Research shows that early and consistent app engagement, during the first month after download, can yield 90% retention. Encouraging more time spent in-app, interaction with content and engagement with an app’s functionality will aid retention rates. There are many strategies to boost engagement that app leaders should consider to ensure the success of their apps.

Below we focus on three scenarios which present great opportunities to increase engagement through well-timed prompt strategies. Specific touch points and scenarios may be dependent on the functionality of the app, but many of the following optimisation follow principles that are useful across app verticals.

‘How do I find my booking details…’

If users don’t know a feature exists, they won’t use it. Onboarding is key to ensure no useful feature goes amiss, but it is important to strike a balance in providing useful information at the right time.

Beyond onboarding screens and a progressive onboarding flow (see more on successful onboarding strategies from our blog), there are plenty of ways to educate users on your app’s functionality. A good example comes from DICE, an app that lets users browse and book tickets to gigs, clubs and festivals. Upon creating a profile DICE not only offers clear and interactive in-app onboarding, but they also send their users a four-part onboarding email series to welcome and educate them on its most prominent features, making great use of multi-channel outreach. One of their best emails covers where to find booking details, with an emphasis on their unique ticket sharing functionality. The email proves useful as a permanent reference regarding the app’s functionality, outliving its in-app onboarding which disappears after the message is dismissed.

In tandem with in-app onboarding, don’t be afraid to take your communication outside of the app as a strategy to drive users back. They will be more informed and likely to engage with it.

‘I wish everyone was using this app!’

There are times when you come across the perfect app that caters to your needs. Elated, you wish all your friends used it too as it would enrich your app experience. As an app owner or marketer this is a great problem for your users to have, as long as the app is prepared for it.

A good example of being prepared comes from popular banking app Monzo, an app that offers functionality such as spending reports and real-time notifications when using the account. One of the pragmatic features of the app is the ability to transfer and split payments with your phone’s contact list, but of course, they need to be fellow Monzo users. This is where you should ensure that you have a sharing strategy in place to encourage both engagement and the growth of your app’s user base. Monzo offer a golden ticket within the app to share with friends, driven by the incentive of unlocking more useful features and increasing the chance of engagement.

From referral codes to invitations, ensure that your referral strategy offers something to your existing user that is likely to encourage usage, such as a discount to encourage purchase or access to premium features, to increase time spent in app.

‘I really enjoyed that show…’

Beyond the quality of your content there are many engagement strategies to consider to increase in-app usage for content apps. One is the significance of your users’ habits. The better you understand them, the easier it will be to recommend content you know they would enjoy.

We all want an excuse to continue our binge-watching fest. This is when a timely push notification telling you that the next episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians is live and ready for your viewing pleasure!

Make sure to tap into your analytics infrastructure to create segmented and personalised mCRM campaigns to deepen in-app engagement, by sending push notifications with smart recommendations. You can utilise significant learnings regarding your users’ habits, such as viewing trends for OTT apps. By sending tailored push notifications you can increase engagement with your content and improve retention. The higher your retention rates, the more return you’ll gain from your acquisition investments.

There are many scenarios you need to be prepared for to ensure you take every opportunity to keep your users engaged with your product and content. We’ve covered just a few but there are plenty more. So when you ask yourself when the right time is to encourage app user engagement, we advocate a holistic view of the user journey for strategies that drive engagement and retention rates for your apps.

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