How to Increase Mobile App Engagement - Complete Guide
Sometimes the present-day world seems to be conventionally divided into three categories (which, of course, can be mixed): those who use mobile applications; those who develop them; and those who earn on them! And if you belong to the latter group (or wish to belong to) our article will be useful to you.
In previous blog pieces, we’ve discussed in detail different ways of improving the mobile app efficiency: how much money you can make with an app; how to reduce app development cost; how to get your mobile app conversion rate to grow. Now you had better spare the time to consider another important issue: how to increase mobile app engagement? And first of all, we need to understand what it is and why we need to increase it, to begin with.
What is mobile app engagement?
We cannot consider the process of user engagement in mobile apps without discussing the basics. There are four main stages in the application life cycle: attraction, engagement, monetization, and retention.
In the first stage, the stage of attraction, we try to quicken customers' interest in using our application. When the task is completed, it's time to move on to the engagement issue, the most important one, in fact. It’s the engagement that helps you to achieve the goals of your program and, of course, to succeed in subsequent stages (monetization and app user retention). If your application doesn’t involve users, they’re unlikely to open it again.
Mobile app engagement metrics
And before going any further, it is necessary to analyze the behavior of your users in the application. Consider the following questions:
Duration of using the app (session duration). Are the users spending enough time in your app, given the quantity and type of content? The short session period if having a lot of content and features indicates problems with ergonomics and ease of use. If the session duration continues to decrease over time, it’s possible users are just not interested in your program. So perhaps you should assess the quality of the current content or add a new one.
Frequency of use (reuse) of the app. Observe how often users open your app. For example, services (news, review traffic, weather forecasts) can be visited daily while the entertainment apps (games or shopping applications) – with a break of a few days. Ask yourself how you should increase the number of interactions with users to make them come back more often. Such an analysis will also allow you to see the ratio of one-time and regular users and understand how to force customers to reuse the app - namely, how to increase mobile app engagement.
Indicator of outputs. Analyze indicators of outputs to find out which device has the highest one. Then you need to figure out why users leave your app at some point or another. Analyze data about application crashes to find pages where your program is being closed more often, and help developers identify problems.
Consider the average speed of the Internet connection of your target audience when creating content. Analysis of the connection speed will help you segment users according to this criterion (3G, 4G, Wifi users, etc). If the majority uses 4G or Wifi connection to access the application, you can offer them content with lots of videos.
After analyzing the mobile app engagement metrics, we must move on to the marketing stage. After all, it's hardly possible to achieve success in any field without marketing!
Mobile applications marketing
The marketing of mobile apps is a set of tools aimed to help in building an effective system of attracting, engaging, and retaining your potential users.
The objective of any marketing is to increase sales, and it equals the application monetization. And the mobile app user engagement refers to this task directly. Therefore, the marketer must find proper solutions by providing additional value for customers or satisfying their needs in the course of using the application.
Let’s distinguish the most effective methods of increasing the target audience сoverage. There are two main tactics: direct (organic) detection and paid programs.
In the first case, a user finds the application in the App Store or Google Play. Attracted by a bright icon or enticing description, he downloads it. Here we’re talking about App Store Search Optimization (or Google Play Search Optimization).
Undoubtedly, the main emphasis should be accorded to the increase in the direct (organic) detection and engagement. Paid tactics are effective, but have to take into account one important factor: cost per engagement mobile app must be lower than its Lifetime Value (LTV is the amount of net profit a developer receives from his user for the entire time of cooperation with him). So you have always to keep in mind the effectiveness, appropriateness, and propriety of spending.
The viral effect of increasing mobile app user engagement
An organic way to popularize applications is through social and content factors. In other words, the content relevant from the users' point of view contributes to the so-called effect of "word of mouth". The social factor implies the participation in the campaign of iconic figures who the target audience respect and even worship. In this case, we’re talking about virality, i.e. the viral distribution of the information. And distributors are the users themselves. The viral effect could be appreciated much higher, and it can work more efficient than any other PR tools when using the right approach.
To achieve the effect of virality (and therefore increase mobile app engagement), one needs to use the following tools:
a few channels to attract the audience;
the ability to share information: likes, tweets, invitations, a recommender system, etc.;
referral system (bonuses for attracting users, virtual currency, etc.).
The first phase of the campaign is to collect the critical number of carriers. Only after this very moment, the virus starts spreading on its own and leads to the target audience growth.
We can calculate the coefficient of virality:
К= I * Conv
I – a number of invitations from one user;
Conv – conversion rate, the percent of accepted invitations.
So K can be either greater than or equal to 1.
Not everyone is able to create a working virus, but those who managed to do the job should expect a large and sudden user influx. These users will subsequently become the main consumer skeleton.
But if you've failed in the attempts to start the word of mouth effect, you're likely to be interested in the answer to the following question: how much money does the average app should have to make an increase in user engagement?
Cost per engagement mobile app
Paid marketing works on another schema and uses such tactics as:
Distribution on playgrounds
Download for a fee
Branded placement on promotional sites
Advertising in social networks
Affiliate programs of cross-promotion
Events (battle of gamers, etc.), pre-planned (and paid for) hype and, as a consequence, the effect of "word of mouth"
Paid tactics almost always have a guaranteed result, but LTV of attracted people must be above your costs. In other words, the cost per engagement mobile app should be reasonable. That's why paid tactics are often used to support and consolidate the viral effect.
Mobile app engagement statistics and DAU/MAU
Engagement is related to retention, so our next section also discusses the average mobile app retention rate and statistics on the matter.
What are the statistics on user engagement? What is considered normal, what should you aspire to? Let's see…
Applications are usually assessed on the criterion of DAU/MAU.
DAU (daily active users) is the number of unique users who launched the app at least once a day.
MAU (monthly active users) is the number of unique users who launched the app at least once a month.
Thereby, the DAU/MAU is a measure of the app fascination.
Thus, according to statistics:
The level of DAU/MAU depends on the application. The DAU/MAU level for game apps is considered good enough when achieving 20-30% of the total user number. But DAU/MAU should be about 50% for social applications, such as instant messengers.
In general, most applications seek to keep DAU/MAU at the point of 20% or more. When it comes to a casual game, the actual "stuck" at 20% is a quite good goal.
According to analyst Fred Wilson, the DAU level should be 10% of the total number of downloads, the level of MAU — 30%.
Speaking of other statistics, without mentioning the DAU/MAU:
To get to the list of the best applications able to retain customers, the app needs that at least 37% of people who have already started to use the service, re-use it after 30 days (or more).
About 56% of applications retaining more than half their users during the first four months after reaching a peak are still retaining more than half of their users within ten following months.
According to Localytics, 20% of apps are opened only once after download.
52% of users agree to receive push notifications. And these notifications result in the app opening over 88% of the cases.
An average user returns to the app in less than six hours after the first visit. Otherwise, if the user doesn't open the app again within a day, the probability of his first session to be the last one is about 40%.
Now, having the above data, you’re well-prepared to build your own effective strategy. It means it’s time to move from theory to practice.
From theory to practice
If you want to increase user engagement, your app has to meet certain criteria, which should be considered before starting the development process. We’re happy to help you by offering some useful tips:
Learn your typical user. It’s important to know who your users are and what they want. Segment your audience, try to understand how they behave in the app: make up certain behavioral patterns and act in accordance with the interests and preferences of users. Some of the tools available on the market today will allow you to analyze in-app user behavior. You can also connect the app to the CRM system for deeper segmentation.
Communicate in the fullness of time. The analytics of user behavior is only the first step. Tracking it in real-time and acting according to the data received are also very important tactics. Using mobile engagement tools (questionnaires, messages, and banners), consider the reason why people open the application in the first place as this simplifies certain tasks.
Create an app that users will love. As the Vice-President of Marketing at Liftoff Denis Mink notes, apps now reach 52% of all the time spent on digital media, including mobile Internet and PC; however, users remove more than 70% of the applications they’ve installed within 30 days. Denis Mink also advises (in order to keep user engagement in mobile apps) to offer interactivity which your target market will genuinely appreciate, provide always fresh content, and optimize the user experience so that the app would be easy to use and navigate.
Create high-quality content. The content of your app must be not only constantly updated, but also quality! Quality content means usefulness and excitement. Nothing boring would appeal to the user.
Remember about design! We perceive the world primarily visually, and therefore the design of anything plays a huge role. It also applies to mobile applications. And if the rating of the app is less than 4 stars in the app store, try to fix its design and suggest a new version as soon as possible. Practice shows, such a simple method often helps attract new users and increase mobile app engagement.
Use promotions. Customers love promotions and opportunities to conclude a good deal, especially on a mobile device. Create special promotions, which only users of mobile devices are allowed to participate in.
Remember about gamification. Remember about gamification. Each application has the core of most active and loyal users. A loyal and grateful customer will bring the brand a lot more income than the regular one. Therefore, such a user should see messages of completely different nature within the applications in comparison with the less active customers. At the appropriate time and in the appropriate context, loyal users can receive special messages which motivate them to perform certain actions, such as posting a photo of themselves in interaction with your brand, going to the store to sign an exclusive deal, recruiting their friends to get an even bigger reward, and so on. In addition, you may provide users with credits, points, access to special functions, etc. Seeing your attitude, user’re more likely to recommend the app to their friends in the future. And this, in turn, answers the question of how to increase user engagement on apps.
Integrate social hooks into your app. Mobile app engagement statistics show that users spend most of their time on social networks and messengers. So you’ll be able to stimulate your users into being more active and loyal by adding social elements and making your mobile content easy to share on the major social networks.
Use notifications wisely. Remember the statistics of push notifications? When used properly, they’re a very effective way to bring your customers back to the application. Create a strategy meeting the purpose of your program. Let’s say, a snowboard company can send notifications with updates regarding the local weather conditions. These notifications being interesting to users who had loaded the app will attract their attention, reminding to visit a program again. Just don’t overdo it: everything is good in moderation.
Use videos to cause the emotional response towards the brand among segmented users. A range of suitable videos at the right time significantly improves the mobile app user engagement. According to the research results of the IAB, videos are found out to be gaining popularity; 35% of respondents said they liked to watch video content on mobile devices (in the USA, the percentage is about 50%). Video is an effective method either to convey information that requires further clarification or to pass the emotional message which could contribute to establishing a closer relationship between the customer and the brand.
Targeting at the right moment. Let's suppose you have a client who had been viewing a certain pair of shoes several times but still hasn’t made a purchase. When such a user will open a page with these shoes on it next time, he’ll be offered a 20% coupon, valid for a limited time. Simply put, it is smart to offer the user discount Coupons based on his past purchases.
It's time to go!
So, we’ve carefully analyzed all about mobile app user engagement and ways of increasing it. We hope our tips would be useful and help you create an effective plan able to interest customers with your app.
If you are still in doubt or have any questions - looking forward to your calls and messages! Our experts are always happy to assist you in solving your problems related to mobile and web development. But most importantly, we’re ready to build the application of any complexity from scratch and make it work for you.