How to improve the customer funnel in a mobile app

How to improve the customer funnel in a mobile app

How to improve the customer funnel in a mobile app
Denis Bondarev
Head of Content at InAppStory

Increasing conversion in the customer funnel is the main task of marketers and indeed of the entire team working on a commercial product. At the same time, the way of how exactly to increase conversion rate at each stage of the customer journey is a debatable issue. On the one hand, there is a lot of room for creativity, on the other hand, there is the risk of losing money. In this post, we will take a look at the main strategies for improving the customer funnel in your app, give tips on what to pay attention to, and tell you how content marketing can help.

The customer funnel is a journey from the customer’s first interaction with a product to the moment when leads become regular customers/users. This path consists of a number of stages along which the user of the mobile application moves. The transition from one stage to the next is due to the actions of the client. Unfortunately, this step is always taken by fewer people than the previous one. The percentage of users who go to the next part of the customer journey is called conversion rate. The higher it is, the higher the profit from the mobile application.

The customer funnel model was developed in the late 19th century, when mobile apps were non-existent. It consisted of four elements: attention, interest, desire, action all of which deal with the reactions of users, which is necessary to promote any product. According to the first letters of the model's components, it was named AIDA. This approach to sales has evolved over the years, but its basic principles of stepping towards a goal are still widely used today.


With the development of digital services, the customer journey has become more complex, more personalized and varied, and the approaches of interacting with consumers of mobile services have changed. Today, users can make decisions much faster than in a traditional customer funnel, bypassing certain stages, but the customer funnel should still be applied in this market as well.


Everyone knows how to improve their customer funnel, but not everyone succeeds


Analyzing and improving the mobile app customer funnel is an extremely important task for the marketing team. This helps to understand the disadvantages of both the promotion and the product itself. To effectively use this tool, you need to optimize the customer funnel so that you can track the customer's movement towards the final action (repeat purchases, subscriptions, etc.) and accurately record the conversion rate the proportion of users who moved to the next stage. It will also help you find the "bottleneck" in the customer funnel the point on the customer journey where most users are lost and then solve the problem.

Mobile app customer acquisition funnel stages


Due to a number of mobile service features — primarily related to user interaction — the stages of an app-based customer funnel are somewhat different from the traditional marketing one. There are five main stages that are applicable to the vast majority of applications. And the conversion rate at each of the stages can be improved if you adhere to certain strategies.


1. Exposure and Awareness


If no one knows about you, no one needs you. Accordingly, the central part of this stage is to determine how people will find and learn about your app. Will it be organic traffic or are you willing to pay for it? The strategy here should include informing users about the product in the widest possible range of channels and the ability to distribute content between them.

Steps to increase conversion rate:

  • optimization of search results in app stores by working with rating, keywords, content;
  • promotion and creation of a community in social networks;
  • advertising

2. Consideration


At this stage, the user decides whether your product/service can be trusted. Here, the opinions of other people — reviews — can serve as good proof of the reliability and quality of your proposal. For the best reviews to appear first, the app must be optimized by the developers. The goal of this stage is to get the app installed, and this is one of the most important parts of the user experience.


Steps to increase conversion rate:

  • constructive work with negative reviews;
  • elaboration of the feedback system;
  • publishing information about your product or service in other channels.

3. Onboarding and conversion rate


At this stage, customers make a decision about whether to purchase a product or not. It is important to make this process as simple and as smooth as possible: minimize the number of necessary clicks, avoid fill-in forms, transitions and other similar functions. For this, the UI and UX must be perfectly debugged.

It is extremely important to work out mobile app onboarding in detail and conduct the first interaction with the user as efficiently as possible. Think about how quickly, succinctly, and at the same time clearly you can present your product. Ask yourself these questions: what do your customers want to find, what need are they trying to satisfy, what benefits of your product are fundamentally important for them to learn right away, and what can be put off?

The global cart abandonment rate


SOURCE: Smart Insights, 2017

Steps to increase conversion rate:

  • removal of obstacles in the way to the marketing goal;
  • perfect onboarding and UI/UX;
  • using discounts as purchase triggers.


4. Establishing relationships with clients


Only the owners of scam apps will not hope for the return of their client. Of course, the scammers would also like the deceived users to return to them, but it’s unlikely. If your intentions are clear, then you need to give users a reason why they need to open your app over and over again.

Establishing lasting relationships requires understanding how both of you can interact positively. What will the users get in exchange for their time and, in the long term, for their money? How can you be useful to them?


One way to answer this question is through content marketing. Delivering quality content that is relevant to your audience on a regular basis is a good way to strengthen relationships with your users. Perhaps, while solving this problem, you should think about integrating a stories section into the app.

The native format of stories, which combines the clarity of visual elements and the availability of short texts, is perfect for mobile apps. The informative content of stories is suitable for speaking extensively on any topic and with any target audience – no matter if the topic is on current discounts in an airline's mobile service or about caring for animals in the app of a pet store chain. Stories can play the roles of onboarding, introducing the service or its individual parts, tutorials, and explaining the features of the service.


InAppStory main page



It can also be profitable to integrate services into the application that will be useful in everyday life or for interacting with other users.

Steps to increase conversion rate:

  • increase the value of the application, the need to re-open it;
  • find the most accessible and at the same time personalized way to communicate with users;
  • provide opportunities for feedback;
  • improve the quality of service and, as necessary, the user experience.


5. Customer retention and repeat purchases


A long, trusting relationship with your users should lead to more purchases. You need to strive for this for at least one good reason: the cost of acquiring a new customer is many times higher than encouraging a repeat purchase from a current customer. Think about what you are ready to give to your customers in order to save money on attracting the new ones.


Attracting a new customer

Source: Invesp


Actions for customer retention and repeat purchases:

  • initiate loyalty programs;
  • send reminders with the help of push notifications and mailings — just don’t be intrusive;
  • keep your content up to date.


* infographic showing the stages listed in this chapter


Tips for improving the customer funnel in the app •


In addition to the strategies and approaches listed above, there are a few more recommendations for improving conversion rate in your app.

Tips for improving the customer funnel in the app


1. Test everything!


In order to understand your users’ needs and your own service better, constantly test new hypotheses, solutions, interface elements, and other product components. Experiment, add new sections, levels and opportunities. An app that doesn’t stand still, but constantly develops, will always be more attractive to customers. And one of the criteria for evaluating the success of the tests is the opinions of your users.


2. Analyze the target audience


It is important to understand at who your application is aimed in the first place, who constitutes the core of its users. Look for the most converting groups of people, sales channels, highlight your most popular products and bet on their development in the future.


3. Don’t put pressure on the user


For many apps the critical point is the place where users are lost, namely registration and authorization. An untimely or complex user identification process can easily stop users from engaging with even the most relevant product for them. Make it easy to use your app with as few steps to purchase as possible. If you are requesting something from the user side, be sure that you really need it.


4. Don’t overload the application


The demand for a mobile app largely depends on how simple and understandable it is. Flashy app design worked well a decade ago, but not in 2021. Today the main trend is minimalism. This interface is easy to navigate and there is no need to be distracted by minor details. This approach will also help to highlight the main elements of your interface — the CTA buttons, which should remain visible despite any trends. Also pay attention to the description and icon of your application in the app stores, check the clarity of the screenshots, and remove unnecessary inputs which are useless to the user.

5. Improve constantly

A digital product must evolve, refine and add value to the user without a single delay. On the one hand, this is due to the highest competition for the attention of users in all areas, on the other hand, due to the rapid development of the market. Your rivals don’t stand still, and you shouldn't either. New features must be constantly added for the convenience of users, due to which their involvement must constantly grow. The normal rate for new releases is once a month.

Good news: According to the statistics, it is easier to maintain conversion rate in apps than in mobile browsers

Source: Criteo


As in a good movie, at the end of each stage, the client should throw a tempting hook to move on to the next. Put yourself in the user's shoes and detachedly go all this way for him. What will help you keep your interest and take all the steps? What incentives are missing? By answering these questions, you will make your app even more attractive to users and achieve success.


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