What are the best app marketing strategies?
App marketing, unlike typical online marketing for a website, requires a strong focus on post-acquisition marketing.
App Marketers usually focus on user acquisitions, and ignoring the later - user retention, customer engagement, and loyal users creation, leaving them up all to luck.
”On average user retention rate is close to 4.2% at Day 30 for” - Appsflyer
According to the retention study above, even if you had a very successful launch and gained 100,000 users in the first month, only 4,200 active users will be left if you do not have any marketing effort to retain and engage with these users.
To make things worse, at a different study by App Annie shows that only 2% of the original users are still using after the App after 90 days.
Most of the App marketers did App marketing wrong.
Without a strong focus on customer retention and engagement, your effort on acquisition will be wasted. In this answer, I will mainly talk about Post User acquisition (Retention, Customer Engagement & Loyalty) as there are a lot of articles out there that talk about App user acquisition.
How should you retain your users?App retentions differ profoundly from one App to another. Apps like Uber, Whatsapp, ZARA, Amazon, and Tinder have very different retention strategies from each other. As there is no one-size-fits-all solution, I will provide you with analysis methods and app marketing strategies you can use to solve your retention issues.
1) The “Magic Number Analysis”
The Magic Number Analysis originated from Twitter when they discovered that new users who followed at least five users when they registered ended up having a significantly higher retention rate than those who followed less than five users. Due to this, Twitter created a user flow that prompt newly registered users to follow at least five users before they can start using their services. To this day, the same flow is still used in Twitter’s user registration process.
So how can you apply “Magic Number Analysis” to your Apps?
Just like the name applies, you have to find the “magic“ number that leads to a higher number in retention. The magic number can be any behaviors or events that your highly retained users do that differs from the rest of the users. It might be a viewing of specific contents, events, or button clicks.
This can be done by diving to a Retention Analysis available by a lot of companies out there, in our case, we used the retention analysis provided by Repro. Using a retention graph, you can easily discover if a certain group of users have higher retention compared to the other groups.
For example, one of our media clients, Haru Haru, after running the analysis above, discovered that users who view Korean-related content tend to have a higher retention rate compared to other users. Due to this, they started to generate more Korean content and focus on bringing the discovery of their Korean-content easier on their App, which resulted in a 10% increased in their retention rate.
2) The Customer Journey Analysis
Having loyal app users are everyone’s dream, but don’t leave the chances of them being one to luck!
Marketers should be actively looking for the reasons why some users are more engaged than the others and why some are not. You can do this by mapping out customer journeys throughout your App and understand how different groups of users are using your App.
The idea behind the approach is built on the Magic Number Analysis and the idea that loyalty can be replicated if all customers are given similar experiences.
Mapping a customer journey
Unlike websites, most App users tend to start at the home screen of the App. This makes App Analytic journey mapping much easier compared to websites where users can visit your site from any possible link shared (including those pages you deleted ten years ago!).
a. Define what is a loyal user
To map out the user journey, you first define what is considered your ideal group of users. Are they users who have been using your App for the past 180 days and had made several purchases? Or are they users who have used your App every two days to perform specific tasks.
b. Analyze their behaviors
Once you have defined your loyal user group, it’s time to pull the team together to find out why they are different. What are some critical and micro-moments that occurred that make them more loyal than your other user group?
c. Layout plans and strategies to encourage those behaviors
Once you have discovered what the differences in behaviors are, it’s time to come out with plans and strategies on how to facilitate similar behaviors. This usually can be done by changing the UX/UI, sending out push notifications, and in-app marketing messages.
3) The Problem Analytic
Another way to increase the retention rate and increase usability is to run a problem analysis. The problem diagnosis is like the exact opposite of the Magic Number Analysis. If the Magic Number Analysis is a way to find out the behaviors/events that increase retention rate, the Problem Analysis finds the behavior/events that reduce the retention rate.
For example, after conducting a Problem Analysis with one of our clients, GotchaMall, a highly specialized reward App, we noticed that users who arrived at a specific page have a high drop-off rate. We studied the issue closely and found the cause of the high-drop off rate is due to users’ lack of understanding of the value that GotchaMall provides.
To deal with the issue, users who are yet familiar with the service are sent an in-App message, which shows a video tutorial that explains the service. This simple optimization resulted in a 40% decreased in the drop-off rate after 15 days.
So what are some App marketing strategies which you can use to increase retention rate and customer engagement?
When it comes to App marketing, there are four basic marketing techniques you can do to increase the retention rate.
1. Push Notification
Push Notifications are annoying! Nobody reads them!
Yes & no.
Push Notification has been shown to increase user engagement rate by 88% and increase app retention rate by 3 to 10 times.
And Yes, nobody reads them if you are sending impersonal push notification at odd hours. That is where the analysis you did so far comes to support the most decision you make.
Push Notification Tip 1 - Start by increasing your reach
Your push notification can only reach so many unless they accept to receive the push notifications. This is especially true if most of your users are iOS users.
This can be done by creating an In-App prompt with a good reason why they should opt-in
“Do you would like to get an update on personalized daily health advice?”
“Get personalized tips on how you can customize your cars.”
“Do you want to be first to be notified.”
Sending these personalized messages that show the value of your App to users before asking for permission will result in a significantly higher opt-in rate.
Push Notification Tip 2 - Personalize your notification
Plan your audience group properly well sending out a push notification based on the result of the analysis you found above.
Target users have not been opening your App for more than a day, send a customized and personal nudge to their phone instead of sending a global push with generic messages. If those users have lost interest in your App, chances are they need some extra push to be re-connected before they hit the dreadful “uninstall.”
Push Notification Tip 3 - Give them a reason to keep engaging with your brand
Or in other words, your notification should provide value to your users. Just like asking for a push notification opt-in, make sure it’s not only lip service, but you are providing value to them.
2. In-App Messages
In-App messages provide you with more power to interact with users. By having them opening your App itself, that's already the first step to success. Depending on what kind of apps you are, in-app messages are used for
- Showing users how to use your apps and the features you have
- Rewards / Price
- Showing users the rewards they have obtained so far, encouraging them to use your App more
- This can be a form of messages targeting specific to users who have yet discovered a certain feature on your App but might be interested in it
- Announcement / Updates
- Announcement on any updates. Can be used in conjunction with "Tutorial" for new features
- Making personalized recommendation to users on your product offer
- Sending messages to prompt users to take a certain action. This can be opting on for push notification to enter personal details to receive certain prizes.
You can have the best marketing messages out there, the most engaging push notification and have the most addictive in-app messages that your users can’t have enough. But if your UI/UX is downright horrible, the chances are your users will be quitting your app in a fly.
By running the magic number, customer and problem analysis, you should be able to easily identify the issue in your UX/UI. Free data analysis tools such as Firebase should be able to provide you with enough tools to conduct the mentioned analysis.
However, if you do not have an in-house developer or have limited resources, I highly suggest Repro, as they come with have a customer success manager for every client they serve.
Unlike other customer success managers, they provide personal one-to-one consultation, and they help clients to set-up their codes and provide detailed marketing campaigns on how to improve retention and customer engagement.
4. Provide better features/tools
Sometimes just having fancy UX/IU or great marketing messages might not be enough to retain your customers. Instead of losing your users on a daily basis, proactively analyze your data to discover what is currently lacking your current App.
If your loyal users are using certain features, enhance that feature by adding more features or making it more robust or user-friendly. Add additional features to avoid putting all your eggs into a single basket.
As data analytics software defines data differently, even something as simple as a “click” is defined differently across Facebook, Google Analytics and Firebase
Some App Marketing Platform, like Repro, allows you to do them easily, ensuring the users you are targeting is the same as the users who you look to target.