Staff Writer


Apps that are laser-focused on user acquisition (UA) without having a retention plan in place, are throwing their budgets out the window. But we don’t need to tell you that...again. What app marketers and developers need now are strategies to keep users coming back for more.

In this article, we’ll explore strategies for increasing user engagement and retention to build a loyal audience, such as ramping up your app’s personalization capabilities; creating or expanding your customer loyalty programs; and employing gamification techniques.

Get personal

Sixty-eight percent of customers abandon a business because they feel that the organization doesn’t care about them. Don’t make them wade through irrelevant content or use out-of-date customer information. Conversely, 90% of marketers credit personalization as the reason for a measurable uplift in their business results. Now is the time to give your app’s customer experience that personal touch.

Build a community

If social media has taught us anything, it’s that people love to participate in active online discussions. Creating an in-app community can stimulate engagement and help users develop relationships with your brand and each other. And don’t be afraid to get involved in the community. Offer ways to help your customers, or ask them for feedback. Your goal is to create a more personalized connection with your audience. Making your customers feel heard and understood will make them want to stick around.

Loyalty and rewards

Hopefully, you have customer loyalty programs or incentives in place—if not, it’s time to get those going! Research suggests 75% of consumers are more likely to engage with a customer loyalty program if they’re on a mobile app. Loyalty customers are also more likely to purchase from your company again. Instant rewards programs are popular methods. Starbucks shines at this, and its loyalty program is one of the reasons why they’re the most-used restaurant mobile app. Its app allows users to collect points for every dollar they spend and exchange the points for free food and drink. Loyalty programs help you say thank you to your current customers for their business.

Get gamified

To stand out in today’s extremely crowded app marketplace, apps should employ gamification to keep users engaged and entertained. (There’s a reason games are so addictive!) This approach helps awaken curiosity, encourage friendly competition, and give users a sense of control by letting them decide what milestones they want to reach next. Gamification elements allow users to earn badges, advance across different levels, keep an eye on scoreboards, and earn points. Khan Academy’s app does this well. The app offers users a selection of badges that they earn after getting through different subjects with varying levels of complexity. The badges have fun, geeky names like Friendly Hacker, Mad Scientist, and Black Hole. Gamification is a highly effective method for apps to engage and retain their users.

Competition is fierce in the app market and while a great user experience is imperative to success, it’s not always enough to keep users around for the long haul. But if you show loyalty and gratitude to your users with incentives and tailored experiences, and they will show you the same.