10 effective user engagement strategies apps can use right now (plus examples)

For apps, user engagement strategies can be transformational. After all, the more engaged a user is, the longer they stick around and the more they spend! But figuring out how to improve engagement on apps requires a big-picture approach since it takes into account basically everything a user does. Therefore, without a clear strategy, it is easy to get lost!

10 effective user engagement strategies apps can use right now (plus examples)

In this article, learn how to increase user engagement and build a user engagement strategy that will help you reach your metrics.

What user engagement means for your app

In reality, user engagement encompasses everything. Every click, view, and interaction a user has is user engagement. And the more they engage, the more they get out of your app. In other words, higher levels of user engagement indicate a successful app. That’s because engaged users make your product more profitable!

When those are the benefits, you need a great user engagement strategy!

Why are user engagement strategies important?

You might get lucky with your tactics, but if you’re serious about learning how to increase user engagement, then you need a clearly defined strategy. Only then can you gather the important data to support your experiments to improve user engagement:

  • Does the user come back and use the app frequently or not? How often?
  • How much time do users spend on your platform?
  • Are they utilizing the full product or just a few features?
  • What are the most popular features?

After all, 90% of experiments fail and that can be demotivating. So you should give yourself the best chance of success by developing your own user engagement strategy!

10 strategies to improve user engagement on apps

#1 Gamification

How to increase user engagement? Look no further than gamification! Gamification uses game-like features such as leaderboards and challenges to hook users. Based on behavioral science, these features unlock powerful motivators by making the CX fun, social, and easy to use. Let’s look at some examples:

HumanForest’s CO2 leaderboard

How did HumanForest stop 220 tons of CO2 from entering London’s air? With their e-bikes powered by gamification! As a pillar of their user engagement strategy, HumanForest ranked their riders by the amount of CO2 they have saved. Since they implemented the leaderboard, HumanForest hosts a record 150,000+ trips monthly.

gamification improve user engagement on apps

Adidas challenges users to run further

In 2019, Adidas Runtastic wanted to increase user engagement. So they issued the ‘Run for the Oceans’ challenge! Basically, for every 10 minutes a user ran, Adidas cleaned up the weight of a plastic bottle from a beach. All in all, 2.2 million people took part!

fitness app user engagement strategies

#2 Gamified onboarding

Onboarding is your first impression – so it needs to be a good one! And gamification can help here. For many apps, a huge challenge during onboarding is knowing how much to ask. In practice, each additional onboarding step increases user churn by 20%. But you can combat onboarding fatigue with a gamified progress bar! LinkedIn is one app that made a great success of this approach. After they implemented a progress bar to encourage profile set-ups, conversions increased 55%!

progress bar gamification app engagement

#3 Optimize the moment for registration

The make-or-break moment of every user engagement strategy is when you ask users to commit to your product. However, asking too soon can cause the user to churn. Conversely, asking too late fails to capitalize on the user! So what do you do?

Look at the example of the graphic design tool Snappa. At one point, 27% of all signups never activated their email. But after some experiments, Snappa delayed the request to verify and monthly revenue rose by 20%!

#4 Build an in-app community

There’s a reason why social apps attract more weekly user engagement than any other type of app! Simply put, people love to socialize. Knowing this, Nike Run Club drives users to compete against each other with gamification features like streaks, challenges, and leaderboards. As a result, users are driven towards long-term user engagement!

gamification user engagement strategies

#5 Focus on action, not information

In reality, we as humans are overloaded with information every day. And often, we don’t know what to do with any of it! An overwhelming experience triggers 2 major effects:

  • Paradox of choice. The more choices a user has, the less likely they’ll choose!
  • Hick’s law. Basically, where decision time rises with each additional choice.

And this decreases user engagement! To avoid this, create an action-focused UX. That way, users start with action in their minds and are more likely to take the next step. This approach is how the French fintech Shine achieved an 80% onboarding conversion rate! Arnaud Babol, Shine’s growth engineer, shares a tip for your user engagement strategy:

“Keep it simple: one screen, one action.”

fintech UX UXdesign best examples

#6 Optimize your empty states to increase user engagement

While only an estimated 5% of users ever see an empty state, they’re still a great opportunity to drive user engagement. How? Basically, using these 3 key principles:

  1. Education.
  2. Motivation.
  3. Direction.

For a great example of how to improve user engagement on apps with empty states, look at the note-taking app Notion. When users create a new page, they see instructive demo content and features like a get-started checklist. As well, they are motivated by action-focused copy: “Press enter to continue with an empty page or pick a template”.

#7 Tiered loyalty systems give users purpose

Give your users something to strive for! A tiered loyalty system shows that the more they engage, the better things will be. To be sure, your loyal customers expect to be rewarded.

For instance, e-scooter operator Voi. has a loyalty program called Voialty. In it, customers level up from Rookie to Pro by taking more rides. In turn, users of higher levels get bigger discounts on their rides!

shared mobility how to increase user engagement

#8 Upsell, activate, and re-engage existing users

In addition to user engagement strategies, you need a clear re-engagement strategy. After all, by day 90 chances are 71% of acquisitions will churn! Prevent this by activating lapsed users with discounts, as well as upselling personalized offers. The benefits are huge: re-targeted users create 37% more revenue events than organic acquisitions!

Let’s take the example of the French travel app Ouibus. Offering the chance of a discount, they used scratch card and fruit machine game ads to retarget existing users. As a result of the campaign, Ouibus saw a 27% boost in revenue!

#9 Chatbots provide the fast support users want

With improvements in AI, 70% of consumers now prefer chatbots for fast support. Why? Simply put, users want their questions answered quickly! Here’s a great example. Slush, a tech events organization, implemented the chatbot “Jenny”. In no time, the bot took on a whopping 67% of all support requests and created 55% more conversations! In short, one simple chatbot can show you how to increase user engagement!

#10 Increase feature discovery

In reality, just 12% of a product’s features attract the majority of user engagement. And nobody wants to pay for things they don’t use! Given this, your user engagement strategy should improve feature discovery. In short, this means analyzing certain features and making them more discoverable, as well as easy to use.

To highlight underused features, use a tooltip or spotlight. For instance, few people used the live streaming platform Kumu’s search bar. But with a simple spotlight, Kumu achieved a 54% click-through rate, and the feature’s user engagement increased by 38%!

user engagement strategy features

How to increase user engagement? Learn to track your success.

Tracking your user engagement strategy requires regular analysis. In effect, as your audience evolves, so should your app! To inform your analysis, use these 3 metrics:

#1 Daily/Monthly Active Users (DAU/MAU rate)

Daily active users / Monthly active users = DAU/MAU rate

Briefly, the DAU/MAU rate shows how sticky your app is. The more daily users you have, the more engaging your app is!

#2 Churn Rate

(Users who left in time period / Total users) * 100 = %

A churned user is a user who can’t engage anymore! Keep a track of this metric to ensure that you are heading in the right direction.

#4 Feature usage

(Feature users / Total users) * 100 = %

You might want to increase user engagement on certain features. For this, you can also work out the DAU/MAU rate of a feature, and the time intervals between feature usage. To be sure, these metrics will produce exact and actionable data for you to optimize!

What tools can help create the best user engagement strategies?

Having a user engagement strategy is one thing – implementing it is another. To put your hard work into practice, make sure you find yourself the right tools:

Gamification – StriveCloud

To make your app experience impossible to forget, use StriveCloud. StriveCloud’s gamification software empowers your team with features like challenges, point rewards, leaderboards, and many more. In fact, StriveCloud customers see an average 58% increase in Daily Active Users!

strivecloud app gamification UI

A/B Testing – Optimizely

To increase user engagement, you need to test things until they reach success! With Optimizely, you can A/B test your features and content to maximize their effectiveness.

Email management – Mailchimp

62% of consumers still want to communicate by email. That’s what makes email tools like Mailchimp so important to all good user engagement strategies – it can help optimize one of your most important communication channels!


In reality, user engagement encompasses everything. Every click, view, and download a user performs is user engagement. And higher levels of user engagement indicate a successful app. That’s because engaged users increase profitability — engaged users spend as much as 3x more!

If you’re serious about learning how to increase user engagement, then you need a clear strategy. After all, 90% of experiments fail and that can throw you off track. However, when you have a strategy, you are driven by a clear goal!

Use gamification! Gamification uses game-like features like leaderboards to hook users. Based on behavioral science, these features engage users by making the CX fun, social, and easy to use. In fact, StriveCloud customers who implement gamification boost Daily Active Users by 58%!

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