Ways to avoid apps bombardment.
Every day, millions of us around the world are affected by “appicide”: mobile apps forcing users to delete them by failing to provide a superior mobile experience. In fact, research that only 3 out of 10 of us on average will keep a mobile app on our devices after 90 days.
This mass appicide is completely preventable—after all, no one wants to delete an app. Every time we download a new app, we hope for a mobile experience that will keep us coming back time and time again.
But with an ever-expanding universe of mobile apps just a few taps away, keeping mobile users happy and loyal can be tricky. Make one wrong move that angers, confuses, or frustrates users and chances are you’ll get deleted.
Are mobile users a fickle, disloyal bunch whose ruthless fingers will feel no guilt when they delete your app after all the time, energy, and money you put into creating it? Yes. But don’t hate the players; hate the game—and then fix the game. After all, would you keep going back to a restaurant with bugs or poor service even though they took the time to prepare your meal for you? Didn’t think so.
Skipping past having a useful, well-designed, compelling app to start with (without this, you’re dead in the water), here’s how you can improve mobile app user retention and engagement—and avoid one-star App Store reviews that can kill future user acquisition
- Keep users onboard. About a quarter of all apps will only be opened only once before they are deleted, so the old adage about first impressions holds true. Be sure to greet new users with useful greeting messages or an intuitive product tour.
- Learn about your users. Knowledge is power. Look at demographics and learn how certain groups of users behave inside and outside of your app. You won’t be able to optimize for success without knowing why some are power users while others are leaving your app. For app analytics, check out Flurry, Distimo, Locallytics, and Onavo insights.
- Get to testing. Once you have data on your users, get to testing. Utilize A/B testing (colloquially called “experimentation”) to guide certain users through different experiences and determine which paths are the most successful. Check out Leanplum for mobile A/B testing.
- Provide unparalleled service and support. Many apps successfully do steps 1-3, but they still fail at keeping users happy. Why? Because at the critical, inevitable moment when users have questions, or experiences bugs, or are confused by a recent update, or need any kind of help, they can’t get it. So frustrated users delete the app altogether (and if they’re really upset, they may call your app out on social media and leave a negative app store review). With Helpshift, you can create self-service FAQs, alert users to bugs and updates, and get feedback and provide support entirely in-app, which can dramatically improve user retention while cutting costs.
- Iterate constantly. Humans get bored, so use the information you get from app analytics, AB/testing, and user feedback to update your app, develop new features, and create new and exciting content.
- Reactivate. New user acquisition from paid sources like advertising, marketing, and incentivized downloads as well as non-paid sources (e.g. organic search/browsing, word of mouth, etc.) can be augmented by reactivating users who dropped off. Remember: If you have learned from users and solicited feedback (see steps 1-4) you’ll be able to segment groups of users and send them messages that re-engage them with your app.
- Do all of these things constantly and unwaveringly.
The lifetime revenue from your app depends in part on how well you can attract new users and provide a unique and engaging experience over time. You have an opportunity to leverage next-generation tools for app analytics, app testing, and customer service to provide a unique and compelling mobile customer experience that keeps users happy and coming back.