Product Engineering // Blog

How To Increase Mobile App Usage and Engagement

There are millions of mobile apps. The app economy is a multi-billion dollar ecosystem. Yet, 25% of users download an app, use it once and never return, effectively turning your software into a zombie. A pretty expensive zombie unfortunately – read more about mobile app development costs. Here are three ways to increase mobile app usage and engagement and prevent this fate for your mobile app:

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1: Deliver weekly value to your users

Your mobile app needs a value proposition that entices consumers to use the app on a weekly basis, at the very least. If your app’s UI and UX design are amazing, but your primary target market only uses it once a month, it’ll be very difficult for you to establish a core audience of repeat users. Users are busy and they forget. As an aspiring app entrepreneur, you’ll want your mobile app to be as top of mind as possible.

Let’s take a look at Handy, a mobile app platform connecting consumers and home service professionals. How often do you need a plumber or handyman to come to your home? Monthly at best. But, what about home cleaning? There’s definitely a core audience of consumers that want their apartment cleaned once a week. And, for the people that want cleaning only once every 2 weeks, they will probably need to interact with the app on a weekly basis to update their schedule and confirm when the cleaning person should come. Handy has established a recurring service program to successfully lock-in users and boost the app’s weekly interaction rates. The strategy is clearly paying off as Handy is fresh from raising $50 million.

2: Do one thing, and do it really well

We have a Mark Zuckerberg quote framed in our office, “The trick isn’t adding stuff, it’s taking away.”

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Having tons and tons of features can often hurt the viability of your app. Apps are primarily used for one key purpose. And, that one key purpose is then remembered by your users (hopefully, on a weekly basis!).

When Snapchat first launched, its purpose was simple: send messages to your friends that disappear. After it hit a point of critical mass, Snapchat introduced Stories. Now, users can post Snaps to all their followers. This is a very different use case than disappearing messages to friends and it was only introduced after Snapchat achieved a $1bn valuation.

So what’s the point? If you nail the app’s core interaction, it will create tremendous value for you and your users. Adding in a second core transaction isn’t a fix if your mobile app’s core interaction isn’t receiving the expected traction.  It’s indicative that your first core transaction still needs more attention.

3: Be a brand that delights

It’s critical to delight your users when they first interact with your product. In order to do so, you’ll have to achieve two important goals.

The first imperative is to truly understand what your consumers need and how your app can deliver on that need. We’ve discussed this pretty in-depth in my two previous points.

Secondly, you must invest in your brand identity. A startup brand is an empty canvas waiting to be painted. With a strong understanding of your users and what value the app delivers to them, you should be able to explore creative brand territories. Uber aimed to democratize luxury through its “Everyone’s Private Driver” positioning while Airbnb promotes global inclusiveness through its “Belong Anywhere” positioning. What will your brand stand for?

Once you have that brand identity established, you’ll have your North Star and it should guide every product, marketing, business and cultural decision you make. Users will primarily come back to your app for the value it delivers, but a brand can help increase the stickiness and affinity your users have for you mobile app. A strong brand will turn your most ardent fans into advocates. A great product without a great brand can only go so far.

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