Categories
Apps

Best Guide To Mobile App Engagement And User Retention

Improve user retention, boost app engagement metrics, and improve your bottom line. 

Simply put – mobile app engagement is providing your users with a reason to keep coming back to your mobile app or open your mobile app and perform the desired action.

You must create an engagement strategy that boasts high-quality communication.

As well as this, you must use the data, analytics, and insights from your users in a business dashboard to help you to learn which part of your app engagement strategy is working the best.

App engagement is all about putting the user needs first. There’s no quick fix. It involves defining your essential app metrics and KPIs. Then creating an app communication strategy that is relevant to your mobile audience.

 

What are the most common mobile app engagement metrics and KPIs?

If you’re looking at how to improve your mobile app engagement, then you’ll be looking at developing these specific mobile application metrics.

 

Active users

This is a crucial metric for app developers, and it’s kind of the going currency in the world of apps.

This metric will help you to understand how useful and important your app is by identifying how many users come back to your app.

This can be done on a daily basis or a monthly basis. Both are, but daily active users is a sign of a genuinely engaging app.

DAU = the number of users who opened your app in a single day

MAU = the number of users who opened your app in a month-long period

 

Retention rate

This metric tells you, as an app developer, what percentage of customers are coming back to your app. On the flipside, you’ll be able to see how many users you are letting go.

The periods that you are comparing will be dependant on the insights that you want. Should you compare MAUs to last month’s active users, or should you compare to the previous year?

With retention rate calculations, it’s essential to look at the metric you are measuring. For some apps, it will make more sense to measure logins rather than only app usage.

Retention rate = the number of users that use your app within a set time/ the number of users in the same group that uses your app in a previous time.

 

Churn rate

This is a simple one – it’s used to identify the percentage of your users that are lost.

Churn rate = 1 – your app’s retention rate

Session length

This metric is the amount of time that a user spends in your app each time they open it. This is an excellent indicator of app engagement as time spends in each app is one of the key ways to tell how useful your app is to a user.

Depending on your app, it might make sense to focus on this metric rather than DAUs.

Session length = time opened the app – time closed the app

In general, the more time your active users spend in your app and the more screens that they interact with, the more engaged your mobile users are.

That’s why focusing on experience, rather than just individual features, is critical. Let’s look at how you can increase these key app metrics.

 

Push notifications

Push notifications are one of the most effective ways to engage your app users. But, if misused, they are one of the quickest methods to app deletion. The truth is that many mobile apps seeking to engage their users fall into the second category.

So how often should you send push notifications to your users?

With push notifications, it’s about providing the most value to your app audience. If your mobile users are getting value from your app, then they are going to be more engaged.

That sounds obvious, yet so many app engagement strategies fail to consider it. There are so many push notification services that claim that quantity is key to boosting engagement. But, this will very quickly have a negative effect if you don’t consider personalization and relevancy in your push notification strategy.

It’s also vital to understand push notification statistics when trying to engage your audience.

So, let’s look at how you can engage your mobile app users by building a push notification strategy.

 

Only send push notifications when it’s relevant to do so

If you look at your phone right now, you’ll probably see an extensive list of notifications sitting there, unanswered. Never swiped and hardly even read. If you want to engage your mobile app users, you need to create a positive impression of your app in the minds of your users.

Spamming your users with push notifications isn’t the way to engage your users. You need your users to enjoy reading that notification when it comes. You need to provide them with value.

 

Content is key

The first step is thinking about the content. Just because it’s the latest app feature your team created, doesn’t mean that your app users will engage with countless notifications about it.

You need to think like an app user. What do app users engage with? What do you, as an app user, engage with most? Which apps on your phone are doing this best? If you can think like your users, then you’ll start to get on track with your app engagement strategy.

This involves clearly defining the instance in which your mobile audience wants you to speak to them. This may require in-app analytics and feedback tools, but we’ll get onto that in good time, don’t worry.

If you have a mobile restaurant application, for example, why would you send them notifications when they are in the bank. Why would you remind them to make dinner at 11 pm? Why would you ask them to choose their perfect recipes when they are on holiday? If you have an instant messaging app you don’t want to set any limitations. 

Highly targeted push notifications can increase response rates by up to 7x and will dramatically increase your app engagement rates.

But how do you control how, when why and what push notifications your mobile app users receive?

 

Location-based push notifications

That’s right; get yourself a platform or a service that lets you control when your users receive push notifications.

It’s simple – if your users are in highly essential moments, then send them highly relevant communication. That’s it.

Let’s look at the example from above. What a difference it would make to have a recipe app that suggested you make a saved recipe when you were in the store, and lacking recipe inspiration.

That’s what your app was supposed to do, yet you aren’t giving it the change to help users in the right moment.

This is where location comes in. By predefining several supermarkets using a simple online platform, you can ensure that push notifications are only delivered at relevant times.

The application applies to all apps looking to implement a successful mobile app engagement strategy. Define the optimal moment for your mobile users to use your app. Send them optimal notifications ONLY in these moments. Improve engagement. Get insights and use this to inform your engagement strategy and fine-tune.

 

What makes an excellent push notification?

Let’s look at some examples of good push notifications that will keep your app users engaged.

For this, I’ve imagined some generic apps rather than real ones. Although we’d be happy to give you a specific demo for your mobile app.

 

App with a physical location or venue

If your app has a real-world counterpart that was supposed to benefit from your app. Then location-based push is perfect. You probably have a good idea of how your audience uses your products or services.

A good engagement boosting example for this kind of app would be:

Of course, in this example, the user receives the notification just as they enter the restaurant. 

 

Stand-alone discovery apps

Okay, so you don’t have a retail store, just an app. That’s fine. You might need to spend some time learning how your users get the most value from your app. But that’s fine, that’s one of the most critical aspects of this kind of engagement strategy (again more on that in a short while)

In this example, you’ll need to understand what engages your users best, look at the data, and then rinse and repeat. An example:

In this case, the micro-moment could be as they are leaving another nightlife venue. Thus avoiding spamming all the users that have decided to spend a Friday night in.

 

Apps with a specific function

What if your app provides a vital service? Location-based notifications can help to engage users by bringing this function to them at the best possible moment. 

Here the user would be notified when they land at an airport. Those eagle-eyed amongst you might ask – how would you ensure that the user doesn’t get the notification on the outbound part of the trip? Well, triggers can be based on complex location signals; in this case, the second time they are seen inside the airport within a certain period.

 

Some homework (spoiler – it’s much easier with insights)

What micro-moment should trigger notification delivery?

What is the best way that you can personalize the notification based on this micro-moment?

What is the desired goal of the push notification?

What are the critical engagement KPIs that this campaign should improve?

 

Re-engaging your mobile app users

One of the most effective ways that apps can improve their user retention rate is to re-engage and retain their mobile app users.

Often many apps neglect the customers that they have spent countless mobile app marketing dollars on acquiring.

After 24 hours, an apps retention rate falls to 21%. By day ten, this figure drops to 7.5%. After 90 days, it’s a measly 1.89%.

Therefore a significant increase in retention rate can be the most important strategy for app owners. Rather than placing your entire budget into acquiring new users, you should be focusing on re-engaging your users. Just a small rise in app retention rates can have a huge effect on your bottom line.

 

Fixing your app on-boarding process

You need to ensure that the basics are in place for you to keep engaging your app audience. This means that your onboarding process should be seamless, provide value, and explain exactly what it is that your app does.

Think of these as the perfect blocks to build your app user experience. The engagement strategy is the cement that fine-tunes it and links it all together.

For a more detailed list of app onboarding best practices check out this.

 

Deep linking from push to relevant in-app location

So you crafted the perfect notification. Congratulations. Your users clicked it. And it directed them to…

The app home screen.

Again it seems obvious, but many apps get this completely wrong. Choose a push notification service that lets you link to highly relevant app experiences.

They probably exist in your app. So make sure you are improving the mobile app experience by allowing your users to get to it quickly.

If you want to improve app re-engagement then getting your users to notice your app is just the beginning. You’ll want to ensure that your personalized notification takes the user to the right place.

With many location-based push notification services, it’s possible to deep link to the right content based on the user’s current location.

That could be the most recent content to keep delivering your users a fresh experience and keep them engaged.

 

Think about your app experience

A note on personalization – ultimately, your app engagement metrics will improve if you place personalization at the heart of your app engagement strategy.

This means that you need to think of the user at every point in the user journey. If you want to take your app engagement to new heights, then you’ll have to personalize the user experience, clearly define your app’s KPIs and learn how your users want to engage with your app.

But that’s only the first part. How do you keep learning what your app users are engaging with and what elements of your strategy in performing best? Well, that leads me nicely onto…

 

In-app analytics and insights

None of the above will matter if you don’t commit to learning what works best with your users. Every app is different with different app engagement KPIs.

Analyzing your engagement data is key to building an effective app engagement strategy.

Push notifications give you valuable insights around your users. If you want to know how to improve your app user engagement, then you need to understand mobile app analytics.

The feedback from your push campaigns helps you to understand what engages your mobile users.

I’m not just talking about the age, time, gender, and device type of your users although those can sometimes be helpful.

I’m talking about understanding in which micro-moment your users are most likely to engage with your app.

 

Understand your app’s micro-moments

This is such valuable information. Many apps have an idea of what this moment might be. But often, their idea of what this is is quite different from what the insights say. Data should be everything for your mobile engagement strategy. And it’s time to take this data to the next level.

When you send a push notification to users, and you know that your users are opening them in a particular context, this is valuable information.

These insights even go beyond your app engagement. They can help fundamentally to inform everything to do with your app growth strategy. From most crucial new app features to UX and monetization.

If you know that more of your users are engaging with your notifications in a certain location, then you get a better idea of your app audience. You can understand them better and hypothesize the specifics that will help to improve app engagement.

 

Location-based insights

In a world with over a million apps, it’s important that you leverage every piece of data that you can around app engagement. You need to make data, your best friend if you want to keep developing your app engagement strategy.

If you can get data around your app users that the majority of apps can’t get access to then your onto a winner.

The truth is that many app engagement strategies fail to understand where their users go and how they behave.

 

Beyond basic engagement insights

For example, you might get feedback around how your users are opening your push notification, using specific in-app features, or even just opening the app.

These insights might be based on time of day, or maybe you can even get a breakdown of this data based on audience type (depending on which service you use).

But what if you could get a better insight into the mind of your user at that time? Basic insights are great, but it doesn’t always paint the perfect picture. You need to get as much data as possible if you are going to keep engaging your app users.

Location insights around app users can help drive mobile app engagement KPIs. If you can understand exactly where your users go and how they behave, then you can create a better idea of how to engage them.

 

Engagement data that retains users

For example, let’s say you have a sports app and you might send a re-engagement notification that performs reasonably well. You look at the data available to you, and you see that a sizeable chunk of these notifications was opened between 12-3pm. Now that is a great insight, but what if you could learn more?

If you layer location insights around that data, you might see a more useful pattern emerge. You could see that the majority of these notifications are opened in bars, and even more, specifically sports bars.

Now you can begin to hypothesize and fine tune your value proposition. You can see that the majority of your users are using your scores app while they are watching a game in a bar or sports venue.

This all links back to your app engagement strategy. You have a better idea of how and where your users get the most value from your mobile app, and this helps you to develop your app engagement strategy.

By understanding your user’s behavior, you are much better placed to say which factors are most likely to boosts your app engagement KPIs.

 

Make sure you choose the right app engagement platform

Choose mobile app analytics and communication platform that works for your app. You need a mobile engagement platform that allows you to reach your app users in the best possible moment and understand how your users respond and behave.

 

Conclusion

Think about which app engagement metric is most important to you.

Clearly define which aspects of your app engage your users.

Place the user first. Think about providing value to your users rather than communicating with them for the sake of it.

Use highly personalized notification to engage your users in the best in-app micro-moment.

Re-engagement can be the most effective way to improve your app revenue or bottom line.

Take a data centric approach to engagement.

Always be ready to hypothesize and learn from your engagement data.

Follow these rules and you’ll be well on your way to creating a mobile app engagement strategy that works for your app.

 

Faq’s

What is app engagement?

App engagement is used to refer to a number of metrics that measure how users are engaged with your app. These can give developers better insights into how their apps are being used.

What is app retention?

App retention is a metric which is esentially the percentage of people who continue to use your app over a given period of time

How do I boost app engagement?

A combination of good onboarding, active engagement such as push notifications and delivering personlised app experiences.

 

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Categories
Apps

Best Guide To App Design, Mobile UX, UI and Engagement 2021

Mobile app design

 

Principles of good mobile app UI

Consistency

A key component of good mobile UI is consistency. Designing an intuitive experience is fundamental to creating an engaging app.

 

Familiarity

Keep an app consistent requires the right balance of familiar screens and using known experiences to reduce the learning curve required to use your app.

For example, a newsfeed is a screen that can be extremely complex. However, many users are familiar with a newsfeed. They are used to using this kind of screen on desktop and mobile. This means that users are probably primed to use a newsfeed at a reasonably high capacity, even without being exposed to it before.

As an app designer, it’s important to embrace these familiar screens and create a design which is familiar to your users.

You can view more examples of this concept in action by heading to the screens section of this article.

 

Intuitive design

Similar to familiarity is intuitive design. Where familiarity focuses on using established design trends to drive app engagement, intuitively is slightly different.

When a user interacts with your mobile app, they should not have to think about the process.

The user experience should be intuitive – it should allow them to achieve their desired goal without dedicating too much time to the process.

To achieve this, designers must get into the right mindset and understand how users will interact with their app. This involves defining the user’s flow and focusing on minimising the amount of time it will take for users to understand and complete the steps between these.

Getting the intuitive design right is a crucial part of the mobile UI design process. Without it abandonment rates will be higher, engagement stifled, and churn rate will increase.

 

Minimalism and simplicity

Functional minimalism

Designing a mobile experience means understanding the concept of minimalism and applying it to your app’s experience. Simplicity is critical on mobile devices. There’s a small margin for error, so it’s best not to overwhelm your users.

Decluttering is a great example or minimalism in action. As a rule of thumb, if the information is not needed, then don’t include it. This rule doesn’t just apply to content, but menus and other functional sections of your app.

Overloading the user with too much at once is another no-no. An excellent solution to this is collapsible elements or progressive disclosure. That might sound complicated, but it’s a simple concept which allows the user to control the amount of information on the screen.

 

Towards a simple navigation

Minimalism should apply to user navigation as well as content and elements. You are helping your users to navigate your app in a simple and time efficient manner.

You will lose users if your app’s navigation is too complicated, takes too long or isn’t consistent with other elements.

To counter this, there are a few tips to follow when thinking about navigation:

  • Keep the navigation visible at all times.
  • Using standard components in navigation – this means on Android using the navigation drawer or utilising the tab bar for iOS.
  • Keep it consistent – don’t mix different patterns and keep a single navigation pattern across your app.
  • Allow the user to understand where they are. Achieving this means having the current place in the navigation visible at all times.

 

Minimising user input

Typing on a mobile screen is never going to be as comfortable as using a larger keyboard. Many issues with user input occur when the user is using a form. These are common in mobile apps and often can’t be avoided.

A common mistake is to take a form that was designed to appear on a desktop or laptop and repurpose it for mobile. This quick solution is not good practice – and in the mobile-first world we find ourselves, it’s vital to think mobile-first when designing these.

Some fundamental principles to stick to when user input is required:

  • Less is more – fields that are not 100% necessary can be removed. They are blockers and should be left out.
  • Autocomplete is a designers best friend when it comes to user input.
  • Dynamic validation is critical for mobile. There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting for a page to refresh before being told a field was incorrect. Perhaps a user will not bother going through the process a second time.

 

Control (put the user in control)

To create a great mobile UX the user must feel in control of their app experience. To achieve this, the app should deliver an element of control to the user, through consistent design and predictability.

 

Keeping elements consistent and predictive

If a user predicts how to use an app and this turns out to be true, then this gives the feeling that the user is in control. Creating this experience is a fundamental part of mobile UI and UX design service.

On mobile, users are not afforded the luxury of hovering over elements to see the kind of interactivity each element offers. That means it’s our job to create components that are consistent and help the user to understand what they want to do quickly.

The way that an element looks should inform the user what will happen when they use, tap, swipe or interact with it. Don’t cross over designs with interaction. Not doing this will lead to confusion and will quickly annoy your users.

 

We all make mistakes – addressing errors

It would be futile to suggest that apps should avoid errors. Eliminating all errors is impossible. Errors exist and mitigating these are a crucial part of mobile design.

Sometimes errors occur because of a failure in the app itself. Other times it may be the user. Whatever happened the experience is ruined if these aren’t handled in the right way.

The best thing to do is to explicitly state what went wrong and indicate what the user could do to stop the error from occurring again.

 

Back to where exactly?

A common mistake as apps grow and the number of screens and flows increase involves the back button. A poorly designed back button can severely hamper the flow of an app.

Poorly designed experience involves taking the user back to a home screen. Try and ensure that this process takes users back incrementally.

This rule ensures that users can navigate backwards to check inputted information or verify other content without having to navigate the entirety of the flow again.

 

Text, images, video and other technical mobile design tips

Text design

Text is the primary way that you will communicate information to your users. Therefore, it’s crucial that you get it right. The typography in your app should be easy to read and legible.

The following guidelines are a great start when considering a typeface to use in your mobile app:

  • Font family – remember when we talked about familiarity? This concept also applies when choosing your font family. Google uses Roboto and iOS uses San Fransisco. You’d do well to continue this into your app.
  • Font size – I would recommend 16px. This size may change slightly depending on your typeface.
  • Contrast – It’s important that the contrast between your app’s typeface and the page contrast enough to make your content readable. Some like the idea of a lighter font on a grey background, but these are hard to read. Also, as many devices are used outdoors, screen glare may make low contrast content difficult or impossible to read.

In individual instances, the following will help you to keep your text legible:

  • Limit line length – this provides your user with the luxury of not having to pinch zoom while reading.
  • Capitalisation – is most cases it is better to avoid this.
  • Line spacing – getting this right creates a better reading experience. Too little and it appears squished, too big, and it feels expansive.

 

Side note – Be a jargon buster

Jargon busting is more of a design choice, but I guess it’s relevant here. Don’t create smart terms for regular expressions. Your users will get confused. Stick to home, buy or profile instead of new words that your users will have to learn to use your app.

 

Images

Mobile screens are now some of the most advanced and offer high quality, high-resolution displays.

To do these screens justice images must retain the aspect ratio. Stretched images are a real turn off.

The best solution is to have an adaptive solution. This process will detect the display size and adjust the resolution of the images in your app accordingly.

With new devices taking new shapes and the potential for foldable devices and other weird and wonderful innovations it will be more important to have an adaptive solution.

The iPhone X is probably the best example of this. The device utilises a different resolution to most other devices and part of this is hidden behind a bezel, making it technically dead space.

 

Video

Video is fast becoming one the of the most important mediums, especially on mobile. It’s pivotal that you get this right in your app.

Research shows that many users like to watch videos in portrait mode. This preference means that you will have to think about how your videos appear both in landscape and portrait mode.

Facebook live and youtube are probably the best examples of this.

 

Other mobile app design and development tips

Thumb zone

This concept helps designers to think about how devices are used practically. Thinking about this allows us to understand how the device is held and how this affects our design.

Many users hold their device in one hand. Sometimes this is in the left, sometimes the right. This choice means that only some of the screen is easy to reach with the thumb when the device is held in one hand.

This area is called the thumb zone. It changes between devices, based on the screen size.

Based on the image below try and stick to the following guidelines.

  • The green area is where navigation and other frequently used actions should be.
  • The reg area is where options that could cause damage to the user experience if incorrectly pressed should be.

 

Responsiveness and speed

With every advance in technology, we get more impatient. Loading time is therefore significant for user experience.

The longer your app takes to load a page the more likely you are to lose users. Now sometimes this is unavoidable. Luckily some tricks will allow you to create the illusion that your app is loading quickly.

Keep the following tips in mind if you can’ decrease the load time any more:

  • Clearly demonstrate when something is loading – blank screens will make the user think that the app is broken. The least that you can do is include a spinning animation or something similar. If anything routinely takes longer than 5 seconds to load, then opt for a progress bar instead.
  • Prioritise the visible area of the device – focus on loading the initial content that appears in the view when entering a page. The rest can load on scroll or in the background. This trick creates the illusion that the entire page has loaded quickly.
  • Other methods exist to help build the illusion of quick loading – an example is to provide an animation that also acts as a distraction.
  • Skeleton screens are understood by users to load quicker than a blank screen. Implementing them into your app design will help to improve the user experience.

 

Personalisation

There are countless ways to personalise your app experience and boost app engagement. It’s a fantastic way to connect with your users.

 

Push

Aim to keep your communication via push notifications personal. To create a great UX  and great UX copy there are a few different methods you can employ to ensure your app push notification strategy stays personal.

 

Location

Using location wisely is another way to provide a valuable user experience to users. Contextual experiences can be added by understanding the device location. Adding location support to your app can fuel personalisation of everything from push notifications to in-app content. All of this contributes to improving the app experience.

 

Accessibility

Designing for everybody

Considered design should allow users of all kinds to use your app. Consider how trouble hearing, seeing and other disabilities can affect the usability for your mobile app.

The following are things that you should consider when designing your app:

  • Colour blindness – around 5% of the world’s population are colour blind to some extent. The most common form is the inability to distinguish between red and green. Unfortunately, these are the most common colours to use for error and success messages. Adding a separate icon that indicates this will avoid the issue.

 

Screen and app examples

In this section, we will look at specific screens. Drawing on everything we have learned in the above sections we’ll focus on examples where designers have done a great job on these particular screens.

 

Splash screen

Remember what your mother told you about first impressions? Well, unfortunately, she was right. At least in terms of mobile UX.

Creating a positive impression on the first use of your app is incredibly important. Churn rate is highest in the initial days after downloading, suggesting that first impressions are crucial in boosting retention.

Enter the splash screen – the first screen that a user will see when opening an app. They are minimalistic and usually consist of a name or logo. These can help with loading times of the home screen.

Try and keep these screens to less than 5 seconds. A nice idea is to keep everything centred so that it looks great on all screens.

 

Onboarding

Onboarding is a significant screen (or set of screens) for your users. When a first-time user opens an app, they will usually be presented with an on-boarding journey. This screen will educate the user on how to use the app and get the most from the features.

The aim here is to demonstrate that the app is useful for the user. It’s crucial that your onboarding process is simple, effective and not too long or short. Here are some tips:

  • Custom illustrations are a good idea. They help to explain specific features and help users to remember them.
  • Many apps use a mascot to guide the user through the on-boarding process. Remember the duo-lingo owl before it begins sending you annoying notifications?
  • The copy is everything. Clear, concise copy is the most important thing to get right in an onboarding process. It should be helpful, short and easily readable.

 

Log in and profile

To create highly personalised apps requires that users make an account. Most user’s response to seeing a sign-up screen isn’t positive, so it’s important to get it right.

  • Keep the number of fields short
  • Offer simple, one-click logins (such as Google and Facebook login)
  • Remember that on log-in pages to include an option to sign up

At the heart of the highly personalised app is the profile screen. This screen allows the user to interact with your app in a customised way. The profile must be clear. It must profile personalised information related to the app. However, it’s important not to include too much information.

Working on the navigation system here is important. Make sure that the profile page is part of any tabbed menus. Researching your users and most common functions can help you to understand the best information to prioritise in a profile view.

 

Home screens (menus)

The home screen is potentially one of the most important screens in your app. It’s the go-to screen for your users to navigate. It’s where they will go to instantly perform critical tasks and interact with the essential parts of the application.

Because of this, the home screen will look entirely different between apps. Some key elements remain the same, however.

  • Many home screens contain a search bar or a search function to immediately let users get the right content or the right page. This search function should be placed clearly and centrally.
  • The home screen must contain clear navigational elements which allow the user to get the most important pages within your app quickly. These should be simple and easy to understand. Users don’t want to spend time figuring out what each term means.
  • Many home screens surface these selections in the content itself. Sometimes this is in the form of cards. If doing this, it’s important only to include the most important options. Too many can confuse the user.

 

Permissions

Permissions are important for many apps. However, designers must strike the right balance between asking for permissions and negatively affecting the user experience.

We’ve all opened a new app and have been bombarded with permission requests. This a quick way to increase user churn and hamper UX.

There are some toolkits to help with this that allow multiple preferences to be collected. They also will enable the developer to pre-determine situations where it is acceptable to ask for user permissions.

 

Ecommerce

An e-commerce app’s primary function is to entice users to buy and a product and close the purchase. There are a few screens that are unique to this kind of app, and there are some critical UI tips to consider when designing them.

 

Catalogue screen

The catalogue is the home of the e-commerce app. It can look slightly different from app to app.

Generally, in these screens products are arranged in columns (sometimes single columns), and the user will scroll through them. It’s the designer’s task to create a view that prioritises certain items and provide a quick and simple way for users to navigate multiple products.

More advanced catalogue pages display items horizontally with the user input being a swipe gesture left or right. This design works best when there are fewer items as the user can only navigate through one at a time. Adding separate navigation can help in this instance.

Some critical rules for this kind of screen are:

  • Photos and illustrations should be high quality
  • CTA (call to actions) should be present and easy to identify
  • The catalogue screen should have the CTA as well as inside the product page. This way users can add items to basket directly from the catalogue screen.

 

Product screen

This screen will educate users in more detail on the product. A product screen is important because it allows users to dig into the product, answer any questions they may have, and provide more information on the product to close the sale.

Key elements include:

  • High-quality feature image
  • The detailed description that’s easy to read
  • Product specifications
  • Reviews

 

Checkout screen

Mobile is quickly becoming the primary way that users make purchases. Mobile UX should make the process as simple and pain-free as possible. The checkout is the final stage in this process and should feel comfortable for the user.

  • Include visual elements that indicate that important personal information is secure.
  • Supporting quick checkout options can be an excellent way of keeping the experience pain-free

 

Newsfeed

The newsfeed is a crucial element to many social apps. However, many other categories of apps now use a newsfeed to convey changing content to users. You can prioritise a specific kind of content (such as new posts) to the top.

Some guidelines for these:

  • try to keep 1-2 items on the screen to avoid over-cluttering
  • A new trend in newsfeeds is to have two columns, but this can be very easy to get wrong.
  • Swiping horizontally to reveal different local feeds is a better way to include extra information. Think of how Instagram hashtags and previously Snapchat’s UI worked (before they changed it).

 

Testing and feedback

Designing great mobile UI and understanding UX involves testing and routinely updating your design based on user feedback and user behaviour.

Everything that we have discussed will help you to design a better mobile app experience. They won’t replace the need for robust testing and user feedback.

Testing your UX with real users in real-world situations is a must if you want to create a UI that keeps users engaged.

 

Feedback loops

User feedback is incredibly important for UX design. To get it in reliable quantities you must design the feedback product into your app.

There are countless ways to do this; the most important thing is that it works. It can be anything from a form to background analytics that records how users are interacting with your app.

 

Tools

A poor craftsman always blames their tools. However, with app design and development, it’s important to have the right set of tools to develop, implement and test your app’s UX. Although, you might think of hiring a UX agency that will give you all-around UX design services.

 

Prototyping and planning

Sketch

The place where most UX designers start. Many prototyping solutions offer direct plugins.

Zeplin

A powerful prototyping integration that allows you to go from design to code quickly.

Framer

An interactive and quick prototyping solution

Proto.io

Highly realistic prototype creator.

Origami Studio

A free prototyping tool designed by Facebook and used to create some of their apps.

 

Testing and feedback

UX testing

An all in one solution for user testing

Smartlook

User recording which helps you to understand how your users use your app

UX cam

Another tool which allows you to record user interactions.

Apptimise

UX testing based on quantitative data

 

Courses and resources

UX companion

An app for Android that gives you detailed definitions of every term associated with app UX design.

Fake it till you make it

An in-depth e-book for newbies to the UX world.

UX timeline

An excellent site which lets you view how some of the world’s best apps and products have adapted their over time.

Principles of UX design

A fantastic newsletter course which guides you through the guiding principles of mobile UX

UX quotes

A chrome addon which displays you a new UX related quote every time you open a new window.

 

Design tools

Iconjar

Enables quick access to your app’s logos and design collateral.

Material design

Ultimate guide with tools to help you get your design right.

 

Other tools

Design to get more leads on mobile

Categories
Apps

Five Key Mobile App Statistics App Developers Should Know

Sure there’s yearly reports on everything from app usage to revenue. We welcome these and they can provide developers with vital information about the app economy. But often it can be difficult to understand how these trends will affect your app.

So we’ve tried to help. We’re going to look at five interesting stats based on data from the last year. Then we’re going to attempt to understand what these trends show, how it will affect monetizationengagement and other app metrics. We’ll also look at how developers can adopt their app strategy to suit these trends.

 

Last year app mobile device app downloads reached over 175 billion

This represents a 60% growth on 2015. Now that’s healthy, and there are a few reasons for this.

Firstly, more apps are free to use or try and more developers are finding this model attractive. For the consumer this means that apps are free to download. With the rise in subscription models and other post-download monetization options, this is greta news for publishers too.

The number of smart phones in circulation has increased, especially in emerging markets. Rapid mobile adoption shows that there is still huge potential for app growth.

Mobile devices now have much better storage options. Users previously had to manage device storage carefully. The lowest storage bracket on newer devices has increased and cheaper cloud options leave a lot more space on devices for apps that would have previously taken up too much space.

Finally, people are prioritising mobile to complete tasks that would have usually been difficult on a mobile device. Apps are now much more secure and user-friendly. This makes tasks like shopping or managing finances much easier.

 

What can developers learn from this?

You should think about making your app free to download and monetizing after the app experience. Users increasingly expect apps to be free.

Whilst it’s still important to keep the size of your app as low as possible, this isn’t as much of an obstacle as before. Instead users are looking for apps that help them to achieve tasks on their mobile. Positive user experience is important for users. They want to be able to do powerful things in a great app experience, without having to open their laptop.

 

Consumer spend exceeded $86 billion

When we look at the total spend by users the figures make for positive reading. This growth remains strong thanks to the increase in smartphone adoption in the developing world. The ability for publishers to capture more revenue from their users should not be overlooked.

In terms of the app store, app revenue is still higher in iOS than Google play. Worldwide gross app revenue reached $38.5bn from the app store in 2017 compared to $20.1bn from the Google play store.

This shows that Apple products do continue to attract, on average a user that is is more likely to part with cash via apps. However, both stores showed similar revenue growth levels of around 35%.

The consistent growth suggests that publishers are successful implementing monetization strategies. This is allowing them to generate more revenue per user. This may include subscriptions and freemium etc.

Developers will be happy to see that monetization in top markets maintained a steep growth – 70% in the US and 35% in the UK. But the real story of the last year in terms of app development is the scale of growth in developing markets.

The short story is this – the app economy is in a great place right now. Consumer spend has doubled in 2017. Publishers will need to look at their monetization strategy in developed markets. Here they will need to balance experience with monetization. As well as this they should be looking at new ways to monetize without choosing an advertising solution.

 

App store consumer spend in China grew by 270% in one year

App store spend is growing at a much faster rate in emerging economies.

China and emerging markets are fantastic examples of where developers should be looking in terms of app monetization. In the last year apps are becoming widely used in citizens’ daily lives. Much in the same way that apps have revolutionised other lifestyles, the same is happening in emerging markets. This is because more people are using mobile devices to perform daily tasks.

Rapid growth in downloads across other developing nations will provide even more opportunity for growth.

There now exists a lag between the number of downloads in these emerging markets and the equivalent revenue for app developers. The potential for monetization is huge. Publishers need to move to make sure they can tap into one of the biggest monetization opportunities out there.

Add to this that India and Brazil are areas where app usage is also increasing at at an alarming rate. India is now in second place globally in terms of number of app downloads. In these economies Android devices are more popular. This means that ensuring you can support both platforms could be the key to sustained growth.

 

What does this all mean for developers?

Firstly, we can still conclude that the average iOS user is worth more than an Android user in terms of monetization potential. But growth is steady across both OS.

The success of publishers monetizing after the point of purchase continues to drive revenue in developed markets. Subscription models and other models allow time for the publisher to educate and engage users on their apps value. This encourages better monetization. Ads are still a strong source of revenue for apps. But apps as a service are increasing in number and developers are getting good results from this monetization model.

In developed markets app discovery is becoming more difficult. But, the potential for revenue through monetization after the point of download is increasing.

Mobile apps are dramatically increasing in the developing world. The rapid number of new device adoption means a huge amount of new users. The value of these users is still low compared to developed markets. But, this still represents a huge opportunity for revenue growth.

 

Each mobile user spent 1.5 months in apps

It’s safe to say that users are spending more of their time in apps. And it’s also pretty certain that users are using more apps, on average. Last year users spent on average over 3 hours a day in mobile apps.

This presents far more opportunities for developers to create effective engagement strategies. Users want to complete more tasks on a mobile device and they love to be able to do this in apps.

Improving lifetime value and customer satisfaction is a crucial part of creating a successful app. Being able to engage apps leads to better monetization and more chance of increasing your user base quickly.

There are two things going on here. In developed markets, users are doing much more on their phones. But in emerging markets users have skipped the use of a desktop and see mobile as an effective way to complete certain tasks for the first time.

The time is now for developers to put experience centre of their app strategy. Their app solution should take advantage of the increased amount of tasks that users are doing on mobile. In some ways engagement is more important than downloads – if you can’t keep users in your app then you’ll churn users and very quickly have a worthless app. These figures show that users want positive experiences and the ability to complete their goals inside apps – developers should focus on delivering this.

 

The average smartphone user accessed around 40 apps per month

More tasks than ever are being completed on mobile.

You might think that all that time is being spent on the bigger apps. This is simply not the case. Users are looking to apps to perform a variety of tasks that can only be achieved by a single app. Users are looking for powerful apps in each category and they are choosing the ones with the best experience and best tools for the job in question.

Engagement is of course important for monetization. Keeping users engaged and happy is key to generating high revenue. That’s why these stats are promising for developers. If you can successfully implement a great engagement strategy you will be able to monetize effectively.

As app attention grows publishers will need to understand what this means for their app. This could mean focusing on UX and understanding how improving this will mean more engaged users. Or it could mean focusing on how push notifications can improve app retention.

 

What does this mean for developers?

As users spend more time in apps and use apps to solve problems and complete tasks developers will need to seize the opportunity and ensure that their app offers a seamless user experience.

Experience is key to successful monetization. Publishers that are looking to increase revenue, especially in emerging economies will need to focus on retaining their users.

The stats say that users are spending more time in apps, but they won’t just choose any old app to reach their goals. Apps still need to be powerful and they still need to have a great experience to attract and retain users.

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Apps

5 App Monetization Trends To Watch Out For In 2018

Which trends will shape app monetization in 2018? As the world becomes better adapted for mobile, developers will benefit from greater revenue than ever before. However to do this they must balance the needs of the user with app monetization practices.

We’ll look at five trends that will influence the way that app moentization will work in 2018.

App experience will become more important for developers relying on ads to generate revenue.

In-app ads remain a popular method of app monetization for developers. Despite them having obvious drawbacks when applied poorly.

In 2018 app advertising will be all about the user experience. developers must strike a balance between the number of ads, where they appear and how the user interacts with them. This will be pivotal to app monetization success. App owners will also have to consider how these changes will affect their users in 2018. Too many ads will negatively affect the user experience. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to provide value whilst delivering in-app ads.

Mobile app advertising is maturing quickly. Make sure you look for a network that uses safe brands, smart ad targeting, and provides support for interactive ads.

When integrating an app advertising strategy you may find a trade-off between ease of integration and spamminess of ads. In 2018 it might be worth taking the time to focus on putting user experience first.

Don’t expect revenue from app ads to jump to new heights anytime soon. If anything expect app ad revenue to decrease as more apps adopt in-app advertising. Perhaps 2018 could be the year to supplement your app revenue with another method.

 

 

More apps will adopt a freemium model as more users are becoming used to an app being free at the point of use.

Freemium is allowing app owners to increase session length and generate engaged users. This is a great place from which to convert users into healthy revenue. After a positive app experience app users are more likely to opt-in for premium features. Having the chance to nurture and educate your users before this has a positive effect on your app monetization strategy.

Try not to appear like you are cheating your users. Make it clear that your app is a freemium app from the very beginning. They won’t want to invest a lot of time in a game or app to realise that they have to pay to use some features.

It seems that freemium is here to stay. With users finding it standard practice to not pay for an app at the point of purchase. Because of this, developers are finding it harder to justify an upfront fee. The freemium app monetization model is a great opportunity to engage and nurture audiences for app monetization.

 

Users will become dissatisfied if they have to commit huge amounts of time or money to unlock all app features.

In-app purchases as a method of app monetization is still experiencing healthy growth. This may be slightly overstated due to the inclusion of ‘services’ as purchases (think Uber etc).

One of the main trends well see in 2018 is that app developers will need to focus more on engagement rather than only increasing app monetization.

Once a user has purchased in-app content then they are more likely come back and spend more time in the app. This translates to better engagement and retention and in turn better monetization.

No category has benefited from in-app purchases more than the gaming category. Here, developers are benefiting by placing engagement first. The user now has the option to pay to advance through the game quicker or access powerups and features.

Developers need to make sure they are getting this balance right. In-app purchases are effective because a few users spend a lot. There will always be users who only want to play your game for free. True these users don’t generate revenue, but they are still important for your app to exist.

Whilst not being a mobile app, developers can still learn a lot from the EA debacle in the new Battlefront game. Users quickly noticed that to unlock some of the features they would have to play the game for 1000 hours. Alternatively, they could pay to unlock them. This seemed rather unfair, especially when they had purchased the game upfront.

To keep users happy, developers will need to strike the right balance between monetization and experience.

In 2018 more and more users will become aware of how apps monetize their users. That’s why app monetization methods must be clear and fair, in the long term it will benefit you.

 

A conversation will need to be had with users about monetization of data and opt-out methods.

Users are more aware than ever of the need for developers to monetize their app audience. The conversation around app monetization is shifting to help users understand why apps are free.

In 2018 consumer personalization will be a high priority for brands. They will achieve this by using consumer data to help provide an improved user experience.

Mobile app owners are sitting on a lot of behavioural data around their users. This is of value to those who wish to improve personlization for their customers.

Data monetization is secure, private and becoming more popular amongst developers. Users are more likely to understand that this data will help to generate improved personlization. By communicating the benefits and education users about opt-in developers can monetize their app in this way.

A benefit of app data monetization is that the user experience remains intact. There are no intrusive adverts or the need for the user to pay anything upfront. This means that the user will spend more time in the app and engage with the app’s features. The app monetization strategy can be adopted alongside other methods of monetization.

Data monetization allows developers to monetize a much higher percentage of users. The users don’t need to be engaged for it to work. The revenue that you generate from each user will also be higher. This means you don’t have to worry about monetization in relation to platform. It’s the same regardless of the device.

Expect revenue from data monetization to increase from a high starting point with better technology. 2018 will see the consumer become more aware of the power of big data and better educated on how it affects them.

 

App subscription models will more closely resemble SAAS subscriptions.

The subscription model is one that looks to remain popular in 2018. Again, users are used to trialling an app and its features before parting with any cash

Subscription models are becoming more complex than a simple buy or don’t buy. In fact, many pricing structures now more closely resemble a SAAS model. It’s common to see several pricing tiers with many different features.

This allows app developers to persuade users who would previously not part with any cash to subscribe to a lower tier of membership. This method of app monetization is still the best fit for service apps.

A side effect of this is that developers will need to clearly help users understand the benefits of upgrading. More tiers and features mean a better explanation is needed.

 

Closing thoughts for 2018

Developers will continue to benefit from the app economy with revenue from app monetization set to grow throughout 2018. Free apps will become the new normal, compared to previously where single pay purchases were the most popular. This will allow developers to generate more revenue over a longer period of time.

Developers will need to place more emphasis on the monetization experience. This means that the developers are more likely to miss out on revenue from app monetization if the app experience is not up to scratch. Due to the free to download culture, more emphasis on experience and education is needed. This will help to persuade users to enter into premium models and subscriptions or to engage with in-app purchases.

More and more developers will need to adopt hybrid monetization strategies. Developers should not rely on a single method of app monetization. Instead, spreading monetization across multiple strategies will provide stability. Especially in a market that can change quickly. The preference of app users is volatile. The changing platform rules around app monetization may also affect developers in 2018. It’s important to stay one step ahead!

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Apps

How Your Push Notification Strategy Boosts App Monetization

Push notifications are an important part of any mobile app business. An effective push notification strategy helps to drive app engagement and app retention. It can also have a direct effect on your mobile app revenue or app monetization strategy.

Many developers understand the value of push notifications in relation to communication. Whilst this is one of the main benefits of adopting a push notification strategy, there are other rewards that developers can tap into.

These rewards are slightly different depending on the kind of app that you have. There is evidence that effective push notification strategies have a strong impact on in app monetization. We’ll look at what you can gain, other than engagement, from developing and nurturing your mobile app push notification strategy.

Abandoned carts, lost revenue

Users abandon 90% of mobile shopping carts. That’s a high number that app owners can combat with an effective push notification strategy. This is especially true if you create the right strategy. One in which your push notifications follow the golden rules of push.

 

Push notification best practices

  • Relevant – always ensure that you send push notifications to users at the best possible moment. Don’t send notification at times which aren’t relevant. This will decrease app engagement and ultimately app monetization.
  • Helpful – Your push notification service must be able to provide value to the user. A successful push notification strategy will communicate helpfully to the app users at the point of delivery.
  • Analyse data – always use data to inform your push notification strategy. Measure everything, hypothesize, test and repeat.

 

Now, this presents developers with a huge opportunity. With such a high number of mobile users abandoning baskets, app owners must address the issue. One way to reduce the number of abandoned baskets, and increase app revenue, is through the use of relevant push notifications.

Now we’re talking about something different to sending generic push notifications. Also, let’s remember – relevance doesn’t only mean addressing a user by name. Push notifications are much more effective when you consider relevancy. So let’s look at how you can adapt this into your push notification strategy to boost revenue.

The traditional abandoned basket push notification journey goes like this:

This push notification strategy may work in some cases. But the effectiveness of the push notification can be improved if it’s delivered at the right time. 

You need a push notification service that allows you to understand and engage with your users at the right moment. Remember the push notification best practices – how can we apply them to this situation?

One way you can apply these to your push notification strategy is by using location.

Back to our abandoned cart push notification. Layering this push notification with location can achieve a much better result.

 

What is a location-based push notification?

push notification strategy that uses location delivers push notifications based on the users’ location. This is helpful for many reasons. One is that it allows communicating specific messages to users in helpful and relevant moments. This translates to better engagement, and in turn, better in app monetization.

 

So in the case of an abandoned basket, we can hypothesize a few locations in which it would be helpful to remind a user.

One might be when they are in a consumer shopping location. The user will already have shopping on the mind and in most cases where they have forgotten about the items in their basket. Communicating with the user in this moment is much more likely to produce engagement.

Of course, this can be fine-tuned depending on what your app offers to its users. If you have more niche items then you can increase the specificity. For example – sports goods, communicate when they leave a gym.

Using push notification as reminders in relevant locations rather than sending generic cart abandonment messages will dramatically improve your app revenue.

 

User purchases

Now here’s another look at how mobile push notifications can have a positive effect on your mobile app revenue. If your app offers users the option to purchase goods, be it physical or digital, then push notifications can be useful.

Again, look at when it could be beneficial to deliver these notifications. If you can find a way to deliver value to your users then you’ll boost engagement over time. This will translate into better app revenue and improved monetization of apps.

Try informing and promoting user purchases at the right moment. In times of value, you will dramatically improve your revenue from in-app purchases.

It’s not as simple as picking a single time or day. Push notification strategies should be based on more than that. Namely, the location and situation of the user. That’s where location comes into your push notification strategy.

Try sending promotions or communicate in-app purchases at a moment of locational relevance to the user. Again, this will vary depending on the type of app or the type of purchase, but let’s look at a few examples.

Let’s say you have a language learning app with a subscription model. You could offer a promotion for the subscription to entice users into subscribing. But you can go one step further with location. Try sending notifications to the users when your users return from a trip through an airport.

These are just one example. You can get ultra-specific with your location based push targeting. The more precise you get, the more engaging your push notification strategy will be. More engaged users mean better app monetization.

Get in touch to see how location can specifically improve your app and help you generate more app revenue.

 

Time in app – monetization

If you have considered your app monetization strategy you’ll know that the monetization of apps is affected by the number of time that users spend in your app. That’s app engagement, and it’s something that push notifications can directly improve.

Therefore, by crafting an effective push notification strategy, you can allow your users to spend more time in your app. This will lead directly to improved app revenue.

Consider the push notification best practices when trying to boost app engagement and retention. The effectiveness of a push notification strategy is improved with location.

So in terms of engagement – we can look at ways that location-based push notifications can improve app engagement metrics. This is to do more with communicating with the users at the right time to encourage them to spend more time in your app.

Always have your in app monetization strategy in mind when considering your push notification strategy. push notifications can be useful beyond engagement. Stick to the push notification best practices and you’ll be on your way to more app revenue.

Conclusions

  • App push notifications can boost app revenue and the monetization of apps, as well as engagement.
  • Push notifications best practices include being relevant, helpful and data-driven.
  • Adding location to your push notification strategy is an effective way to improve engagement and revenue.
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Apps

Why Should You Send Push Notifications To Your App Users?

What makes the best push notifications? There are many push notification best practices guides out there. We ask – what can really make the difference for developers when sending push notifications?

Most push notification strategies assume that all push notifications are created equal. They view a push notification almost as a psychological trick. One that aims to get the user to look at their phone and see what they have to offer.

This may well be the case. But what happens when you take a closer look at push notifications and app engagement? You might find that the trick is not a realistic option if you want to sustain mobile growth and engagement.

Take a look at any push notification enabled vs app retention charts. You’ll see that retention is always higher when push is enabled than disabled. But there’s something here that nobody ever talks about. Nobody mentions that both of those lines trend downwards at almost exactly the same rate.

So, when it comes to engagement were as bad at sending push notifications as we are at not sending them.

That’s because the standard push notification is a ploy. Perhaps your user will fall for it, but they won’t make the same mistake twice. This is why you need to think carefully about your mobile app engagement strategy. You must ensure that app engagement improves through value and great user experience.

Don’t think of your push notification strategy as a tool to grab your users attention. Think of a push notification as a tool to deliver value to your audience. Provide them with true value and engagement and retention will follow. Your users are not dogs – they won’t chase every stick that you throw their way.

Push notifications must be reliable – your users have to trust your app communication. If you want engaged users then you’ll have to create an engagement strategy that your users rely on. Not one that is reliably annoying.

That means you’ll need to personalize your push notification message strategy.

 

What do we mean by personalized app push notifications?

A personalized push notification is a powerful method of app communication. It doesn’t mean just putting a user’s name in the push notification. Personalized mobile push notifications are personal in the sense that they provide value for the app user.

It’s about solving problems for the user at the right moment, right from the lock screen. Instead of delivering a push notification that drifts into the notification center and is never seen again.

Developers should send push notifications in these personal moments. Nurturing engaged and appreciative users are much more beneficial to a mobile app. Trying to grab a user’s attention with aggressive and unpersonalized push notifications is not.

You can achieve personalized push notifications in a cross platform push user experience. Personalization is not limited to Android push notifications or iOS push notifications.

 

When should you send push notifications to your users?

The truth is that there is not a concrete answer to this. The question that you should be asking is why should you send push notifications to your users?

The answer to this is also complex. It provides better insights into your user’s psychology. This is helpful to understand how to best personalize your push notifications.

Why would a user want a personalized notification at a specific moment? Once you start to ask yourself this question you’re beginning to look at the value that your app provides.

Let’s look at this in a specific example. Say you have a recipe app and you’d like to improve engagement with mobile push notifications.

Rather than asking when or how many mobile push notifications you should send, ask why.

The answer for when might be between 4-7pm. That’s the normal time that your users might be thinking of what to have for dinner. It seems reasonable to throw them a stick (push notification) during this period.

But there’s a subtle difference between when and why that helps you understand user psychology. In this case, why would users want you to send them a push notification? Well, now you’re starting to think about what it is that your app provides to users, and how they will find it useful.

The answer might be – to communicate a recipe idea when they are in a store and lacking inspiration.

Identify this and you’re doing much more than guessing and attempting to engage with a stick. No, you’re personalizing the mobile push notification message to the user’s situation. Guess what – that will have an invaluable effect on app engagement.

 

How you can implement the why

This requires some technical skills to personalize push notifications to this level. But a simple and effective way to personalize push notifications is with location. Adding location to push notifications helps add relevancy to the push notification strategy.

In the example above this notification is sent when the user is inside a specific store. This can even be a or specific type of store.

A location is a powerful tool for personalization of push messages. It’s where you start to provide high value for your users.

There are many solutions to add location to your push notification strategy. You can do this with some push platforms. But it doesn’t stop here. You must also realize that you’ll need to test and measure your push notifications as well.

 

Test and test again – use data to understand your results

A single human is pretty bad at predicting what personalization looks like to your users. That means that it will take a few different people or attempts to answer the question of why. Even then, you might not get it right.

So, you’ll need a local notification platform that allows in-depth insights on smaller user segments first and then get in-depth insights on engagement.

Use this data to answer why you should be sending push notifications. Insights on location and app engagement can be effective in understanding user psychology. Be prepared to be shocked. Your previous understanding of how users use your app could be shattered.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The point is you’ll be closer to providing high-value, relevant mobile app communication. This will come in the form of helpful push notifications.

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App Push Notifications – The Complete Guide

Contents

Introduction to app push notifications

There’s so much written about how to create high quality app push notifications. What are mobile push notifications?What constitutes a successful mobile push notification strategy? Which is the best push notification service? How can you use mobile push notifications to boost app engagement?

These questions are repeatedly asked by mobile developers. There’s a wide range on answers on the topic of app push notifications and what effect they have on a mobile app engagement strategy. For developers, it can be difficult to understand exactly which push notification service is best for your app. 

That’s why we’re going to try and cut through the noise and help explain what in app notifications do and  what makes a successful push notification today.

This is an ultimate guide – so it’s does go into some detail. We’ll begin writing from the perspective that you have no previous experience with push notifications. Please use the contents to find the relevant section for you. 

 
 

The basics of push notifications

What are push notifications?

A push notification is a method of communication between a mobile app and a user. Push notifications are used to communicate information with users in real-time. A push notification is delivered instantly to a mobile device, regardless of whether the device is locked or unlocked. The push notification is delivered even if the user is in a different app or away from the app sending the push notification.

Push notifications are constantly being updated and they have developed significantly since they were initially introduced back in 2009.  

 

Android push notification vs iOS push notification

iOS push notification

On Apple devices, the app push notification first appears on the lock screen. The user can swipe the push notification to activate the message. Once they unlock their device the push notification is moved to the notification center.

As you might have noticed – these two giants of mobile OS are placing ever more emphasis on user needs. Meaning that developers must adapt with their push notifications. Something that we’ll come back to later on. 

Android push notification

In August 2017 it was announced that Android devices would adopt push notification channels in mobile apps.

This allows users to group their app push notifications into notification type and means that users can determine how different kinds of notification appear on their device. It also allows users to set push notification priorities – essentially means that users have greater control over which notifications they receive and when. 

 

Why are app push notifications used?

Mobile push notifications form a part of an effective mobile engagement strategy. They provide communication between apps and users, providing value by delivering relevant information within the push notification. 

Mobile push notifications can also be used to deep link to relevant app functions to add extra functionality to app push notifications.

Generally, in app push notifications provide a valuable channel of communication for app publishers. A push notification is more immediate than other methods of communication, such as email. There’s no chance of them being caught in spam filters, so mobile push notifications to form an effective way of reaching users with important information. 

 

App push notification opt in 

Every channel of communication has it’s spam filters.  App push notifications are no different – however they are filtered in a slightly different way. Mobile push notification delivery is based on an opt-in feature. This means that the user is given the choice as to whether they wish to receive push notifications. 

More emphasis is being placed on explaining to users the value of the push notification. Increasingly, users are opting out of notifications due to irrelevant communication and abuse of the app push notification service. 

That’s why it’s important to have a clear opt-in process for your mobile push notification strategy. Explain exactly why you want your users to opt-in to your app push notifications. Make sure that you do this at the right moment. 

 

App push notification opt in rate by industry

 
 
 

 

Finding the right moment to opt-in

When is the right moment? Well, it will be different for every app. Let’s look at an example – you’ll see a much higher opt-in for app push notifications if you do the following. 

If your app provides content for example. You could ask your users for opt-in permissions at a relevant time. 

When the user is reading an article you could have a bar appear at the bottom of the screen which says something along the lines of ‘want to be alerted of stories like this?’ Clicking this will bring up the OS dialogue asking for mobile push notification permissions. 

 

How are mobile push notifications received

The user will receive a push notification as a banner alert if the phone is locked. If the phone is unlocked the user will see a banner alert from the top of the screen that will appear for a few seconds before disappearing. 

An iOS push notification can be altered in settings where the user can decide if an app should allow sounds, how the iOS push notification appears (banner, popup etc). They also have the choice of whether the iOS push notification triggers a red number alert on the app badge icon itself.

An Android push notification operates in a similar way to a iOS push notificayion  – however, the OS reminds them of the notification with an icon in the top left corner of the screen. As a result of this the average Android user is less likely to miss a notification than a typical iOS user.

 

Benefits of app push notifications for developers

To understand the benefits of mobile push notifications you’ll need to think of them in the context of app engagement and retention. App push notifications should also be understood in relation to your app monetization strategy.

 
 

Driving app engagement & retention with push notifications

Mobile push notifications are a fantastic tool for driving app engagement. But what exactly is an engaged user? Often a user downloads your app with the intention of using it. But sometimes the user will forget about the app, or it will sit inside a folder that is rarely accessed. 

This is why you need app push notifications to engage your mobile users. Low app engagement doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a bad app – it just means that you need to communicate with your users. 

With mobile push notifications, it’s about getting your app front of mind, reminding users of the value that your app brings, and ensuring that your users continue to achieve this value in the relevant moments. 

Mobile retention over time is pretty bad according to research. Let’s say 100 new users download your mobile app. After 24 hours you can expect this number to be reduced to 20. After 10 days this number will, on average, fall to 8. After 90 days the typical app will only retain 2 of those initial 100 users. 

That’s why app push notifications are so important for developers. The figures also demonstrate this. Retention rates are almost doubled for users that have push notifications enabled. 

These figures are typical for an average mobile app – that means that there is even more room for improvement for developers. Typical push notification strategies don’t take into consideration relevancy, personalization, and localization – all concepts that we’ll return to later in this piece. This means that there’s a huge opportunity for apps to increase their retention rates. 

Mobile push notifications are incredibly effective at boosting app engagement and retention, and in reality, you don’t really have an effective app strategy without them. 

 

Driving app revenue with mobile push notifications

The more experienced developers amongst you might already understand the benefits of app push notifications in terms of mobile app revenue. There’s a simple equation here and it goes as follows

 

If you can just increase your retention (downloads) and boost engagement (MAU) with an effective mobile push notification strategy, then very quickly you will begin to grow your app revenue. 

Therefore, app push notifications are fundamental to any developer that wants to create an effective mobile business. Let’s not forget to add into the equation the rising cost of user acquisition. With all these considerations – you would be rather foolish to ignore the power of mobile push notifications. 

 

Best app push notification practices

This is the part where we look at what makes the best mobile push notifications. This is the difference between using app push notifications because you see other apps doing it, or generating a larger engaged audience that will boost the app experience, and improve app monetization

 

Mobile push notification relevancy

One thing that should be at the forefront of your mobile push notification strategy is the relevancy of your app push notifications.

That means you’ll need to really understand your app users, what they want from your app and where they are getting the most value. This requires you to place user experience at the center of the app push notification experience. 

Mobile push notifications are much more effective if they are delivered to your users in the best possible moment. Defining when this relevant moment is the challenge – and the solution eludes many developers. 

This can be achieved in multiple different ways. But a good place to start to discover app push notification relevancy is to hypothesize and test these push notification moments. 

The cycle of mobile push notification relevancy 

Make sure your mobile push notification service can deliver you with the necessary feedback around app push notifications and key delivery metrics – not just based on time, but also message type, audience segment, and location. 

 

Personalisation of mobile push notifications

This really is the number one rule of mobile push notifications – keep your communication via push notifications personal. For developers, there’s a few different methods you can employ to ensure your app push notification strategy stays personal. 

Of course, there are the basic methods of personalisation – identify your users by name, in the right language, on the right device, and with the right content. But you can take your push notifications to the next level with these other personalization tactics.

 

Personlized timing 

Mobile push notifications are more personal when sent at the right time. This is more basic but can have a nice effect on app push notification interaction and app engagement. Message personalization based on the time of day is an effective way to increase personalization of mobile push notifications. 

This is the first layer of personalization around app push notifications. It’s a good start, but to retain a modern user you’ll need to take your push notifications further. 

 

Personalized mobile push notification triggers

This is where app push notifications start to get interesting. As an app owner, you have the potential to generate a huge amount of data around your user’s behavior. This data can be used to improve the personalization of your in app push notifications. 

Of course, this is dependent on the function that your mobile app serves to your users. But, you should be  thinking about how you can leverage data to improve your app push notification strategy. Do you have data around user behavior that can help you deliver more personal mobile push notifications? If you do – you should certainly be utilizing this. 

Remember, higher personalized app push notifications mean better engagement, and this means increased revenue. All of the efforts that you put into your mobile push notification strategy will benefit you multiple times over in the long run. 

 
 

 

Most app owners have the ability to leverage user data to create a better engagement strategy. Identify how your mobile push notification strategy can take advantage of the huge amount of user data out there.

 

App push notification personalization with location 

The holy trinity of mobile push notification personalization is completed with location data. Accurate mobile app location data can distinguish exactly where your app users are. This means that you can deliver app push notifications in precise locations that make sense for your users. This leads to higher app engagement and retention.

This level of personalization will become compulsory for apps that want their mobile push notifications to provide true value for their users. Using accurate location data you can understand where your users go and how they behave when receiving app push notifications. using this data, you can determine the best micro moment in which to send the push notification to users. 

Let’s a look at a few examples to illustrate what makes a great location personalised mobile push notification. 

 

The possibilities are endless and but the important thing to remember is that applying the three layers of mobile push notifications will help you to provide your users will value. Creating a better experience will then follow. 

 
 

Deep linking app push notifications to relevant content

This level of personalization isn’t easy to attain. That’s why you have to think about where your app push notification takes the user. Many apps overlook this part of the mobile push notification process, but it can be just as important as personalization. 

If you personalize the app push notification then make sure you personalize the experience that follows. That’s achieved using deep linking. Make sure your users are pointed to the relevant section of the app. It can seem rather complex at first, but the reward is worth the effort. Check this useful guide for a more in-depth overview

There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing content in a app push notification which appeals, to find the link go to the app home screen. If you forget the original content of the push notification then it’s impossible to find the original content. Remember, on iOS devices, the push notification disappears once it has been swiped. 

Deep linking is especially important with personalized, time-sensitive mobile push notifications. If your notification is personalized then the landing screen will also need to be. 

 

Frequency of mobile push notifications

A common question for most app publishers is ‘how often should I send push notifications?’

In general, less is more when it comes to mobile push notifications. Try and value quality communication over quantity. Again this comes down to providing value with your mobile push notification strategy. 

You’ll be able to understand the peak number of app push notifications to send over a set time period once you start looking into the data around app communication. Use an app push notification service that allows you these insights – they will be invaluable when you are growing your audience. 

 

Conversion with app push notifications

Mobile push notifications can also be used to increase conversion. If your app consists of sales or a lengthy on boarding process then app push notifications can be a method of increasing completion. 

Remember – at the heart of every successful mobile push notification strategy lies personalization – and the same applies for conversion. So if you send a notification to remind users to complete the on boarding process, try personalizing the app push notification by changing the copy based on where the user is in the on boarding process.

The same applies for sale completions. Remind the user of what was in their basket rather than just providing generic app push notifications. 

 

Understand the difference between an iOS push notification and an Android push notification

It’s important to tailor your mobile push notification strategy based on different mobile platforms. 

In general push notifications see a higher open rate on Android devices. iOS users interact with notifications quicker than their Android counterparts. 

To adapt your strategy to android push notifications and iOS push notifications you’ll need to adapt and think about how the experience will change on both platforms. That means you’ll need to utilize other methods of communication where appropriate.

In Android, the user will have to remove the app push notification manually once they open the phone. On iOS, the notification is more ephemeral and requires more effort to interact with, if this doesn’t occur on the lock screen. 

It all demonstrates that there is no single mobile experience – be thoughtful about how OS can affect the mobile experience involved in sending mobile push notifications. Understand the data around your app on both platforms – it might be different to the general trends. 

 

Mobile push notification feedback and insights

Be aware of vanity metrics

It can be tempting to look at app push notifications click through as a key metric for measuring engagement. Whilst in many cases this is important, sometimes it can be a vanity metric and not illustrate true app engagement. 

In fact, there are many mobile push notification strategies that boost engagement without persuading their users to actually engage with the notification. 

 
 

In this case, the notification provides value for the user without them having to engage with the notification. This reaffirms the app’s purpose and will most likely lead to reengagement with the news app at a later date. All of this isn’t initially clear from the push notification engagement statistics. 

 

Mobile push notification timing

Don’t let people tell you that there’s a right time to send app push notifications to your users. Sending all of your notifications in a certain time period will only lead to disengagement. 

Leverage the data around app push notifications to understand what suits your users. Break this down into audience segments and hypothesize and test for future push notifications. 

 

Using location for data and insights

Learn and adapt to your users using data. This doesn’t just mean simple open metrics. Use location to understand where in the real-world your users engage most with your mobile push notifications.

In a world with over a million apps, it’s important that you leverage every piece of data that you can around app engagement. You need to make data your best friend if you want to keep developing your app engagement strategy.

If you can get data around your app users that the majority of apps can’t get access to then your onto a winner.

The truth is that many app engagement strategies fail to understand where their users go and how they behave.

 

Beyond basic engagement insights

For example, you might get feedback around how your users are opening your app push notification, using specific in-app features, or even just opening the app.

These insights might be based on time of day, or maybe you can even get a breakdown of this data based on audience type (depending on which service you use).

But what if you could get a better insight into the mind of your user at that time? Basic insights are great, but it doesn’t always paint the perfect picture. You need to get as much data as possible if you are going to keep engaging your app users.

Location insights around app users can help drive mobile app engagement KPIs. If you can understand exactly where your users go and how they behave then you can create a better idea of how to engage them.

 

Engagement data that retains users

For example, let’s say you have a sports app and you might send a re-engagement notification that performs reasonably well. You look at the data available to you and you see that a sizeable chunk of these notifications were opened between 12-3pm. Now that is a great insight, but what if you could learn more?

If you layer location insights around that data you might see a more useful pattern emerge. You could see that the majority of these notifications are opened in bars, and even more specifically sports bars.

Now you can really begin to hypothesise and fine tune your value proposition. You can see that the majority of your users are using your scores app whilst they are watching a game in a bar or sports venue.

This all links back to your app engagement strategy. You have a better idea of how and where your users get the most value from your mobile app, and this helps you to develop your app engagement strategy.

By understanding your user’s behaviour you are much better placed to say which factors are most likely to boosts your app engagement KPIs.

 

Resources, further reading and links 🔗

Why users should turn off news notifications

In-depth guide to deeplinking

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Push Notification Myths And A Better App Engagement Strategy

It’s time to deconstruct all the terrible advice out there around push notification best practices.

There’s an awful lot of bad advice going out around what makes the best push notifications. When it’s best to send push notifications. What message you should include in your push notification to increase mobile app engagement.

Much of this advice simply isn’t true. And it fails to consider what makes a successful app engagement strategy. Let’s look at some of the myths around push notifications and what might be the reality instead.

Push notification timing

Myth – the best time to send push notifications is between 6-8pm

Reality – the best time to send push notifications is exactly when your user gets the most value from the notification.

Of course, users are more complex than that. You might get relative success sending your notification at a certain time. but if you’re trying to effectively increase mobile app engagement, anyone telling you to send push at one time a is probably trying to oversimplify the problem.

You might say well, ‘when the user gets the most value’ – that’s hard to define. Well, you’re right. But there’s a whole range of solutions to try and find that ideal moment. Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.

 

Questions in push notifications?

Myth – ask your users a question in the notification, that’ll trick them to love your app as nobody ignores a question

reality – actually this is just plain annoying and insulting to the average user.

Yes, that’s right, human beings, after many years of evolution can, in fact, resist the urge to answer every question that’s thrown at them. A mobile engagement strategy should seek to do more than trick people into engagement.

What people should say when suggesting questions as push notifications is – sometimes it makes sense to ask your users a question – as long as it is in the right micro-moment.

 

Push notification visuals

Myth – images and GIFs improve retention and engagement

Reality – value > moving images.

Whilst it has been said that some GIFs are insanely engageable, that doesn’t mean that your notification will receive 95% engagement because it has a moving cat on it.

Once again, the key to a better mobile app engagement strategy is relevancy. If your overall message sucks or is not relevant then no matter what visual you send with it, you’ll get terrible engagement.

 

How to personalize push notification strategy

Myth – Personalisation means addressing someone by name.

Reality – Push notification best practices to include historical, behavioural based personalization.

Woooooahhhh. I just got a notification with my name in it. How did it know? What a smart app. I’ll continue using it forever. – said nobody ever.

Using historical behavioural data, both in-app and in the real world are much better ways to personalize your push notifications and app engagement strategy. I’d much rather receive a notification that’s relevant without my name in than one that is addressed to me but serves no purpose.

 

Push notification KPIs

Myth – open rates are the most important of the app engagement metrics.

Reality – Vanity metric

Whilst notification open rates can be suggestive of positive engagement you have to look at the purpose of your push strategy. Some apps benefit when the notification is the message.

I don’t know about you but I want my push notifications to tell me everything I need to know concisely and give me the choice to dig deeper whilst simultaneously providing with justification for downloading the app in the first place. 🤔

Open rates are a controversial subject when considered as a part of a mobile app engagement strategy. It’s important to get as much data as possiblearound engagement and use this to understand if your metrics are truly representative of strong app engagement.

 

Communicating with your users

Myth – users want to know about new features and products

Reality – users don’t want to know about relevant products

Just because you think your new app feature is great doesn’t mean that all your users want to know about it. Reserve your notifications for essential, engaging content. Remember, in-app communication and effective onboarding are also part of a successful app engagement strategy and can be used to communicate new features and updates.

 

Conclusion

Many apps out there are doing amazing jobs of boosting app engagement with effective push notification strategies.

Fine tune your push notification strategy to focus on exactly what your user’s needs are. Communicate in a relevant way and ensure that you always put the user first.

Use data and insights to understand your push notification strategy and look at multiple KPIs to understand what’s right for your mobile app engagement strategy.

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App Analytics Guide – How To Create A Better App With Data

The best products and services to to leverage data and app analytics to create better mobile apps.

Without users, you wouldn’t have an app. At least you wouldn’t have an app that functioned as a business.

That’s why it’s so important to listen to your mobile users and understand how they use your mobile app. There are some mobile app analytics fundamentals you’ll need to understand if you want to create an effective mobile business.

There are some key metrics to measure if you have a mobile app. It’s crucial to get accurate in-app analytics around these in order to create a scalable mobile business.

The key mobile app analytic metrics are:

  • New user acquisition
  • App retention
  • App engagement & experience
  • Revenue

Every app is different and will look to focus on some of these KPIs more than others. Part of using data to inform your app business strategy involves learning which of these will benefit your app the most.

Here’s a look at some of the best app analytics tools out there to get started with. Whilst there’s no such thing as the best mobile analytics platform, a combination of a few of these will help you on your way to a successful mobile app.

Mobile app user acquisition

Data around user acquisition is the first stop in our break-down of app analytics strategy. You need to understand how users discover your app and what percentage of app impressions are being converted into downloads. App store analytics are the starting point for any serious app owner.

This is the first step to understanding exactly how mobile users view your app and a great opportunity to leverage data to improve your conversion.

Without in-depth analytics around user acquisition, you will have no idea how effective your app marketing budget is. If you don’t know exactly how effective you are at acquiring new app users then you can forecast your app monetization strategy.

User acquisition insights are usually spread across multiple different sources. This can make it difficult and time-consuming to see the whole app user acquisition story.

 

App acquisition solutions

Apple app analytics platform – If you have an iOS version of your mobile app then there’s not much better for rich data insights that the Apple app analytics platform. It’s free with the developer program membership. It’s really out shadowed by other solutions when looking at in-app analytics but to learn how users are adopting your app over time, but when looking at acquisition it an extremely useful tool.

Of course, that’s not too helpful if your app is only on iOS.

Apsalar – Has some good features including the ability to see the ROI of user acquisition campaigns.

 

What you’ll learn with data: Web traffic, app store impressions, downloads by time and date.

App analytics insights: App store conversion rates, target audiences, and referrers.

 

App retention

Once you’ve gained some insights around app acquisition (and hopefully devised a plan to improve it) you’ll want to keep those app users in your app. This is known as your mobile app retention strategy. Understanding app retention and how to improve it is crucial if you want to create an app that leaves your users happy and retains users effectively.

For this, you need to get valuable app analytics around app user retention. Understanding when users leave or delete your app is key to creating a scalable app business.

It’s also important for you to understand why certain app retention patterns are occurring for your app. Sometimes the basic data doesn’t seem to outline any clear motive.

Understanding your users and getting inside their heads is key to creating an effective retention strategy.

That’s why you need to add multiple data sets to your app retention model. Where they use your app and patterns around where users are deleting your app.

 

Retention app analytics solutions

Mixpanel – A nice platform that allows you define custom events and measure retention against these. One of the best mobile app analytics platforms for measuring retention.

Amplitude – emphasis on behavioural cohorts to really break down how your app retention strategy is working.

 

What you’ll learn: Retention, user churn, churn location.

App analytics insights: Why users are deleting your app. Retention strategy.

 

App engagement

To engage your app users you must have an effective mobile engagement strategy in place. More often than not this will need to include an effective push notification strategy.

The reason that push notifications are important as part of a mobile app strategy is that they can provide incredibly useful insights around how your app functions and how users engage with it.

The more detail you put into the push notification strategy the better your app engagement data that comes from it, and the level of app analytics insights you’ll get in return.

It’s great to have information about how your user uses each interface inside of your app. The next step is looking at where your users engage with your app.

Understanding accurate app engagement metrics are fundamental to building an effective mobile app engagement strategy.

Let’s look at an example – engaging your users in a specific moment.

A strategy such as this is great at increasing mobile app engagement, but the thing that’s even more powerful for apps is using data around the app engagement moment to learn about your users and how they want to interact with your app.

There are a few different mobile app analytics platforms that provide you with data around app engagement:

 

App engagement solutions

Tamoco – Takes engagement insights one step further by adding precise location to the above. Location is a relevant insight for app users because it allows you to understand in which location engagement is best and in which moment your users are most engaged. It’s all available in a nice platform with a mobile app analytics SDK to boot.

Universal Analytics (Google) – For a general overview of app engagement, there’s not much better than Universal analytics. Best of all is the price – but, it offers reliable stats to measure the effectiveness of your engagement strategy. It’s a great starting point for all app developers to have in their business strategy.

 

What you’ll learn: Communication engagement, time of engagement, location of engagement.

App analytic insights: when, how and where your users are most engaged with your mobile app.

 

Mobile user experience

Understanding micro-moments with accurate data.

For apps that were to succeed it’s crucial that they make the distinction between engagement and experience. They will also have to find ways to measure both effectively. It’s an important part of an app analytics strategy to be able to measure this separately to engagement.

However, app experience and mobile user experience can be subjective and therefore difficult to measure in a traditional app analytics platform.

You must think about many parts of your app’s strategy in order to create the best mobile user experience, as it encompasses many different factors.

As data is the single most important thing you can use to back up your app business strategy, it’s important to learn what contributes towards a positive app experience.

This involves hypothesizing (based on any data that you might already have) and then measuring and adapting with mobile application analytic tools. Let’s look at some examples of hypothetical positive app experiences.

 

A fitness app that understands where users like to work out and suggest recommendations. Also, can avoid potential risks by monitoring route etc

Booking app using location history to suggest much better experience. And understand where the users use the app to find these. The solving problem before users reaches the micro-moment.

 

In these two examples, it seems to be quite difficult to measure the success of these experiences. But what we can do is to use engagement and retention figures and combine this with other data sets and qualitative insights to get a better idea of your app experience.

One solution is looking at direct videos of user experience and matching this up to patterns in-app deletion.

Another involves looking at the real-world location in which apps are being engaged with most and where they are losing users.

 

App experience solutions

Appsee – lets you record real user sessions so that you can identify the reason for engagement patterns. Also has some nice heat maps.

Localytics – Also has good heat maps function to allow you to pinpoint where experience is increasing/dropping off.

 

What you’ll learn: Where micro-moments occur.

App analytics insights: New features, Retention strategy

 

In-app monetization

If you want to create an app that functions as a business then you’ll need accurate app analytics, insights and forecasts around app monetization.

Which insights you’ll need here depends on your app monetization strategy. There are many app monetization challenges, but some will be more relevant to your business.

If you have a mobile app monetization strategy that is based on delivering mobile ads to your users, then you’ll need a platform with in-depth insights around ad delivery, CPM, and impressions vs clicks.

If your app monetization takes the form of in-app purchases then it’s important to look beyond revenue. Can you find a app abalytics solution that shows you the optimal moment that your user is likely to purchase your service or digital goods? If you can understand how this kind of in-app monetization works then this will be the key to boosting app revenue.

App data monetization is another app monetization strategy that can deliver high revenue for apps. Platforms include dynamic CPM pricing based on your where your audience is most active. This allows you to forecast your revenue accurately and helps you to understand where to invest your app marketing budget to best improve your bottom line.

 

App monetization solutions

Universal analytics – Allows you to track revenue and in-app purchases.

Mixpanel – has a nice revenue tracking feature.

Tamoco – Allows you to monetize without ads and track your revenue by app, location, user and more.

 

What you’ll learn: Revenue, CPM, User value, app monetization best practices.

App analytics insights: Forecasts, marketing allocation, which kind of user is most valuable to your app business.

 

Conclusion

  • Data is the most important thing to hypothesize, measure and test your app business model.
  • There are many platforms that you’ll need to paint a complete picture.
  • Data is effective in measuring how users find and download your app.
  • An effective app retention strategy leverages user data.
  • Engagement can be quantified and this is helpful to hypothesize.
  • In-app monetization will benefit from data. Use it to understand how to improve your revenue.

Do you make the most of in app analytics? Have you got a reliable data strategy to inform your app’s business decisions?

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Categories
Apps

Push Notifications – Best Practices To Boost App Engagement

Everything you need to know about using push notifications to boost app engagement.

Mobile push notifications form a crucial part of any app engagement strategy. To keep your audience engaged and improve retention you’ll need to communicate with your users. There’s no better way to do this than mobile push.

Investing time and money into a push notification strategy is vital for apps that want to keep their users engaged. But, you must be savvy about when and how you send them.

Let’s say your mobile app has 100,000 downloads. On average after just one day you can expect your audience retention rate to be around 20%. After ten days this figure drops to 7.5%. After ninety days this figure, for most mobile apps, falls to around 2%.

That’s why you need an effective mobile app engagement strategy that includes valuable in-app notifications.

 

What is a mobile push notification?

A mobile push notification is an app engagement solution that delivers a notification to the home screen of an app user. This notification is delivered based on specific targeting criteria.

Targeting criteria has developed significantly since the origins of push notifications. Apps can now adopt a mobile app push notification strategy that provides high ROI and significantly improves app engagement.

A push notification strategy forms a crucial part of improving app engagement. It’s an effective way to boost engagement when applied correctly.

 

KPIs that lead to engagement

When sending push notifications there’s a few key KPIs that you’ll want to look at. It’s important to ask yourself – which aspects of my app engagement strategy am I trying to improve with these notifications?

  • Number of active users
  • Retention rate
  • Session length
  • Session rates

You must keep these in mind when considering your push notification strategy.

 

Around 70% of users opt-in for push notifications

 

Push notifications almost double app retention rates

But actually, as impressive as these statistics are, there is much room for improvement. One look at your phone and you realise how bad apps actually are at communicating with you via push notifications. This only serves to demonstrate the opportunity for the apps can take their app push notification strategy to the next level.

 

Providing an opt-in experience

The best push notification strategies include a sound opt-in experience for the mobile app user. Notifications do distract users from their daily routines. Therefore, your users must expect this to happen from the first moment they open your app.

The last thing that you’ll want to do is annoy your users. That’s why it’s important to explain your push notification strategy. You only have one chance to get this right. Explain your push notification strategy badly and none of your users will opt-in. Lack clarity and your users won’t be happy when they receive notifications they weren’t expecting.

 

A note on spam

One of the worst things that you can do is to spam your users with push notifications. The entire point of this article is to help you to craft a push notification strategy that puts the user experience at the forefront.

Mindlessly spamming your users will lead to huge disengagement – despite many push notification services saying otherwise.

Remember that everything you do with your app and everything that you want to achieve should create value for the app users. Fundamentally this is the best way to think when creating any kind of mobile strategy.

 

Relevancy is key

That leads me on very nicely to relevancy in push notification strategies. Whether you’re sending ios push notifications or android push notifications, you need to think about one important factor – relevancy.

This involves understanding your app users. A good push notification service will deliver you with valuable insights around your app users each time you push to them. This way you can very quickly build up a complex persona of what your user wants and how they interact with your app. But more on that later.

Relevancy means communicating with your users in the best possible micro-moment.

That means delivering push notifications only when it is relevant for the user. Place your user experience at the center of everything you do. Figure out the optimal micro-moment, and ensure that notifications are only used at these relevant times.

There are multiple methods of figuring out what these moments are for your users. But the best way is using data.

The more complex your push strategy is – that is the more powerful the targeting options, the more powerful the app insights that you’ll get from the service.

Personalisation and location-based push

So, before we look at specific examples, let’s look at how you can create the best push notification strategy. Along with the individual targeting options that help create the optimal user experience.

 

Notification timing 

One of the most important things to consider when creating your push notification strategy. App engagement strategies have developed beyond only asking when the best time of day to send push notifications.

One of the quickest ways to lose users is by annoying them with notifications when they don’t want to receive them. It sounds obvious but so many apps get this wrong.

That’s why it’s important to understand the best moment to reach your users. App developers must also choose a service that allows you to fine-tune push notification delivery.

As mentioned, we’re not just talking about the time of day. Whilst it’s a fundamental way to tailor delivery it’s just the beginning of getting the timing right.

Here’s a classic example of a personalized push notification. But to engage you app users in 2017 you’ll need to do better.

Timing includes location. Timing a notification to deliver when the user is a specific situation allows you to engage on a personal level, and ensure that you maintain communication effectiveness.

It’s in these micro-moments that you’ll be able to create value for your mobile app users, keep them engaged and improve the app experience.

Of course, it may take a little while to understand which are the best moments to reach your users. That’s why testing exists. Eventually, you’ll learn the perfect timing for your push notification strategy. 

 

Segmentation

It’s important to choose which users should receive your notifications. Don’t just blindly send notifications to your entire audience as in the example above. Improving mobile engagement requires you to be savvy about who receives them. The better your segmentation capabilities, the better your push notification strategy will be.

This means segmenting your users based on how they have previously responded to push. It also includes how they use your app or services. Most push notification delivery tools allow you to do this.

If you want to take this even further (and you should), then you can segment your audience based on their historical location or behavior. But essentially, this allows you to reach the users that are most likely to engage with your push notifications.

Once you get to this level of user segmentations you can ensure that you deliver push notifications to relevant users. Not only will this reduce the number of annoyed users, it will also help you to create tailored communication with the users that you do target. Improving the user retention and keeping your mobile app users engaged!

 

Frequency

How often should you send notifications as part of an effective strategy? As a general rule of thumb, less is more until you have a sound understanding of your users and exactly how your app functions.

You should be searching for a push notification service provider that allows you to create a push strategy with frequency caps. Push notification delivery limits based on location is even better.

Push notification frequency largely depends on the type of app. If it’s an app in which the average user doesn’t spend a lot of time then it will be counterproductive to send notifications frequently. You’d be much better off understanding exactly the right moment to communicate, segment your users as much and possible and personalize the message to boost engagement and revenue.

If you have a shopping, lifestyle or similar app then it is understandable that you would be communicating with them more regularly. But that’s not an excuse to take advantage. Ultimately the best app push notification strategies prioritize quality over quantity. They understand exactly how often to push to their users.

 

Deep linking

This all become pretty worthless if you don’t think about where you want your user to end up inside your app. The relevant function in your app should open from the notification

This is where you can be creative and provide an experience that makes sense based on the content that you have in the push notification. You can get really smart and personalize the experience even further by using different endpoints for different user segments.

Ultimately think about deep linking and ensure that your push notification service provider can adapt to specific requests and end points. Make sure that you push notification service allows you to be flexible around deep linking as a minimum requirement. Insights around push notifications and mobile user experience

Your mobile app engagement strategy and your push notification strategy should influence each other. Understanding how can be difficult unless you get into the data mindset.

You can learn a lot about your app users by sending them notifications. If the targeting criteria are highly specific then the insights that you’ll generate from the push notification campaign will also be specific.

Precise data sets mean that you can adapt and learn as you develop your push notification model. As you learn more about your users you’ll understand how to boost engagement even further. Testing and learning is the key to any marketing strategy and it’s no different for push notifications.

The insights you’ll gain from communicating and engaging with your users will extend to other aspects of your app strategy as well as helping you to improve the mobile user experience.

 

The future of in-app communication

Push notifications are more than just a pop-up on your phone. If you don’t abuse the trust that your users give you then they can be an extremely valuable tool to improve app engagement.

User engagement should be at the top of every developer’s priority list. Ensuring that your mobile app audience gets the most relevant notifications in the best possible micro-moment builds trust with users and can have far-reaching benefits into other aspects of your mobile app strategy.

 

Conclusion – An in-app notification checklist for app developers

  • Your opt-in experience is just as important as your push notification experience.
  • Put your user first and understand how they use your app
  • Relevancy is the most important factor when choosing a strategy
  • Choose a push notification provider that allows you to leverage location into your strategy. The right mobile engagement platform can make a huge difference to results.
  • Think post notification click.
  • Data and insights are your best friend. Learn and grow.
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