Love Your Users: Building Lasting Relationships for Long-Term App Success

Love Your Users: Building Lasting Relationships for Long-Term App Success 

It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air. Maintaining healthy relationships with your loved ones requires ongoing effort and commitment; the same goes for retaining and engaging your app user base. In 2023, we saw daily retention rates across iOS and Android drop by 12% within the first 30 days. In the same way you don’t want a connection to go stale, it’s the app marketer’s responsibility to build long-term app success. 

Improving your app’s retention is the key to long-term success and profitability. So, introducing strategies to strengthen your relationship with your users is necessary. Making sure your users feel like their opinions matter can be implemented through various user-centric strategies. You can implement these strategies to avoid having a toxic relationship with your users, and instead foster an engaged and positive sentiment around your app product and user experience. 

Make Your Users Feel Heard: App Review Management 

Before entering a relationship with your product, your prospective user wants to feel assured that hitting that download button is the right decision for them. One of the few elements a user sees when searching for an app is the number and quality of your reviews, and it is one of the significant drivers of conversion. As 79% of users check reviews and ratings before considering downloading an app, you should make sure that the experience of your app is highlighted in these reviews. Apps with positive reviews see a boost in the algorithm within their categories and for related keywords, boosting the app’s overall App Store Optimization (ASO). Due to this boost, these apps are more likely to be featured on the App Store and the Google Play Store, and keywords in the reviews are indexed. 

As with any relationship, communication is key. Make sure to respond to the reviews you are given with a personalised response to make your users feel listened to. We recommend you respond to not just one or two reviews, but all of them. Responding to both positive and negative reviews can help your app in different ways. By responding to positive reviews, you can let your users know that their feedback is appreciated and even get them to share the app with other people they know, potentially increasing referral acquisition. With negative reviews, it’s important to acknowledge the bad experience they had and point them in the right direction of how to fix their problem. If their problem can’t be fixed right away, then let them know that action will be taken. Then, hopefully, after their problem has been solved, you can ask them to update their negative review with a positive one. 

Listening is key: How Does Tinder Accomplish This?

Tinder, for example, likes to respond to many of their negative and positive reviews with a personalised response. Below is an example of a negative review around frustration with the verification process and the user asking for help. By responding to this review, Tinder improves the user’s experience by outlining how they can solve their problem. Going on even further, they can see that the verification process is a problem in general, and work to resolve it in the future.   

Tinder’s iOS reviews (February 2024) 

Since they started responding to reviews more frequently, you can see that since May of last year, their overall app rating has increased from 3.7 to 4. 

App Tweak Tinder app rating YTD (February 2024)

To improve your positive reviews, you can strategically implement review prompts within the user journey. We recommend doing this at specific points when sentiment is likely to be high, like after a successful purchase. Note that it is important not to bombard your users with requests to review, so make sure to have a clear app review management strategy (ARM) to help stage prompts. 

Don’t Just Tell Them, Show Them: Closing the Feedback Loop

You can build on the reviews you get to highlight which features of your app are most valuable to them. Often, negative reviews point out bugs and features that need improving, which developers can use to close the feedback loop. This is a sure-fire way to make your users feel heard and strengthen prospective retention and engagement rates. 

You can do this in many ways, including evolving your feature roadmap in-line with customer reviews. A study done by PWC reported that 32% of customers would stop doing business with a brand they like after just one poor experience. By fixing the problems that your users have, you can reduce your customer churn and produce long-term app success.  

Overall, make sure that both of your positive and negative types of reviewers feel heard. Closing the feedback loop with positive reviewers is just as important as acknowledging and supporting your customers who provide negative feedback. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that everyone has a positive experience when they are using your app. 

Increase Satisfaction: Utilising Gamification 

Gamification is a common way for gaming apps to increase their retention and engagement, but this doesn’t mean that only gaming apps can do this. Gamification is the process of adding a game mechanic in a non-game environment to engage users in using your app and make it stickier. Most famously, Duolingo uses daily quests to drive users back to the app for seasonal occasions throughout the year.  

These characteristics not only broaden the opportunities for interacting with your application but also provide a chance to utilise variations for a more enduring app experience. Introducing gamification elements into your app may lead to increased user retention, but it’s essential to ensure their relevance within the context of your app. Going too far with game elements could have the opposite effect with intrusive mechanics that take away from your app’s actual purpose.  

If you’re struggling with ideas for what gamification mechanics you could implement, here are some examples: 

  • Badges 
  • A wheel that gives out prizes 
  • Loyalty programs 
  • Scoreboards 

Applying gamification to your app can increase customer engagement and satisfaction. So, make your app exciting to come back to create this exciting engagement loop and increase long-term app success. 

Make User Feel Special: Incentives and Personalisation 

Getting a gift from a significant other is always a welcomed gesture (especially if Gifts are your love language!) You can equally give gifts to your users to boost sentiment. Rewards, like a 7-day free trial, can incentivise a user to try out your premium product which they might not have tried out before. Hopefully, they will enjoy this experience and choose to continue with their trial, increasing your app’s ROI. Dating apps like Tinder use this frequently to incentivise users to try out their premium service and encourage conversion. 

Tinder 7-day free trial for their gold service (February 2024)

Personalisation in your app’s CRM is crucial for enhancing user experience and engagement. Targeted marketing through personalised messages are great ways to improve your relationship with your users. You can instill a sense of ‘fomo’ by leveraging notifications like ‘people are liking you, find out who in the app’, which can make users curious to start a new app session. Leverage behavioral analytics to understand user interactions and implement adaptive learning algorithms for continuous improvement.

A series of Hinge push notifications (February 2024)

You can segment your user base for more effective campaigns and use personalised product recommendations to boost cross-selling and upselling. Building on your incentives can be more effective by offering personalised rewards that your users are more interested in. You can do this by leveraging user data within your app to give more desirable incentives. Collectively, these strategies contribute to stronger user engagement, satisfaction, and improved CRM. 

In Conclusion: Show Your Users Some Love 

Maintaining a good relationship with your users is a lot like maintaining a good relationship. Make sure your users feel appreciated and put relationship building at the heart of your strategy to increase your app’s long-term success. Making sure that your users feel heard and supported, as well as giving gifts or incentives, are great ways for your app to see further success. If you check in with your users regularly, like you would a partner, they will feel more encouraged to stay with your app.  

In essence, a comprehensive approach that includes effective review management, gamification and CRM strategies is essential for fostering positive user experiences and ensuring long-term app success. And in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, go out there and win over the hearts of your users. 

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Smokehouse Yard, 44-46, St John Street, London, EC1M 4DF 🇬🇧