No innovative app engagement hack will work, unless and until you have found a Product-Market fit. In case you are still at the early stage of perfecting your product, I would suggest going through the article, How to Build an Ideal Product for Your Ideal Customers.
Once you have a good Product-Market fit and the early adaptors of your app are saying some positive things about you. Then you are ready to investigate ways to hack App Engagement for User Retention.
Also to get started at understanding retention, you need to know terms like Daily/Weekly/ Monthly Active Users, Loyalty Rates, and User Cohorts stats.
So, why engagement for retention? As per research, 71% of acquired users churn within 90 days. These stats are valid across all app categories.
Now let’s get to hacking user engagement for user retention.
Integrate Omni-Channel Campaigns
The best way to get the most out of your marketing dollar is to engage and delight your users through multiple channels.
For instance, McDonald’s and Uber Eats partnered up to start McDeliveries in various countries which included merchandise aside from the order. A very good example of increasing delight for the consumer through an offline channel while driving app engagement and conversion.
Make sure your analytics can measure data effectively to track all such campaigns. Since what can’t be measured can’t be improved, so track everything.
Devise Better Push Notification Strategy
Push Notifications work! Many apps have seen user engagement rates skyrocketing when an effective Push Notification Strategy is adopted.
The most obvious use of this utility is to let users know that you exist. Uber and Careem keep on pushing notifications, with offers, to retain users and increase the use of their service.
But you need to make it work right. Sending non-personalised, out of context push notification, will only result in getting your app deleted. A push notification from Uber-eats before lunchtime, with an offer, makes sense. But late at night, might lead to an uninstall.
So, you need to keep factors like context, geo-location, value offering, timezone, frequency, number, and personalization in mind. Use a good tool to help you with this process. It can make or break your venture.
We just talked about the fact that your app notifications need to be personalized. Why does this matter? Again, broadcasting, and that too out of context serves no one any good. Remember you are at a mercy of limited and distracted user attention. Annoying users will only result in deletion and loss.
You can also give your users the option to personalize their experience. Players like Hotmail, Apple, and Youtube are now providing you with a “Dark Theme”. This facilitates your users to work with low light or night-time. Let them save those settings or make your app remember those setting and adjust accordingly. Don/t miss out on using UI hacks to personalize the experience for your customers.
Again for all for this to work, you need to have good analytics in place. Based upon analytics you can determine factors like context, timing, user preferences, location, in-app behavior, purchases and so on. Once you have all the data in place, then you can devise personalized communication. And if the user feels that you are addressing his/her issue and helping them, then you retention and engagement will increase.
Remarket for Engagement
Remarketing, once you have understood users well, is a tool that can engage users via all digital channels. In addition to increasing conversion, remarketing can also aid with the process of Engagement. For this to work effectively, listen and understand your customers well. Analytics will help you understand your user perforce, liking, and usage patterns. Once you have all that data, then you can target your customers with lapsed activities and interactions, prompt them to complete the steps they left, or complete the purchase process.
Also, keep in mind, iOS and Android are also helping users to avoid distractions. Now users can easily turn off notifications and that can be disastrous for your success. In case you have missed out on the Push Notification Channel, user Remarketing can come to your rescue.
Make the Sign-Up and Signing Process Easy and Simple
If your app includes a sign-up process, make it as easy as possible for the user. Look for the minimum amount of information that can help you start communicating with the user.
One of the better strategies would be to not include it altogether. Let them use the app functionality first and once they see the value, prompt them to signup and share their info. This hack has been utilized by many successful apps.
Always keep in mind, two clicks are better than four, already populated forms are better than a long list, remembering what your users did last time is better than making them go through the same process again. (read more about must-have features all the best apps have in common, here)
No one wants a bad review or rating at App Store. So, why should you only listen to your customers via that channel? Provide your customers with a mechanism to leave feedback, review, queries via channels where you can listen and address those.
Uber does a good job where you can leave comments about your recent experience.
Such proactive listening will help your user to vent out their frustrations before deletion and will give you the chance to fix the issue.
Remember, you can’t change App Store Reviews. Your product design should include a mechanism to collect feedback. If you are listening and fixing, this feature will do you wonders for your App Engagement and Retention Goals.
User Engagement and Retention requires deep to understand and thorough designing process. I suggest you start off process based upon design thinking and embed a strong analytical culture to hack engagement and retention.
Analytics, predictive user behaviors analysis, remarketing, push notification-strategies, associated tools, can all help you devise a strategy that hacks your user engagement.