13 Effective Strategies to Boost Your Mobile App Engagement

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There is no doubt that mobile app engagement is on the rise.

90% of the time are spent on apps Click To Tweet And this is fueled by the rise in mobile phone ownership, the ease of mobile connectivity and the fact that mobile apps are free for download and use.

Now more than ever, it’s so easy to create branded mobile apps, but to keep users committed and engaged is a different story altogether.

No matter what your goals for conversions are and whether you are a startup or a well-established business, there are plenty of ways you can improve app engagement and commitment with your applications.

In this article, we will cover 13 effective strategies for your mobile app engagement that you can apply today.

#1 Strike a great first impression

Think about it.

Every day, people are downloading and using apps. You need to make a lasting impression on the very first point of interaction if you want them fully engaged.

Make sure that your apps’ home screen does these three important jobs well:

  1. It explains how your mobile app works
  2. It motivates your users to start using it
  3. And it shows where and how help can be accessed in the event that they need it

If your home screen fails to do these three things, your users will definitely opt to log out and maybe even decide never to use your app again.

There are tons of ways you can warmly welcome your users to your app, but nothing beats displaying a welcome message as a greeting.

Check out what Dropbox, WordPress and Weebly has for a welcome page.

mobile app engagement tips

This is a great way to start mobile customer engagement and show appreciation for users who downloaded and signed up just to use your app.

Similarly, this is also a great way to start conversations, which in turn can help boost your conversions.

Start a dialogue as it encourages your users to ask questions and start exploring ways to use your app.

When done right, you can win and engage with as many users as possible. If not, then you know what’s missing or what needs to be improved on your app.

#2 On-board new users clearly

Requiring sign ups and account creation can be tricky.

It can even be a source of loss for first time users, which can be disheartening. If your app requires an account before any interaction can take place, make sure to optimize the onboarding process for your new users.

How can you optimize your onboarding process?

Consider experimenting with social registration. This makes onboarding faster and more seamless for your users.

Like Instagram, you can make it an option to register an account using their Facebook account or their email address.

optimize onboarding for mobile app engagement

This is not only beneficial on the part of your users, but also on your end in terms of lead generation and email capture.

If you’re not so keen on social and email registrations, make sure your sign up process is simple to do.

Require only the basics – username, password and email address – in the beginning and ask for the other pertinent details after.

You can also ask your developers to experiment as to when is the best time to ask your users to create an account.

They can set up a way to either invite a user to create an account after using the app or after an x number of uses.

#3 Ensure great performance all throughout

App usage may be popular, but mobile app engagement is definitely a different tale altogether.

The fact is, there are apps that are only used once. And this creates a huge challenge for app developers to create a first time user experience that’s memorable, worthwhile and definitely made for the long run.

One of the creative ways to ensure that the first time user experience will be exceptional is to provide a quick walkthrough of what your app does and what it offers.

Creating a guided tour can help set the right expectations for your users as well.

Like Airbnb, you can be as detailed and exploratory with your app description on the app store.

optimize app store description

Describe what your app is all about, the different features available and even take some screenshots. Take advantage of the app store to share as much as you can about your app. Doing well in your app store entry is also beneficial for your SEO.

When the right expectations are set, you can expect a steady growth too in your mobile app engagement.

#4 Promote features one at a time

Every mobile app has worthwhile features that are not easily apparent or useful.

Handy features such as email notifications, keyboard shortcuts and third-party integrations may have significant benefits to app users, but these cannot be called out immediately.

Especially since it depends on how far along in the app your users are, announcing your new features may be out of context to them.

Most app developers rely on emails and FAQ pages to announce their app’s new features. However, these approaches do not work quite well and may not even give your new feature the proper attention it deserves.

Emails may be read late and interrupt a user’s activity. People arriving on your FAQ pages means they are encountering an issue and your updates about your app’s latest features may distract them from their purpose.

For that reason, always have a defined messaging schedule where you can promote your app’s new features gradually.

Stagger your announcements over a series of sessions. By showing your message every time a user opens your app, you are giving them more reasons to use and engage with your application.

Below is an example of a defined messaging schedule you can use. Give your app’s new features the proper introduction it deserves by letting it have its own moment.

message schedule for sign-ups

Also, make sure that for every announcement you make, there is a call to action leading to support just in case your users need help.

#5 Announce improvements in-app

Improvements to your app should form the basis of your mobile engagement strategy.

But when should you announce it?

Sometimes, your app users won’t even notice that your app is slowing down. They use your app and not even monitor developments and improvements you are implementing for better interaction.

And when it gets too silent, they become easily distracted when a competing brand releases a new app feature. Then all of a sudden, your app is out of the picture.

So, when is the best time to announce improvements you implement on your app? It is when your users are on the application. Otherwise, they won’t care enough to know.

Take advantage of in-app messages and push notifications when communicating with your users. These are more easily seen too than when emailing your users about recent improvements you have done. It might even go to their spam messages, which totally defeats the purpose.

By announcing new features and upgrades in your app, your users can also easily click on them and start using it!

#6 Never copy and paste content from your site

We’ve discussed this before.

Given the smaller screen real estate in mobile devices, it is not wise to copy paste your content from your site’s desktop version.

As a general rule of thumb, your app should not be your website in a mobile format.

If you want to stick to your current desktop content, make sure to condense it. Shorten it without losing your main thought and the keywords you want to compete in.

However, ideally you should provide a totally new content on your app with more new tools to use and incentives to receive than on your desktop site.

#7 Make app content shareable

Complete your mobile engagement strategy by integrating your community of users within your app’s functionalities.

Now more than ever, your app should be share friendly. Just think about popular mobile games and photo photo- and video-sharing platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.

make app content shareable

It would not have reached the height of its popularity if not for the different and easy share capabilities it integrated for users to enjoy.

But then again, how can you make ‘sharing’ really easy on your app?

First, make sure that your app is inherently social. This alone promotes its ability to be shared and be talked about in different circles.

That is also why games, ride shares, lifestyle, and fitness apps have an edge when it comes to shareability.

Second, allow social sharing in every piece of content on your app. For instance, if you are selling products on your app, consider making each of your product pages or wishlists shareable on social media. It is a great conversion booster too.

When social sharing is part of your app engagement efforts, your brand can benefit heavily in terms of traction and popularity.

Remember that every social media platform has its own set of benefits and community to target. Make your presence known everywhere through social sharing.

#8 Data entry tasks should be easy to complete

Especially when it comes to the checkout page on your mobile app, you need to ensure your users an easy and convenient way to fulfill data entry tasks.

mobile app engagement best practices

Help your users fill out your checkout forms by setting the needed keyboard automatically. If the field is asking for a name, the qwerty keyboard should appear.

If it is asking for credit card details and phone numbers, the number keyboard should likewise pop up.

Whenever applicable, pre-populate your checkout fields so there’s less required effort on the part of your users.

At the very least, only ask for details that your app needs to work off and ask for other pertinent information later on.

#9 Help should be conspicuous

Mobile customer engagement is high if users know their way around your app.

And so assuming that there will be moments when your users will wonder how to use a particular feature, make sure that help is just around the corner.

Make it easy to find information on your app.

Have a conspicuous button to your FAQ page or better yet, have your contact details easily seen and accessible so they can immediately send you their questions and inquiries.

Nothing can be more frustrating for any user to encounter an issue with no one to talk about it.

#10 Add a gamification and rewards component

What is gamification all about?

It encourages app usage and engagement through game elements and a rewards system. The result is to get app users more active, and to some extent, even addicted towards using the app.

While gamification is not the end-all solution to mobile app engagement, it is crucial that the games you run on your app are all within the proper context.

Try and test it out.

Add a gamification layer to your app by awarding your app users with points for certain activities.

These activities can be opening and using the app at least once a day, sharing content on their social media accounts or referring their friends to download the app.

With a fair and exciting rewards system, you can expect more users spending time on your app and vying for the number 1 spot.

Also, you can retain a good number of your app users by simply having a rewards-based loyalty program. Rewards do not only influence app download and use, but also fosters app engagement and retention.

#11 Target your push notifications

Nothing can spur you mobile engagement strategy better than making good use of push notifications.

Make sure that when sending out push notifications, these are complete with text, video, images and even external links that will direct your app users to your specific landing pages.

Of course, ensure that they won’t be arriving at some random landing page. The landing pages you should guide them to should be relative to their app use and what segments they fall into.

However, just a quick word of caution – do not overwhelm your app users with push messages.

Use it wisely. Use it whenever you have new exciting features and tools on your app. Use it to re-engage your users if you noticed that it has been an X number of days since their last session on your app. And lastly, use it to help them make the most out of your app.

#12 Do custom segmentation

No one wants to receive irrelevant information. It’s just a waste of time and effort.

To keep your app users fully engaged, always deliver targeted, focused and rich content on their devices. And you can base it on their in-app behaviors, demographics and preferences.

To properly segment your users, reference analytics data from your customer engagement platform and from there, run relevant campaigns.

You can also filter your reports by segments so you can compare engagements and analyze ROI for each.

Make sure to track how your segments grow over time too as this can reveal who your high-value users are. Get comfortable using your customer engagement platform so you know what reports to pull for these kinds of data insights.

With proper user segmentation, you can significantly improve user engagement, experience and your ability to monetize for better ROI.

#13 Get in-app feedback from users

Listening to your users should never be amiss in your mobile engagement strategy.

Listening to them is not only a form of engaging with them, but you have better chances of improving your app store ratings and getting started doing the necessary fixes to keep user satisfaction high.

We discussed what Net Promoter Score is in our article on startup metrics, and you can use this particular metric too as a way to survey your app users, get their feedback and determine how likely they are to introduce your application to their friends.

net promoter score for mobile app engagement

App users with a high Net Promoter Score are your best promoters and those with a low scores means they are your detractors.

On your mobile engagement strategy, leverage on the engagement you have with your promoters and use it to improve your app’s overall ratings. On the other hand, engage with your detractors and use their insights in enhancing your app.

Make it a habit to talk to your users. Whether or not during the trial stage, the most valuable feedback you can get and use to your advantage are from the very people using your app.

Of course, do not forget the insights you can extract from your customer engagement platform too in improving your engagement.


As a conclusion, we’d like to leave you with one final strategy to boost your mobile app engagement and that is to always prioritize engagement over the number of app downloads.

Study what your users do once they have installed your app on their device. This will help you segment your users and optimize your campaign efforts for better results.

Your messages also have a strong impact on whether your target users will download and use your app or not.

Think about it – why should they download and use your app? What are the things they are missing out on if they do not start using it?

Advertising that one compelling reason or USP to use your app is one of the fantastic ways to get engagement started.

Send out your advertising and marketing messages on search or on social media. Consider making app engagement campaigns as well (you can do this for both iOS and Android) to maximize your app’s true value for your users.

What about you – what are your secret yet effective strategies to boost mobile customer engagement? Let’s discuss it in the comments section below!

About the Author

John Komarek is the founder of Pixelter. He helped over 63 e-commerce businesses boost their mobile sales by up to 183.5%. He uses advanced UX research, A/B testing, and AI-driven personalization to deliver the results. Learn more about how he can help you grow your sales.

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