Launching your app with a big bang or a viral launch is exciting and a great little ego boost if you can pull it off for your app in particular. And although this definitely creates the hype you're looking for and can leave a big and great first impression, you need to be able to back it up (so to speak). And you do that by increasing your app user retention.
User retention means the methods or processes you may use to retain users on your app. So, yes the hype is great, as mentioned above, but if you don't have any user retention strategies, what will keep customers using your app?
Sometimes we get stuck on the idea that new business or app launches need to be massive and blow everyone away. But that's not quite true. For many different kinds of reasons, not all apps need a huge build up and launch to get off the ground. It also depends what industry you are working in. But the point is, don't underestimate the power of steady growth and don't be disheartened if you didn't have an overhyped launch.
The average app user retention rate varies between 15% - 30%. It also depends on what industry you're working in as well, with Lifestyle apps for example possessing the highest average user retention rate with 29%. So, aim for your average user retention rate to be on the higher end of that scale.
Now, how to increase it...
1. Map Out a Habit Loop
A habit loop is a cycle that keeps bringing users back to using your app, over and over again. A habit loop will direct users to follow a loop, that will lead them to whatever desired actions you want them to fulfil inside your app.
A habit loop essentially has three general stages to it:
Trigger. The start of the loop must be a trigger that will invoke an emotion, idea or something of the like in your user and trigger them to use the app. Targeted push notifications could be a type of trigger for example.
Reward. What reward will the user get after following the trigger? Rewards increase the brains level of pleasure and this stage of the loop becomes associated with higher levels of happiness or pleasure.
Routine. This stage is the key to user retention. It's what keeps users moving around the habit loop. Once your users are consistently triggered and rewarded as you desire, a routine has been formed.
2. Identify Core Desired Emotions
To identify and target your users' core desired emotions there are two factors that come into play: clear expectations and simple on boarding.
Set clear expectations to your users of what the app will do and what it's for. Ensure that your branding and marketing clearly depicts these things, otherwise users will be left confused and you won't be able to target the core desired emotions.
To simply onboard a user, your app should be seamlessly showing them how to use it from when they first start using it. For example, you might be able to include some simple directive graphics inside the app to show people how to use it and its included features.
An app where users can understand and learn how to use it as quickly as possible is key to on boarding. If it's going to take a slow and long learning process for people just to figure out how to navigate your app, they probably won't stick around to figure it out.
3. Gathering Feedback
There are a lot of different ways to gain feedback from your users, both inside and outside of your app. Obviously the best advice you could seek is face to face, but outside of family and friends you might not be able to do this. However, just a helpful tip, before you release your app, get a group of testes together to UX test your app. This will give you that crucial face to face feedback, and show you how user's will perceive your app.
A helpful way to gather user feedback is through digital surveys. You could ask for reviews inside your app, perhaps after someone purchases something. Or you could run surveys/reviews outside of the app, on your Facebook page for example.
Also don't forget to pay attention to the reviews! Users can review your app on the Google Play Store and App Store, depending where your app is available for download. You may direct people to give you App Store or Play Store reviews, which is a good little tactic, or keep on top of checking the reviews if you don't direct them there yourself directly. Take every opportunity you can to hear from your users and gather feedback.
Back to what I was talking about at the start of the article, the launch. Although above I may have sounded wary against an overhyped launch of your app, but that doesn't mean don't do anything at all. As I said, it does depend on your app, the industry you're in and what your product actually is. If having a really hyped up launch is going to be what's best for your app and business then go for it!
Keep in mind that there is a reason for soft launches; you can test your app with a smaller amount of users first before taking it public. Get as much user feedback as you can before launching the app, to ensure user retention once it's released.
User retention should always remain a key focus!
//If you liked this article, check out our recent article on The Most Common Startup Mistakes.