One thing is true for all marketers and app developers: retaining app users is difficult. There is likely a threshold of how many apps people will interact within a month– just over a couple dozen – and this number has not grown much over the past few years. This is good news for staples like Google Maps and Facebook. But what does this mean for all the other apps out there vying for consumers’ time?
The simple fact is that disengagement has been more the norm than the exception and as a result, many marketers take a “churn and burn” approach to attract users to their app. However, this method proves ineffective in attracting loyal users that engage and re-engage with app content.
We’ve outlined five simple concepts and steps to build a more sustainable user base by paying attention to user behaviour and adapting your app to meet the needs of engaged app consumers.
1. Understand what your users are saying with every click
In any business, it is difficult to understand how a product or service is performing without user data. Would you create a product not knowing who your audience was, what need your product would meet, or what problem it could potentially solve? Probably not.
The same principle should be applied to your mobile app engagement strategy. As an app owner, it is critical to think about how your audience behaves on your app, and if there are audience segments that you can isolate for targeting purposes, or if certain behaviours are more consistent than others. Understand where your existing users are coming from, how long are they using the app and what features interest them the most. Similarly, for the most popular app features, is there a way to enhance or provide rolling updates to keep the content stimulating for the user?
2. Let your data work for you: set goals, quantify success
Mobile analytics illustrate how users are finding, engaging with, and purchasing your app and consequently, help you make informed decisions on how to engage and re-engage mobile users. However, many brands stop measuring success after the initial application download.
In order to fully leverage your mobile media investments, understand your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Is the app purely an engagement tool, or is it also a sales tool? Is it an awareness tool? Do you need users to find other potential fans? Or all of the above?
Without knowing your end goal, is it worth building an app in the first place? Remember, if the goal of the application isn’t clear to you, then chances are it’s not obvious to users.
3. Use analytics to predict trends and re-engage dormant or infrequent app users
Many mobile users purchase or download apps on a whim and forget about them after one use. Not paying attention to these actions (or non actions) could be a huge missed opportunity.
By utilizing audience insights, you can communicate with your users in a “you asked and we
listened” type of approach, which can be very powerful for retention and re-engagement. For example, in-app push notifications are an effective way to let users know when an app has been updated. By analysing the in-app behaviors of your most valuable users, you can effectively target low activity users via push notifications and incentivize them to come back.
4. Scale across multiple operating systems
Perhaps surprisingly to most developers, Android devices account for nearly 80 per cent of the mobile market, Apple’s iPhones account for only 12 per cent, according to a recent report from IDC. To fully capitalise on the mobile app ecosystem, brands must create an app for all relevant operating systems for the broadest reach possible. Therefore, it’s important to not only optimise for mobile, but optimise for device.
5. A steady stream of content will help keep your app afloat
As with all things digital, the brands that maintain the most relevant, fresh, and current content will attract the highest volume of repeat viewers. To win a slice of the mobile app pie, understand your audiences’ interests and present them with a steady and regular stream of content that they want to consume. Tap into data insights for more engaging and relevant experiences for your users. By increasing content relevancy, your app will quickly become a regular source of information in their daily lives.