Getting users to install your app is a challenging task that needs to be tackled in the beginning of every mobile app marketing campaign. But the campaign doesn't ends at benchmarking installs. The bigger long-term challenge is how to prevent your app from becoming idle – or worse, uninstalled – once it finds its way into your users’ devices.
This is what we call “user retention” in app marketing terminology. Basically, this can be achieved by increasing the level of awareness, building interest and highlighting credibility around your app. Proper user retention can help turn your app into a brand that people love and want to engage with, and in turn help drive more organic installs for your app and increase your user base.
In this piece I’ll present you with four tips that can help you to remain engaged and to avoid losing touch with your users.
Communicate with your users
Customer engagement is extremely important to your app marketing goals. According to a Gallup survey, engaged customers generate 1.7 times more revenue than normal customers.
But when done wrong, engagement can end up becoming detrimental to your campaigning goals. Users hate to be targeted by repetitive mass marketing messages, which make them feel they aren’t being valued individually. The key to customer engagement is personalized communication.
Here are three important steps in setting up your customer communication strategy:
Profile your customers: Discover who is using your app, including their characteristics and preferences. Mobile app analytics tools can help a lot in this regard.
Categorize users according to their needs and behavior: Segmenting users based on feedback data received from their interaction with your app can help you better target them and respond to their needs.
Specify the messages you wish to send to each segment: Once you’ve compartmentalized your cache of users into different segments, you should define a set of message, offers, and ads tailored to appeal to each segment.
The content you send to each user segment should be relevant to that audience and generate interest in your product. The best channel to interact with your app’s users is the app itself, preferably through in-app messages and push notifications.
Take advantage of preferences collected from analytics (like time and location data) when tailoring messages to users. It will help you send timely, geo-specialized messages that will better serve your users and increase the likelihood of a positive reaction.
Also allow users to customize the types and frequency of messages in order to avoid irritating them with unwanted messages.
Although communicating with users from inside the app is preferable, don’t be afraid to try other channels, such as emails and social networks, as they still remain favorites among some users.
Push-notifications, targeted in-app messaging, tracking and measuring: How To Interact With Your Users
Allow your users to communicate with you
Just as it is important to have the means to deliver messages and offers to your customers, customers also need to be able to contact you to communicate their grievances and questions. Failing to address customer issues is one of the main reasons companies lose valuable customers.
An effective customer service strategy, combined with the right channels and a responsive staff, serves customers effectively and creates trust while eliminating engagement barriers.
Offer in-app feedback options to your users, but also have an active customer service plan, including support emails, social media and forums, in order to make sure your users end up telling their grievances to you instead of posting them in unwanted channels.
Improve UX by removing cluttering and confusing UI elements
Users will quickly become dismayed if using your app is tedious or cumbersome. That will likely be the case if you’re treating your app as merely a smaller version of your brand’s desktop application, with the exact same functionality shrunk down to mobile-sized display.
One of the most common mistakes in building mobile apps is to assume that customers will input as much information on the mobile device as they do on the desktop, without taking into account that data input is much more time consuming on mobile devices.
So do a quick review of your app’s design, and preferably test it as a user yourself. If you feel that it’s too demanding on the user side, do your utmost to remove the clutter, lest you disengage your users.
Pay special attention to entry forms. If they involve a lot of fields and are a replication of the website of desktop version, pare them down to retain only the absolutely necessary fields. Don’t worry about your users complaining about your app collecting less information.
Also consider streamlining the user experience by creating funnels that lead users to do something of value, like making a purchase, or even registering an account. This is much better than leaving the users to explore the app on themselves.
Use analytics to measure app engagement
Mobile analytics tools are a boon when it comes to tracking who is using your app and how they’re using it. A proper analytics setup can give you invaluable insight and help you find out what’s wrong with your app (and what’s right), plus how you can change it to make it better.
Data retrieved from analytics can be divided into different categories. The specific dataset that comes in handy in respect to user retention is usage data, i.e. information regarding how users are interacting with your app. Usage data can help you figure out if users are using the app in the way they should and whether your app is meeting usage goals.
A technique called funnel analysis helps you better discern analytics data and measure user conversion rates.
User retention is the single most valuable factor of measuring long-term relationships with customers. I would sum up its success in the following two factors:
After users install your app, they have to feel as if it was made especially for them. You have to make sure that it’s flexible and friendly enough to allow all users to benefit from the services it offers, and you also have to have the proper means to reach out to your users and provide value to them, plus receive their feedback.