User engagement is the process through which users can interact with your app for its intended purpose. It is the fundamental pillar of effective app strategies. As per research, app engagement increased by 30% between 2019 and 2020 and 7% between 2020 and 2021.
Even though acquiring new customers is challenging in its own right, it becomes even more complicated when the space is highly contested among different brands competing for users' attention.
For Saas businesses, user engagement is tightly tied to active users. Increasing app engagement is a way to ensure these customers are retained, and it involves testing and trying out what works best for your app as per customers’ demands.
If you're looking to boost the number of active users on your app and keep them returning for more, you've come to the right place. In this blog, we'll share some top strategies for engaging new and existing users and how you can keep them engaged over time.
What does app engagement mean?
App engagement refers to the level of interaction and involvement users have with an app. This includes how often users open an app, how long they spend using it, and the number of actions they take within the app (such as making purchases, sharing content, or completing tasks).
As Lincoln Murphy stated, “Engagement is when your customer realizes value from your SaaS, different at various stages in the customer lifecycle.” Therefore, high app engagement is typically seen as a positive indicator of an app's success, as it suggests that users find the app valuable and use it regularly.
How can we measure app engagement?
Depending on your goals, you can use various metrics, such as likes, comments, subscribers, views, clicks, frequency of visits, number of active app users, session length, lifetime value, and conversions.
Different indicators, ranging from the number of daily active users to the average duration of each app session, shed light on various aspects of user engagement and help understand how users view their apps.
5 key metrics to track app engagement
For a better understanding of your app's user engagement, let's look at some key app engagement metrics you should monitor:
1. App retention
Retention suggests the percentage of users who consistently use the app.
According to research, a 5% increase in app retention can raise your revenue by up to 95%.
App retention rate can be an indication that you need to re-engage people, even while it can't tell you when to deliver in-app messages on its own.
2. Active users
It is the number of unique users who have opened the app over a given period. You can measure the number of active users on your website using a variety of integrations, but Google Analytics is the most often used.
3. Session length
The average time a user spends in the app during a single session is called session length. Since it shows how long the app can keep users interested in one instance, the session length can measure user engagement and retention.
Session length can be measured through Google Analytics and AWS Mobile Analytics.
4. Session frequency
It stands for the number of sessions per user per period. This metric helps determine how often users return to your app after their first use, effectively measuring retention and engagement.
Yet again, you can easily track how often users use your app by integrating analytics software like Google Analytics.
5. Conversion rate
The percentage of users who convert into paying customers is known as a conversion, but depending on the nature of your app and the kind of business you run, this term may have other meanings.
For example, e-commerce software records a new conversion when a person purchases a product. However, when a user upgrades to a paid subscription through an in-app purchase, a new conversion occurs for a subscription-based service.
One of the most concrete metrics for monitoring app usage is conversion rate, which also directly affects your company's goals.
How to increase user engagement: A 9-step guide
Now that you know why and how you should measure user engagement, let's explore some solid strategies for increasing it.
Here are some essential strategies to consider to increase app engagement.
1. First impression is the last impression
Making a solid first impression is crucial since your onboarding process is how users will interact with your product for the first time. Consider user onboarding as the attraction for sustained engagement.
Each new user should be taken through your product's most important features to guide them as rapidly as possible to the primary value proposition of your offering or their "aha moment."
Prioritize your core features first because these are the ones that will enable you to achieve your short-term goals. Keep the additional functionality for various app parts. As users explore the app, let them get to know one another.
Also, encourage users to do certain activities, draw attention to new or inactive features and integrations, and provide new users with more instructions and information about how the app functions.
2. Optimize the onboarding experience
Apps that provide first-time users with a fantastic onboarding experience are more likely to keep them returning. Users will be driven to return and continue using your product if you can make the signup process quick, simple, and enjoyable.
For example, always keep things simple and make it easy for users to sign up and log in. The quicker they can access it, the less likely they will immediately exit your app. Also, allowing users to join through social media apps will help to streamline the signup process.
Constantly strive to keep the in-app experience simple but helpful. Avoid lengthy paragraphs of text through your app. You may also point users toward a website with relevant information to support long app onboarding tutorials.
3. Gamify the experience
Gamification has the power to trigger a range of human emotions, and it is another approach to leverage game-like onboarding techniques.
As gaming components release dopamine in users' brains in non-game apps, users want to interact with the gamified app for an extended period because the sense of achievement propels them.
The following are standard design components to increase app engagement:
These visually represent users' accomplishments and measure how well they utilize the program. For example, some fitness trackers add badges based on how many steps the user has taken while using the fitness app.
These represent the in-game world. The game's difficulty rises with each level, making it more challenging and thrilling for the player to progress.
- Charts of performance
These charts display a player's performance in relation to previous outcomes and keep track of each player's specific stats.
These are the core rewards the player receives throughout the game.
A scoreboard shows performance in relation to other users' performance rather than performance charts, which offer one user's performance throughout a specific period.
- In-game currency
This is the " payment method" for buying the game-related perks. This currency is available to the player as a daily bonus or reward for specific achievements to keep them engaged.
4. Enable in-app messaging
An in-app message is a tailored notification that users of your desktop or mobile app can receive while using the app. Using in-app messages, you can communicate product upgrades, advertise discounts, and complete onboarding procedures.
This efficient method can boost user engagement and sustain in-app interactions to increase user engagement in the app. According to Braze,
55% of users who use an app within the first week after downloading will continue to use it.
You can send users time-sensitive, contextual, and targeted messages with the help of in-app messaging. In-app messaging helps you to:
- Boost feature adoption
- Improve customer retention
- Increase product adoption
These features of in-app messaging make it one of the go-to strategies for organizations to offer a smooth onboarding process, boost engagement and customer experience, and ultimately increase retention.
Also, integrate your in-app messages as a natural part of the app rather than a sales pitch. Use them in the onboarding process so that a pop-up describing it appears whenever a user explores a new feature.
➡️ Take a look at more examples of using in-app messaging for increased user retention.
5. Leverage push notifications
Even though users must choose to accept them, push notifications are a very efficient way to give handy tips, promote new features, and encourage users to do activities within an app. As per available data, push notifications enhance app engagement by 88%.
Enable push alerts on your blog or website to keep your audience interested while they search the internet. You can send them Push alerts once they "Allow" the notifications and are added to your subscriber list.
Here are the main benefits of push notifications:
- Your websites and apps receive real-time traffic, contributing to the website content's visibility and increasing reach.
- Your app becomes the go-to source for news customers can access instantly due to urgent and timely notifications.
- It's a fantastic way to spread information about newly released products or content, for example with winning photos that users would not have seen otherwise.
➡️ In a separate article, we also explore when businesses should leverage in-app chat vs texting to engage their users.
6. Notify users of app updates and offer product tours
Send an email to all your users notifying them of any updates whenever you introduce a new feature or a new version of your app. Emphasize user-requested improvements to demonstrate responsiveness to development and re-engage inactive users who might have stopped using the service because of a missing or broken feature.
Users will adopt your product far more quickly if you can communicate the new features or updates' purpose and how to use it to them in a clear, concise manner.
Here’s a quick tip: Providing a tour to walk your users through the new feature will make the entire process perfect!
7. Collect feedback
It can be challenging to get customer feedback, especially positive ones. Compared to organizing conventional surveys, the in-app method of collecting feedback is more effective at gathering feedback because:
- You can get quick feedback by asking in-app at significant triggered moments. Instead of sending users elsewhere, in-app feedback collecting keeps them engaged!
- You can gather qualitative data through user observation, interviews, or in-app questionnaires, and it is free-form, descriptive, and conceptual.
- To better understand how to engage users with your product, qualitative data gathered via live chat tools, user surveys, NPS scores, and session recordings can be helpful.
- Social media can also be used for collecting feedback. Social media posts containing QR codes can be used for this purpose. QR codes come in handy and can be easily created using any of these best QR code generators.
8. Offer customer support
Speedy resolution of issues and customer satisfaction are essential to boosting app retention and customer engagement. Even after going through the instructional onboarding process, a new user could still have particular queries or run into a problem that needs to be fixed.
Offer a direct channel to your Customer Support team via in-app chat or a link to your help center database with in-depth articles rather than forcing users to leave your app to get assistance.
9. Listen to your customers
The ultimate tip of all? Listen to your customers! Develop features they’re asking for (not blindly) and meet their needs.
As mentioned, in-app messaging is a great way to improve user engagement. Using wisely can lead to higher user retention rates and increased customer satisfaction.
App user engagement is a vital element of your app’s commercial success. To increase app user retention in your product, think about the most effective and sophisticated ways to increase your app user engagement at every stage of app development. Every change you make can enhance user experience, foster sustainable development, and lower your churn rate, whether you're improving onboarding, announcing new features, or collecting user feedback.
As an open-source platform for delivering customized in-app messaging experiences, Rocket. Chat helps you to enable two-way communications to increase engagement and retention. It offers scalability, flexibility, and customizability to assist privacy-conscious businesses in providing their users with a flexible messaging solution that meets their needs. Also, Rocket.Chat's features support multiple integrations, an app marketplace, and collaboration.
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