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How To Grow & Retain Your Mobile App Users With A Feedback Engine [7-Step Guide]

Loyalty is the new currency of app marketing. But companies are struggling to be heard in a technology climate in which consumers are spread thin. Even if your app’s value proposition is strong enough to inspire downloads, your users may not be inclined to stick around.

One study of 37,000 apps found that roughly one in four users abandon an app after one use. If your users stick around, only 63% will visit your app less than 10 times. Loyal customers can represent a small percentage of your customer base, meaning that your acquisition costs are probably higher than what your marketing dashboard is telling you.

What’s even more concerning? Getting your users’ attention in the first place. It is one of the toughest challenges that you’ll take on as a mobile app marketer.

How Do You Build an App that Literally Hooks People?

Given how challenging it is to get people’s’ attention, how do you build a scalable, repeatable process for attracting users?

Rapid. User. Insights. Just one touchpoint with a customer can transform the long-term health of your mobile experience. Localytics found that apps that send in-app messages to users on their first visit (or session) see only 13% of those users abandon the app after one use. Whereas, 25% of users who were not shown the in-app message on their first session, don’t return.

You have to keep audiences engaged at various touchpoints and throughout their life cycles. Here are 7 point-by-point tips and examples to help you create a low-tech, customizable mobile app insights program of your own:

1. Utilize Web Traffic from Mobile Devices to Drive Demand for your Mobile App

Over 50% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. Your presence online is one cohesive experience, which means that you need to create a bridge between all devices that audiences use to access your app. Once you’re ready to launch your mobile app (or if you have one already and are looking to promote it), you can use a website overlay to target audiences coming from a mobile device.

Here’s an example:



The idea is to equip audiences with resources that help them use your product or service to its fullest capability. Your mobile app is one part of the experience that your company creates.

2. Gather Key Insights During Onboarding

After going through the legwork to get users to download your mobile app, use your onboarding moments wisely. Your users’ first interactions with your app is a prime time to gather key insights that will help you develop strategies to drive more users to your app in the future.

Let’s start with the story of Lalamove. 

Lalamove is an Asian logistics company that specializes in intra-city deliveries. They have been aggressively collecting insights to make sure that its customer acquisition channels are connecting the right audiences to its app. Lalamove uses many marketing channels and is a lean organization. Insights are crucial at onboarding.

Lalamove runs a survey that is mandatory to take upon sign up, which  helps the company better understand traffic drivers to its application. The company cross-references this information with customer lifetime value (LTV) data.

Through simple questions, tailored to specific audiences and interactions, Lalamove is able to answer questions like: “Are users who found out about Lalamove through a friend more likely to stay a customer longer?”

“One of the questions that we ask is how customers find out about us,” says Brian Garcia, product manager at Lalamove. “Marketing teams can use this information to replicate and build upon launch strategies as we enter new cities. We also use this insight to determine which cities, based on demographics, make sense to target for launches.”

The answers you receive from your mobile app users can vary dramatically from your desktop web visitors so it’s important to understand the dynamics of these users. These answers are golden for your marketing team to develop new strategies on outreach based on what is working.

3. Use Gathered Insights to Personalize Experiences

Through key insights you’ve gathered in onboarding (Step #2), and through demographic and behavioral characteristics of the user, you should be enabled to better refine your mobile app experiences to the needs of each person you onboard.

The data that you collect during onboarding will enable you to do things like:

  • Address the user with their name upon signing in
  • Customize the background image based on the city they’re signing in from
  • Offer content that is relevant to what they’ve searched on your website like information on a feature or a help article

The key to getting started with personalization is by having a baseline understanding of who your web visitors are and why they have come to your website. Based on  this data, you can begin to develop buyer personas  and why they’ve chosen to spend time visiting your website.

The Chase mobile app is a great example of a personalized experience. From wherever you’re logging in geographically, they update the background image on your sign in page to a familiar scene in your city.


Every data point that the app collects can be reinvested into making the experience more personable.

4. Create Push Notifications that Delight, Rather than Annoy Audiences

Push notifications have the potential to drive users away. One research study found that  71% of app uninstalls are because of push notifications. Another study found that more than half of app users find push notifications annoying.

But push notifications are also found to be effective—they have been known to boost app engagement by 88%. So how do you make a push notification valuable, rather than distracting, to your audiences? From a strategic standpoint, you’re walking a fine line in terms of making an experiences valuable vs. annoying.

There are a few parameters that can help make your push notifications more useful:

  • Ensure that they meet a user’s need and are an integral part, rather an a promotional element, of an app’s core experience.
  • Consider the location of your customers so that you’re providing value at an important moment in time—if you’re a manufacturer or retailer of a product, you may consider sending location-triggered push notifications with coupons or offers that gets foot traffic in the door.
  • Personalize push notifications around specific needs and interests
  • Give audiences an opportunity to share feedback and a clear path to adjusting the types and number of push notifications they receive

5. Build Incentive, Loyalty, and Reward Models that Drive More Users to Your App

If applicable, give people a discount (example, an onboarding discount) in exchange for trying and spending time with your app. You can even include a refer-a-friend program. Introduce a loyalty program for repeat purchases. Whether your incentives are freemiums, interesting content or monetary rewards, try to understand what gives your target audience a reason to come back to your app.

Every audience is different and will find different incentives appealing. Use research is to determine what these incentives should be for your buyer personas.

Our notifications strategy builds on universal psychology of internal triggers and rewards,” explains Andy O’Dower, former head of product at Curiosity, who was responsible for designing its mobile app. “The psychological internal trigger (“I want to get smarter”) happens. The idea is to make this desire a habit for people. So we’re always ready with an external trigger (push notification). They can then get a variable reward (example, today’s new digest).”

Here are few examples of mobile apps that do a great job with freemium, monetary, and refer-a-friend incentives to try on your own.



6. Implement a Pulse Check throughout your User’s Lifecycle with Net Promoter Scores (NPS)

Being able to quantify how people feel about your app will help determine where you need to make improvements, what value propositions to highlight in your messaging, and what tone of voice you should use to communicate.

NPS is an actionable metric, designed to capture sentiment in the form of one question: “on a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this product or service to a friend or colleague?”

You can implement next steps based on the scores your users have given you. You can use these scores to build segments, based on how much enthusiasm people show for your company. Your app’s users will naturally fall into the following groups:

  • Promoters. When a user has rated you a 9 or a 10, you can implement a next step to rate your app in the app store. This is a good way to maximize on your happy customers and build your customer rating.
  • Detractors. Activating on your Detractors upon giving a score is key to improving your NPS in the future. When a detractor comes through, you can create an alert that is sent to your customer success Slack channel with a call to action to respond.
  • Passives. This is a great group to send to your product team to respond. Although they don’t hate your app, they’re not in love with it and so now is the perfect opportunity is to ask how to improve.

7. Continue Conversations Across Multiple Devices

The last thing you want to do is treat your mobile app as a silo part of your business. You want to make sure you connect the dots between mobile app to mobile web to desktop  and vice versa to create a seamless, integrated experience for your users. This will also help you personalize experiences and understand frictions points.

If you see that a user has visited your mobile app and later visited your website via mobile device, ask why. Did  something go wrong in your mobile app that they needed to visit your website? It could be that your mobile app is missing a core feature.



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