6 Simple Ways to Increase App Engagement

Remember when you had to actually walk into a bank to deposit a check? Thanks to user preferences and the uptick in mobile device usage, those days are long over. Not only can we deposit checks via our phones, the apps making it happen are now key differentiators for banks.

And - these trends aren’t limited to financial institutions. Retail, gaming, social media, news, enterprise and other verticals and horizontals are all capitalizing on the $77B in app revenue expected this year (up from 24.5B in 2016).

For companies with apps, this potential is great news… if… their apps are engaging.

User downloads and engagements metrics are driven by many factors that need to be considered upfront, not when the app is tested and ready to go live but rather in the ideation and design phase before even one line of code has been written.

The next time you have a great idea for an app, think about these four aspects that impact engagement (and if you have any questions, we’re here to help!):

  1.    Dress to Impress in the App Store

In a recent article, we covered the important aspects of app store optimization (ASO). Similarly to search engine optimization (SEO) for better search rankings, ASO is critical to capturing your app audience. Discover what makes downloading apps attractive by studying your competition before you begin coding. Think about using keywords in the app name, the features your audience wants and how to use images and descriptions, all of which are key to increasing downloads and engagement later.

  1.    Make Onboarding an Educational Experience

It’s probably safe to say most of us have had unsavory app onboarding experiences. Everything looks great on the app store, the screenshots are nice, looks simple enough, you’re hooked… until you download and then suddenly everything you hoped to get from the app dies on the vine because you can’t figure out where or how to begin. Weak onboarding is sure death for app engagement metrics.

Users want tutorials, prompts, ideas, and most of all to feel like you took the time to think from their point of view. Make this step easy and it will impact engagement in the correct direction.

  1.    The Best Two Words for Engagement = Free Trial

Nobody wants to pay for an app only to end up feeling like they wasted money. Sure it monetizes the app from the starting gate, but for the long haul, getting payment for a one-hit-wonder in the app store will drive ASO down and make it challenging to gain new users… especially if they leave negative reviews. So, alongside smart onboarding strategy, consider showing your confidence in the product by allowing users to try before they buy.

  1.    Pushing Notifications (Sparingly)

Push notifications from apps are like garlic in food; the more push notifications, the less we want to consume your app. Instead of making push notification decisions for users, put control in their hands. On set-up, allow them to choose how much, how often and for what reasons they will be notified by your app.

Beyond those staples of app engagement, there are other features that help depending on the purpose of the app. For instance, use of personalization such as user names on screen, and displaying relevant content based on behavior or pulling information in from email and other sources create custom experiences. In addition, giving back to engaged users via rewards and points programs and gameification tactics are helpful too.


Looking for ways to drive better engagement for your app or thinking about an app project but not sure if it’s a viable idea, we can help with consulting, app UX and once it’s up and running, a marketing and ASO strategy to help you succeed.


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