The ultimate guide on how to become an expert in app retention & engagement
User retention & app engagement is becoming crucial for apps that want to survive in this market. The rising costs and struggles of user acquisition combined with an increasingly more competitive market make it hard for apps to not only gain new users but also keep them engaged. That’s why StriveCloud is creating the ultimate guide to app engagement! We’ll walk you through some awesome app gamification examples and teach you how we dropped user churn by 23%!
Find out why you need to up your user engagement to combat churn, and how gamification for apps can help you! Here’s what we’ll cover:
To create engagement, your app has to be sticky, meaning users can’t help but return! For product growth managers, stickiness tells you how valuable and habit-forming your app is – essential traits to reduce user churn. You can achieve this with app gamification.
The lifecycle of mobile app users, from user activation to loyal user
The first step in making your app sticky is optimizing the customer journey. Sure, the task is intimidating when viewed from the big picture, but the mobile app funnel can help clarify the process and the actions you need to take.
1. User acquisition and the need to increase your user base
In 2021, it cost on average $1.22 to acquire a user – and that number is still rising. Moreover, you’ll waste that money unless you segment your audience right. Of course, that’s given your app store page is optimized and you appear in searches.
2. User activation and app engagement
User activation is the ultimate bottleneck for apps. Today, 75% of users quit on Day 1 after installation! Instead, you must show users your value proposition or how they benefit from your app. For one, this means developing a user-friendly onboarding.
But the benefits to your business are clear – a 25% uplift to user activation results in a 34% revenue boost!
3. User retention and habit formation
Moving down the line, Day 30 user retention sits at a meager 3.1%. The solution here is to create a sticky, habit-forming app. A gamified app has an advantage because app gamification makes the UX more fun, rewarding, and unpredictable. In other words, it keeps users coming back for more!
The success of your monetization strategy depends on which model you choose. Some apps use freemium models and try to convert those into paying customers. Others are free or paid off the hook! Whether you earn through subscriptions, adverts, or in-app purchases, it all depends on what your audience prefers and the frequency at which they use your app.
3 app engagement & retention metrics you need to know
There are many ways to measure your success in user engagement and retention, but you need to understand how to utilize them all together to get a clear picture:
1. Active users
Activate users are the people actively engaging or interacting with your app. This can be on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis depending on the usage frequency of your app. Knowing your active users can tell you a lot about the state of your app engagementstrategy. Daily usage could indicate successes, whereas monthly users might show shortcomings.
2. App session length
App session is the length of time a user spends on your app and can clearly indicate individual engagement levels. A related metric – and one you want to keep as low as possible – is bounce rate, when users quit fast after opening.
3. App session intervals
App session intervals track the time in between consecutive sessions. The lower these get, the better your app engagement is. In fact, tracking the intervals between app sessions can tell you if your user is hooked. This is crucial in knowing where to place them on the customer journey!
With these metrics, you can measure product stickiness. This is an important indicator of app engagement and product health. Subscription-based businesses especially need to pay attention to this. If you fail to create a habitual experience, user churn will eventually happen.
3 tactics successful apps use to boost user activation & engagement
1. How an in-app community maximizes user retention
3. Why gamification for apps is the ultimate retention strategy
App gamification augments your strategy from activation to monetization. Studies show a 54% rise in free trial usage when it’s a gamified app. If we look at other successful gamification examples, we learn features like leaderboard, progress bars or daily streaks make the UX really exciting – and harder to quit.
5 gamification examples from apps that reduced user churn
Without a good user engagement strategy, you’ll have a small chance of achieving the level of user retention you want. But app gamification can help:
In short, challenges empower your users by fulfilling their need for personal competence. As a result, you reward them with a self-confidence boost leading to higher user activation! The instant feedback paired with social interaction makes users more likely to engage again in the future.
Points act as a powerful reward for simple actions a user takes on your app. These points can serve as the fuel for your gamified app. You can exchange points for rewards, and base other gamification features around it like leaderboards, raffles, and even leveling systems!
5. Leveling systems elevate user retention through a feeling of ownership
Give users a sense of ownership and progress by introducing a leveling system. This gives a wide range of opportunities to personalize your experiences and spur user engagement. For instance, let your users choose their own profile pictures or create their own avatars. A 2021 study showed that avatars satisfy the needs for competence, autonomy, and social relatedness, in turn influencing reuse intention. Put simply, avatars provide a sense of ownership.
3 gamification examples from apps that skyrocketed user engagement
1. An in-app community gifts Insight Timer the best user retention of all wellness apps
Insight Timer limits user churn by building a global community of meditators. Right away, the home screen is a world map of users meditating that very moment, making customers feel a part of a bigger movement. Studies show that socialization is a powerful motivator since people naturally want to belong to something greater than themselves.
2. Users of fintech app Qapital can set targets to save
Let your users set financial goals and time targets, and you will give them ownership over their personal journey. By personalizing the app, you provide customer value. Moreover, case studies show that adding a deadline greatly helps goal pursuit!
3. How HumanForest’s gamified app rewards app engagement
HumanForest is a sustainable, shared e-bike service that aims to reduce carbon emissions! They have a gamified app where users earn TreeCoins every time they ride an e-bike. This in-app currency represents the number of trees saved in CO2 emissions, and can buy discounts and free rides! It’s a brilliant gamification example (and here’s why!)
There are many challenges in the customer journey. From getting noticed in the app store, to activating new users with free trials (that won’t bankrupt you!). Building a sticky experience that prevents user churn is not easy!
Using metrics like the number of daily, weekly, and monthly active users, you can see who interacts with your app, and importantly when they do so. In further detail, data on app session length and intervals can show how engaged users are.
App gamification works for any vertical, whether you’re in fintech, health, or mobility. Leaderboards fulfill a user’s need to grow and experience competence. Next, badges act as a form of motivational instant feedback. Finally, points can serve as an exciting reward but also fuel unpredictability through things like raffles!
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