The 6 most useful digital marketing ways to increase app engagement

The 6 most useful digital marketing ways to increase app engagement

The 6 most useful digital marketing ways to increase app engagement
Natalie Karakina
Chief Marketing Officer at InAppStory

App engagement metrics like churn rate, bounce rate, and retention rate are some of the best indicators to tell the success of an app. From a holistic point of view, these metrics don’t stand alone but have a mutual impact on each other. For example, when you keep users engaged longer on an app, the bounce rate lowers, which is likely to result in the churn rate also shrinking. So once you figure out the right strategy for in-app engagement, everything starts to improve together. 


In this blog post, we will show you 6 proven ways to increase mobile app engagement. They are fresh, trendy, and expert-approved. Read on to find out. 


1. Implement an excellent onboarding process


The mobile app onboarding process is a series of screens that highlight the main features, basic functions, and settings of an app for first-time users. You can think of user onboarding as a quick movie trailer rather than a full tutorial. 


There is no second chance to create a first impression, and mobile app onboarding is a powerful way to enhance that first impression after a user downloads your app. When done right, onboarding will enhance the engagement, hence minimizing the churn rate, which is  one of the most important mobile app engagement metrics.  


Here are some tips for successful mobile user onboarding:

  • Make sure to highlight the core features - As soon as someone opens your app, they should be able to see how the main features work, where the core section is located, and how to navigate between functions. 
  • The simpler the better - You don’t want to overload customers with features, especially when they’re not familiar with the tool yet. Just start the mobile app onboarding process by introducing basic navigation and primary gestures. 
  • Add a call-to-action - Insert a call-to-action right at the end of the onboarding process to let users know what to do next. It also encourages them to spend more time experiencing the app. 
  • Don’t ask for too much information - When someone first installs your app, they want to explore it as soon as possible. Don’t throw a wet blanket on their excitement with lengthy questions, forms, and multiple-step verifications. This will instantly drive them away. So, ask less.  


In this example, LinkedIn is aware that customers may not want to spend time filling in all the forms, so they offer “Skip” options that allow users to complete them later. 


LinkedIn onboarding


Now you know these basic tips, but they are easier said than done. How to implement the tips is a new conundrum. 


For app owners who are looking for an innovative way to shape their onboarding process, check out InAppStory. If you’re familiar with Instagram Stories, you’ll have no problem trying InAppStory. At first glance, they’re very similar. But while Instagram Stories can be seen on Instagram only, InAppStory lets you design them in your app.


InAppStory is an intuitive drag-and-drop tool with multiple built-in elements and widgets, including text, audio, video, image, poll, quiz, promo codes, etc. All these tools help users create beautiful, highly engaging mobile onboarding processes. 


What’s more, you can track user behavior and in-app engagement, and use that data to optimize your marketing campaigns over time. 


2. Take care of the UX


If I could only pick one factor that has a massive impact on the success of a mobile app’s user engagement, it would be usability. A user-friendly UX is one of the best ways to keep customers happy and engaged. On the other hand, if users find difficulties in navigating through your app, they will feel no hesitation in deleting it. So taking care of the UX should be a priority on your list. 


Here are some things that differentiate good UX from bad UX: 

  • Minimal design - When it comes to UX design, less is more. Keep your design as simple as possible. Get rid of unwieldy features and tutorials. Declutter your content. 
  • Focus on readability - Mobile phones have significantly smaller screens than desktops and tablets. So, focus on font size, spacing, alignment, etc. Small details can have a great influence on the overall experience of your app user. 
  • Optimize the loading speed - In-app loading speed has a direct relationship with bounce rate. When loading speed rises from 1 second to 10 seconds, visitors are 123% more likely to bounce. In this era, when attention spans are getting shorter than ever, a few seconds faster means a better chance to engage. So app developers and marketers must focus on the loading speed in order to increase their mobile app user engagement. 

3. Create a user-centric push notification strategy


Don’t wait for customers to open your app. Do the opposite. By sending push notifications, you become more proactive in maintaining user engagement. Little messages that pop up in users’ screens at the right time can have a tremendous impact, boosting app engagement by up to 88%


Fun fact: the average click-through rate of push notifications is 10.3%. That means only 1 in 10 popup notifications is effective enough to pique the users’ interest. So, bombarding users with countless popups isn’t really a good strategy. Doing so may even result in the opposite effect. 


On the other hand, personalized push notifications can even increase the open rate by 800%. According to Google, 58% of customers favor an app that remembers their name and past behavior. That’s why focusing on a user-centric push notification strategy is the ultimate solution for conversions. 


So, what does a successful push notification strategy look like? Let’s dive into this cool case study and get some inspiration. 


Meet Peloton, a fitness app that provides a variety of classes, trainers, and music for yoga, meditation, running, etc. This push notification appears on the user’s screen after she finishes a class. 


push notification example
Image source


Since a person’s name is the sweetest sound in any language, Peloton sends a personalized message with their name on it. What’s more, it also gets behavioral insights of the user’s performance and uses them to recommend a stretch. The content marketer at Peloton did a great job being relevant but not pushy. 

4. Optimize stellar app listing 


As of 2021, there are 1.96 million apps in the App Store and 2.87 million apps in the Google Play Store, according to Buildfire. In this fierce competition, the chance of your apps getting listed at the top of the search results is smaller than ever before. That’s where a good app listing strategy comes in. By implementing the right app listing method, you’ll increase the chance visitors explore your apps, and hence increase the view rate and downloads. 


Here are some simple tips to create a stellar app listing. 

  • Write a descriptive title - A title tells readers what the content is about. When seeing something new, whether it’s a website, a newspaper, or a blog post, everybody reads the title first. Only if they like the title will they scroll down for more content. This works exactly the same for your app. The app title should be concise, descriptive, simple, and relevant. Adding keywords in the title is also a good way to optimize app ranking for certain queries. But remember, don’t over-stuff keywords at the expense of readability. 
  • Use appealing images - Images are used to help visitors visualize the in-app experience before they decide to download. That’s why it’s important to leverage images as a way to increase user engagement. Don’t just take screenshots. Use mockups. Try to be as presentable as possible and tell your own story. Include the core features and emphasize your value and your branding to potential users. 
  • Create a gripping video - Video marketing is a hot keyword among marketers in recent years. According to Wyzowl, 95% of marketers mention of the importance of video in their campaigns. So if you haven’t placed a video on your app listing, do it now. A video from 30 to 90 seconds long will have a greater chance to be seen than a longer video. When doing this, make sure you highlight the values, not the features. 

5. Run install ads


What is an install ad? 


An install ad nudges viewers to download the app. These ads can show up on multiple platforms. For install ads, we can categorize them into groups: 

  • Google search engine ad
  • Social media ad like Facebook ad, Instagram ad, Twitter ad, Pinterest ad
  • Banner ad
  • Interstitial ad
  • App Store ad


Each type of install ad has its unique pros and cons. But overall, running install ads is an incredible way to approach and acquire new users.  Let’s take a look at an effective install ad from Twitter:


Twitter install ad


This app shows up on Twitter with a warm-tone photo of a hotel, short and descriptive copy, a call-to-action, and an integrated real rating from Google Play. It’s simple, friendly, but somehow very convincing. Most importantly, it doesn’t sound pretentious or over-promoting. 


Here are some tips for your next install ads: 

  • Know your target users - Setting up the right target users is one of the basic steps of running ads. By analyzing your buyer persona and demographic data, you can narrow down the ads for a specific segment, hence getting a higher chance of conversion. 
  • Focus on the right keywords - Focus on the keywords, but be laser-focused on the search intent. Sort out keywords with clear search intent, whether it’s informational or commercial, to crush it. 
  • Use appealing images - An image can make or break your ads, so make sure that you use captivating images that convey a clear message to customers. Let the images attract your viewers’ interest. 
  • Show social proof - The presence of social proof makes your business so much more trustworthy in the eyes of viewers. Adding social proofs like 5-star ratings or testimonials is a subtle but effective way tell everyone that your business is great without sounding boastful.  
  • Add a clear call-to-action - In this case, a short, simple call-to-action like “Install” or “Download now” could be better than a long, elaborate phrase because it’s straightforward and avoids any possible confusion from customers. 

6. Develop effective mobile app content


In 1996, Bill Gates said, “Content is king.” Now, more than 20 years later, this is still true. Content can build trust, enhance the connection with users, encourage conversion, and establish customer loyalty.  If you want customers to stick around longer, content is something you can’t afford to ignore. When you’re running an app business, mobile app content has the same influence on overall marketing efficiency as traditional content, if not more. 


Let’s dive into an excellent example of mobile app content from Spotify - the “Behind the lyrics” idea. For a user, it’s quite fun and definitely enriches the music listening experience.


Spotify Behind the lyrics mobile app content


Here are some tips to boost your content strategy:

  • Get in-app feedback - Collecting in-app feedback is a great way to communicate with customers and gain valuable insights from them. Because this context-sensitive feedback is provided when customers are already using your app, you’ll have the chance to analyze their experience more accurately and precisely. What’s more, it definitely results in a higher response rate than email feedback or a feedback form on a website. 
  • Keep refreshing in-app content - Your app users receive countless messages every day from social media, apps, and various other channels, so it’s important to always refresh your content. Make it interesting, unique, and authentic. For example, use your app to shed light on some industry fun facts and other topics. Share with users some fascinating data about their counterparts who are using the same app across the globe. Promotes sales and special deals in-app with a sense of urgency. Alert users about new product features and encourage them to give them a try. Creativity can take your content strategy very far. 


Wrapping up


Whatever strategies you’re using to improve mobile app user engagement and app ranking, make sure you do your research, tailor it to the right customers, keep asking for feedback, and tracking and optimizing for the next campaigns using in-app data of customer behavior. Never forget to spend time keeping an eye on the latest trends. In this fast-paced industry of mobile apps, a strategy that works like a charm today may become obsolete tomorrow.


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