How To Engage And Retain Your Current And Future Mobile App Users

How To Engage And Retain Your Current And Future Mobile App Users

In the final of his three part series for B&T, Logan Merrick(pictured below), director of Buzinga App Development, offers his tips on how to build an app people actually want to use…

Mylan Vu
Posted by Mylan Vu

The app success stories of Shazam and WhatsApp have been enough to evoke a sense of inflated confidence in Australian businesses hoping to achieve the same triumph. But too often businesses launch applications only to witness an initial hype followed by a rapid plummet in sales, usage and engagement. Those that do not provide an engaging mobile experience to users, lose customers to competitors that do. The days following an app’s launch are as crucial as the days prior, as they too determine its success once it has gone live.


To guarantee an app will remain successful in the long-term, there are a number of strategies that businesses must follow:

  1. Understanding users

In order to retain current and future users, it is vital to understand why people do or do not engage with an app. Successful apps, in terms of engagement, are not the ones that cost the most or have the most attractive logo; successful apps are the ones that bring value. Unintuitive user experience, or a design without the user in mind, contribute to a perceived lack of value, and thus discourage engagement.

To win users over, app owners need to:

  • Make a good first impression – There is only one chane to sway someone into becoming a user, with the average app losing 77 per cent of its daily active users with the first three days after installation.
  • Give them what they want – To find out exactly what users want from an application, surveys are great for obtaining key insights. Additionally, questions can be posted and feedback can be requested by customers on social media networks.
  • Find the right type of users – When the perfect user is identified, businesses can tailor a journey with their key objectives in mind. There are four things to consider when trying to identify the perfect user:
  • Who are you targeting?
  • What does your user persona want?
  • Why should your ideal user care about your app?
  • Where can you find more of your ideal user?
  1. Designing for experience

Ensuring that an application has a smart process is crucial for user engagement. There are several elements which make an app intuitive, including:

  • Directive Design – The application should be an easily navigational environment
  • Familiarity – Don’t over complicate the app, ensure it has a sense of familiarity to the common mobile user
  • Beauty – Excellent colour, graphics, size and flow are essential to a perfect experience
  • Minimalistic Design – Ensure simplicity and remove any distractions or clutter to create a clean and easy-to-use app
  • User Testing – Get users to test the app so they can provide feedback and opportunities to improve the product early on
  1. Tracking for improvements

By measuring key information of the app, businesses will be able to closely analyse it and then understand what needs improving. Here is a short list of metrics businesses MUST measure and track:

  • Number of active users
  • Length of sessions
  • Completion of objectives and goals, established during pre-launch (e.g. purchases, clicks, downloads)
  • Retention rate (%)

A/B split testing is also a great way to effectively monitor which aspects of the app are functioning well and which need improvement. By splitting and testing two versions of the same app to the same user base it allows businesses to effectively understand how to improve user experience efficiently.

  1. Pushing for virality

Once businesses have onboarded user feedback to fine-tune the app’s design for engagement, it’s time to go viral. By using the following ingredients, businesses can give themselves the best chance of going viral:

  1. The app MUST have something valuable to share
  2. The app MUST be easy for users to share and join
  3. The app MUST provide value and incentives for users to come back
  4. The app MUST provide more value to users the more time they spend on it
  5. The app MUST leverage gamification mechanics to reward users where possible

Apps have significant potential to grow a company’s brand and revenue. However, to be successful and survive past the initial launch hype, businesses and app developers must take proactive steps to engaging and retaining their current and future users.