Remember when you had to actually walk into a bank to deposit a check? Those days are long over thanks to user preferences and the uptick in smartphone and other mobile device usage driving the ‘App Economy.’
Not only can we deposit checks via our phones but mobile banking apps are now a key differentiator for financial institutions and these trends are not limited to banking brands. Retail, gaming, social media, news, enterprise and other verticals and horizontals are all capitalizing on the $77B in app revenue expected in 2017 (up from 24.5B in 2016).
For app developers the potential is great news… if… your apps are engaging and therein lies the challenge. User downloads and engagements metrics are driven by many factors that need to be considered not when the app is tested and ready to go live but rather upfront in the ideation and design phase, before even one line of code has been written.
For your next time great app idea, think about these four aspects that impact engagement:
Dress to Impress in the App Store
In a recent article, we covered the important aspects of app store optimization (ASO). Like search engine optimization (SEO) for better search rankings, ASO is critical in capturing an app audience. Find out what makes downloading apps attractive by studying the competition before beginning to code. Think about using keywords in the app name, which features your audience wants and the images and descriptions you’ll use. All of these are key to increasing downloads and engagement.
Make Onboarding an Educational Experience
It’s probably safe to say most of us have had unsavory app on-boarding experiences. Everything looks great on the app store, the screenshots are nice, looks simple enough, you’re hooked… until you download and then suddenly everything you hoped for dies on the vine because you can’t figure out where or how to begin. Weak onboarding is sure death for app engagement. Users want tutorials, prompts, ideas, and most of all to feel like you took the time to think from their point of view. Make onboarding easy in order to impact engagement in the correct direction.
Best Two Words for Engagement = Free Trial
Nobody wants to pay for an app only to end up feeling like they wasted money. Sure it monetizes the app from the starting gate, but for the long haul, getting payment for a one-hit-wonder in the app store will drive ASO down and make it challenging to gain new users… especially if they leave negative reviews. So, alongside smart onboarding strategy, consider showing confidence in your product by allowing users to try before they buy.
Use Push Notifications (sparingly)
Push notifications are like garlic in food; the more you push, the less we want to consume your app. Instead of making decisions for users, put control in their hands. On set-up, allow them to choose how much, how often and for what reasons they will be pushed notifications by your app.
Beyond those staples of app engagement, some other features can also help depending on the purpose of the app. For instance, use of personalization such as user names on screen, and displaying relevant content based on behavior or pulling information in from email and other personal sources create custom experiences. Also, giving back to engaged users through rewards and points programs, and gamification tactics are helpful too, particularly in retail.
Enjoy our blog for more information on app marketing and engagement plus ideas and technical aspects of building apps that rely on email data.