In the early stages of an app’s release, rapid growth is the focus, with user acquisition the most important metric for success. While it remains important as the app matures, user retention becomes equally – if not more – important. User engagement is the new user acquisition, arguing that gaining a loyal, long-term customer is much more important than acquiring casual users.
To that end, this post is going to describe how to reduce app churn by leveraging push notifications to engage users and convert them into long-term, loyal customers.
First Things First: Gaining User Opt-In
We describe the effectiveness of push notifications, but notes that gaining higher user opt-in rates is integral to higher user retention. The more users you can get to opt-in to push notifications, the greater the ability to leverage notifications to engage, encourage activity, and even re-engage inactive users.
They suggest trying the following:
- Interactive walkthroughs that explain the benefits of opting in.
- Customized, contextually relevant opt-in opportunities.
- Other methods to achieving opt-in are outlined in a post on their blog, Top 10 Tips to Get Opt-In.
Reducing App Churn With Push Notifications
Once users have opted-in to push notifications, you now have a direct line of communication with them where you can send targeted, contextually relevant messages. These best practices provide guidelines to help you leverage push most effectively to retain users and drive loyalty.
Quality Over Quantity
The type of app you have and the nature of service/experience it provides will – at least in part – dictate notification frequency. In some cases, less is more. It’s not necessarily about how often you send notifications, but about when you send them and what kind of value they provide. If you are sending too many notifications to users who will not find them useful, they’ll opt out of notifications or worse, become so annoyed that they stop using the app altogether.
Segment Your Users
With push notifications, context is king. Not all users can be grouped into one bucket. The type of messaging each user receives should be based on past preferences, behavior, and engagement with the app. Using data from your app analytics will allow you to segment users into groups to provide more relevant messaging that will prompt engagement and activity.
Give The User What They Want
Using user segmentation and analytics, you can learn which users are likely to find particular messaging useful and therefore what methods are likely to drive higher push engagement rates. Personalizing the notification to provide content that the user actually cares about is key.
For example, United Airlines will send notifications informing users on particular flights if there has been a gate change or the flight status has changed. Another good example is Netflix, which sends push notifications to users about new shows or recently added episodes based on the past preferences of the particular user.
Push notifications can be strategically used to prompt action by users that are inactive, have dropped out of a conversion funnel, or have otherwise disengaged. For example, fitness app RunKeeper sends users messages notifying them how long it’s been since their last run. Similarly, guitar tuning app GuitarTuna sends out a reminder to users to tune their guitars after 7 days.
In-app marketing campaigns are also a good method for re-engaging dropped users, with things like relevant, time-sensitive discounts or offers incentivizing users to engage with your application.
Track Engagement Metrics
There are a number of key engagement metrics for tracking app success that can help you ensure you retain your users, improve push messaging and segmentation, and make improvements to drive more user loyalty and activity.
Using dimensions like purchase frequency, location, device, and more can help you determine what’s working and what isn’t in your app. For push notifications, you can use this data to improve personalization, adjust and test messaging, and boost lifetime value (LTV) and revenue.
While tolerance for push notifications varies from app to app and user to user, leveraging push using the guidelines above can help you reduce app churn, keep users engaged, drive long term usage, and ultimately increase the LTV of each user. Using analytics to determine when and what to communicate to your users can significantly improve engagement and retention rates, helping ensure app success.