A great app experience is like trying new cuisine at a restaurant. You either like it so much that you come back to it over and over again, or you’re so disappointed that you keep it as your ‘last option’ even in hunger struck times.

Now a bad app experience would be one that fails to engage a user right from the start. It would also be the first app to get uninstalled when the user decides to spring clean his phone memory.

But with so many applications entering the app stores, how do you make sure that your users don’t feel their experience is compromised? Or they could find another app that would offer them something better?

To re-engage users with an app, you first need to understand why they are leaving. Is it the app experience or the lack of engagement that caused them to uninstall it? Typically, the user churn takes place because the consumers do not see the value of the product for themselves. The reasons can be as follows:

  • exaggerated value of the app in an ad or description
  • complex functionality
  • complex and confusing interface
  • loss of relevance due to the lack of updates
  • lack of onboarding processes
  • lack of trust
  • too much in-app advertising
  • too many push notifications.

The only way to find out the reasons that are relevant for your product and increase user retention is to include analytics and tracking in your app development.

With GetSocial Analytics, you can carefully track mobile app engagement and understand how they are interacting with various features. It also tracks the length of active sessions that the user has had on the app so you can gauge ways to keep them engaged longer.


Continuing on the point above, it is important to closely track the series of actions a user makes after installing your application. Mobile app analytics is typically based on events – any actions made by users within the application. You send those events to the analytics system, and the system provides an interface for working with this data. Besides the events, you transfer a number of required parameters, such as user identifier, app version, device model, etc. Additionally, you can send custom parameters that you define yourself – for example, the number of days from the installation, the number of launches, etc.

This information gives you insights into how the user perceives your app flow, which screens grab their attention the most, which feature is being most interacted with, and which one requires a little promotion. As a result, it becomes easier to build app re-engagement strategies, such as in-app messaging and personalized email campaigns as well as provide encouragement and incentives.

Knowing what interests the user can help you create targeted campaigns that will enable you to hold them back to the application even after they have completed the initial set of actions. As stated on VentureBeat, there are only 33% of marketers who use event-based in-app messaging. But they are known to get 3.5X higher user retention.



In this article, we’re going to share several strategies that will help you to re-engage users with an app.

#1: Strategize your app notifications

In most application categories, 60% of users opt-in for push notifications. But here’s the catch – they only want to receive push notifications that are relevant to them and offer some kind of value. This speaks of what assumptions about the notifications a user has based on the app category.


Hence, we recommend using push and social notifications to re-engage with your active and inactive users. There are two ways you can use GetSocial to notify users of ongoing activities on the app without seeming intrusive:

  • In-app notifications – notification center that alerts a user of a new activity or update when they are within the application.
  • Push notifications – alerts users of the latest update or activity when the app is not running.

For example, if a user has been inactive on the application for a while, a push notification that reminds them of which level they were on and where their peers have reached, is a smart way to bring them back to the app. You can also go a step further and send discounts and coupons to the users who have been inactive for a few days. 

#2: Personalize in-app communication

Personalization is the most important factor in the application. No matter how loyal the user may be, and no matter what they think of your brand, it is much more important to them to know how your brand treats them personally.

Personalization has three different aspects: interaction, content, and experience. Each of the aspects is important and difficult to apply in its own way. Companies that can use all three aspects will achieve the most success in developing constructive relationships with each consumer.

  • Personalization of interaction focuses on how and when to interact with the user. The “how” part is based on certain actions or behavior. For example, if a customer buys an item in a mobile app, the seller may send them a thank you email calling for the next action. As for “when”, the best strategy is to send messages at a time when the consumer is most likely to use the product. For example, a ticket selling app that allows its users to search for, view, and buy tickets for city events should track when, where, and what each user is looking for
  • User data, such as browsing history, purchases, and searches, can be used to personalize content, whether it’s an ad, an article, or a recommendation for a product or service. This data can also be used to determine what should NOT be sent to users. For example, if they’ve just bought a photo camera, they probably are not interested in offers to buy cameras.
  • Personalization of experience is perhaps most difficult because it entails a change in the entire app based on the behavior of each specific user. The application will look different for an experienced user and for a beginner because there are different business tasks for each of them. A beginner can see a simplified interface to learn key functions, while an expert can see the most frequently used functions.

#3: Use social media marketing

Like every other brand out there, your app too has social profiles. But all you use it for is to share a few posts from time to time, either announcing a new feature or sharing a review. Being active on social networks isn’t just about this. Here is how you can use social media to re-engage users with an app and effectively promote your mobile app:

  • Create engaging content. Use high quality visuals such as graphics and video. This will help you to address the emotions of your followers. There’s a wide range of emotional hooks that you can use to promote your product: happiness, surprise, fear of missing out, excitement, curiosity, hope, and many others. Select the hooks that you think will be most suitable to re-engage users with an app.
  • Reward users for reviews. According to Apptentive, 79% of users check ratings and reviews before they decide to download an application. Therefore, it’s important that you seek reviews from users for a reward and then share them on social media. Actually, even negative reviews can help if you properly react to them. For example, you can use these comments to fix issues with the next release of your app, thus re-engaging the users and increasing their loyalty.

#4: Provide encouragement and incentives

To encourage users to return to your app, you can use incentives and rewards such as discounts, bonuses, gifts and gift certificates. Offering rewards to loyal customers will make them feel that they are getting a good deal. Rewards can take many forms, such as:

  • exclusive deals to loyal members
  • in-app credits
  • incentives to those who haven’t checked out their order
  • purchase discounts, etc.

The benefit of successful user retention significantly outweighs the cost of rewards. When the consumers see that they are getting more out of your product as compared to your competitors, they won’t hesitate with their choice.

Give your churning users real world incentives such as discounts, freebies, giveaways, offers, and passes. According to The Manifest, 98% of companies incentivize application installs. You can do the same when re-engaging app users by rewarding them for giving your product a second chance.

#5: Engage users with gamification

Gamification refers to applying various approaches from games in everyday life. In other words, it is the use of gaming approaches and processes to engage people and solve problems. These processes are primarily aimed at human emotions, such as involvement and motivation.

Non-game apps are now actively using this strategy for user retention and mobile app re-engagement. The simplest element of gamification is the reward for daily visits to the application or push notifications encouraging the user to return to the “game.” The rewards can take the form of badges, points, and in-game currency. You can also introduce the following gaming elements to the app’s interface:

  • Progress dashboards that show the user’s progress within the app. These are used by e-learning products such as Codecademy Go and Khan Academy.
  • Scoreboards that list player rankings and enable “players” to share their results on social media. Duolingo (foreign language learning app) and Todoist (productivity app) use scoreboards.
  • Social interaction that enables users to communicate with each other just like on Facebook, Instagram, and other networks. This feature is used by Duolingo, Todoist, and Fitbit.
  • Levels that can help you develop different levels of complexity for different types of users, from beginners to experts. Each new level encourages the user to get further. Levels are used by Duolingo and Todoist apps.

#6. Apply deep linking and web hooks for personalized experiences

For consistent interaction with your users, apply deep linking. It enables you to direct the user to the relevant piece of content on the right page within the application. This saves their time in searching for the relevant screen and immediately engages them. Deep linking makes it possible to reduce the number of barriers on the user’s way to the final goal.

Similarly, using web hooks will help you track which users are proactively promoting your product in their circles based on the number of sent invites, generated clicks, and successful installs. An effective web hook system allows you to reward and keep users motivated to not just engage with your app regularly, but also share it in their circles.

#7. Enable easy social sharing

If you thought social sharing was important only for content-based apps and websites, you’re wrong. Enabling your app users to easily share their in-app activities and achievements on their social profiles, will not just re-engage existing users in his circle, but also give a boost to word-of-mouth promotion.

For example, when a user completes his track on Nike, the app gives him the option to share it with his friends on social media. Those of his friends that are already using the app, get motivated and re-engage with it and those who haven’t heard of the app, become more willing to share it.


Over to you

With the mobile app market expanding by the day and businesses from every industry trying to enter the same, it takes 10 times more effort and resources to acquire new users. But retaining the existing ones only requires strategic mobile app engagement in place.

Maintaining a high user retention rate will help you grow more sustainably in the app market. But it definitely does require testing and gauging what works the best for your audience.

Learn more on how to keep your users hooked onto your app in our free ebook.