5 Simple Steps to Lifetime App Engagement

lifetime app engagement strategy

September 14, 2017 | Article written by Carly Morris

When it comes to growing a successful app, the first piece of the equation is always to develop a strong user acquisition strategy. But what comes after the conversion?

Driving installs is essential, but to cultivate longevity you need to keep those users coming back for life. This means adding a few new considerations to your mobile marketing strategy. But, lucky for app marketers, fostering great user retention doesn’t have to be grueling.

In fact, you can craft a holistic, personalized lifetime engagement model with just 5 simple steps.


1. Clear-Cut User Acquisition

It’s no secret that the key to a lifelong relationship is to convert the right users from the get-go.

But, a common misconception when it comes to user acquisition is that organic installs are more valuable than paid. While it’s true that a steady influx of organic traffic means that you’re on the right path, it certainly doesn’t equate to high LTV for every conversion.

Paid UA simply allows you to expand your organic audience, with the added advantage of targeting the precise users that are most likely to demonstrate deeper engagement in the long run.

Converting the right audience lays a critical foundation for driving lifetime loyalty, and the best way to ensure a consistent inflow of these users is to strike a balance between strong organic and paid acquisition strategies.


2. Intuitive Onboarding

Every app developer and marketing team thinks their product is simple, straightforward, and easy to use – often just because they know it so innately.

But, new users seeing the app for the first time will likely have a very different experience. Remember that different people from different backgrounds always bring new questions and considerations into play. If you want them to see all that you have to offer, you need be extra cautious to dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s. Think: effective app onboarding.

A good onboarding process should highlight key app features, personalization options, privacy controls, and support capabilities right off the bat. It should also avoid anything too commitment heavy in these early stages. Things like long registration forms or mandatory payment information are surefire ways to turn away users before they begin.

Remember that the better your audience can intuitively engage, the more comfortable they’ll feel about coming back to do so again.


3. Enticing Push Notifications

Push notifications are arguably the best known strategy for sparking post-acquisition app engagement. Still, they sometimes get a bad rap for being either overly intrusive, or overly bland.

The simple fix? Find a better balance.

There are all kinds of push notifications to choose from. If you’re tired of text alone, you can experiment with more exciting formats like rich push, which includes pictures, videos, GIFs, and more. If you’re worried about coming on too strong, test around with messaging frequency and tone, and allow your users to control the notification settings from within the app itself.

Push notifications are also a great space to experiment with different strategies in personalization and data-backed reengagement. Notifications about limited time offers, flash sales, and special deals are almost always well-received, but by assessing your unique audience segments and their historical behavior data, you can easily prepare personalized messaging that’s sure to strike a positive chord.


4. Top Notch User Experience

A phenomenal user experience is always essential to keep your users coming back for more. The harsh reality is that even the best app can fall flat if it feels like a chore.

When we talk about UX, the technical and design facets are only one piece of the puzzle. The rest is about customizing each journey to make the user-product relationship feel like a match made in heaven.

The good news? Some of the best ways to ramp up the user experience are already at your disposal.

a. Personalization
A personalized app experience is a great app experience.

The app journey can be customized in all kinds of ways. Some of the most standard cases, like name, location, or behavior-based suggestions and special offers are all great places to start, but also try to get creative with innovative new ways to integrate personal touches into your unique app experience.

b. User Data
Of course, the best way to take on this kind of personalization strategy is to do so intelligently based on proven user behaviors.

Analyzing your user data allows you to better understand your audience’s unique preferences and how they interact with your app. Then, you can tailor your strategy accordingly to ensure that you provide the most relevant experience for every individual user.

As an added bonus, this is also a great way to objectively identify areas that need improvement within the app interface.

c. A/B Testing
It goes without saying that the more data you have to work from, the better. But even so, you can never fully operate from probabilistic models alone – which is what makes A/B testing so important.

Multivariate testing can start as early as app store optimization, right through UA campaigns, into push notifications and messaging, and all the way down to the in-app experience. Test anything and everything!

It’s always better to know with confidence that your approach is working than to leave anything up to chance.


5. Reengagement Campaigns

Just like organic acquisition is no superior to paid UA, push notifications and in-app optimizations aren’t necessarily any more valuable than paid reengagement campaigns.

Reengagement is a fantastic way to put your audience data to use in order to foster lifetime retention from both active and dormant users.

For example: for recent buyers, an eCommerce app might serve reengagement ads for complementary products or similar styles to get them back and shopping for more. Meanwhile, for cart-abandoning users, the advertiser may opt for ads that remind them what they left behind and encourage a return to convert.

All in all, curating lifetime loyalty is an intricate process that extends through every stage of the user journey. What’s more, it’s something that’s bound to look a little different for every app and their unique business goals.

Whatever a high LTV user looks like to you, you can guarantee their best engagement by keeping their experience front of mind. Keep your strategy clear, fresh, and personal – from first ad impression to successive push notifications and downstream reengagement ads. When the user experience is your first priority, there’s nowhere to move but up.