Mobile app developers and marketers encounter various challenges along the way of making their app go viral. Increasing user acquisition rates, improving user experience and working on marketing automation make only a small part of what it takes to have an effective app marketing plan set in place. In this article, we are going to describe what you need to do in order to engage your users with special strategies and get them “hooked” onto your app. You don’t want your app to end up being downloaded but then used only once, do you? 

What Is App User Engagement and Why Is It Important? 

User engagement means the active interaction of a user with an app. For this, you have to make sure you provide your users with a reason to keep coming back to your app. Increasing user engagement is one of the key goals in mobile marketing that you can achieve through measures such as content personalization, email marketing, and other marketing campaigns. 

It is not easy to attract the attention of users. An enormous number of apps in the apps stores have weakened customer loyalty. This is why it is important to encourage user engagement because customers who have had a positive user experience are more willing to come back. And exactly these users will be more eager to recommend your app to their friends, thus, boosting your user acquisition rates.  

What Are the User Engagement Metrics and KPIs?

User engagement metrics are the rates of app success among the audience, which are critical for all apps and games. The more users your app has and the more interesting it is to them, the more opportunities to profit from both sales and advertising. These metrics are as follows:

Number of Downloads 

This is the simplest indicator of app success. The data for this metric is available from the app store. If the number of downloads is unsatisfactory, you should think about ASO (App Store Optimization). If you know the number of installs and watch the trend, you can understand how effective your marketing is. 

Find out more about ASO in our articles: App Store Optimization

But you shouldn’t rely only on the number of downloads along. It is much more important to get a thousand quality customers than ten thousand of those who just install and immediately uninstall the app. 

Open Rate 

This is the percentage of users who launched your app after installing it. It is a useful metric for A/B testing. You can get reports on this metric from the app stores. 

Bounce Rate 

The number of users who install your app, but do not register with it. This metric is important for identifying connectivity problems for your app on certain devices or in certain countries, as well as for identifying other critical issues that hinder new users. 

If you find out that many users are dropping the app before signing up for it, you should try to reduce the number of screens or simplify the registration process. 

Active Users 

This is one of the most interesting and useful metrics. The more customers have not only installed the app, but also continue using it regularly, the higher its value. 

Active users are typically divided into three groups – the daily, monthly, and weekly active users (DAU, WAU, and MAU).

You can use these metrics for different purposes. For example, DAU is useful for understanding which days are most successful and how many active, most valuable users you have. And MAU helps you understand how many users visit your app periodically.

Sticky Factor

This metric shows how “sticky” your app is. To get the value for the sticky factor, divide DAU by MAU (or DAU by WAU). If all users launch it every day, then DAU will be equal to WAU and MAU, and the sticky factor will be 100%. The 100% value of the indicator is, of course, almost unreachable. 

The lower the sticky factor, the fewer users are “stuck” on your app and the less they are interested in it. A good monthly value is 20%. If your sticky factor is 5% or below, you should try push notifications or update the app with new features. Help users remember that your app exists and give them an extra reason to come back.

Average Session Length (ASL)

This is the amount of time that the users typically spend in the app. It can be very helpful when evaluating different user groups. Maybe some people open your app every day, but just for a couple of minutes, whereas someone spends three hours in it, but only once a week? Which of these groups pays the best, which one should be involved, which one is better to target when releasing updates? 

To calculate the average session length, use the formula: ASL = T / N. T is the total duration of sessions for a period, and N is the total number of sessions for the same period. However, you shouldn’t chase the value of this metric, because it strongly depends on the type of your app. For games, ASL is quite critical, but for widgets and fitness trackers it is almost irrelevant because they can run in the background.

8 Ways to Boost Mobile App Engagement Metrics

Here’s how you can increase engagement metrics:

1. Simple Onboarding

Onboarding introduces the user to a product. It not only teaches how to work with the new interface, but also helps to customize it. App developers can use onboarding not only at the first launch but also when adding new functions to the app.

There are the following basic rules of onboarding: 

  • Avoid too much text. Don’t show the user too much information. Focus on the most important features of the app, and then invite the user to register or enter the app. 
  • Visualize content. Often people don’t like to read the text, so visualize what is written on each slide. And the best way is to use interactivity. Thanks to this, the user can learn the gestures, which will greatly simplify their further work with the app. 
  • Carefully present the login screen. Try to simplify registration by logging in via social media. Better yet, reward the user with additional functionality after registration. 
  • Don’t be too salesy. Talk to the user as if they were your friend. 
  • Give users an opportunity to close the tutorial. People often don’t have time to learn all of your cool stuff. Therefore, it is better to allow them to skip training.

Read more: 7 Tips for Creating Better App Onboarding Experiences

2. Deep Linking

Deep linking is one of the best ways to re-engage app users. For example, if your app has a high bounce rate, you can retarget users who did not finish the registration process. Here’s how it works:

  1. You send a user an email or a notification with a deep link. 
  2. The link’s resource determines the user’s operating system.
  3. The link then leads the user to a specific screen offering a more personalized signup process (possibly with additional promotions or discounts). 

This is a simple and relatively inexpensive way to get more users involved in your app.

Read more: A Comprehensive Guide to Deep Linking: Making It Work for Your Mobile App

3. Push Notifications and In-App Messaging

First, push notifications remind users that they have such an app on their device. Secondly, they greatly simplify the work with the product and save the users’ time. It is especially important to use such notifications in apps that perform specific functions and are not used on a daily basis. So, by sending a push message about a new discount or service, you provide customers with a good reason to use the product again and again. 

If implemented correctly, push notifications can also help promote app usage by targeting messages based on behavioral data and preferences. Well-designed push messages can more than double the user return rate for the periods of 30, 60, and 90 days. Make sure you have a tool that helps you optimize push notifications and other user engagement processes. For your convenience, we created a selection of the best options available on the market. 

As this technology belongs to marketing methods, there are certain recommendations for its use. The main one is to keep the balance between constructive dialogue and intrusiveness. Consider the following factors: 

  • Target audience. Only personalization and consideration of the user’s interests can increase sales and help achieve other business goals. In push notifications, it is possible to customize this personalization, taking into account the gender, age, and other characteristics of the user. 
  • Relevance. Provide users only with up-to-date information. Promotions, discounts, news – all this should be relevant. 
  • Geolocation. An important parameter on which, as you know, most advertising campaigns are built. You can enter text with the name of a region in push notifications, defining this region through the user’s IP address. For more accurate geo-targeting, you can invite the user to specify a city or region themselves. 
  • Linking to social networks. The user must have an opportunity to share information. Social tools are the best option for this. 
  • Timeliness. People should be notified when it suits them. Almost no one will be interested in information about discounts at 3 a.m. It is best to send information on weekdays after lunch. 
  • The ability to unsubscribe. If a person is not interested in your notifications, they will ignore them and will not become a client anyway. Do not be intrusive, give people freedom of choice. 

Read more: Push Notifications vs. In-App Messaging: What’s the Difference?

4. Mobile Marketing Automation

Here are some frightening statistics: as per the study by Paychex, marketing and advertising professionals are stressed 80% of the workweek. Luckily, marketing automation can help optimize their work schedule and even reduce stress levels. 

Marketing automation refers to the use of software and web services to automate various marketing processes, mainly working with clients – leading them along the funnel. The purpose of marketing automation is to build the most powerful communication with potential customers and thus grow sales. Automation allows you to: 

  • increase the efficiency of processes in comparison with manual work
  • automate repetitive tasks
  • and the most interesting point: start new processes that would be impossible manually.

Find out more about MMA in our articles: Mobile Marketing Automation

5. In-App Communities

Communities are social features integrated into the app that allow users to communicate with each other and exchange experiences. Having an in-app community is one of the most successful user retention and engagement tactics. This is because a feeling of belonging and competitiveness encourages the users to return to the app, knowing that their peers are waiting. Besides, having a community “humanizes” the apps – apps with many users have community managers that act as a bridge between the company and customers.


6. Gamification

The term “gamification” first appeared in the early 2000s and was interpreted quite broadly: as any application of game mechanics in non-game processes. Since then, gamification has become a new and effective way to attract customers and increase business revenue. Gamification is based on viral tools that motivate users to be socially active and encourage them to attract their friends and acquaintances, and at the same time spend money. In this way, gamification turns the consumption of a service or product (e.g., a mobile app) into a game. And the game has always been a successful tool for attracting people. 

The introduction of gaming techniques into a marketing strategy allows you to solve several problems.

  • First, the game elements attract new users and return those who have already used your app. The game allows you to grab the user’s attention and make them spend as much time as possible in the app.
  • Secondly, gamification helps establish two-way communication between the company and the target audience and track feedback. 
  • Third, the introduction of game elements leads to an increase in the company’s income. Due to retention, the user will spend more time in the app, see more ads, and is more likely to make an in-app purchase.

Read more: Is Gamification the Only Way for Apps to Survive?

7. Personalization of Content

Content personalization is another important aspect of a quality mobile app. The more the content meets the needs and preferences of the user, the more likely they are to continue using the product. You can start small – for example, display the user’s name on the screen and in push notifications. However, in the long run, this won’t be enough: it’s important to tailor the proposed content to the location and needs of users.

Read more: Mobile App Personalization: All the Hows and Whys You Need to Know

8. Two-Way Communication 

Seek user feedback on your app. It’s important for people to understand that their feedback can help improve the product. Another advantage of this strategy is that the users are unlikely to post negative reviews about your product if they have an opportunity to contact you directly and resolve the issue.

Read more about app reviews in our articles: Mobile App Reviews 

Wrapping Up

To engage more users with your app, make sure to implement the strategies discussed in this article and remember that what might work for one app won’t necessarily bring the same results to yours. That’s why it’s important to experiment and find out what works best for your product. If you’d like to learn more about various app marketing strategies, subscribe to our free 10-day email course