Making Your App Sticky: How to Boost App Engagement and Increase Retention of Users

Whether you’ve created one app, or many, there will have come a time when you may have checked how the apps are performing. When apps were first introduced at the enterprise level the number of downloads, or user acquisition, was the primary focus. However, it became apparent that a more important metric could determine how “successful” your app actually was in terms of engagement.

The rate of retention, or phrased another way, how many users visited the app more than once in the first 30, 60 or 90 days, is a great way to analyze if your app is connecting with your target audience.

This is a key identifier of whether an app is re-engaging first-time users, something that apps have historically struggled to do. According to recently updated research by Localytics, after just 90 days of downloading an app a staggering 80% of users will churn. That number is only marginally improved on the 30 day churn rate of app users which was 64%.

App Engagement Retention Ftd

So, this begs the question, if retention is still an issue for apps created by organizations how can it be improved? If you’re unfamiliar with what makes a great app that would be a good place to start. We’ve written extensively on the topic, outlining app features that can be used to boost employee retention and how consumer UX is influencing enterprise app engagement.

There are no real ‘secrets’ when it comes to improving the engagement and retention rates of your enterprise app, but there are certainly some good practices and techniques you should consider.

Increase the opportunity for users to engage with the app

App Retention_Humour

Is your app actually “interactive”?

You ideally want to provide users with as much opportunity to engage with features or content in your app as possible. This forms the basis for how you will encourage them to return time and time again.

How do you increase the opportunity for a user to engage with your app?

Force the user to make a decision. Although there are benefits to unlimited news feeds and auto-playing videos, they promote a lazy engagement arch – this directly results in lower rates of interaction between the user and the app.

One approach to to consider a simplify, trigger and motivation model. In short, this will allow you to encourage action from users by ensuring the barriers preventing engagement occurring are reduced to a minimum e.g. a distracting video, or an endless feed of content that prompts no further action.

Introduce goals and give your users something to strive for

App Retention_Goals

MyFitnessPal (health & fitness tracking app) and Duolingo (language learning app) are two great examples of how goals or targets can be used to retain users.

One of the best examples of how an app can breed loyalty across its usership is through gamification. Within a gaming context, users will attempt to complete a series of tasks and challenge to reach the top of a leaderboard or finish a project.

This is an excellent way of using the lure of ‘completion’ to positively reinforce the point that it would be beneficial for a user to return to the app.

For example, a simple yet effective way of ensuring users who download your app and then complete the sign-up process is to use something like this:

“Almost there; Just 3 steps to go… Awesome, you just completed 100% of your profile.” source: Business 2 Community

This prompts the user to return to the app and then offers a satisfying ‘reward’ upon them completing the set task.

Leverage the power of social to popularize your app

App Retention_Social

Facebook’s engaging social reactions and comments, fed to users through their ‘news feed’ ensure people keep coming back for more.

Users like to keep up to date with their friends via their social networks. A well-documented phenomenon is that users experience a longing desire for social approval and a need to be in-the-loop with what is going on around them. The ‘fear of missing outkeeps users returning to social media, which in itself presents an opportunity for a company to promote their apps.

Social platforms result in people asking themselves “what if I miss that important news story or fall behind what my friends are talking about?” – a consequence of this is that they think the same way about products or brands they follow.

You can leverage the power of social approval by actively engaging with users through social platforms. Social media interrupts users on a regular basis throughout the day, which for better or worse, opens the door for potential users to be exposed to your company’s app via news or links shared by their friends or family.

Offer something new, yet unexpected

App Retention_Unexpected

Our Fliplet Insights app uses push notifications to update users on our latest content or new research

Randomize how you reach out to your users to let them know of changes or updates in the app. This is within reason, of course, as it’s easy for notifications and marketing techniques to get carried away. How can you randomize without causing unnecessary disruption to your users?

Send well-timed messages, notifications, or emails that contain new content related to your app. For example:

  • Have you recently carried out research that offers new insights into your industry? Why not create some fresh content for your app and push it through to your users to alert them you’ve just published a latest report that might be of interest to them

Added bonus points if your push notifications prompts a user to complete a ‘goal’ or ‘task’ on your app.

Make your mobile app sticky!

With so many apps to choose from your users will be picky. To  ensure your app retains as many users as possible make sure you:

  • increase the opportunity users have to engage with the app
  • introduce goals or targets and give users something to strive for
  • leverage the power of social media to popularize your app
  • offer users something new, yet unexpected (not predictable!)

Fliplet’s app building platform, Fliplet Studio, makes it easier than ever to accomplish each of these with your app. Find out more about the platform on our website, or book a free demo with one of our mobile experts today!