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How to Increase Mobile App Engagement - Complete Guide

Sometimes it may seem that the contemporary world is conventionally divided into three categories (which, of course, can be mixed): those who only use mobile applications; those who develop them and those who earn on them! And if you belong to the latter category (or wish to belong to!) our article will be useful to you.

In previous articles, we have discussed in detail ways of improving the mobile app efficiency: how much money you can make with an app; how to reduce app development cost; how to increase your mobile app conversion rate.  Now it's time to spare the time for 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.

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 lifecycle: attraction, engagement, monetization, and retention.

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In the first stage, the stage of attraction, we try to quicken customers' interest in using our application. When this goal is achieved, it's time for the stage of engagement, the most important one, in fact. It is the engagement that helps you to achieve the goals of your application and of course to succeed in subsequent stages of monetization and retention. If your application does not involve users, they are unlikely to use it again.

Mobile app engagement metrics

Before going any further, it is necessary to analyze the behavior of your users in the application. Consider the following questions:

  1. 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 can indicate problems with ergonomics and ease of use. If session duration continues to decrease over time, it is possible that users are just not interested in your app. So perhaps you should assess the quality of the current content or add a new one.
  2. The frequency of use (reuse) of the app. Measure the frequency of the app use to check whether customers begin getting used to it. For example, services (news, review traffic or weather) can be visited daily while the entertainment apps (games or applications for shopping) – with a break of a few days. Ask yourself how you can increase the number of interactions with users to make them come back to the app more often. This 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 - that is, how to increase mobile app engagement.
  3. An indicator of outputs. Analyze indicators of outputs to find out which device has the highest one. Then you need to understand why users leave your app at some point or another. Analyze data about application crashes to find pages where your program is closed more often, and help developers identify problems.

ANOTHER TIP. Consider the speed of the Internet connection of users when creating content. Analysis of the connection speed will allow you to segment users according to this criterion (3G, 4G or Wifi users). 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 can move on to marketing stage. After all, it's hardly possible to achieve success in any field without marketing!

Mobile applications marketing

Marketing of mobile apps is a set of tools aimed to help build an effective system of attracting, engaging and retaining users of your target audience.

The objective of any marketing is to increase sales, in this case, it equals to the monetization of apps. And the mobile app user engagement refers to this task directly. Therefore, the marketer must find solutions providing the 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 tactics in this case: direct (organic) detection and paid programs.   

In the first case, a user finds the application, for example, in the App Store or Google Play. Attracted by a bright icon or enticing description, the user downloads it; this is so-called App Store Search Optimization (or Google Play Search Optimization).  

Привлечение мобильных пользовтелей

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 nett profit that the developer gets from his user, for all the time that the user cooperates with it). So you have always to keep in mind the effectiveness, appropriateness, and propriety of spending.

The viral effect to increase mobile app user engagement

Organic way of app distribution is being occurred with the assistance of social and content factors. In other words, the content relevant from the users' point of view contributes to the spread or as the saying goes, a 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 can talk about the 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 efficiently than any other PR tools when using the right approach.   

To achieve the effect of virality (that means to increase mobile app engagement), one needs to use the following tools:

  • The channels to attract the audience;
  • Relevant content;
  • The ability to share information: likes, tweets, invitations, recommender system, etc.;
  • Referral system – bonuses for attracting users, virtual currency, etc..

The first phase of the campaign for achieving the virality is to collect the critical number of carriers. Only after this very moment, the virus begins to spread on its own making the target audience grow.

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 it should be prepared for large and sudden users influx. These users will subsequently become the main consumer skeleton.   

Cost per engagement mobile app

Платный трафик

Paid marketing works on another schema and uses such tactics as:

  • Distribution on playgrounds
  • Download for a fee
  • Branded placement on promotional sites
  • Advertising on 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, 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

What is 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:

  1. 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
  2. In general, most applications fight for DAU/MAU being kept at the point of 20% or more. For a casual game, the actual "stuck" at 20% is a quite good goal.
  3. According to analyst Fred Wilson, DAU level should be 10% of the total number of downloads, the level of MAU — 30%.

According to other statistics, without mentioning the DAU/MAU:

  1. To get to the list of the best apps to retaining 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).
  2. About 56% of applications being able to keep more than half their users during the first four months after reaching a peak is still keeping more than half of their users within ten following month.
  3. According to Localytics, 20% of apps are opened only once after download.
  4. 52% of users agree to receive push notifications. Push notifications result in app downloads in over 88% of the cases.
  5. An average user returns to the app in less than six hours after the first visit. Otherwise, if the user doesn't load the app again within a day, the probability that his first session would be the last one is about 40%.

Now, having this data for building an effective strategy it would be much easier to move from theory to practice.

From theory to practice

Now it's time to talk about specific ways to increase mobile app engagement.

  1. Learn your typical user. It is 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 interests and preferences of users. Some of the tools available on the market today will allow you to analyze user behavior in the app. You can also connect the app to the CRM system for deeper segmentation.
  2. Communicate in the fullness of time. Analytics of user behavior is only the first step. Tracking it in real time and act according to the data received is 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.
  3. 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 have installed within 30 days. Denis Mink also advises (in order to keep the mobile app user engagement) to offer interactivity which your target market will genuinely appreciate, provide always fresh content, and also optimize the user experience so that the app would be easy to use and navigate.
  4. Create high-quality content. The content of your app must be not only constantly updated, but also quality! Quality content means the usefulness and excitement to the user.
  5. 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 that this simple method often helps attract new users and increase mobile app engagement.
  6. 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 can participate in.
  7. Remember about gamification. Each application has the core of most active and loyal users. A loyal customer will bring the brand a lot more income than an average one. Therefore, such a user should see messages of completely different character within the applications in comparison with the less active customers. At the appropriate time and in an appropriate context, loyal users can receive special messages that motivate them to perform certain actions: for example, to post a photo of themselves in interaction with your brand, go to the store to sign an exclusive deal, recruit their friends to get an even bigger reward. In addition, you can provide users with credits, points, access to special functions, etc. Users, seeing this attitude are more likely to recommend the app to their friends in the future. And this, in turn, answers the question how to increase mobile app engagement.
  8. 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 can 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.
  9. Use notifications wisely. Remember the statistics of push notifications? When used properly, they are a very effective way to bring your customers back to the application. Create a strategy for notifications that meets the purpose of your program. For example, a snowboard company can send notifications with updates regarding the local weather conditions. These notifications being interesting for users who had loaded this app will attract their attention, reminding to visit a program again. Just do not overdo it: everything is good in moderation.
  10. 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 that they liked to watch video content on mobile devices (in the USA, this percentage is about 50%). The 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.
  11. Targeting at the right moment. Let's suppose you have a client who had been viewing a certain pair of shoes for several times but still has not made a purchase. When this user will open a page with these shoes on it next time, he can 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 have 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 advise you and help you in solving your problems related to mobile applications. But most importantly, we are ready to develop the application of any complexity and make it work for you.

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