We are all guilty of it: as soon as we have a free moment to ourselves, we pull out our phones to check in. Even parents of young children are pulling out their phones when faced with tantrums. There is something so helpful about having entertainment at the tips of our fingers. But with this ease of access comes competition. There is always a new app to try, a new game to play, a new video to watch. How are average consumers to choose which apps they use most often?
In this day and age, mobile apps are considered part of most brand experiences. However, having an app is not an end in itself. If your app does not reflect your brand or have a purpose, users can download it, become unimpressed, and never use the app again.
So, when you are crafting your mobile-app strategy, it is important to understand how you can get your users to not only download the app, but also come back to it again and again. Users who are regularly engaged are much more likely to take the next step in the conversion process, become brand advocates, and engage with your brand in other mediums. So, how do you get people to engage regularly with your mobile app? Here are ten things you can do to make your mobile app more engaging:
- Have a Purpose — If your app is created off the cuff, it is entirely possible that there is no real reason for users to engage. As a result, the first rule of engagement is to make sure that you give consumers a reason to engage. It seems simple enough, but many apps fail to serve a purpose in their users’ lives.
- Understand Analytics — It is so crucial to understand how your app is performing. Analytics can help drive your optimization and targeting strategies as well as encourage users to reengage.
- Conversion Plan — There are many ways that apps can convince users to convert. Whatever the goal — whether to encourage social sharing, drive actual purchases, or teach users to use your product in a new way — there are many ways to measure conversion on a mobile app. Understanding what your conversion goals are is the foundation for creating a conversion plan that helps users engage regularly with your app.
- Test Regularly — Once your app has been built, you can begin testing versions to see which improvements make it easier for users to engage and encourage them to come back regularly and remain in-app longer. Just because the app has been built does not mean that has to be the last version of your app; mobile apps can constantly be iterated to make the app as engaging as possible.
- Deep Linking — Whatever users click on in your app should take them to the same product, service, blog post, or information in your browser. Users should never feel as though they have been taken “out” of the path that they were on. Instead, give them a consistent brand experience across platforms and channels to increase the ease of use to the point that users come back regularly because your user experience is so much better than that of your competitors.
- Push Notifications — If you do not have a push-notification strategy, it can be incredibly beneficial to develop one. Many brands are pushing weekly newsletters but are not also trying to bring users back to their app by using weekly push notifications with the same goals in mind. If you have an existing strategy, it is worthwhile to test and optimize it. Without testing whether your push notification is relevant to your audience, there is no guarantee that you will be able to use notifications to draw your users back to your app consistently.
- Targeted Advertising — If your advertising options do not match your target audience, it can be a turn off to your end users. In fact, if they are wildly inappropriate, users may decide not to come back at all.
- Gamification — If you have ever thought, “I just need to beat one more level of this game,” then you are familiar with gamification. Making something fun, giving users a goal to beat, can encourage them to regularly return to your app. Candy Crush is an excellent example of this, but it also extends to games like Farmville and beyond. Some loyalty programs implement gamification strategies; if you start looking, you will notice gamification everywhere. This is an excellent strategy for getting users to engage regularly with your mobile app.
- Social-Sharing Convenience — Being able to share updates on social media is a great feature for any app. But more than just being able to share updates, it needs to be simple to share updates as well. If it is difficult, it is unlikely users will engage. In a world where time becomes more and more precious, customers will not likely go over the top to try sharing your message for you.
- Use Offers — If you want people to return to your app, it can be worthwhile to develop loyalty programs or use offers to entice users to reengage. This needs to be a strategy that is well thought out, as offers that are incorrectly targeted will not just leave a bad taste in users’ mouths, they can prevent users from opening the app again in the future.
We see many brands with teams that do not really own mobile. Someone is tasked with developing an app, he or she creates an app without really planning a true mobile-app strategy, and then the app sits unused by anyone for months or years. Instead, if you develop your mobile app with a strong engagement strategy from the get-go, you can encourage the type of engagement that will lead to increased conversion rates down the line.
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