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Want to gain and keep app users? Here’s how…

Apps have changed our habits, our lives, our world! There are so many cool ones: from measuring your quality of sleep, to fitness, online shopping, order ins, driver services, K53 Learners License Test, dating services, games and more games. We want them all, tried a lot of them but, do we actually use them?

Have you recently counted the apps in your tablet or phone? How many are you actually using? And what about the others – that are not in use? The answer is simple, you’ve forgotten about them. I bet you’re surprised at this discovery!


As the need for Apps grows, so too does the demand for good ones:

Gone are the days of watching TV. Even browsing plays second fiddle – all because we’re spending more time on apps than ever before…

According to the comScore 2016 US Mobile App Report, digital media time continued to increase by more than 50% in the past three years, with about 90% of that growth directly attributable to mobile apps. Another report from app intelligence firm, App Annie, found that worldwide downloads were up by 15% and time spent in apps was up by 25% to 2.25 hours per day

With this mobile business intelligence (BI) in mind – downloads vs hours spent on apps, it just shows how important user-friendly apps are when it comes to getting and keeping an app’s users.

What happens when apps are not user-friendly?  According to Loyaltyics:

23%    users abandon mobile apps after one use

62%    use an app less than 11 times

38%    return to an app 11 or more times.

It’s clear that app users are impatient and want something specific, or else they’ll bounce. So what does this mean for app developers?


Why do users abandon apps so fast?

So it may be true that users forget about some of their apps every once in a while. That’s why the real question should be: Why did they forget about the app? After all, they never forget to check their favourite ones.

Apps that get abandoned usually have the following traits in common:

  • The apps are not fixed and maintained regularly
  • The apps don’t focus on adding value to a particular audience
  • The apps don’t offer daily value and/or solutions
  • The apps don’t offer better solutions than the competitive apps in the store


Key reasons why people forget about the apps they’ve installed include:


  1. The app keeps crashing

Many users will download an app if it seems interesting. But if it crashes, you will lose them, guaranteed. No one wants to be part of the Guinea Pig/testing stage unless that’s what they’ve signed up for… This is ‘The Rule’: you test and perfects the app before launching the most stable version.


  1. Slow performance

Have you ever heard of anyone that loves slow apps? Exactly, that’s the point!


  1. They find free options for the apps they are paying for

App development is a very competitive industry. So you have to offer better value for money otherwise you’ll lose your users. People like to explore and will try other similar apps to yours even if they come at the same price. If the other app is better, they will (obviously) forget about yours.


  1. Too many ads

When you launch a free app, ads are part of the deal – to make some money. Unfortunately, ads usually make the user’s experience horrible. Ads slow the app down and then the users become frustrated (which brings us back to point 2 above). If your users have to battle through the ads on your app, you can expect nothing else from them but to hit the delete button – without hesitation!


  1. Sign-up requirements

That can be a real pain, especially for casual apps. Nobody wants to create profiles for an app that offers 5-minute exercise sessions and they definitely don’t want to connect it with their Facebook account. So, many people delete the apps soon after they’ve downloaded them because of the frustration from signing up first. It is, of course, a different situation for an app where security of information is crucial.

These are a few of the various reasons why people forget about, abandon or delete apps. If your app is guilty of any of these charges, you need to do something about – asap…


Tips on How to Keep Your App Users

Your single goal is to get customers to download your app – that’s step 1.  The next step is to ensure that you retain your users and engage them further. You need to turn them into loyal users who will punt your app to other people.  How can it be done, you ask? Easy peasy:


  1. Perfect Performance is always No 1!

Fast performance is the name of the game. Conversion from the browser,  loading time and any issues that cause crashing need to be addressed before launching your app. Users are not concerned with reasons why the app needs time to start; they want to access it immediately, error and exception-free.

It is clearly very important to do comprehensive testing before launching. Not to mention continuous monitoring of your app’s performance and the reactions from your users. You need to make improvements whenever necessary. Instruments (from Apple) is a great tool that gives you the data you’ll need to modify your app.


  1. The User’s First Experience is Critical

First-time user experience (FTUE) must be a worthwhile experience. We suggest that you introduce and demonstrate the capabilities of the app through a guided tour – it should be simple to navigate. Adding overlay help screens will also assist with the understanding of the app’s interface and features.


  1. Give them the right dose of notifications

A push notification implementation strategy can boost the rates of retention by 20% according to a Leanplum report. The report also pointed out that personalised push notifications result in 7 times higher retention rate.

There’s a fine balance though… People don’t want to be bugged with too many notifications. Let your users choose the notifications they want to receive. It’s important to remember that users are individuals with different needs. Some people who have a step counter app want to get daily updates to motivate them or monitor their weekly/monthly goal. Others consider such notifications irrelevant.


  1. If your app is more expensive, explain why

People will easily delete an app if they find a free or cheaper alternative. Monitor and test your competitors’ apps. Download their apps to your device and try it out. Are they offering comparable or better solutions at a lower price? If ‘Yes’, you will have to either drop the price of your app to retain and attract new users or you will have to highlight the advantages of your app to make it worth more than alternative apps. You could also add more features, to ensure more value for the user’s buck.


  1. Turn your app into a habit for the users

What’s common about WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter? They have become part of the daily lives of their users. So much so, that mybroadband found WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Facebook to be the most popular free apps among South Africans. In his book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, Nir Eyal, explains why this approach is effective: “Instead of relying on expensive marketing, habit-forming companies link their services to the users’ daily routines and emotions. A habit is at work when users feel a tad bored and instantly open Twitter. They feel a pang of loneliness and before rational thought occurs, they are scrolling through their Facebook feeds. A question comes to mind and before searching their brains, they query Google. The first-to-mind solution wins.”

The Bible App is an excellent example of habitual reading and studying. The app solves the huge challenge of being committed to reading the whole Bible, by breaking it into small daily readings. Reminders and progress notifications are sent to the user daily, ensuring that using the app becomes part of the daily routine.


  1. Be smart with the ads

Free apps and feature ads are inseparable. Users understand that but don’t be blasé about it. Try to minimise ads and ensure an ad-free first impression to users. ‘Smooth sailing’ through your awesome app, will win them over and they won’t mind the ads thereafter. First timer users who have to face multiple ads before actually experiencing the app will be so irritated that they will probably don’t last to the end of your app. They will either click-to-close-and-forget or delete…

The ads featured in your app should be relevant to your target audience – that’s a must!


  1. Is it Really necessary to Sign-up?

You should only ask your users to sign-up if your app deals with very sensitive and personal data. If you ‘app-solutely’ require sign-up it should be a quick thing. It’s important to offer them the option of email or social login. The latter is very popular among those whose who like to publish their achievements on social media. A username and password will do, no security questions, please.

All you need from users for ‘casual’ apps like exercise tracking, healthy food, reading or music is the users’ name to personally address them in notifications.

Never waste a user’s time, you’re creating a negative vibe.


  1. Use the ‘carrot-approach’ with special offers

Yes, you are in the run with the ‘big guns’ when you have an app that is promoting your e-commerce website and because of the competition, you must ensure a pleasurable shopping experience for users, especially your mobile users.

To remind them of your app and products, use the ‘carrot-approach’. People are attracted to special discounts. Target your users and entice them with specials you’re offering to pull them into your ‘shop’.  Chances are that non-regular buyers will fall for your special and magic strikes – you have engagement in your app and your products are generating money in your pocket.


  1. In The End, if…

Your mobile users are not using your app as often or not at all, you haven’t done enough to get your users to engage with your app.

To fix it, just ‘go back to the beginning’ and spot the weakest link(s) in your app and improve that by checking the tips listed above.

If thereafter, you’re still unhappy with retaining and engaging your app users, you know who to turn to.  AppRocket can provide you with a 360-degree solution.

‘Apping’ has never been so easy and affordable. Get in touch


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