November 30 2016

Making your app users complete an action that adds to your end goal is becoming increasingly difficult. The reason being, if they don’t associate with it, they would rather switch apps than do what you expect of them. In this post, we’re going to share how you should analyse the entire user journey to improve the experience you offer and get more conversions.

“How do you get your users to do what you want them to on your app?”

This is one question that has been haunting app marketers forever and we totally relate. You ask users to sign up after a download and they leave the app. You recommend a purchase to them and they abandon the app to look for an alternative. Basically, if there’s anything you want them to do – it’s rarely going to happen.

That’s where the importance of a user journey comes in.

A user journey is defined as the series of steps that represent how you want users to interact with your app ideally. It then involves analysis how users are actually interacting with the app to identify the weakest points in the path to conversion.

It could be hesitance in making an in-app purchase, trying out a new feature or simply not being able to understand how to use one. Mapping the user journey from the time of download and his first session is important for your app’s growth.

Here’s understanding the core steps of an effective user journey that maps the user activity from discovery to purchase.

App discovery / App awareness

There are practically hundred of apps getting added to the app stores on Android and iOS every day. So how is that your users would discover your app and what it has to offer to them?

A research by Tune suggests that the first way most users discover apps are via app store search. It also suggests that word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family is the second most effective way for apps to get discovered. But there are also around 11-12% of users who claim having read about the app on the web.


This only goes to say that apps need to focus on app store optimization on priority and create referral marketing campaigns that encourage its users to share the app in his circles.

App download / User acquisition

This stage in a user journey looks into what made a user download the app after discovery. Is it because there were no other options available to them, the reviews of the app, what the app had to offer or any other reason?

Knowing the motive and the source behind an app download is important for marketers to optimize their user acquisition strategies. When you know what people are looking for, why and how you can offer the same to them, you’re able to personalize your marketing campaigns better. The higher the level of your personalization, the greater are the conversion rates.



Another study suggests that about 31% of users downloaded an app because the concept seemed interesting or fun to them. And about 24% recognized the brand associated with the app.


This only goes to say that apps too need to establish their brand name in the target market. It is important that they maximize their online presence across social and other digital channels, get their apps featured on media sites that are commonly frequented by their users and make sure that their potential users see the ‘value’ there is on offer.

App onboarding / App exploration

Let’s face it, it is not important for you and us to think the same way. While you might want us to write an article only in pointers, we may be the kinds who prefer in-depth posts or vice versa. The same holds true with your app users.

When a user downloads your app, he has the freedom to explore it on his own, at his own pace. Now this might lead him to exploring the features that are the unique selling point of your app or he might totally miss them. Giving him an entirely free reign and absolutely no guidance, can also result in him getting a little too overwhelmed or confused with what the app has to offer.

This is where user onboarding comes in.

Onboarding is like giving your users a quick walkthrough of your app. From the features it offers to how they can make the most of them, in a step by step manner. It makes exploration of the entire app a breeze for the user, and gives the developers an assurance that none of the features are getting ignored.

For example, here’s how Slack introduces its users to the app’s features:

slack onboarding

App reuse and purchases

According to Localytics, the average mobile app retention across all industries, is 25% after 90 days. Yes, most apps have have a large churn on 75% – irrespective of how good the app is or what it has to offer. Getting your users to the app post their first session is a challenge that app marketers still face. Yes, user retention problems are for real!

The primary reasons for a churn being the users found another app that seemed better to them, the app was unsuccessful at becoming his break time companion or it simply was able to engage the user at the right time while he was away.

We have spoken about how in-app and outside the app communication as well as engagement, is important to keep the users hooked. Be it using in-app chats, activity feeds or push notifications, app developers need to ensure they remain at the top of their user’s mind amidst all the market competition.

Here are a few resources to get you started with improving your app’s retention and engagement rates:

Also read: How to reduce your app uninstall rate and optimize your app growth

App monetization

While there are apps like Candy Crush and Game of War making millions out of their users, most apps face a challenge when it comes to converting their users into paying users. The first way out that a lot of users see is to look for another app that offers similar features for free – and that’s where the first app experiences a churn.

Now one way of monetizing your app is to run multiple advertisements within – but then that puts your app at the risk of not being able to deliver a great experience. Another tactic that apps take to monetize from their users is blocking out a few features from the freemium model – this doesn’t interrupt the user’s experience and if implemented properly, converts higher.

In a previous post, we discussed 10 in-app tactics that can help you monetize from your users:

  • Keeps your users engaged constantly
  • Work on a lite freemium model
  • Personalize in-app purchase recommendations
  • Use the power of social to drive conversions
  • Create a customer loyalty programs
  • Create a dynamic pricing model to suit all users
  • Cross promote your in-app purchases
  • Incorporate a subscription-based model
  • Offer multiple payment modes 

Read more about each of the tactics here: 10 in-app monetization tactics that guarantee higher revenues


Okay, so you’ve successfully nudged a user to complete an in-app purchase. But that’s just once and the same user will need the same or higher amount of persuasion to be reconverted. This means he needs to see more value coming from the app and his first purchase to be encouraged enough to make another.

About 38% of users make an in-app purchase based on personal recommendations and 30% when offered a special discount on the next purchase.


So if you want to reconvert a user to monetize higher from them, we recommend implementing multiple personalized campaigns in your app. Some of them being retargeting, behavioral based purchase recommendations, socially driven purchases, referral campaigns, and user loyalty discounts.

The trick to higher monetization is to create a loyal community of your users. Keep them engaged and improve the experience your app has to offer to them, and you’ll be able to monetize higher from each of them.

User loyalty

Continuing on the last point above, user loyalty is also hard to achieve. Imagine yourself as your ideal user. You download an app that helps you edit pictures beautifully, but then you stumble upon an advertisement of another app that seems to offer better editing features. What do you do?

You instantly head to the app store to see if it’s available for free or the features it offers are worth paying for. For the app you were initially using, you aren’t his loyal user – now if you download the new app, there is a high chance you become inactive on the previous one and delete it altogether.

A great way to boost your app’s user loyalty is to create a community, wherein users keep each other driven to get more out of what your app has to offer. For that matter, you could use the opportunity to even keep feeding your users with relevant content that encourages another session.

For instance, Snapseed, a photo editing app by Google uses its Instagram to regularly interact with its users. They also reshare some of their work, making them feel special and at the same time showcasing to other users the possibilities of the app.



No matter what stage your user is on, it is important to note here that it isn’t just the app’s design and offering that matter anymore. It is about the experience your app can offer to its users and how consistently can you improve those over time.

The next market battleground is user experience. Is your app ready?