needs of different types of learning. (Visual learners, auditory learners, kinesthetic learners, and reading learners.) Speed is King “I love when my app takes a few seconds to load,” said no one ever. Now more than ever speed has become king due to an impatient society that can get things delivered the same day, can load videos within minutes (if not seconds with 5G networks expanding) and so much more. Speed isn’t a want anymore but a necessity from your users. There are going to hiccups and bugs in technology from time to time but the core of your app features need to be fast and reliable by your users. Otherwise, you are heading straight toward high abandonment rates. How is your team working to build an app that is fast and reliable?  Push Notifications Google reported, “58 percent of smartphone users feel more favorable toward companies whose mobile sites or apps remember who they are and past behaviors.” Now, think if you combined your knowledge of past actions on your app with a push notification to help reengage your users. There is definitely a fine balance between sending out too many push notifications and being able to help users remember they have your app on their phone and how your app can add value to their life. Can your company have a weekly push notification going out to recommend X because they were on your app looking at Y? Being able to personalize your push notification will make it a little more impactful. But even if personalization isn’t a possibility, push notifications are crucial to keeping your users engaged with your app.  We’ve listed a handful of strategies that can be useful in increasing your mobile app engagement. There are so many resources out there such as our Mobile Matters episode with Patrick Flanagan, SVP of Digital Marketing, Strategy & Omni-Channel Commerce at Simon Property Group,  speaking on how important a mobile-first mentality is and how downloads are not the most important metric to track with an app. Let’s all promise to begin to focus on meeting our users’ needs first and how we can add value to their daily life through the apps we’ve built. If you truly want to increase app engagement you are going to become selfless and figure out what your user wants, needs, and expects from your app. 

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