User acquisition and user retention are really two sides of the same coin, and both are important for app developers once their app is published on an app store. All developers want to get users in the door, but the trick is to get these users to stick around. Getting the users in the door is user acquisition, and getting them to stick around is user retention. Both are an integral part of a successful app strategy.
UA is an important part of any app strategy. When a developer first publishes their app, they need a way to get those download numbers increasing. There are various strategies for user acquisition. Developers can do it organically by doing the appropriate demographics research and releasing their app into a receptive market.
Having a complete app page with strong graphics and informative app descriptions will also help. Press releases and app reviews can also be great ways to get users to download your app. App devs will a little more money in their pocket can start advertising their app on the web or within other, similar apps.
Developers also have the option to do an incentivized download campaign, although they should review app store guidelines before doing so as some stores outlaw the practice. Incentivized download campaigns mean that a user is given some type of reward for downloading your app. Incentivized downloads increase overall download numbers quickly, but a lot of these users will either never open your app, or they will uninstall it quickly.
All of these acquisition strategies will be a waste of time and money if developers don’t focus on user retention.
Devs can spend a lot of money trying to get users to download their app. But, once the users are there, some developers ignore them at the expense of trying to get even more users. This is a problem. Devs should try to focus on getting their users to turn into long-term customers. It really isn’t as hard as it sounds.
First, try setting up a communication channel so your users can reach you. Some users may run into technical problems or uncover a bug in your app that you may not have noticed before. With a communication channel, these users can alert you to the problem and you can begin work to fix it.
Without a communication channel, these users could become annoyed and leave negative reviews on your app’s page, reducing the chance of you getting more app downloads. If a user knows that you are listening to them, they will begin to place more trust in your brand.
Second, think of some sort of “rewards” system for your users. Rewards may not work on every genre of app, but they can be effective in gaming or entertainment apps. Devs can use push notifications to alert users of any “daily deals” happening within their in-app store.
Devs can also offer users extra points or coins every 5th or 10th time the user enters the app. Rewards should give users a reason to engage with your app, so experiment with your rewards system to see which strategies work the best.
Last, embrace the power of social media. Again, a social media tie-in may not work with every app genre. However, social media can be a powerful tool to encourage users to stay.
Users will be able to see if their family or friends also use the app, and in the case of gaming apps, they are able to compete against them. Also, if a user has become disengaged after a period of time, social media updates from their friends may inspire them to return to your app to see what they are missing.
Just keep in mind that not every user wishes to be connected to social media all the time, so give them an option to opt-out.
The goal of user retention is really to create your own built-in marketing tool. Happy, engaged users will be more likely to recommend your app to their friends. These users can also turn into brand advocates, sharing their experiences on the internet or on your app’s page. If you decide to release a second app, these users will be more inclined to download the new app because they have already established a relationship with the developer.
The strategies mentioned here may not work for every developer, so you should play around with different strategies to see which one works best for you, your app, and your users. Strong user acquisition and user retention strategies will lead to easier and better monetization down the road!