Branded Mobile App User Retention Strategies

User Retention Strategies For Brand Apps

Implementing effective user retention strategies for your branded mobile app can ensure that you avoid app fatigue, or even worse, having your app deleted forever.

When deploying successful business mobile apps, you need to create something that is engaging and enduring. An important step a brand can take when building a mobile app is to ensure users return time and time again, leaving satisfied with their experience.

Consider implementing some of these mobile app user retention strategies when developing your app to reduce app abandonment and improve user retention rates.

1. Exclusive Content

Your app should be an extension of your brand and provides a unique opportunity to offer app-only exclusive content that can help educate, inform and entertain your users.

Coming back to your app to consume regular exclusive content can help build brand affinity while engaging with your audience in a genuine way.

2. Leverage Notifications

Properly leveraging notifications within your app, either by email or using push notifications allows you to re-engage with your audience and increase app stickiness.

It is always important to have a reason that you are communicating with your customers, so be careful not to over-use notifications and to keep them for the most important updates customers might want to know.

If you believe that there are certain topics that your audience may choose to see more often, such as industry news updates, then consider adding an option within your mobile app where users can decide to opt-in for more frequent notifications, so they have actively made a choice to hear from you more often.

The risk of over-using mobile app notifications or delivering boring messages is that your audience will develop notification blindness and while this may keep the app on their phone for a short time, they will eventually take the next logical step to either turn off your app notification altogether or delete your app entirely.

3. Create Convenience

By successfully positioning your app as the convenient option for people to shop or discover the information you provide will take less effort and create more time savings for consumers. You can help build your brand loyalty and make your app the place they can go to where they know they will get a simple yet valuable experience.

Create an app that is user friendly and offers easy, convenient ways for people to navigate and consume your content or engage with your business in a more efficient way than through other available channels.

4. Persona Focused Design

Before you develop business apps for your brand it is important to understand your true target audience.  This is often done by developing a user persona which will allow you to detail the most common characteristics of your audience including their value set and the pain points they experience that your app will address.

Creating a user persona for your app is the foundation for designing the user journey and customer experience while providing a consistent reference point that helps you customise every aspect of your mobile product.

5. Create Community Interaction

Certain business apps will function in ways that facilitate community interaction. If your brand app is oriented toward users interacting with each other in any way, you need to provide simple and easy ways for the community to create and share information in a safe way.

Adding community interaction could be as simple as adding a crowd-sourced content stream such as photos sharing and tagging to Instagram or Twitter in order to participate in a competition whereby users get to vote for a winning entry.

This type of community interaction would ensure the participation of users who enter the competition as well as another group who interact as judges and would encourage that users return to your app frequently to stay updated with the latest information.

6. Solving Pain Points

Creating a business app that addresses the most critical pain points for your ideal clients and customers in a simple or unique way will continue to draw people back to your app.

If your app is simply a fun extension of your brand that doesn’t attract their interest frequently or isn’t a way to add value or deliver a genuine saving, either in time, effort or some other unique way, then your app may stop being front-of-mind and be replaced by many of the other apps out there in the app marketplace.

7. Optimised Mobile Experiences

Each mobile app operating system is unique to the platform and compatible devices. In order to deliver a seamless app experience across any platform you need to ensure that your app has been appropriately customised to be compatible with the features and functionality available within each operating system.

Many businesses develop apps simply by choosing to embed an existing version of their mobile website into an app using a WebView which functions in a way that is fundamentally no different to loading the site in a web browser. Often with embedded WebView style mobile apps, while the objective of launching a mobile app on the app store can be achieved, the app itself is simply a glorified mobile website living inside an app container.

If you are truly focused on user retention, one of the important steps is to optimise your mobile app for the platform from top to bottom with features that take full advantage of the device and operating system infrastructure, such as touch gesture functionality, infinite vertical scrolling or text, graphics and video that are fully optimised for display on a mobile app platform.

One of the best ways to retain mobile app users is to offer a solution that works seamlessly. Native mobile apps are the only way to deliver a consistent, optimised experience every time.

8. Intuitive, Efficient Navigation

Native mobile apps provide a range of options for features that can assist users in navigating your app.

How you allow users to move between sections or pages within your app will be critical to delivering an efficient and intuitive user experience – almost like knowing where the user wants to go before they do.

Planning out the customer journey and user persona will allow you to understand what the user is doing at any time, and effectively understanding what they most frequently want to do next.

One way to achieve this is by using a one tap methodology, where, at any point in your app, the user should only ever be one tap away from the range of functions that they are likely to want to perform next.

The more effective the app design can be in understanding the user journey and predicting the next steps they most often want to take from any place in the app, the more likely you are going to be able to design efficient and intuitive navigation in your app.

9. Development & Testing

Considering the mobile operating system landscape and the large number of devices that could install your app, one of the most critical stages of the app development process is testing and quality assurance.

Budget friendly app development and quick fix app solutions designed to make a business more accessible to customers or those seeking a path to rapid profitability, often overlook or fail to truly consider the importance of a comprehensive mobile app testing plan.

Mobile apps with bugs or features that do not work as intended can often be far worse for your brand than having no app at all. Considering recent Upland Localytics market research data shows that 25% of users abandon apps after one use, first impressions are critical and can be costly if you don’t get it right and meet user expectations the first time a user engages with your brand using your mobile app.

Apps can be a wonderful way to increase brand exposure and accessibility, however your app needs to deliver a seamless and fully functional solution to be attractive to your audience and keep bringing users back to your app.

10. Integrate Gamification

Great mobile apps often integrate gamification to incentivise users to come back frequently to build on their progress. Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in a non-game context and can provide a unique and interesting way to engage your audience.

Mobile app designs that gamify the user experience encourage their audience to return to the app frequently in order to accrue points or to unlock benefits or promotions by regularly engaging with the app.

Gamification isn’t limited to consumer-facing brand apps however and can also be used within a business to make educational or work activities more like a game by finding ways to make them more entertaining and rewarding. Gamified elements within a mobile app are typically visually engaging and can offer points, rewards or prizes based on performance and task completion.

Implementing effective user retention strategies in your app can ensure you are well positioned for success.

While user acquisition is still critical to get your app downloaded, subsequently avoiding app abandonment by retaining users and bringing them back to your app regularly is equally important to developing a successful mobile app for your brand.

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