You thought everything was going great. You got approval from your friends on marketing and design, you put the finishing touches on your UI, sprayed a little of your anti-bug perfume/cologne, and everything seemed to go smoothly on the first meeting. Users were downloading! They clearly loved your app! But then…it stopped. Suddenly they were totally uninterested. Where exactly did you go wrong?
With more than 1.3 million apps on the Google Playstore, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to capture a user’s attention, and for developers wanting to make a splash, it’s important to figure out how to gain not just users, but loyal ones.
In the US, on average, users download 8 apps per month, but of those, they only regularly use two or three. The time when an app is most popular is in the 3 months after it’s been downloaded. As of 2014, Americans were using around 27 apps per month, and spending about 80 minutes of their time on each app.
Meanwhile, emerging markets have shown a strong increase in app downloads, as well as an increase in revenue generated by these apps. Countries such as India, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam have seen increases in downloads and app revenue thanks to an increase in smartphone penetration. When it comes to emerging markets that generate volume and mature markets that generate revenue, the countries differ.
On the Google PlayStore
|Top 10 Countries
(number of downloads)
|Top 10 Countries
|South Korea||Hong Kong|
For both emerging and mature markets, loyalty should be a top priority. Considering the large number of applications on the market, and their relatively short popularity lifespan on average, it’s a good idea to spend some time on developing a strategy for building loyalty.
A loyalty program that is strategically adapted to the country and population that your app targets should start as soon as the application has been downloaded.
Ok But What is Loyalty?
With apps, loyalty means you are building a sustainable relationship, and to a certain degree, any loyalty program should be personalized or adapted because every user is different. With a well-thought-out loyalty program, you’ll keep your best users active (through promotions, tips, or personal validation), while at the same time encourage less active users to engage more, and renew relationships with inactive users.
Why aim for loyalty? Because having already existing loyal users is significantly less costly than recruiting new ones. Furthermore, from a financial standpoint, loyalty is critical because a user will only be interested in paying for something that they use regularly, and where they see a clear value.
How to Gain Loyal Users?
Several measures can be put in place all along the development process to increase chances of loyalty.
Make A Top Notch App
If your usership is not increasing, the first thing to ask is whether it’s the product itself. When users open an app once and never again, the reason is usually because of a lack of attractive content or a problem with bugs. You must first have a product that works, is clear, and simple to use. After you’ve established the main purpose of your app (game, service, messaging etc.), then design, and easy navigation are two of the main factors that will determine its success. After the design of your app is complete, sustainability is what will matter, in other words : loyalty.
Updates are another important factor, as long as they bring real improvements (design, functions…) and are not just bug corrections. If you plan on making updates, plan on making a popup that will inform the user of the new features the first time they open the app after updates have been made.
Know the Countries and Users
To get loyal users, it’s important to know the smartphone habits for each country you are targeting. In knowing your audience, you can develop applications that respond to their actual needs. Relevancy cannot be overemphasized.
With trackers in place, you have the possibility of knowing the user preferences, when they use the application, which ones, and then you can adapt the user experience, the functions, and encourage users to discover other applications. Keeping tabs on your ROI will make a difference in the long run. When it comes to gaining loyal users, what works and what doesn’t?
Implement a loyalty program
Rewarding your users is essential. This can be done through special offers or incentives (for example games that offer free points for each consecutive day played). You can even make users want to use and buy packs, by giving them a reward for their first purchase for example.
The number of already existing users you have is one of your strongest assets. Find a way to get existing users to recommend your app, and you have loyalty x 2!
Notifications are the easiest and most effective method for stimulating app usage. Notification campaigns help you reach users outside of the application and give them pertinent information that will make them want to return to the app. Of course, it’s ineffective to send notifications for no specific reason. In order to get someone to return and eventually make a purchase, you need to send a clear and precise message that is relevant to them.
According to Grégoire Mercier, founder of Mobinlife , notifications need to be interesting, amusing, and pertinent. Vary the messages (no one wants to keep receiving the same message over and over again) while giving key information each time. “The objective is to regularly remind the user that the application is on their mobile.”
Also important is the personalization and geolocalization of your notifications. Getting the right notification to the right person will ensure that your message has a stronger impact on loyalty and revenue. You don’t want to send key messages targeted for one population to all of your users. To some, these might be irrelevant.
Avoid sending : too many notifications, at the wrong time of day, or inappropriate messages. Too much of a bad thing can lead to losing your loyal users. One touch of a button, and your user can uninstall your application, so don’t harass them. Likewise, on Android, where notifications are active by default, don’t forget to give users the choice of opting out of notifications, so that they feel receiving your messages is within their control.
A recent study by Localytics (based on worldwide app usage on Android and iOS), shows that for users who receive notifications engagement is 88% higher than those who don’t. The retention rate is also 3 times higher.
For users that receive notifications, they are much less likely to give up the app after the first usage. In fact, the rate of abandonment declines from 21% to 11%.
Notifications you can implement:
- A welcome message that informs them of how they can get started with the app
- Encouragement to use the application. This is for users who have downloaded, but have never used the app.
- Reinstate usage for users who once used regularly and have recently their usage has declined.
- A targeted campaign. This can be for country, for specific dates, or holidays for example.
- A Thank you message can be sent after a purchase or subscription. Don’t just say “thank you”. Take advantage of every chance you can give your user useful information on how they can best use the application
If you’re sure your app has value, use that as your starting point, and share the message of value with your user!