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How to Keep Users Engaged with Your App

User engagement is one of the biggest hurdles for businesses developing apps, learn how to keep users engaged in this post.

How to Keep Users Engaged with Your App

Apps face a constant struggle with engagement. It is one thing to release an app, but it is a whole different story to get folks to not only download it but use it day after day. How many apps have you downloaded in the past few months, only to use them once and never again? According to a recent study, over 70% of users stop engaging with apps after 90 days. 

For a developer, that is the worst-case scenario as it means there was no real engagement between the user and the app itself. When a user has no desire to try out the app more than once, it signals a problem in drawing them back to the app to put it to use. 

As a developer, how can you work to increase engagement for your apps?

Show the Value of the App Right Away

You need to start off by showing the true value of your app right away. When a user is checking out your app, before they even download it, you need a short and sweet message to tell users why you can provide value. What is the value proposition that your app can deliver? 

If the app is more complicated, such as business apps, offer users an onboarding walk-through to get them familiar with the features and functionality. If users know how to use the app, then they are much more likely to keep using it. 

You want to communicate the value of your app with the origination point being your vision statement. What was it that drove the vision for the app’s development? Once you have this, it should be easy to help you spell out why the app provides a benefit to users. When you have this, communicate it where the app gets distribution, through social media and other marketing channels, etc.

Keep the Entry Into the App Simple

You need to keep the entry into the app itself simple. Once a user downloads the app, you immediately want to get them through the registration process (if there is one) and into where the app provides them value. Less is more when it comes to entry into the app. If a user is overwhelmed and does not know what to do with the app when they first open it, they will likely close the app and not return.

With so many apps on the market, getting the user interface right is crucial to keeping users engaged. This starts with optimization of the signup process. “Keep it simple stupid” comes to mind when you build the registration process. It’s all about creating a seamless experience out of the gate to show them the value.

Think about ways you can make the process easier. Instead of only offering form fields, integrate with Google, Facebook and Twitter to allow one click account creation. Use any data you gather from these apps to pre-populate other fields making registration easier. 

Layer on Complexity Over Time

Users will engage with the app for its core use at first, but over time you need to keep them coming back with laying on complexity. They are always going to want more out of your app. It is not that you need to build the most complex app out of the gate. It is about releasing an app to users, engaging them, and then releasing more content and features to them based on the feedback they provide.

Your initial release of the app should focus on your core offering. Thing about apps like Instagram. This app was release with the core functionality of sharing and engaging with images. They received feedback from users and rolled out functionality to share video content as well. This significantly increased user engagement and sentiment for the app. 

The app you develop has the intent and purpose to serve its users and provide them some type of value. When you can listen to the users of the app and release features that further their engagement over time, adding complexity as the time passes, it will keep them coming back for more.  It will also help them feel as though they have a vested interest in where the app is heading. Comparing additional functionality with the cost to develop the app functionality your users are asking for is a cost-benefit analysis that has to be done. 

Bring Users Back With Smart Push Notifications

There are so many push notifications that go users on a daily basis that they become white noise. Push notifications though, when done right, can still be a great tool to help get the attention of a user and bring them back to your app. In fact, studies have shown that when push notifications are done correctly they can increase retention rates by 50%-150%. 

Be brief and to the point with your user base to alert them about something in the app which can provide them value. When you do this, you create that call to action, that incentive to click back in, engage and see what it is all about. Here are some best practices for sending push notifications:

  • Tie your push notifications to something timely. Don’t just sent a notification for the sake of sending one. 
  • Notifications shouldn’t be used as a newsletter style communication. Instead, notifications should be personal to the individual user and need to relate to something happening in their account. 
  • Create a Call to Action in each notification. This increases the chance that the user comes back to the app to take action. 
  • Don’t always send every notification to every user. Give users the ability to set notification preferences within their account. 

Wrap Up

Keeping app users engaged is a very difficult thing as there are so many apps available. As a developer of apps, though, there are steps you can take to drive engagement upon release as well as post-release, months, and even years down the line. It is all about listening to the user base and delivering to meet their needs.

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