5 Key Methods For Increasing App Engagement & User Retention

  • By Hardik Shah
  • 27-10-2020
  • Mobile App Development
app enagement

No matter how good your user acquisition is, without app engagement, active users, user retention, and high download rates, it is good for nothing. So what exactly is mobile app engagement and user retention?

Mobile app engagement and user retention are two metrics that give you genuine insights into your mobile application’s success. Low app engagement and retention are signs of failure; on the contrary, high engagement and retention equal the opposite. Let’s quickly know about them!

Simply put, engagement is the interaction between users and mobile apps. It’s measured by examining several metrics such as usage figures, behavior flow,  retention rate, session lengths, intervals, and counts.

User retention is the percentage of users who remain active and do not uninstall the app over a certain period, including days and months. Retention can be calculated by the following method:

Day N Retention = No. of users retained on Day N ÷ No. of users who installed the app on Day 0

These two metrics determine the stickiness of the application and how engaged users are. In this post, we’ve composed some effective methods to consistently engage your customers and enhance the app's user retention.

Here’re Some Effective Methods to enhance app engagement & user retention.

1. Onboarding Process
Onboarding is the process of converting first-time users into actual customers who stick around by familiarizing themselves with your products and services. A good onboarding process possesses the potential to increase app engagement. Approximately three-quarters of 72% of app users complete the app onboarding process in less than a minute, which is considered an essential factor in their decision to keep using an application.

A recommended approach here is to create a great impression to boost retention by making the user onboarding process as quickly as possible.

Suppose we take an example of WhatsApp’s onboarding process. In that case, it automatically detects SMS to simplify phone verification, so that users don’t have to leave the app to dig through their messages for code to enter. This makes onboarding faster, efficient, and provides excellent user experience. Moreover, this makes it less likely that users will get distracted by anything outside the app.

Every interaction’s primary goal is to create the same positive experience that makes users sign up for your product in the first place. It should also deliver a stellar mobile app performance that your customers will ultimately rave about and share with others.

2. Push Notifications
Another effective method to engage your users is to apply push notifications. Most apps lose almost 71% of their users by the third month from the point of acquisition.

Generally, user retention and churn status remain quite the same across all the sectors. No matter which industry your app falls, you may lose most users within days if you fail to apply robust user retention techniques. For example, the most exciting app categories, like gaming, can retain only 11% of their players by the third month.

Hence it is evident that the most exciting app category like games is not enough to keep the user hooked. The main reason behind this is that push notifications are assumed to be spam by users most of the time. Not only that, but there are also other four factors why users opt-out of push notifications:

So if you want to retain your users, all you need to do is remind them of what it does and why they loved it in the last session. That’s where using push notifications for user retention comes into play.

Push notifications work only when implemented correctly. Here’s a statistic - 37% of unlocking sessions had a push notification originating from a utility app. System apps ranked second, while push notifications from messaging apps accounted for 10% of unlocking sessions.

3. Personalization
Personalization is the heart of any app engagement strategy. But, it would be better to know what do we mean by personalization? App Personalization is defined as the process of creating an app to meet the needs of targeted audiences. It aims to present user experiences customized as per audiences’ specific needs rather than implementing a one-size-fits-all approach.

For example, when you visit Starbucks and order a latte with soy milk, sugar, and extra foam, it is called “customization.” When the Barista knows what kind of coffee you like, that is personalization. Then, this is the next step of customization.

How can we achieve personalization in mobile apps? It can be made in many ways. Use the data collected during the signup process or public/private API to customize in-app messaging to new customers or users. As per the Braze report, personalized messages result in a 27% increase in conversions compared to generic messaging.

Conversions can significantly reflect on any goal that a business sets, like whether a user opens up an email or makes a purchase, and substantially helps in increasing the overall app engagement and user retention.

Above all, the best thing about personalization is it makes your outreach easier and effective. As a first step towards personalization, all you need to do is add the customer's name to the messages you send.

You can also make your communication more personal and relevant by using the information stored on servers. It usually takes minimal time and will have a significant impact on your campaigns.

4. In-App Messages
According to Research by Comscore, 80% of smartphone time is spent using one or the other specific app. Now, the question is -  how can you successfully engage new users while retaining the existing ones at the same time?

This can be achieved by implementing in-app messages, which can enhance a user’s experience and increase user loyalty. Research has also uncovered that the in-app messaging factor has increased user retention rate by 3.5 times compared to those who did not use it.

Most importantly, you need to consider a few essential tips and best practices to make sure your business is getting the most out of in-app messaging method:
●    Keep content precise and informative. The chances of long messages may get dismissed before the user has read through all of the content.
●    Make sure custom events or tags are set up to trigger messages at the right time and place, for the right targeted audience.
●    It would be better to reconsider engagement campaigns for those who missed the initial announcement.
●    The test is essential. Make sure that messages display when and where you want it to appear.

When to use in-app messages: Here’re some significant use cases of in-app messaging:
●    Sales & promotions
●    Product Sales
●    Reviews
●    App Management
●    Encouraging & rewarding discovery

5. Incentive Program
A powerful method to keep your users returning to your mobile app is to offer a reward, loyalty program, or time-sensitive incentives. It works great for you if you incentivize users on daily visits.

For example, if you want to make your users understand your app, then you can link these rewards to key features’ demos and watch them engage with the application in the desired way to achieve rewards.

Mobile apps that use in-app purchasing as a monetization model, especially QSR (Quick-Service Restaurant) apps, benefits hugely from time-sensitive discounts

Final Thoughts
Each app is unique; therefore, it’s all-important to implement robust strategies and methods to grab more customers and engage them continuously. As mentioned above, the main objective of both app engagement and user retention is to retain your users’ attention. As discussed above, the methods will help you correctly do the same and build brand loyalty over time.

In a world full of tech-savvy users, mobile apps must comply with their audience. To build a fast, streamlined, and reliable app, an exceptional team is the need of the hour. You can either hire skilled mobile app developers or extend your team with the leading professional mobile app development companies available across the market. 

Want to share your thoughts on achieving better engagement and retention ratings, you can comment below.

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Hardik Shah

Hardik Shah works as a Tech Consultant at Simform, a leading Mobile App Development Company. He leads large scale mobility programs covering platforms, solutions, governance, standardization, and best practices.