It’s not news, the app ecosystem is incredibly competitive. The cold hard facts show 25% of your users only use your app once, and a whopping 80% of users will churn within 90 days. Making a good first impression is key to keep users coming back and that’s where app onboarding comes in. For any app, you want your user to have a clear view of its benefits and functionality from the get-go"By understanding the benefits of your app as fast and efficiently as possible, you can maximise the number of users who come back to your app and in turn, increase your retention rates."
Here are some different ways you can approach onboarding your users, and different elements to ensure it is as effective as possible.
A simple (and arguably the most common way) to educate users about your app is through 3-5 screens that provide a concise, visual and informative introduction to your app upon first open.
- Give users a visual run through of your app
You need to tell users a short story that highlights the great qualities of your app and simplicity is key in getting the message across. Use images that are clear and indicative of the app experience and ensure your images are consistent throughout whilst keeping the text minimal and legible. It is crucial to ensure that your flow works well. Lastly, measure the effectiveness of your flow by diving into your analytics-if you notice a big drop off rate, or a high percentage of users skipping your onboarding, it is an opportune time to reconsider your flow or your chosen onboarding screens.
- Give users a glimpse into your app experience
This is your chance to get creative – some of the most fun onboarding experiences integrate animated elements to add personality. A good example is Mimo, an app teaching users to learn code, make apps, build websites and automate tasks. The gamified nature of the app is translated in their onboarding, and they end with an interactive screen asking users if they have ever coded before to add an element of personalisation. They use simple language and clear minimal copy, addressing the user in a familiar and friendly way. Their animation is not only fun but is an indicator of the experience users should expect in the app.
- Top Tip
After onboarding your users don’t inundate them with permission requests, instead focus on bringing up permissions screens at contextual moments. For more on permission priming, watch our video from our Mastering Mobile Marketing video series.
Progressive onboarding allows users to be informed of features as they use the app in an intuitive way. By triggering an overlay message (an indicative and timely message that doesn’t interrupt the experience) you can ensure none of your great functionality will go amiss as they are using the app.
- Progressive onboarding works particularly well if your app requires a registration process or profile building. Instead of asking users to spend their first experience in your app tediously working through a registration process, ask users to complete the bare necessities first. You can stagger the rest of the process at necessary moments, explaining the benefits at each step.
- Be clear about what the user will gain from completing each step, for example, if users provide their email, they will be notified when a new bespoke deal is available.
- Think about visuals, and consider colour and design to draw user’s attention to where they need to navigate.
Another way you can engage and inform users through your onboarding is by adding an introduction or tutorial video. Whilst this may seem complicated to implement, there are many tools in the market that let you change and test your app onboarding codelessly, including the implementation of a video. And with over half of video content being viewed on mobile, this is a familiar and successful format to consider.
- Set the tone
An onboarding video is probably the easiest way to tell your story and introduce yourself to your new users to deepen the connection to your brand. A great example of this is the Headspace app. Clearly popular, Headspace has been downloaded more than 11 million times with 400,000 paying subscribers. They include a short 1-minute video at the end of their onboarding screens, which covers the core themes behind the app’s functionality, guiding users on how to slot their meditation exercises into their daily routines. The animated video is accompanied by a voice-over, introducing the pacifying voice that will guide them through the meditations offered in the app. By putting the app in context, Headspace develop a personable relationship with their users at an elevated level.
- Opportunity to offer a thorough tutorial
For apps with complex functionality, adding a video is a great way to remove convoluted onboarding screens. By offering a visual video tutorial, users can be informed about the complex functionality that may overwhelm them and increase the likelihood of drop-off. For productivity apps or intricate games, clarifying the user experience from the get-go is ideal. However, only offer a tutorial if necessary especially if your app has features with obvious utility that require little introduction.
- Top Tip
Ensure to give your users the option to skip the video introduction or tutorial. Being subjugated to watch a preliminary video when you want to jump straight into the app could very off-putting for users.
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