Actionable Strategies to Increase App User Engagementby@Eugeniya
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Actionable Strategies to Increase App User Engagement

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Yevheniia Korotia
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Is it enough to just love your customers? Is this an exhaustive user engagement strategy? — Apparently, no. In fact, users are the lifeblood of any business or application, no matter whether your own a marketplace, sell business services, offer coaching programs or distribute consumer products. If you are unable to gain loyal customers, you will fail.

Most startups devote more attention to lead generation and user acquisition, but they miss the key point. First customers stay with you as long, as they are motivated and updated regularly. The way you treat your users matters. Do you provide them with ultimate experience?

Verint has surveyed over 18.000 respondents from nine countries and 89 percent of pollees state that good service makes them feel more positively about brands.


[Image source: Verint]

And what about your business? How will you benefit from ultimate user experience? — Consumers can contribute to your marketing strategy and attract new users for you through positive reviews, discussions on social media or sharing a positive experience with friends, relatives or colleagues.


[Image source: Verint]

On the average you have only eight seconds to create a good first impression, thus turning first-time users into loyal customers. Gimmicks and goodies can hardly cut through all the noise of app stores. What’s really needed instead is a strong user engagement strategy for your application. These aren’t snap tricks and they require sound approach and effort. However, they will work, if you put in the time.

Let’s explore the workable user engagement strategies together:

First impressions are half the battle

Most business owners take the “first impressions” literally, though beneath this phrase lie rich notions and multiple phases. What do you mean by saying “the first interaction”? Visit of app store listing? Application download? First login? Can we refer to all these actions as the elements of first impressions? — Apparently yes.

We start with the element outside of the application: app store listing or landing page. It is essential to take some time and think of the reasons why people will want to give your product a chance. What problems do you address? — Focus on benefits, instead of features. Don’t forget to showcase your app.


[Image source: Cosmunity, app developed by DA-14 team]

Here we move to the next stage — onboarding. Most companies misunderstand this step and start to teach people on how to use their solutions. However, instead of guides and tutorials, you can focus on educating people about advantages of your app. Illustrated value propositions can become an excellent alternative.


[Image source: Kissmetrics]

Once the initial handshake is done, you need to ensure easy app download, nice welcoming, and smooth direct interaction.

As a substitute for long tutorials, some companies encourage first-time consumers to start using apps immediately. For example, a welcome note from QuizUp comes with a call to action, offering users to try a quick game. In this way, the company educates users and explains what the app is all about.


[Image source: QuizUp]

Basecamp provides newcomers with interactive guides and video tutorials. In such a way it highlights the most significant features and explains how these features should be used.


[Image source: Appboy]

Slow and steady will hardly win the race

Tough competition has set the bar high and modern users are more demanding than ever before. You can call a cab with a touch of a button. Online retailers offer same-day delivery. Pizza is ordered by tweeting. As a result, when users download an app, they expect it to be extremely fast by default.

The CA Technologies research showed that around 68 percent of users consider app loading time of less than six seconds to be acceptable. While more than a half of those surveyed demand a load time of less than three seconds.


[Image source: CA Technologies]

For startups such statistics means that the sweeping majority of users can easily leave if brands don’t meet their expectations. These days it‘s no longer enough to launch a whole raft of apps with limited functionality. Applications have to quickly introduce options for solving problems, highlight benefits for users and work intuitively throughout the entire experience.

Go social, go viral

Social media is huge. There are over 2.79 billion active social media users worldwide.


[Image source: Hootsuite]

Do you merely connect people on Facebook and LinkedIn? Start considering social media as a useful tool, not just a platform. It allows you not to just grow the network, but also to identify questions, discover user requirements, and find clear market needs.

For example, Lenovo was one of the first companies to give a new meaning to social media. By examining the data generated from social platforms (online discussions, posts, etc.), the company has identified promising consumer trends before its opponents. As a result, Lenovo was acknowledged as an innovator, while its customers received relevant and useful products.


[Image source: Lenovo]

Push notifications

“Everything new is actually well-forgotten old” — this is how in-product messaging or push notificationscan be defined. Being highly-customizable they help to gain the best conversion, outperforming emails. Apps that remain silent for a long time can be quickly forgotten and finally deleted. However, some companies go too far and start to spam their customers.

Think of relevant push notifications to maintain mobile user engagement. The Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) application uses push messages to encourage listeners to tune in.


[Image source: Urban Airship]

After sending this notification, the company stated a 483 percent increase in the audience listening to a particular radio broadcast.

Online publishing platform Medium notifies users about new posts or top five posts within your network. 12 Minute Athlete allows users to set encouraging workout reminders. Swarm regularly sends behavioral triggers, stats, and recommendations.


[Image source: The Verge]

Go far with deep linking

Deep linking drives user engagement and gives you more control over the marketing and onboarding processes. It makes notifications more powerful, especially if you need to take users to a particular place within your app. With deep links you can determine which marketing campaigns are most successful or define further steps for making your application more accessible. The leading brands like Google and Apple continue investing in this deep linking, so why should you ignore it?


[Image source: Branch Metrics]

Moreover, deep linking can help you to grow the user base. In those cases, when the app isn’t installed on user’s device, companies apply deferred and contextual deep linking. In this way, users are first offered to download your app from App Store or Play Store and then they are taken to the particular “deferred” content during the first launch. Contextual, as well as deferred deep links, ensure better user experience, thus turning first-time users into engaged loyal customers.


[Image source: Branch Metrics]

Communication is a two-way street

Communication with users is one of the easiest ways to increase or maintain app engagement. Some companies miss this step, thus making users write dissatisfied reviews directly on the App Store page. To avoid that, provide users with easy access to your knowledge base (FAQ) and options on how to get in touch with you. Receiving a request, send read notifications with standard turnaround time.

More and more companies go on social media, ensuring a higher user satisfaction level. According to the J. D. Power survey, 67 percent of consumers have already used a brand’s social media page for customer servicing (from 23,000 of those interviewed). While customer service interactions on Twitter have increased by 250 percent within the last two years. Go-globe predicts that 90% of companies will use social media for customer service by 2020, so maybe it’s high time to start?


[Image source: Twitter]

The superpower of gamification

Gamification doesn’t transform your app into a game, but it converts the user experience of your application into an engaging and entertaining activity. The general idea is simple: 70 percent of psychology, 20 percent strategy, and 10 percent of tools usage.

Don’t know how to increase user engagement? — Most people like to compete, to outdistance, to win and to get something in return. Users can be offered various challenging tasks, like unlocking new features, earning badges, completing a profile, and so on.


[Image source: Foursquare]

Don’t forget to cheer them up through the tasks. You’ve probably noticed such motivating phrases like “You are almost there!” or “Wow, you’ve just completed 100% of your profile!”, haven’t you? — This is just a simple example of a game played with our minds.


[Image source: Mailchimp]

Engage at every minor opportunity

The good news is that the capabilities for improving user engagement are boundless, but don’t forget to measure user engagement. The most common way to do that is to employ various analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Localytics, GameAnalytics, MixPanel, and many others. Customer engagement metrics can include the total number of visits, the total number of downloads, and push notification stats.

Try A/B tests, produce relevant content, launch thematic campaigns, listen to your customers, and think of other opportunities. The key concept here is that user engagement isn’t a final destination, but a journey. You can hardly find a brand that can show off a perfect fully-fledged user engagement strategy. But implementation of these methods can help you to not just inspire your users, but also to build a strong brand and thrive in the market.

Which customer engagement strategies have you already tried? — Share your thoughts with us.


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