On average, apps lose 77% of users within the first three days of install. Among Android apps alone, 30% are uninstalled within a mere 10 minutes of being downloaded.
Daunting as such statistics may be, the right user engagement strategy can help brands retain app users and boost their customers’ lifetime value. Through personalised, in-app messages, brands can get users hooked fast, increase engagement, foster higher customer loyalty, and stop themselves from falling victim to app abandonment.
How can brands get the personalisation formula right? These tips can help keep users coming back for more.
Get Users Oriented
There are a lot of potential reasons why a user downloads an app. A friend may have suggested it. Perhaps an Instagram ad piqued their interest. They may have visited an app store in search of an app that would serve a specific purpose. Whatever the case, an app install doesn’t automatically ensure long-term use. Far from it: The work has only just begun.
With high expectations, little time to spare, and even less device storage, it’s crucial to get an app to stick the moment a user launches it. During this extremely sensitive time, these tried-and-true tactics are highly essential:
1. Welcome Messages
A simple “welcome” in the form of a branded message, animation, or video can increase retention during the sensitive 72-hour mark commonly associated with uninstalls. Thank the user for downloading, reinforce the reasons why they came to your app in the first place, or entice them with a benefit or incentive to keep them active.
By showing appreciation and establishing an early connection beyond a simple download, these messages can help keep users from straying. Indeed, they can reduce uninstalls by up to 25% in the first 30 days.
2. Guided App Tours
One way to keep users from deleting your app is to make sure they know how to use it right out of the gate. Even when we think an app is intuitive, if it requires more mental energy than the user anticipated, it will risk ending up in the digital trash can.
Enter guided app tours, which can be rolled into the welcome or activated as their own a series of steps shortly after. Guided app tours explain the functionality of the app, promoting proper usage for increased engagement instead of leaving users to find their own way around.
Set users up for successful navigation, and it will influence long-term use while contributing to higher retention rates.
3. Highlight New Features or App Updates
Whether the user is new or not, shining a spotlight on changes communicates continued investment in the app’s overall experience, and that’s a good thing for everyone. Link users from a “What’s New” CTA to a set of fresh tools with instructions on how to use them or emphasise important campaigns such as free shipping deals and seasonal promotions.
Not only do in-app messages such as these enrich the user experience, but they can also help prevent the need to adjust an app’s code or update a version. By allowing users to simply click on and respond to notifications, like a new set of Terms & Conditions, it saves developers massive headaches and protects users against potential bugs after deployment.
Secure Permission to Engage
Most apps now require users to grant permission to secure access to features like users’ locations, cameras, contacts, and microphones, as well as to send push notifications. In exchange, users who grant these permissions are able to access the app’s full set of features for the best possible app experience.
While such practices are widespread, unfortunately, the prompts associated with permission requests are often clunky or simply off-brand. Typically appearing as a notification from the phone’s operating system, users often unintentionally close out these pertinent messages regarding app functionality. When that happens, a user will have to manually update their app settings – a chore that either never gets taken care of or requires further, more complicated instructions.
To avoid this, brands should take a preemptive approach, displaying stylised notifications before a standard prompt appears in order to explain the upfront value of granting permission and what the user will get in return. Showing an image of where the user would need to click next to grant the necessary permissions can make the process more seamless.
In the very early stages of the app/user relationship, it’s crucial for developers to have an astute understanding of the idiosyncrasies and needs of the individual person behind the screen. A beautiful home screen and compelling content are all well and good, but they aren’t enough. Long-term app adoption requires a hardy amount of mobile personalisation.
By targeting users based on cross-channel behavioural insights, device type, element clicks, weather forecast, and more, brands can disseminate tailored messages that resonate with each user and promote deeper, long-lasting engagement.
Additionally, brands can (and should) optimise the in-app experience by A/B testing the design, copy, and types of messages they send in order to ensure the most effective experience is served.
Not only will this approach help increase retention rates, allowing users to pick up from wherever they left off, it will also reflect positively on the brand’s overall reputation and commitment to user experience.
Making mobile apps count
Following this initial onboarding phase, brands can then ask users to share their feedback for future iterations. Use moments after a user has successfully completed a goal (shared a photo, tried a key feature, or added items to a wish list, for example) to trigger a prompt with information on how to rate the app. This can have a lasting impact on new app acquisition, as positive ratings largely influence searchability and download rate within the app store.
The space is crowded, competition is fierce, and users won’t settle for anything but the best. But for what it’s worth in terms of developing more friendly and engaging experiences, the payoff is high. Mobile apps present a rare opportunity to connect with users on a more personal level and offer rich location data to provide value in new and exciting ways that ultimately contribute to a customer’s lifetime. App abandonment occurs at staggering rates – but through tailored communications that promote a best-in-class user experience, brands can beat the odds.